The upcoming release of “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows” Part 1 marks both an amazing and incredibly sad moment for our generation. It is truly remarkable that, seven films into the series, this movie has garnered such buzz and excitement, from around campus to around the nation and all over the world. Harry Potter and many of its characters have become an enduring and enchanting part of our legacy for children, adolescents and adults alike.
What remains nearly as magical as the story itself, though, is J.K. Rowling’s own incredible story. A single mom, on welfare, wrote a long-shot children’s story on an old typewriter and scraps of paper in 1995. She was rejected by many publishers before finally being accepted for a small sum by a tiny publisher, who advised her to keep her day job. The rest is history, with the sudden and gigantic popularity of her books, J.K. Rowling’s story has become as much of a fairytale as her books themselves. From a tiny, troubled manuscript came a worldwide $7 billion entertainment empire on par with “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings.” It is therefore truly amazing to look back from the height that is this upcoming movie.
In many other respects, unfortunately, this film is representative of the beginning of the end — the last hoorah of the movie series and the Harry Potter franchise.
For as long as the people of our generation can remember, there has always been a new Potter title on the horizon. Whether it was a book, a movie or a game, we have always had something exciting to anticipate. The release of this film is the recognition that this anticipatory feeling is coming to an end. It is truly sad to imagine a world where no element of the series is a surprise. Even though we may know the simple plot of the books, much of the excitement in the film lies in its creative interpretation of the books’ scenes, situations and plot twists. This element has kept many, even the most hard-nosed readers of the books, excited for movie releases. Unfortunately, even this is soon coming to an end. But maybe — for a little while at least — happy childhood memories spent reading and imagining Harry Potter will suffice.
I earnestly remember my first encounter with the books — it was third grade and our teacher had announced to the class that we would spend the middle of the day reading a new and exciting fantasy book. Naturally, I was at first uninterested, but as soon as my teacher began delving into the story’s rich and imaginative world, I was immediately hooked. I remember reading and anxiously awaiting each new book and movie.
At first, it was the pure fantasy and imagination that enraptured me. In the story, the existence of a wizarding world right under the noses of normal society had given me the glimmer of hope that the world Rowling created was true. Talking about the books, playing in the backyard and dressing up for Harry and the other characters with my friends made the story come to life. I was heartbroken when Daniel Radcliffe won Harry’s role in the movies — I felt like it had been stolen from me. But, of course, I went to see, and loved, all the movies. Even my parents, in light of my enthusiasm, began to read the books and accompany me to the movies. As every new book came out, I would spend countless hours in bed, reading in awe and apprehension, not leaving my room until every single page had been read.
As I grew older, though, the surprise and mysticism of Rowling’s story faded. It gave way to the fact that Harry, Ron and Hermione’s experiences at school had mirrored mine and many others’ experiences. Dealing with awkward romance had never seemed so familiar as when I read of Harry and Cho Chang’s embarrassing interactions.
Friendships seemed so different through the eyes of Harry, Ron and Hermione’s enduring bond — so did dealing with authority after I had read of Harry’s mischief and insubordination. The books and movies provided insight into the challenges of growing up.
Many of us have certainly grown up and felt connected to the world and its characters in various ways. The beginning of the end of the series may not be a shock to many, but it is truly bewildering that, looking back, this film has been 15 years in the making.
Harry Potter has captured the minds of millions of readers and viewers alike, and its creation stands as a testament to the infinite possibilities of our imaginations. And now it is truly starting to sink in that the series that has been a part of millions of lives around the world is coming to its inspired and suspenseful conclusion.
Lipstein is a member of the class of 2013.