However, I am one of those few Harry Potter nerds that will say that Harry Potter will stay in my heart forever. As cheesy as it sounds, Harry Potter is my childhood. I have known this book for half my life, and I've been one of the many Potterheads that has followed the series through every book and movie as soon as I hopped aboard the Potter train.
I picked up my first Harry Potter book when I was about 8, in the 3rd grade. It was also around the time that the Half-Blood Prince was released. I remember it was the first "big" book I'd ever picked up--one without pictures and over 30 pages. I was a little reluctant to read it, but once I started, I couldn't put it down. I had started the series from the Prisoner of Azkaban because the school library didn't have any of the other books of the series (a little odd, now that I think about it, but it wasn't the wealthiest of schools).
I still remember reading the book on Saturday morning. I had made myself a cup of coffee, because it was cold out, and I snuggled up with my book on the sofa right by the window. The sunlight was streaming in, it was my favorite type of weather, and I was about to be exposed to the wonderful world of Harry Potter (and along with it, the vast world of books).
I finished the book later that day, and begged my mom to take me to Barnes and Noble so I could get the rest. Unfortunately, we didn't get to go that day, but when we did go, I brought my savings with me. We bought all 6 of the books, mostly paperback and the total was all of my savings. I didn't care though, and I still don't. Usually, my allowance still goes to buying new books.
And then came the summer of 2007, which was the big Harry Potter year. The final book arrived that summer, on July 21st and the 5th Harry Potter movie was released as well. I remember getting the book at midnight, and reading all through the night.
My parents didn't always approve of this--I was now into reading and in this mystical, magical world. They would constantly remind me that it was all fictional, that I should read other books, that I was wasting my time. But the truth is, none of that mattered and having Harry Potter helped me through a lot.
When there was fighting in my house, I'd grab a Harry Potter book and curl up somewhere; I've always loved that about books. I can grab one and as long as it's interesting, I can get lost in the world, lose tune with the world. My mom knows that she has to call me a couple of times while I'm reading a book to get my attention.
When I read the Half-Blood Prince and the scene with Dumbledore arrived, I threw the book against my bed. I couldn't bear to go on. I hated Snape with a passion. The books had become my friends; what happened in that world, happened in mine. I remember signing up to dumbledoreisnotdead.com and rereading the series to find some hint of the initials that could be R.A.B.. When I still new to the series and had just finished reading the Chamber of Secrets, my parrot whom I was very close to died. I remember googling phoenixes, and where to buy them, and asking my mom if we could go to the bird shop to find one, because the thought of having a bird that died only to be reborn again was a bright light that shone in my naive eight-year old mind.
Harry Potter has been my life for half my life. I went to the midnight premiere of the last movie, and I realized there would be no more of this. No more being huddled in lines outside the theaters, with the respective book in hand, or waiting outside Barnes and Noble for midnight to purchase the latest book. No more whispering and guessing of what the newest installment, whether movie or book, would bring. No more freaking out about a poster that was just released or the teaser trailer that sends chills up your spine. No more sitting in a theater with true fans who whoop and scream and clap and laugh and cry at the right times. No more having a best friend like Ron to say the right thing to make you laugh at the tense moment, or Hermione with a revelation or Harry with his bravery and courage.
It truly is the end; while Harry Potter will not die, it will be the end of the releases, the end of looking forward to something more, something else, the end of an era.
So, sitting in the theater last Thursday night, I was trembling. Trembling, because truly, my childhood does end with this. I was there with Harry through his first letter from Hogwarts, and now I part ways with him as the story has been told.
It was a phenomenal, breath-taking, life-changing and magical era. And I am proud to say I was part of the Harry Potter generation who grew up with each release of the next book and stayed in line for each new midnight premiere of the next Harry Potter movie.
So, farewell to the Harry Potter generation as we say goodbye to our childhood.