August 3, 2016
I was in college when the first Harry Potter books were released. I was consumed by my studies and more interested in basement punk shows than reading about British tween wizards.
Even as the Harry Potter phenomenon took over the world, it was off my radar. I was starting my career, enjoying life in my twenties, and Harry Potter wasn’t part of my peripheral vision. I even did some design work for Warner Bros. with assets from the movies, but it was never enough to pique my interest.
Until it did…a decade later.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released when my daughters were a few months old. By this time, I was surrounded by other parents with children older than my own who couldn’t believe I hadn’t read the books. They raved about J.K. Rowling. They made references in meetings to the Marauder’s Map, Time-Turners, and Dolores Umbridge. And while I was finally intrigued enough to open a book I decided I would wait to read the books with my children when the time was right.
After a failed attempt in early 2013 (the first three pages on Privet Drive proved too frightening), my girls and I officially began our magical journey on October 26, 2014. My daughters had just turned 8 and while old enough to read it on their own, I read it aloud while they listened.
And we were hooked.
Over the next 13 months, we read a chapter a night, only skipping a night here and there for other obligations. Once we finished a book, we would watch the corresponding movie and then move onto the next. We never had to wait for the next book or movie to be released; the next one was always there waiting for us. Instant gratification. We binge-read the series like you might binge-watch a series on Netflix.
Last December, the day before we left for Universal Studios Florida, we finished the seventh book.
With the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child rehearsal script last weekend, we got a small taste of the anticipation that fueled fans for years. My girls didn’t quite make it to the actual midnight release, but we did attend two Harry Potter release parties early in the evening and enjoy the pomp and circumstance that surrounds it.
We began reading the play the next day, the same way we had done the novels, but after struggling through the first two scenes, I realized that we had to find a different way. We are now working our way through it together – each reading for the different characters (the girls fighting over Hermione, Lily and Rose and me holding tight to Hagrid and Minerva McGonagall). It’s been fun to listen to their interpretation of a line — and great reading practice to help combat the summer slide.
While not the 19-year adventure millions of people have taken with Harry Potter, ours has been a memorable, magical journey indeed. And if you are one of the rare few who have not taken the journey, just know, it’s never too late to board the Hogwart’s Express.