it has recently come to my attention there are actually people in the world who don’t know much about harry potter. (i know, right?! crazy.)
as i mentioned in my previous post, the most incredible part of this book series is the friends i’ve made because of it, who ensure me that while the books may have ended, the story never will. so instead of doing a boring timeline (j.k. rowling began writing here and on such-and-such date) i’ve decided to share the love letter i wrote to my friends on a blog we share (www.tiltheveryend.tumblr.com).
i wrote this on june 6th, more than a month before the last movie (harry potter and the deathly hallows part 2) came out in theaters, signaling the end of the franchise (hence the ominous tagline on all of the promotional posters “It All Ends Here”). we were all simultaneously dreading and anticipating the finale, unwilling to let go but excited to see what came next. how strange it is to finally be on the other side…
I feel a little bit the way I did on my first day at Prophecy in 2007 – overwhelmed.
I’ll never forget walking into the Sheraton lobby and seeing those masses of people, running and hugging and screaming and laughing, like they’d all been friends for ages. Finally meeting, in person, people I’d only spoken to online. Listening to and singing along with bands I’d been following on Myspace. Being amongst a group of people who shared my particular obsession—people who were so open, so hilarious, so friendly…it was almost too much. I kept asking myself, why the hell didn’t I get into this sooner?
I read HP for the first time when I was eleven years old. I was at my mother’s office one day after school when one of her coworkers asked me with slight smirk, “So have you heard of Harry Potter yet?” I had no idea what he was talking about or who Harry Potter was but he refused to tell me, assuring me that I’d “find out soon enough.”
Literally the next day, I saw numerous people at school reading the same book with a funny-looking reddish brown cover. For Christmas, my sister gave me my own copy. And I instantly fell in love.
I read the books as they came out over the years, but I didn’t become truly Potter-crazy until 2006, when finally discovered the fandom.
It was [SPOILER!]’s death that did it. I refused—REFUSED—to believe that he was really dead. I remember closing the book in a daze and immediately drifting over to the computer. I don’t even remember what exactly I typed into Google, but of course, the result was that iconic website, [spoiler]isnotdead.com. From there, I stumbled onto Mugglenet.com, and was BLOWN AWAY by how thorough of a fansite it was. It had everything–fan mail, fanfiction, news coverage, pictures, trivia, even essays! There were actually other people who valued Harry Potter as much as I did! And the wizard rock—how was it possible that there were this many amazing bands, who all found different characters and/or points of view to sing from?! Crazy!
I was done for. My freshman year in college was, for the most part, absolutely miserable, and when I think back to the few good times, many of them were spent either listening to Mugglecast (Mugglenet’s weekly podcast) on Sunday nights/Monday mornings on my way to class, or spending hours talking to other Potter fans on Facebook in that group “Eff This, I’m Going to Hogwarts”. It was my haven, where I could be as nerdy as I always dreamed, with the kind of people I had hoped to meet in college.
Everything snowballed from there. Youtube, Myspace, Skype, more Facebook groups…I was meeting so many amazing people who I immediately thought of as friends, just in time for the final book release. Entrenched as I was in this enthusiastic new community, I couldn’t stand the thought of such a momentous event coming and going without me celebrating it, somehow. And a measley bookstore release party just wouldn’t do.
So I decided to do something crazy: I emptied my bank account and bought a registration to Prophecy (that year’s convention) and plane ticket to Toronto, where it would be held.
Now here we are, nearly one month from the release of the final movie. LeakyCon will be my fifth HP conference (I remember laughing when people handed me Terminus merchandise at the end of Prophecy, claiming that one con was enough for me, it had been fun, but no thanks). This book series that I started reading almost twelve years ago, that I turned to when life was too much, when I needed to laugh, when I needed to cry, when I needed a friend, when I just wanted to stop thinking and escape… It’s impossible to describe all the things that Harry Potter has been for me. I can’t think of another world that I’ve become so much a part of, and that has become so much a part of me—and I’ve read and loved many, many books in my lifetime. Harry has far surpassed being just another dog-eared book that I talk about and love and reread too much – it’s a constant, when so many things in my life are not. It’s home.
So it’s my turn to thank you all for sharing this amazing journey with me. Thank you for accepting me into this unbelievable world. Thank you for our shared insanity. Thank you for the endless hours spent talking, typing, squealing, and so on, even if the subject of our conversations eventually had nothing to do with Harry Potter. Thank you for flying for hundreds, thousands of miles and spending hundreds, thousands of dollars so we can all be together for a few days once or twice a year. Thank you for the hysterical laughter, like I-might-actually-pee-myself laughter. Thank you for taking so many pictures even if we looked like crap. Thank you for messy hotel rooms with too many people and 3 am room service and no space to walk and noise complaints, all the time noise complaints. Thank you for the elevator rides, for the rooftop adventures, for running through the hallways being ridiculous while constantly looking over our shoulders for security. Thank you for passionately screaming the lyrics to our favorite songs and dancing wildly at wizard rock shows. Thank you for continuing to do this, over and over, despite the occasional petty drama, the fights, the tears, the awkwardness, and the negativity in general that is inevitable at each gathering. Thank you for being a part of my life for all these years. Thank you for being some of the most inspiring, hilarious, interesting, intelligent, real people I have ever met. I love you all more than you know, and I couldn’t be happier to face July, and whatever is coming next, standing beside you. We are really damn lucky—you know this, right?
See you all so soon. I can’t wait.