Life Transitions

My childhood is all ending this month. Essentially.

I said goodbye to Harry Potter last week. It was emotional. And I know it’s not forever. I’m sure I’ll see the movie many more times before it leaves theatres, plus there’s the DVD to look forward to, and I’m already counting down to Pottermore. Harry will always be a part of my life, but, regardless, an era has ended. A new era for the Harry Potter fandom has started. Tears were shed.

This weekend I say goodbye to my parents. Kind of. I’m moving out of my parents’ house permanently. I’m going into a townhouse apartment with two of my best friends. I’ll actually be living in the real world…paying rent and all that. It’s overwhelming and stressful and I haven’t finished packing yet.

The moral of this story is: I’m sorry I haven’t posted on here in a while. I intended to get back on my blog schedule this week, but what with the stresses of getting ready to move and the additional stresses that come with Dublin Irish Festival being only a couple of weeks away, I haven’t had the chance.

So I figure…next week I’ll start back on my blog schedule. Moving means I’m getting more serious about a few things, because I’m using it as a benchmark. Getting serious about my diet again. Getting serious about revisions again. Getting serious about this blog, and a possible new vlog project, and other…exciting things that I can’t really talk about yet, but (shocker) have to do with Harry Potter.

This has been a month of changes for me. I think I’ll have a lot to say as I learn in the real world.

Here at the end…

I’ve been told a lot of things about my love of Harry Potter

That I’m obsessed.

That it’s an addiction.

That I’m a nerd, a geek.

That I have a problem.

I’ve also gotten a lot of rolled eyes and sighs and maybe-if-we-ignore-it-it’ll-go-away kinds of looks.

Maybe it’s all true. I embrace it. No one can make me feel bad about my time with Harry Potter. No one can make the last ten years less than they were–and they can’t make the coming years less either. I’ve had experiences I’ll never forget. I’ve made friends I’ll always cherish, even if we’ve grown apart. I’ve met the most amazing people and learned the most uplifting things, all thanks to this fandom.

Thanks to Harry Potter, I found myself when I didn’t even know I was missing. I embraced my inherent nerdiness–the very nerdiness I’d tried to hide–and ran with it. I learned it’s okay to be a know-it-all or a goofball or feel lost. These characters taught me how important it is to be myself and to stand up for what I believe in. Harry Potter taught me how to use my voice to speak for those who can’t. It taught me that anything can be done if it’s worth fighting for. It taught me that it’s okay to be scared or unsure in the face of adversity, as long as you face it head-on anyway.

No one can take away the moments I’ve had over the last decade. Even though it’s over, it’s not really over. Those memories will always live on. The midnight book releases and midnight premieres, staying up all night to read, making t-shirts and donning costumes, entertaining at the movie theatre, waiting anxiously for the next Mugglecast, solving Jo’s scavanger hunts for announcements, RPGs and fan sites, wizard rock, speculations and theories, debating to the death over every miniscule clue or theory or passing reference, Muggelcast Fan Chat late into the night, HPA Livestreams and Skype chats and team meetings, counting down the days and dreading the end. Dying Emmy’s hair blue, cheering with every other fan when Hermione punched Draco, house cup competitions and trivia contests, immediately bonding with someone because they’re a fellow fan, inside jokes like *confetti* or “delusional” or “HE SAID IRKED”, hearing Caitlin scream “not again” in the middle of the Prisoner of Azkaban movie, feeling like this world we read about is read if only we could get to Platform 9 3/4, waiting for cast announcements and theme park announcements, suffering through Post-Potter Depression. Together.

Knowing that, even though it’s the end, it’s not over.

The fandom will change. It will get a little quieter. The anticipation will be gone, but the fandom is going nowhere. Those of us who grew up with Harry will grow up too. Perhaps have children of our own. And one day, those children will ask about those seven well-loved books on the shelf and we’ll take them down and open them up and pass the magic on to the next generation. We’ll get to watch them discover Harry Potter for themselves and fret over the next chapter and we’ll smile and remember. We’ll remember the lessons and the people and the events. We’ll remember that anticipation and those friendships.

When that time comes, when I’m passing Harry on to my future children, I know I’ll smile. I’ll remember vividly the thirteen-year-old girl with the insanely curly hair who skeptically opening this book called Sorcerer’s Stone while sitting in her middle school library. That could could never have imagined the impact that book would have.

So, from the bottom of my heart I have to thank you. Thank you to all the friends I made in this fandom and the friends I’ve yet to meet. Thank you to the fan sites and the podcasts that made me think and laugh and helped me fight away the boredom.

Thank you to Harry, Ron, and Hermione for showing me there are things worth fighting for.

And thank you, JK Rowling, for creating this world for us, that became more than even you probably imagined.

“Of course it’s happening inside your head…but why on earth should that mean it is not real?
–Dumbledore, Deathly Hallows UK pg 792–

Midnight Release Adventures Part 2

The release of Half-Blood Prince will remain in my memory forever for two reasons.

1. It was the first time I had a Potter party.

Sure, I’d done plenty of celebrating with friends for the movies, but as the movies always came out on school days, and at this time I had only just graduated high school, we’d never gotten to celebrate for an entire day. This was the first time my friends and I could fully geek out and count down the hours to the new book. We watched the movies that had come out on DVD by that time. We ate copious amounts of sugar. We laughed over Bertie Bott’s and threw half of them away because they were flavors none of us was brave enough to try.

We made t-shirts.

This in itself was both amusing and something of a fail. Amusing because we came up with some clever bit to put on each section of the shirts. Fail because Emmy doesn’t know how to tell her right from her left, so the obligatory group pictures turned out hilarious.

This was also the last summer of Media Play. Unlike the release of Order of the Phoenix, my friends I went over early and enjoyed the party over there too. We played trivia games and won points for our houses. Amanda won a stuffed Hedwig in a raffle. We found some of our other friends in line and geeked out with them too. We counted down to midnight, go our books relatively fast, and hurried home to read. While we were in Media Play, though, it had started to storm. Bad. Which leads me to…

2. The death of my “first” car.

I say “first” because it wasn’t technically my car, I just drove it more than anyone else in my family. It was a twelve-year-old Cadillac that was affectionately called The Boat. My friends and I had determined long ago it could probably win a fight against anything.

Ha. Not true.

On the drive hom from Media Play, with the rain dumping and the storm raging, we hit a pothole. The car bumped hard, but we drove on. Emmy, who is prone to panicking, asked, “Did we just get hit by lightening?!” Janet told her no, that she probably wouldn’t need to ask that question if we had, because she would know. We laughed.

Later on release day, after a bit of sleep, I was reading in my room. The storm started again at random. I ignored it and read on. That afternoon, I left for my summer job at Ritter’s. Got in my car. It wouldn’t start.

Long story short, we come to find out The Boat had gotten struck by lightening in that second storm. The stupid lightening missed the tree the car was parked under, struck the raised antenna, and proceeded to fry my car’s electrical system. The lone survivor was the smiley face ball wearing a mortar board that had been perched on top of the antenna. The smiley face ball now has a scorch mark battle scar down his back, but I kept him anyway for the hilarious memory.

All this for one Harry Potter book.