By now, most of you have probably read a review or post about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows II. I went to see it last Friday, but decided not to review it on my blog. I love the films, but view them as something entirely different than the books, mainly so I won’t be disappointed (and even then...). As good as the films are, they could never compare to my reading experience with this series. I expected to be a bit sad after it DH2 was over, but I realized “the end” really came 2 years ago. After attending my last midnight book release with my kids, I rushed home and read until I was bleary-eyed, slept for a few hours and then read through the next day until I finished. I was a tired, weepy mess. That’s when I mourned the end of Harry Potter.
For me it really has been all about the books. I thought about sharing how I discovered Harry, but decided to instead share one of the multiple stories of how Jo Rowling has given my entire family – husband and 4 kids whose ages now range from 7 to 17 – memories I will always treasure.
Short introduction: I first shared the following experience 4 years ago with friends I met through an HP forum/Reading Group on my LiveJournal. At the time my girls were 3, 7, and 10 and my son was 12.
May 17th, 2007
I've been listening to the Order of the Phoenix cassettes (read by Jim Dale) to get ahead of the story as part of my Reading Group prep. Partly because it had been close to 2 years since I last read Order and mostly because of my sieve brain which doesn't retain the written word as well as it used to. Usually I listen to the tapes in the van while running errands or driving to and from the kids' various practices. For my girls, this is their first experience with OotP. My 7-yr old had been too young before and my 10-yr old lost interest when the school year started so we stopped reading it together. They've been enjoying listening to the cassettes and I've been enjoying their reactions; their outrage at Umbridge and their laughter and cheers when Fred and George made their grand exit.
Yesterday we began listening to when Harry and Dumbledore's Army arrive at the Dept. of Mysteries and get cornered by the Death Eaters. Each time we climbed into the van I swelled with pride as I heard the words, "Mom, can we please listen to Harry Potter?" How could I say no? We listened on the ride to and from dance class and for the first time, we were grateful for the traffic backups (Another red light...YES!)
Last night, the whole family attended the school's Art Fair and as we piled into the van to head home, "Mom, can we listen?" Now, my husband likes HP and has read all of the books once, but hasn't joined me in my obsessiveness. He teases me about it occasionally but I try not to subject him to it too much. I asked, "Do you mind if we listen?" He didn't, so I turned it on. We listened in silence when Lucius Malfoy tells Harry, "You see, there are ten of us and only one of you...or hasn't Dumbledore ever taught you to count?" And Neville runs in shouting, "He's dot alone! He's still god be!"
As we pulled into the driveway, we all listened as Bellatrix cast the Cruciatus Curse on Neville. I shut off the tape, anticipating everyone jumping out and running to the house like usual. Instead I heard a chorus of "Awwww!" and the sole voice of my husband saying, "We can't stop there." So we brought the cassette in the house, settled into the den and listened; listened as the Order arrived just in time to help Harry and Neville, listened as Bellatrix and Sirius duelled, listened as Dumbledore appeared in the doorway, and listened to the inevitable fate of Sirius. "Can Sirius come out of the veil, Mom?" my 7-yr old asked. With a lump in my throat I answered, "No, he died. He can't come back." Hard words to speak. We listened to the end of the chapter. It was bedtime for the younger ones.
There aren't too many moments when we all come together and enjoy a moment like this. This is one memory I'll treasure. Simple. Magic.
Thank you, Jo Rowling.