I can’t believe I didn’t know about the 20th anniversary of this awesome series! It’s incredible that this has been around for so long and is still so incredibly popular. So in honor of 20 years of Harry, I’m going to share with you 20 memories I have about the series that, I’m positive, changed my life.
I remember being 8 years old (in 1999, so about 2 years after the first book came out) and my mom reading me the story before bed. We’d get through either a chapter or part of a chapter every night. Funny enough, my mom hates stories of magic, so I’m not really sure why she picked it out to read. We didn’t finish it at the time because we moved shortly after.
2. Midnight Premieres
Like any loyal fan, I went to a number of midnight premieres for the movies. I went to the Order of the Phoenix with my best friend and her dad, I went to Half-Blood Prince with a guy I had a crush on, and I saw Deathly Hallows Part 2 with the same best friend from OotP. I cannot express to you the awesomeness of seeing that many fans in one place, with many of them dressed in costumes. Everyone is in such a good mood. And before Half-Blood Prince, two people rushed into our theater and had a duel. It was so cool!
3. Book Release Parties
I only went to one of these, the one for the Deathly Hallows. It was at my local library and it was amazing. There were palm readers, workers dressed up as characters (the Snape guy was so good he made tons of little kids cry just by looking at them), and there were crafts of all kinds. I went with my best friend from the 2 movie premieres (whose last name is, legit, Potter) and my mom, who had to drive us. We had a blast and we even got our picture taken with Gilderoy Lockhart. (He’s just as conceited as you’d expect. He basically asked us to take the picture and talked about himself the whole time.)
4. Reading Deathly Hallows
Being the last book, I really wanted to see how everything went down. After we left the release party mentioned above, my mom drove me to a 24-hour Kroger on the way home and we bought the book at 1 AM. I stayed up until 5 reading, got 5 hours of sleep, and then read from 10 AM to 10 PM. This included in the car to my brothers’ baseball game and through the game. (I was worried I’d be hit with foul balls the whole time, but I couldn’t stop.) I ended up finishing the book in a grand total of 21 hours, before the day it was released was over. I bragged for months, if not years, about that.
I’m not entirely proud of it, but during my freshman year of high school, I wrote Harry Potter fanfiction. (Didn’t we all?) It was overly dramatic in the worst ways and thankfully, it’s been lost on the internet for years. Even I can’t remember where it is. But it taught me a lot about writing. It taught me about character development and how to write believable emotions. And it was a ton of fun. I don’t regret it, but I’m never letting anyone read them ever.
6. Harry Potter Fan-Made Spin-Offs
The best part about being a fan of something this big is that there are tons of people out there with genius ideas of great HP videos. My favorite is, of course, A Very Potter Musical. I loved it so much that I memorized the lines of not only that one, but the Very Potter Sequel as well. StarKid Productions knew what they were doing with that one.
7. Speaking of Videos…
Before I went to see Deathly Hallows Part 2 in theatres, I wrote a post about it and attached a number of Harry Potter videos that I thought were hilarious. There are still a couple on here that make me burst out in the most interesting snorts and giggles (I’m a sucker for low budget, stupid comedies.). If you’re looking for a laugh, I recommend these.
This is a weird story, but bear with me. My family went on vacation to St. Louis, Missouri, years ago. It was a new hotel and you could tell. One thing that happened was the elevator would talk to you. “Third floor,” etc. Well, when you reached the ground floor, it said, “Lobby,” only my parents at first thought it said, “Dobby.” […] The elevator sounded slightly British when it spoke and that’s what they got out of it. Even now, like ten years later, they still tell me that Dobby is in St. Louis no matter what I say back.
9. Prisoner of Azkaban
This is controversial of me to say, but my favorite Harry Potter movie is the Prisoner of Azkaban. It was the first movie where the actors didn’t have to wear robes all the time, they were growing up and no longer going through voice changes (*cough* Ron *cough*), and it had my favorite characters in it. I’m seriously in love with the Marauders to a ridiculous degree. So one summer, whenever I had down time, I played this movie on repeat. I got so good at memorizing it I could practically quote the entire movie without the movie even being on. (Are you starting to notice a trend yet?)
10. The Illustrated Versions
Like any devoted fan, I’m well on my way to owning at least two different versions of the same book. (I say at least because my mom owns the original first 4 books from their early prints, I own the boxed set with Hogwarts on the spines, and these illustrated ones.) I seriously love these illustrated versions that are coming out. I have the first two (the third comes out in October and I can’t bloody wait) and I love reading them. They’re so pretty! When I got one of them, a few of my students flipped out and I let them gently flip through to see the pictures. Because I’m nice like that.
I’m not making this up. The moment I realized I was part of the Harry Potter generation was when I was a senior in high school. I interned in a middle school English class, helping out a teacher while I tried to decide if teaching was what I wanted to do. One of her projects was a book talk, where you told her when you finished a book and you’d have to present it to the class. This student did Order of the Phoenix and did a nice job summarizing it without giving spoilers. This girl near me raised her hand and asked, “Who’s the bad guy?” I’m pretty sure my jaw hit the floor, especially after the boy told her it was Lord Voldemort and she proceeded to pronounce it incorrectly multiple times.
12. The Students Who Get It
For as many students as I have that haven’t read Harry Potter or seen the movies, there are those who are super fans. And with them, I love to make weird comments no one else gets. Like I think once I said something about dementors or something and those students’ faces just lit up for being in on the joke that no one else got. And one of my favorite students at the end of this school year went back and forth with me with Harry Potter lines like, “Beware the nargles!” for a couple of days before summer. It was great.
13. Harry Potter Read-Along
Anyone who talks to me about books for more than five minutes quickly learns that I like this series. So when I started dating my current boyfriend who hadn’t read the series and said he didn’t like it, I put a little pressure on him to try it. He kept insisting he wouldn’t, so I didn’t bring it up. Then he surprised me by telling me he was in the middle of reading it. I kept pace with him, reading my own copy as he read his. Eventually we even started reading it out loud together and it was so fun. Your throat gets dry really fast, but it was fun.
14. Harry Potter Concert Series
As if he wasn’t awesome enough, my boyfriend (the one from above) took me to see Harry Potter in Concert back in April. The local Philharmonic played the score to the movie as the movie played behind it. It was really cool and I loved seeing that many Potter fans back in one place, booing certain characters and making Potter jokes.
15. Learning Languages
I’ve done this more than once, but I have used the Harry Potter films to help me learn different languages. I turn on the different languages and the subtitles and I just watch. Obviously, I know the plot and I have a general idea of what most of the lines are supposed to be, so it’s pretty easy to follow along and learn new vocabulary. Also, it’s hilarious to hear these different voices coming out of their mouths. Hagrid’s is always so different.
Years ago, there was this game called Scene-It where they would have a DVD with different sound clips, videos, and games and it would all be themed around something. I had a Harry Potter version (it’s so old the Goblet of Fire hadn’t even come out at the time). I was so good at it that no one wanted to play against me after a while. It didn’t help that I was the only one in my family who really cared.
I’m telling you, even now it is so much fun to check out Etsy for all the Harry Potter stuff people are making. I got a mug at Christmas this year from there that says, “Don’t Let the Muggles Get You Down.” I seriously want to buy all the shirts. Especially this one that says something like, “Hogwarts wasn’t hiring, so I teach Muggles instead.”
18. Potter Puppet Pals
If you forgot about these videos, you’re welcome. They’re still hilarious. “DUMBLEDORE!”
It started as a joke last Halloween in school. Teachers and students are allowed to dress up, usually because spirit week is the same week. But a few of us teachers (those of us in our 20s) made a joke that we should dress up this coming Halloween as different characters from the story and bring in our wands and memorabilia. The hilarious thing was we all wanted to be different characters. One wanted to be Luna, another wanted to be like Lavender Brown, and I’m like, “Dibs on Hermione!” It was so cool to see how we all connected with all these different characters based on our personalities. I really hope we follow through with this because this could be epic.
20. Passing on the Legacy
I cannot tell you how excited I am to some day share the love of this series with children of my own. I want to read the books to them. I want to create a Harry Potter room like this one. Study after study has shown how much more empathetic Potter fans are compared to those who didn’t read it growing up, and how much more critical they are of problems and solutions. These books are genius, and I want to keep passing that on. Always.