I LEFT the cinema feeling completely bereft; like something had gone missing from my life. Before, it had always been there, lingering in the background, like a secret promise of good things to come. But since that day, it’s been gone, leaving me with nothing but an empty hole.
Okay, so perhaps that’s bringing it on a bit strong, but I must to admit to having felt some sense of loss inside of me when the credits rolled on the final part of the Harry Potter series of films.
My beloved reminded me that I experienced the same sentiments when I finished reading the last Harry Potter book, but at least then I had three more of the films to look forward to!
I’m sure I’m not the only person feeling this way, although I confess that I might be the oldest. After all, children like my nephew have pretty much grown up with Harry, Ron and Hermione.
JK Rowling’s story from rags to wizard cloak riches has been widely publicised. Her first book was published in 1997 but really hit my consciousness early in 2000 when I was working for the distributing publisher, and my nephew Tom had just celebrated his seventh birthday. Harry Potter himself turned 11 years old in this, the introductory book (the best in my humble opinion) and, for those who don’t know, first became aware of his wizarding provenance and the existence of what was to be his new school, Hogwarts.
Each of the subsequent books in the series then chronicled his adventures during the seven years of his “senior school” education. This most talented of authors even managed to introduce us to a new language of magical words, many of which today can seem quite commonplace to those dedicated followers of Harry. Muggles, quidditch and pensieves are just a few of the words that I, for one, can quite happily slip in to a conversation or piece of writing without so much as a second thought.
Many of the books were launched during the summer holidays which conveniently coincided with my nephew Tom’s birthday. It provided a very easy present solution for seven years! I would buy us a copy each, have his sent straight to him, and then we would race to read the latest adventure while comparing notes on the telephone, and later via email. A couple of times, publication coincided with a family gathering or holiday where we would both be highly anti-social, reading our Harry Potter thrillers while the rest of the family delighted in the art of conversation. Occasionally my sister would join us on the dark side, but usually it was Tom and I, reading away. And of course, no-one in the family minded – how fantastic that a series of books had fascinated a generation of kids so much that it had actually managed to drag them away from computer games consoles for at least part of the summer holidays each year, and introduce them to the incredible world of books and literature!
But now Tom has just turned 18 and is about to start a whole new chapter of his life at university. He’s at that age where he will hate me for writing this about his younger years and be embarrassed by his mad “old” Aunt who insists on remembering inane details about his childhood. But I will always cherish the Harry Potter years we had together. What a shame that JK Rowling didn’t send Harry, Hermione and Ron to the University of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Anyone fancy helping me to write the sequels? Harry Potter and the Freshers Week Freak?
This post was originally written in July but Charlotte felt it inappropriate for publication due to sad events dominating the news headlines at the time.