While in New York City during spring break, I had the awesome surprise of Harry Potter; The Exhibition being in Times Square, just two blocks away from the Hotel.
I was in New York attending the College Media Convention and during some downtime, I decided to venture to the Exhibition.
Admittedly, I wasn’t a reader of the books before the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone movie came out.
As a kid, I wasn’t a strong reader at all, so I avoided it. But being interested in the story after seeing the movie, I had to know what happened next.
I borrowed the first two books from my life-long friend Mary Jo and it was all uphill from there.
At the time, only the first four books were out. Not long after, I was moved into regular English classes, rather than the remedial.
My reading had improved drastically.
As a geeky middle-schooler and high-schooler, my fangirling actually improved my schoolwork. But the geekiness definitely showed, because I think I wore a Harry Potter shirt once a week — easily.
Even today, I could wear a Harry Potter shirt for two months without wearing the same shirt twice.
At the exhibition, I was like a kid again. I got sorted into Ravenclaw (we all know it should have been Gryffindor), they had the Hogwarts Express set up and I even got to hold the handle of Ron’s suitcase (my favorite character—It was sort of a big deal) and sit in Hagrid’s chair.
I took a picture with a Gryffindor scarf and I held Ron’s wand.
Seeing all of the memorabilia from the movies took me back to waiting in line for hours for the books to come out.
I’ll never forget when Deathly Hallows came out. Knowing this would be the last book, I knew I would need to go all out. Having just graduated high school and with my new drivers license in hand, nothing was going to stop me from drinking butterbeer and eating Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans (the grass flavor is surprisingly good).
I woke up at 5 a.m. to make it to Borders before they opened. To my surprise, there were already people camping out. Sort of a bummer because I wanted to be first in line, but being one of the first 20 people to get the book was still pretty cool.
There was a wide age range of those who woke up early with me and I had fun talking to everyone in line.
Later on, I was getting ready for the Harry Potter Party. Clad in my Gryffindor Cheerleader outfit, I was ready for a wicked night.
I saw a black dog while pulling out of my driveway, which was, of course, a fun aspect.
It took me a week to get through the book. While reading “The Epilogue” at the end of the book, I couldn’t stop crying. Having such a major part of my life come to a close was a realization that there is life beyond looking forward to the next Harry Potter book.
I still can’t get through Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 without crying.
Thankfully, because of the movies, the exhibition and the new theme park, Hogwarts is always around to welcome me and the millions of other fans.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank J.K. Rowling enough for creating this world. Thanks to her and Harry, I’ve been able to have a future and something to look forward to.
So from the bottom of my heart, thank you, Ms. Rowling, for giving us all such relatable characters and teaching us lessons about life.
At the screening for the final movie, a little girl asked her mom why I was crying. She responded “Her and Harry grew up together. It’s like when your friends change schools.”
Harry and I definitely grew up together, and I still find myself watching the movies or reading the books in times of stress.