From the time I was very little until almost the time I left for college, my mom read to my sisters and me. Our favorite bedtime ritual was congregating in one of our rooms, and then braiding each others hair and painting our toenails while Mom read. We went through all kinds of books.
Then one day, about thirteen years ago, my mom mentioned that she had ordered a new book for us to read. It was called “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” She had read the title as a recommended book out of another book, and although she hadn’t ever heard anything about it, she thought it sounded fun and decided it would be our next nightly reader.
As soon as I heard the title, I remember envisioning a Merlin-type wizard…old, bearded, performing weird spells. Honestly, it sounded a bit boring.
And then….it came. We started it. We flew through it. Mom’s toenails were painted and repainted every night just so she would read another chapter to us. We fell in love with Harry.
A few months after we finished the first book, it suddenly was everywhere. The copies that we had purchased as Christmas gifts for our extended family were now useless, as they each had their own copies. But we loved that we had already read it when the whole country was suddenly buzzing about Harry Potter.
Over the years, we attended midnight book releases. We painted scars on our foreheads (Philip is mortified by the extent of my nerdiness), we made t-shirts, and of course we were first in line at the midnight showing when the first movie was released. It became a wonderful part of our lives and was such a fun way in which we spent time as a family.
Last night, I attended the midnight showing of the final movie. It was a little sad to walk into the theater, knowing this was the last Harry Potter midnight showing I would ever go to. I got a little teary at the end thinking about how it was now over…the series that was my childhood is now officially over. These characters that the world has fallen in love with, who have taught millions of children to love reading, who have sparked imaginations more than imaginable…it’s all done.
So I guess all I can say is, thank you, Harry. And thank you, J.K. Rowling. It’s been an amazing ride.