A Toast to Harry Potter (a repost)

The post below was originally written on July 19, 2007 just before the release of the seventh, and last, book in the Harry Potter series.  In honor of the release of the Deathly Hallows Part 2 movie, it’s worth a repost.  It is interesting to note how the world continues to change in the four years since first writing the piece.


It’s been quite interesting following the Harry hoopla over the last few months as the clock ticks to Saturday morning and the release of the final Harry Potter book.
As I’ve read accounts from fans, the one piece that touches me is how so many kids are reacting with a bittersweetness about the series coming to a close.

For myself and my family, I share the feeling.

My daughter Kelci starting reading the books in 3rd or 4th grade and has been a devoted fan over the last six or seven years. My middle daughter McKenzie has truly grown in her interest in the series in the last few years, and now, at age 11, is a total fan spending an incredible amount time researching Harry Potter listings in Wikipedia. She shocked us the other day by knowing various plot points in Book 6, which she hasn’t read, through reading about it on that site.

And my youngest, Lindsey, has taken to the movies as well with amazing sensitivity for an eight year old and is just as interested in the outcome as well.

For me, it’s a bit a of the passing through life with my children that I find comforting with the series.

Philosophically, we live in such a different world than we did when the first book was published in 1997. 

I’ve been going back and reading early reviews of the first book as well as listening to a piece on NPR about the Sorcerer’s Stone book. I love the line in the Margot Adler piece where she says that it’s not the kind of book that you’d see on display in the window of a Barnes & Noble.

For our children particularly, I see a very different world in 2007 than it was in 1997.

I recall 1997 as a time of hope and promise and – perhaps through a combination of 9-11, war, deception, and the death a few years ago of my father – I worry of the debt and destruction that my kids will have to repair as they head to adulthood that we didn’t have ten years ago.

But, maybe, just maybe, Harry, Ron, and Hermione will bring a little hope and optimism back in the final chapters of the new book.

On an evening in June, 2003, I took an 11 year old (daughter #1) to the Border’s Books to pick up the fifth book in the series. She was so excited to dress up in her robe and buy the book at midnight.

Tomorrow night, I’ll repeat the ordeal with daughter #2, who, like her older sister four years ago, will be going into 6th grade and wearing the same robe worn four years before.

I’ll take the camera and get some photos of the fun, raise a glass of butterbeer, and Toast to Harry Potter… The Boy Who Lived.


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