Troll of the day

this Harry Potter business

I know that everyone has been inundated with Harry Potter-everything. I want to talk about it anyway.

From left to right: hand, feet and wand prints of Emma Watson, Daniele Radcliff and Rupert Grint.

The end of the Harry Potter movies, for a lot of people my age, marked the end of something, more than just the conclusion of a franchise. I think for many it was a symbol of an end of an era, more specifically and dramatically, childhood. For those of us who, in literary time, grew up alongside Harry, the movies were another chance to continue obsessing after the book series was complete. Now it is over, and we no longer have any Harry-releases to look forward to. We knew this day would come.

Though I’m confident that Rowling is not quite done, and that I will read whatever it is she comes up with, the experience won’t be the same.It can’t be. By that time (gods forbid) I might have children of my own, or be well on my way to being the cat lady I know I have the propensity to be. The Harry Potter series came along at the right stage of my adolescent readership, gave me something to latch onto and, essentially worship. I know that it was the same for a number of my peers. But my generation isn’t as special as we think. Those high school seniors who will soon enter college find themselves in the same stage of life as the movie-versions of Harry and company. My sister caught me by surprise when she said the other day that her generation grew up with Harry. I, of course, immediately jumped to argumentative mode . But she’s right — kids her age equate the end of high school with the end of childhood, and to an extent, the end of Hogwarts. Silly, kids. College is just a larger playground. Often with beer.

Harry Potter as a cultural phenomenon is no singular experience. For some it’s been more than 10 years in the making, an up-hill climb from the hardcover release of The Sorcerer’s Stone, to the final hurrah, Deathly Hallows Part II, with many many midnight release lines in between. Others only know the movies and are content in their limited view of J.K. Rowling’s work (purists hate these people). Some are retroactive readers ––visiting the books after the movies introduced them to the magical world (purists also hate these people). The point is, all Harry Potter readers and viewers are not created equal. And now, at the end, we’re all pretty much in the same place. We can either re-read the books or re-watch the movies.

So what’s next? Can there be another Harry Potter? Does anyone actually read anymore? I suppose the Twilight series is similar to the Potter level of obsession, though severely misdirected and overblown (read Dracula, for god’s sake). But if another literary craze of the Harry Potter caliber emerges, I find myself wondering: Will I be too old for it? It may sound like an extremely shallow concern, but I think it’s legitimate. When are you too old to care (obsess) about something, be it band, book or movie? (see The Onion article: http://tinyurl.com/4xpdosr). Don’t get me wrong; I know that people older than 20 have interests, but you don’t often see socially acceptable adults obsessed with a current phenomena. Was Harry Potter the last of our generation’s chance at a cultural craze? Are we the future trekkies?

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