Since my last blog, I have finished my journey with Harry Potter. It all began twelve years ago…
My introduction to Harry Potter began as an employee of Scholastic. I was an editorial intern when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was published. A book release party was held in the cafeteria. All employees received a complimentary copy of the book at lunch time. I didn’t fully appreciate the Gryffindor-decorated cafe and Hogwarts food theme. I had heard a lot of buzz about the series, but didn’t have a lot of time for pleasure reading. (I was working two part-time jobs while attending college full-time.) I added the book to my shelf and didn’t think about again until a year and a half later.
Still a Scholastic employee when the first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, came out I was lucky enough to have a unique movie experience. Scholastic actually rented out the local movie theatre to screen the film to employees the night before it debuted to the public. Co-workers brought their children, who wore witch hats and carried around twigs as wands. Movie theatre employees walked around quizzing people in line about the book. (I have to admit that at that time I didn’t know what a muggle was. Gasp!) This was unlike any movie experience I had had! Don and I enjoyed the movie that was filled with magic and suspense. Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Snape made me rush to the employee book store and purchase the first three books. I devoured the first four waiting, like the rest of the world, for the next installment.
I was working at Litchfield High School with my Books for Bedtime cohort Joanne Moore, when Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was published. (She was Professor McGonagall and I was the Fat Lady.) We planned quite a party and had a lot of help. You would have thought the characters from the books jumped out of the pages to attend. The teens had a blast, scavenging through the school hallways, attending potions class, and competing in a trivia contest after being sorted into houses. After this party, I knew I was destined to plan programs for youth.
I think back to the important times of my life and can correlate a Harry Potter book or film with it. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was my husband and my ffirst date. Don and I saw Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban the night before my bridal shower. I got my first children’s librarian position soon after watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Don and I bought our first home together a week before Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out. (I stayed up all night reading it on top of moving boxes.) One month before our seven-year anniversary, we went to see the last film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
I will miss Harry (and Snape). Unless J.K. Rowling works on a spin-off series I will be searching the stacks for more Harry Potter gems. I hope there are no hidden horcruxes left!
After reading all the books and seeing all the movies, I still don’t quite understand the rules of Quidditch. Quidditch Through the Ages helped me understand the complicated rules of the game.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a fun, quick read. You feel like you are sitting with Harry, Hermione and Ron, writing notes to each other back and forth while trying to get through the required textbook reading. I only wish that the cover was designed like Hagrid’s required reading book from Prisoner of Azkaban!
Learning the fairy tales of wizards is a great read with The Tales of Beddle the Bard. It’s almost as if Rowling was channeling Stephen King in these Grimm-like tales. “The Tale of Three Brothers” is briefly discussed in Deathly Hallows.
If I knew how to knit, I’d be carrying around Mrs. Wesley’s bag of stitch witchery from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter. This book is chock full of neat projects such as an invisibility shawl, Quidditch socks, the Weasley sweater, and house scarves.
Reading about J.K. Rowling’s life and how it parallels scenes from the series is a hoot. Ron and Harry have quite the ride in a muggle car, just like Rowling and a school buddy did when she was in high school (minus the flying part, of course). Professor Trelawney predicted an unhappy date, October 16, in Azkaban which was Rowling’s wedding date to her first husband. (The marriage lasted three years.)
Lisa Shaia is the children’s librarian who is re-reading her favorite Snape moments, and enjoys hearing other people’s Harry Potter moments.