Like many people I was immensely sad when Harry Potter ended. I grew up with the books. They were my companion through some of the most difficult years of my life. I was a very ugly duckling – Hermione hair, owl spectacles, total nerd…those books were an amazing escape for me. They may not have been the best written books of a generation but there was something utterly magical about the way they sucked you in. Like many other teenagers I could be found sat at the post box on Harry Potter days when the pre-ordered books were due to arrive. I’m sure our postman hated us, especially when my sister also began pre-ordering the books and he’d have to deliver two identical parcels to the same address.
There was some comfort for me in the film franchise. I felt like Harry Potter was there with me all through my university years and on into real life. There was always one more film to look forward to, another thing to discuss with my friends, family and fellow Potterites. We all watched Daniel Radcliffe grow up on the silver screen. When it ended I was taken utterly by surprise at the desolation I felt. As a woman in her late twenties I couldn’t believe how sad I was that something aimed at children was so influential in my life. Yes, I grew up with it for more than a decade of my life but it felt very strongly like the end of an era. There is nothing more to look forward to in the world of Harry Potter. That’s it, the end. The last spark of thrill for something to look forward to has gone.
Harry Potter has pervaded the national consciousness to such a degree that you could mention muggles or Hagrid or Diagon Alley to just about anyone on the street and they’d know exactly what you were talking about. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Quidditch one day becomes a national sport when the technology is created to make it possible. I think Harry Potter will be around long after I am dead and gone. On a personal level, J K Rowling is inspirational to me. To want something so much that you will chase and chase and chase a dream, giving up everything that you have through all those rejections, only to be vindicated is an incredible story. Every time I’ve had a rejection letter from an agent or publishing house I tell myself it’s okay, J K Rowling was rejected 52 times before someone took a chance on Harry Potter. She, along with a couple of other authors, is the yardstick by which I set my ambitions. As they say in Firefly – You can’t take the sky away from me.
Yesterday I finished writing another book. As always happens when I write the last word and hit save, I am suddenly overwhelmed with melancholy. I have this moment of “well that’s it…what the hell do I do now?”. That’s right about when I hit the Ben&Jerrys and sob into whatever book I happen to be reading at the time. It wasn’t until someone mentioned Harry Potter in passing to me today that I realised what it was.
When you write something, you get so involved. You get to know the characters…you think about them, you dream about them, you plot for them…sometimes for whole months at a time. When you’ve finished the book, that’s it. You have to let them go. It is the end of an era. They’re no longer part of your life. It’s like saying goodbye to dear friends. You’ll never have any more adventures with them, just memories from their previous escapades.
As I sit here looking at my book shelves it occurs to me that this inability to let go is probably why I collect so many series. I love the characters created by other people to the point that I don’t want to let them go either. And so I buy book after book after book, following these familiar people through the ups and downs of their adventures and letting them into my heart just a little more with each book.
And as I sat and thought about Harry Potter and what happens next it suddenly occurred to me that I wasn’t ready to let go of these characters just yet. They still have stories to tell. So I guess there’s only one thing for it.
Tomorrow I start a new chapter 🙂