Dear Harry Potter,
I remember the very first time we met. I was eleven, the same age as you, when my mom first handed me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I was a reader, and not at all shy to crack open your pages. I promptly devoured every word and chapter about Hogwarts within a mere 24 hours and instantly demanded more. Fortunately, The Chamber of Secrets was already on the market, so I didn’t have long to wait.
It was love at first read. The feelings were so strong that I scrounged up my hard earned allowance (hey, I cleaned a lot of guinea pig cages and scrubbed my parents’ toilets for that money!) and bought the first copy at Barnes and Noble. I managed to buy the second book in your native London, shortly after a visit to the real-world location of platform 9 and 3/4. I was very disappointed to find I couldn’t actually walk through it, being a Muggle and all.
I remember, as your adventures grew darker in The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire, arguing with my friends’ conservative Christian parents on the merits of your virtue. They called you all sorts of names: Wiccan, Spawn of Satan.
I remember the long years between The Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix. I grew older, widening our age gap by two whole years. Then another two years of wondering and waiting for The Half-Blood Prince. Like you, I was very distraught about Sirius and the taste of death. The shadow of what was to come.
I remember being stranded in a third-world country while the rest of America and Britain devoured The Deathly Hallows in single-sitting marathons. I remember plugging my ears and threatening decapitation to anyone who threatened to spoil the end of your story. I remember reading in my parents’ broken in chaise chair, tucking my dreadlocks behind my ears and biting my lip at every page.
I remember crying hysterically at chapter thirty-three (The Prince’s Tale). That chapter still summons a lump in my throat and brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. I remember wrinkling my nose at the epilogue and then shutting the book.
The books might have been over, but there were always the movies I told myself. Our affair hadn’t ended yet. I went on to reread your books with frequency. I even managed to become a teacher’s assistant in an English class dedicated to studying you my senior year of college. I cajoled my husband endlessly until he read the entire series from cover to cover. He stayed up until 3AM to finish you.
I must confess, that I was not in line for the opening night of Deathly Hallows. This is not because I don’t love you. Hardly. It’s because I have a hard time letting go. In a strange way, you represent more than just a great series. You are my adolescence. You are my coming-of-age story. Watching it end is much like arriving into the epilogue. It means that I’ve grown up.
Yes, I know I’m twenty-four. I’ve been married and working and being a (mostly) responsible adult for many years now. This is something different. This is recognizing that your era is past.
In a strange way though, I think I might be ready for it. Ready to step out into the world of storytelling on my own. You have paved the way for my generation to open their imaginations and dream big. You created a whole new age of readers and storytellers. It’s time for us to give back the amazing journey you granted us.
So here’s to you, Harry. To your past and our future.