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.
“but I don’t want it to carry on forever” – why not? 😉 I’m kidding but also not. I love the world of Harry Potter so much. I have listened to the series so many times – the earlier books probably at least 15 times. I’m in the middle of a re-listen right now, and I’m on book 4. I will always want to know more about Harry and everyone else in the series. That being said…I do kind of worry about Rowling ruining the magic by clarifying and changing/adding too many details. If that makes sense. 🙂
Definitely! I completely agree. I feel like it’s hard to be Harry-Potter-excited alllll the time. I would generally love for it to carry on forever, but it’s weird to think of NEW things in the same universe?
I actually totally get what you mean about being burned out. I feel like people everywhere, on Twitter, in the blogosphere, everywhere, are getting SUPER SUPER HYPED about this. We all had a great time with the books growing up and your own story is a testament to that. By now, it would be kind of nice to be done. Which is perhaps a depressing thought, but that part of your post spoke to me the most
Exactly! It is definitely everywhere lately, so it can be hard to be THAT excited all the time. I miss when I had Harry Potter stuff to look forward to but it’s less fun over time I guess?
Those school sponsored showings sound amazing. I wish that I’d gotten to see the movies for free! Haha.
I share the same reservations you do about the new stuff. I really hope that I like Cursed Child, but at the same time, I’m worried I won’t. At the very least, I don’t want it to include anything that will leave a bad taste in my mouth even when I go back and re-read the original seven books.
Yeah that was awesome!
I hope everything with the new books/movies/plays works out well. I just feel HP-ed out sometimes. I agree, I don’t want to learn anything about the following 18 years and have it ruin how the previous book ended!
I get what you’re saying, and I feel kind of the same way. I mean, I like when Rowling write little story here and there, like adding little more details but, having a new book and all those stuff, while even The Cursed Child isn’t exactly her own work, I don’t know but that have me really… sad, I guess.
However, I’m cool with Fastastic Beast and Where to Find Them. I think that I don’t want to know more about HP himself, but other characters would be great. I also think that maybe new generations that didn’t lived the original hype of HP are living it right now, are those of us who did are more low down about it. But anyway we still don’t know how would be Fastastic Beast or The Cursed Child so, we still need to wait to see how would go.
Really great post, and so lovely your history with HP!
Yeah definitely I wish Cursed Child was hers.
This is so adorable, ahh I am really really jealous of your family! I find it really cool that all of you were hooked (also did you SKIP SCHOOL on release days??? What? Am I getting that right?)
I really want to reread the series, because I haven’t read them since elementary school. Thank you so much for the audiobook recommendations! I actually don’t have the books physically (borrowed them all from the library back in the day), so reading them in a new format (or listening I suppose) would be a new experience.
I have to agree with you on all of this new HP stuff coming out. I’m not that ecstatic about it, and I rather just stick with the 7 books then the spin-offs or The Cursed Child (though I am slightly curious I suppose).
Thank you!! hahaha well most of the releases happened to be in the summer when I was already off from school!
Seriously the audios are incredibly amazing.
[…] “Reading and Rereading Harry Potter | Potterhead July” @ Bookmark Lit […]
I also have a few reservations about the newest release, not just because of the high expectations, but I feel that you can have too much of a good thing. Too many new HP things can sometimes me we neglect the original works and I don’t want that for the next generation. Enjoyed reading about your experience!
I have SUCH ISSUES with the 6th movie in particular which really bums me out because HBP is a close second to PoA for my favorite book. But the fact that we didn’t see the tiara in the Room of Requirement, the fact that DUMBLEDORE DIDN’T FREEZE HARRY UNDER THE CLOAK (my friend who hadn’t read them was like why didn’t Harry help!?) and just a bunch of other little things. It bummed me out. In general, I don’t love the movies as much as everyone else…. I love the casting and I love how the movies LOOK but they’re not something I rewatch very often for some reason.
But gosh this is such a great post!! I love hearing how you discovered HP! I found the first book a couple months before CoS came out because my grandma heard about it on the Rosie O’Donnell show hahah. I thought the cover was weird but once I started reading I was in love and yeah. Picking up those books on release day was the greatest joy. I read Deathly Hallows all night and cried and cried and fell asleep holding it when I was done.
Oh gosh I used to reread constantly while waiting for the books, I couldn’t stop! And I’ve read DH a couple times. But I’m rereading OoTP for the first time in at least 5 or 6 years right now and it’s amazing. It’s such a nice feeling. I really echo your thoughts on upcoming Potter stuff. I feel burnt out too, it’s hard not too…. and YES I want more history with different characters! I want to see other parts of the Wizarding World! It would be really cool. Loved your post a lot, we have very similar Potter feels and it was fun to read 🙂
I would love to do my next HP read in audiobook format! I have heard so many amazing things about the narrator. I read each book the minute it came out. I watched each movie in theaters the day it came out. I will always be a big HP fan. I am nervous about The Cursed Child…..will it be the same? Will it mess up the magic? IDK. I am however completely excited for the Fantastic Beasts movie because it isn’t about HP but set in that world and I loved the short book its based off of.
OMG you have to listen to them!! THE BEST EVER. And I’m definitely more excited for the movie than the screenplay book.
I love reading this post. I vividly remember waiting for the release of the last few books, because by the time I read them I think the first few were already published. I would’ve been around 11 when the Half Blood Prince was released, but as I was still a kid, I had to wait for the releases of the Dutch versions which were released in the fall.
I have re-read them so often, ever since that time. Honestly, so often. And I’ve watched the first few movies so often. The latter less so, because I was already “older” by then. I only started listening to the audio books last year (I think) but I listened to the books narrated by Stephen Fry. He’s the perfect narrator for Harry Potter, trust me 😀
I’m very excited for the Fantastic Beasts movie, because the trailer looks amazing. I haven’t ordered The Cursed Child yet. I know I’ll get to it at some point, but I’m not as excited about it as I thought I would be.
[…] Elementary school, early middle school: The BFG by Roald Dahl and (duh) Harry Potter […]
Harry Potter is honestly going to be one of the most meaningful and influential book series I’ve ever read. It seriously changed my entire life, and in the best way. It’s a storied legacy that I’d want to pass on to my own kids, and hope that they will come to love it like I do! It was really cool to read about your Harry Potter story <3