Thursday, July 21, 2011

The End of an Era: Growing up with Harry Potter

I had to see it for the second time before I could really get my thoughts in order. Harry Potter's the best! I must have laughed, flinched, smiled, smirked, cried, and more all throughout the movie. When a film gives me an orgasm of emotions then I know it was well worth the wait.

I have already poured my emotions for the Harry Potter series when the last book was released in 2007 so I'll just post that article I wrote about the book after reading it. I believe that my emotions then were the purest in terms of what my feelings for the series really are.

I grew up, literally, with the Harry Potter series. It was a book I first dismissed as a kid's book; today I am one of the die-hard Potterites and I am proud to say so.

(Photo of me wearing my first HP shirt during the first showing of the last film in Davao on July 14, 2011)

Harry Potter

Hundreds of possibly more interesting titles are swimming in my head now that I have finished the last installment in the Harry Potter series. But, I am at a loss. I have been unable to get a descent sleep since the past few days, trying to read the previous six Harry Potter books to have a better understanding of the last one. I had to wake today to make sure I was in National Bookstore when they opened and claimed the book as fast as I could so I could read it as fast as I did the rest. Mine is a deep thirst, a hunger, to see how everything ended. Harry Potter dying would have been a sad but poetic ending, as the rumors persisted. Most of all, I believe, serious Harry Potter fans simply want to know the answer to the age-old question: is love truly the most powerful force?

When religious fundamentalists attack the Harry Potter phenomenon as the work of something sinister, and, some might even say, evil, I have always been quick to say to anybody who bothers to listen to me that the Potter series is popular because it is a good read, and many people identify with the Boy-who-lived because of his heroic deeds against Lord Voldemort. Besides, it really didn’t matter to me that they were bashing the Potter books and Ms. Rowling; children still read the book despite the warnings of fundamentalist church organizations.

After reading the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I have come to the conclusion that JK Rowling has truly done what many writers have failed to do in recent times: attract all ages to once more read books. When I was waiting for my turn to get my copy in National Bookstore I saw different people from all walks of life also waiting to read their own copy. There were Japanese, Korean, Caucasian, and young, old, straight, and gay Filipinos who stood there with me. JK Rowling has united people of different creeds and color and orientations, much more than Bush and other world leaders who, in the words of Harry in book 6, “who never got it right.”

I am no literature major, and I am no Hermione Granger, but I would like to believe that JK Rowling has taught me a thing or two in her books. Love does conquer all, cliché and corny as it may sound. Good will always triumph over evil, not the heaven and hell version of fundamentalists but basic human, moral decisions in our everyday lives. It is not always the mighty that triumphs, but sometimes the weak and the oppressed. Friendship and family are our greatest treasures, and no amount of money or success could ever replace them. We have to learn to trust in the inherent goodness of people, because the world will truly be a dark and gloomy place if we all decide we cannot have faith in good. Most of all, we have to learn to tolerate and accept each other’s differences, because in the grand scheme of things we are all children of a Higher Power, whatever we are and wherever we are in the world.

Yup. JK Rowling has done more for many people than many misguided world leaders have. And she has injected age-old wisdom in her books and made sure it is understood by all ages. The younger ones may not have the same understanding of the entirety of Rowling’s messages in her books as, say, Stephen King or other novelists, but I believe they have more or less a firm grasp of the core of the books’ message: respect each other, trust each other, and love each other. So simple, and yet we simply do not have the presence of mind to do these everyday.

I started the book at two in the afternoon on July 21, and ended at 12:45 AM on July 22. I cried three times during the straight ten hours and forty-five minutes that I read the book without interruption (I was reading it even when I had to go to the loo to pee). I have journeyed with Harry Potter from his tiny closet to Hogwarts to all his adventures and sufferings in the course of his life, and I am glad that JK Rowling gave us Potter addicts a very, very great end.

I sincerely hope kids all over the world would understand and retain the meaning of the Harry Potter series. I thank Rose and Brigitte, two former college classmates and friends of mine, for introducing me to the Harry Potter book. And I thank JK Rowling for her writing the books and giving us a refresher course in the tried and tested “magic” of life.

To Harry Potter – the boy who lived! And Loved!

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