When Aentee from Read at Midnight posted about Potterhead July, I knew I had to sign up. The main premise is essentially a blog hop with a bunch of Harry Potter-related topics throughout the month. I knew that I needed to discuss my Harry Potter reading and rereading experiences, since it’s something that will absolutely always be near and dear to my heart. Without further ado, here are my stories!
Reading for the first time
As a kid, I went to Cape Cod every summer for an expanse of maybe 10 years. We’d usually meet up with my mom’s best friend and her family for a few days within the week we were there. One of their daughters, who was a few years older than me, had brought along Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It had just been released the previous month and she started reading it aloud to us before bed. I had always been a reader so this story immediately captivated me and I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I was trying to sleep.
Once we got home from the vacation, I made my mom call up her friend and find out what book that was. We immediately went to the bookstore and picked up the first book. It took me a while to finally sit down and read it for some reason… but I was hooked once I did, of course! Later that year (1999), I got both Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban for Christmas. I immediately continued with the series and forced my parents to read them as well. By the time Goblet of Fire came out, my whole family was hooked too.
Each year from then on, we would preorder the books from Barnes & Noble and they’d be delivered on release day. I vividly remember hovering outside, waiting for the mailman, each of those summer days. It was pretty amazing to not be in school while the books were released because I’d be able to sit around and read ALL DAY LONG. I don’t remember how long it would take me to read each book, but I know that I simultaneously sped through them and tried to savor them.
By the time Deathly Hallows was released, I was an emotional basket case. I remember grabbing that book and crying just upon the sight of it. I carried it around the house and outside the house all day long. My mom kept bugging me to finish it so she’d finally get a turn to read it. I sat in my favorite reading chair four hours, I walked around inside the pool while holding the book above the water, and I laid on my bed. I remember finishing the story while I was on my bed, feet dangling over the side. I cried and cried, probably through the last 100 pages. I will absolutely never forget that feeling; it feels like yesterday I was on that bed.
On the movies
I loved that the movies were released throughout some of the book series being released as well, because I had some things to be excited about and hold me over. I thought they did a good job of keeping the movies true to the books, but I hated the sixth movie so much. Also I’ll never understand how Peeves didn’t make it into the films when he’s in the books sooooo much. Regardless, the movies were an amazing experience too. I would head to the theater with my time turner necklace on, usually for the midnight showings.
The final two movies came out when I was in college, so two of my roommates and I would head to the school-sponsored midnight showings in Providence. It was amazing because for some odd reason, the tickets were free! I remember on the last trip for the final movie, they also gave us Potter candy, like Bertie Bott’s and chocolate frogs. I was pissed because my friends ended up on a different bus than me (the one with the chocolate frogs)… so not only did I have to eat the gross jelly beans, but I had to sit alone on the way to the theater.
Rereading years later
Most people find this hard to believe, but I didn’t reread the books until I started my blog. I heard great things about the audiobooks and decided to check them out from the library. I had no idea what I was in for in December 2014 when I pressed play on Sorcerer’s Stone and Jim Dale’s voice came on. I’ve never heard such an AMAZING audiobook narrator in my entire life. He couldn’t be more perfect for the Harry Potter books.
I listened to all of the audiobooks (with breaks in between for other books) and finished up the final book in January. I was so incredibly tempted to start them all over again but I refrained. I plan to reread (probably via audio each time, because COME ON JIM DALE) every couple of years. I also plan to reread using the illustrated editions as they come out. I have the first one but haven’t gotten to it yet.
Upcoming Potter feels
I do have SOME reservations about the current Potter mania. It’s really wonderful to revisit the world again and I’m pretty excited for the upcoming things. However, there has to be a limit. I’m getting a little burned out already, to be honest. There are so many things on the docket to be excited for but I don’t want it to carry on forever.
Everyone I know would have loved a prequel about the Marauders and was satisfied with the ending of Deathly Hallows. There’s an epilogue, people! We don’t need a book set 18 years after the first book when that’s essentially already been done in a nice, wrapped-up way. I would love to explore more of the history of the world with somewhat different characters. Maybe that’s just me. Regardless of what comes out, I will always love Harry Potter and wish I could read them all again for the first time. It’s a life-changing series for so many of us.