With the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt 2, this really is the conclusion of the Harry Potter phenomenon. Sure, people will still read the books, go to the theme park, and be checking out Pottermore, but this is definitely the end of the series. In 1998 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was published in the U.S. and for the next thirteen years much of the country was captivated by the stories and subsequent films. Can you think of any other books that so completely, at the same time, captured the interest of so many people of different ages? Love or hate Harry, there was simply no ignoring him. Today The Hub’s bloggers look back and share their reflections on Harry Potter and what he meant to them. Enjoy! And, please feel free to share your own memories in the comments section.
Sarah Debraski: When the first Harry Potter book came out I was working in a small library and a friend asked me if I’d heard about this new book that was all the rage in England. I hadn’t, but when I did get a copy of the new book I read it and loved it. It just so happens that I love almost any book set in a boarding school. And this was a boarding school with magic? Right up my alley. I loved the story and, as it went on, really loved the rich overall story, with its well thought out history, dark moments, and the maturing of the characters. But….I did have some conflicting emotions about it. You see, I tend to not enjoy reading what everyone else is, or being caught up in a trend. If Oprah recommends a book it makes me not want to read it. As a librarian I knew I should be thrilled that a book was proving to the country that reading that captured the imagination was still alive and that it was attracting non-readers. The truth is it drove me crazy that it felt like the world had woken up to reading when all along my library had been filled with equally engaging and entertaining novels that had been overlooked. I did what most librarians did–seized the opportunity to push all those other books on readers. Oh, you liked Harry Potter? Try this Diana Wynne Jones! I couldn’t stand having parents come in to the library and indulge in the newest form of parental bragging–seeing whose child read the books at the youngest age, or which child could read a book in a day. I felt like they were missing the point of reading entirely.
Having only read the series as an adult I didn’t get to “grow up with Harry” as so many did, but because the books came out over a long period of time, I do have associations of them with different stages of my life. Continue reading Goodbye, Harry