I resisted Harry Potter for a long time. The first book came out in 1998, but the series wasn’t on my radar for another two years or so. One night, I was babysitting the kids next door and they started to rave about it. Given that they were all in elementary school at the time, I chalked it up to a good way to keep kids interested in reading, but figured it wasn’t for me. I mean, a boy wizard? A whole other magical world? Muggles? Don’t be ridiculous.
Then, in the fall of 2000, I was on a plane to California for a cousin’s wedding and I realized that I had forgotten to pack reading material for the six hour flight. Fail. My mother saw this as her golden opportunity to force Harry Potter on me, as she’d been swept away by the stories, as well. After just a few chapters of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I was hooked. In a way, I felt lucky that I’d started the series later, because by that point the first four books had already been published. I could tear through them without waiting impatiently for the continuation of the story. Waiting is torture when you’re so engrossed in a plot – as I found out during the time between the fifth, sixth, and seventh installments.
I distinctly remember reading the fifth book on the beach; the sixth on a plane; and the seventh book over the course of about eight hours – all of them within a day or two of being published. And when the movies started coming out? I can’t begin to explain how excited I was. (I may or may not have seen the first one on opening night.)
But I confess: while I continue to be able to read the books over and over (and over) again, the movies have started to leave me slightly disappointed. I understand that it got harder and harder to fit everything into two hours – or even three – which is part of the reason why movie number seven is rumored to be released in two parts. But I cannot understand why it’s necessary to change the sequence of events or who said certain key lines. And there was something about the last movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, that just felt off. I left the theater upset because my expectations were unmet and frustrated that the directors couldn’t see that they hadn’t stayed true enough to the original story.
I fear that the next movie, which comes out on Wednesday, will be another source of disappointment. I will see it. Don’t get me wrong. The trailers look phenomenal.
But I’m almost afraid to be even cautiously optimistic; I’m just plain cautious.
That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t want to be pleasantly surprised. Plus, I still kind of wish that I could Apparate.