Monday, November 15, 2010

I owe you one, Harry

I remember it well. My senior year in high school. Ms. Tuzzino's mythology class. I sat in the front left corner of the classroom with my buddies, Jeff, Tyler, and Dave. OK, maybe I don't remember it as well as I thought because I don't remember how they got on the topic, but somehow Dave and Tyler started taking about Harry Potter. I was confused. I interrupted, "Wait, you guys read Harry Potter? My 12 year old brother reads that stuff."

They were two friends whose tastes and opinions I respected, so I was intrigued. I don't know if it was that night, but soon thereafter, I picked up my brother's copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I thought it was a good book, though I wasn't blown away, and I wasn't moved. But never had I been able to finish a book so quickly, and never had I been so engaged as a reader.

I picked up the second. By the third I was hooked. Forever. Reading the fourth was a milestone for me -- by my first reading, it was the longest book I had ever read, weighing in at 734 pages.

Only days away. Mere days.

Something magical happened after I read Harry Potter. I began devouring other books with the same passion. Prior to Harry, I had never considered myself much of a reader. Sure, I read here and there, but never with any consistency, taking months at a time to finish a single book. Through Harry Potter, I discovered that reading was not only enjoyable, but that it moved, inspired, and effected me in ways few things can.

So the least I can do is say thanks. Thank you, Harry and friends (and enemies) for so many great years, all seven of them. Thank you for helping me develop a love for reading, without which I would have missed out on so many great books that have influenced me so positively. Thank you for the movies too, which don't really compare to the books, but have nevertheless provided a way for my friends and me to grow closer as we celebrate you, the Boy Who Lived -- the boy who will always live on in my imagination and heart for years and years to come.


  1. i truly love me some harry potter.

    after re-reading hp 7, i was feeling like it was such an uplifting tale of good versus evil. i was inspired to fight for the things I believe. and it got the creative juices flowing too. such a story! out of an author's mind! i kind of lived in the wizard world for a few days after, letting my subconscious believe in the magic. (i may or may not have imagined the different ways harry may proposed to ginny as well) ah, such a gift, a good book.

    I, too, thank you harry.

  2. Add my thanks to the list as well. I have a law school friend who refuses to read Harry Potter because, for all intents and purposes, he considers it to be (intellectually) "beneath" him. I've argued with him about the value of reading both "intellectual" and popular literature, and that HP actually has some really good writing and plot/character development in it. To no avail--he still won't read it.

    Fortunately, the smartest professor at school (Harvard grad, former Supreme Court clerk) is a HUGE HP fan. He's being talking about it all week, and is attending the midnight showing with his equally brilliant wife (also a professor). He got wind of my friend's lame stubbornness and ripped him a new one during class. It was like Dumbledore ripping into Draco (except that never happened...but would have been cool).

  3. Chelsea, I love your good vs. evil comment. So true.

    Cody, it hacks me when people think they're too good for Harry Potter. It's really their loss. Also, your post almost makes me want to go to law school.

  4. The law world is missing a great mind, Myke.
    Now I think the countdown has entered hours, right?
    When I was down in bed with one of my interminable pregnancies, someone challenged me to reread all the HPs as fast as I could, since I had nothing better to do. I did all seven in 11 days.
    That's when the greatness of Rowling's imagination struck me. Her writing will never be Shakespeare or Steinbeck. But her ability to conjure (pun completely intended) an entire world parallel to our own that works, beginning to end, so flawlessly, no contradictions or mistakes? That's impressive.
    Wondering if you'll be pulling out a Hogwarts tie Thursday night?

  5. J.K. Rowling definitely made an impact on our generation. She took a lot of deep, personal issues that exist for a lot of kids, like depression, self-esteem, love, friends, and she assigned them all character names and spells and villians. Such a big book for this generation. And the fact that a book has been so successful is nothing but good for the literacy of today's youth.