Last weekend, I went to see the final installment to the Harry Potter movies, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.
(photo from www.moviesblog.mtv.com)
It was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.! Now, I am a firm believer in "books are always better than the movie." However, they put a lot of BANG into this last movie ... the Last Hurrah, so to speak.
The anticipation of the movie caused me to search the recesses of my mind and attempt to dredge up, when, exactly, it was that I picked up that first book. I VIVIDLY remember subbing in a second grade classroom at Sonoma Elementary School in Battle Creek, Michigan. I was days away from completing my student teaching, and the principal found herself with a sub shortage on her hands. So, I was asked to fill in. The teacher, Ms. Sears, had left the Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone and asked that I start to read it to the kiddos.
There had been such a media frenzy over this book -- I thought it was ridiculous. In fact, I think I even remember saying, "Nah, I don't think I will ever read those books. Too much hulliboo over it."
That was until I read the following passage and was hooked ...
"It was on the corner of the street that he noticed the first sign of something perculiar -- a cat reading a nap. For a second, Mr. Dursley didn't realize what he had seen -- then he jerked his head around to look again. There was a tabby cat standing on the corner of Privet Drive, but there wasn't a map in sight. What could he have been thinking of? It must have been a trick of the light. Mr. Dursley blinked and stared at the cat. It stared back. As Mr. Dursley drove around the corner and up the road, he watched the cat in his mirror. It was now reading the sign that said Privet Drive -- no, looking, at the sign; cats couldn't read maps or signs. Mr.Dursley gave himself a little shake and put the cat out of his mind. As he drove toward town he thought of nothing except a large order of drills he was hoping to get that day."
That is all I needed ... I was goner after that one, little paragraph! That was in 2001.
Here we are, in 2011, and I can still see where I was when I read certain books ... like the exact moment I read that Sirius Black had died. I was on the beach at Fort Custer Recreation Area Eagle Lake ... it was a sunny, hot, summer day, and the beach was full of people, and I had fallen in love with Sirius Black. So, when I read the passage ... read his death and Harry's reaction, I shouted, "NO!" Lots of stares from my sister and the other beach-goers, for sure!
I can remember buying Order of the Phoenix at a Barnes and Noble in Franklin, TN, after a HORRIBLE job interview ... never realizing the course of my life would change, both professionally and personally.
I read both The Half Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows after I moved to Kentucky ... staying up late, late into the night in my little apartment, not wanting to put either of them down. I cried when Dumbledore died. And his funeral? It crushed me.
I cheered Neville Longbottom on ... I cheered them all on as they fought valiantly to defeat Lord Voldemort ... And I smiled when I got a peek into Harry, Hermione, and Ron's life 19 years after Hogwarts ...
I love to read, and you all know, I LOVE to write. I tell my fourth graders all the time, the mark of a great writer is when they can write characters that suck you into their worlds. JK Rowling did just that. I was a muggle in the world of Harry and Ron and Hermione, wishing desperately for a wand and the ability to use the expelliarmus charm in my everyday life.
Watching the movie, I was struck with just how much these characters have impacted our modern lives. Once again, it's a sign of just how amazing the writing talent of JK Rowling really is.