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On Potter.

15 July 201101:25PMintrospection

Basically, we had a marathon of the first 7 Harry Potter movies, then went to see the last one. It's been a pretty long 24 hours, so between the nostalgia kick and the sleep deprivation this may get a little incoherent. I'm nowhere near the rabid Harry Potter fan that this makes me appear. Apologies in advance. :)

The last time I got sentimental about a movie series ending was at the end of Revenge of the Sith, which was really more of a vague tinge of sadness that there wouldn't ever be another Star Wars movie released. Walking out of this one was different. I was a little late on the Harry Potter bandwagon- but only a little. My mum got me the first four books in 2001, which is the same year the first movie came out. I would've been about eight at the time. Whether she'd twigged that this was the next big thing, or had seen the movie with us, or had heard me talking about listening to the audiobook in Ms. Hodge's year 3 class, that Christmas I ended up with a massive pile of Potter paperbacks.

And, as slightly odd 8-year-olds are wont to do, I got more than a little hooked. I drew spellbooks and made potions. We had wizard duels in the playground and drew our own 'trading cards', and got disappointed when on our eleventh birthdays we didn't get letters from Hogwarts. And I think every chopstick in our house, over the course of a few years, got used as a magic wand and subsequently lost when I insisted on taking it everywhere with me. (In retrospect, my parents had the tolerance of saints.)

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: In a very real way, the world surrounding these books and movies was my childhood. Yes, there was Star Wars, and yes, there was the James Bond phase, but Harry Potter was shiny and new and still being made up, and the characters and the world were still growing. That was always the allure of Harry Potter. It wasn't the grand overarching save-the-world plot (that wasn't even written when we started reading.) It was the world - and I've said this before - and the characters which were so mesmerising. It was never the Chamber of Secrets or Forbidden Corridor which were exciting, it was the Hogwarts Express, and the Great Hall, and the common rooms- stuff which you could populate with your own characters and your own adventures.

People called it a phenomenon, and I think I finally get why. To create a shared universe, spanning fifteen years and including pretty much an entire generation is an incredible feat, and something which has probably never happened before. It was a truly unique set of circumstances: an iconic world, a bunch of compelling characters, a fledgling internet ready to give birth to the most identifiable 'fandom' since Star Trek, a generation which had been told it didn't read enough, and two sufficiently light-hearted film adaptations to kick start the whole thing.

It was an amazing ride, and I'm glad that I got to be on it.

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