I’ve been accused of having no heart. Don’t get me wrong. I’m famous for my love of puppies and kittens. I think it’s wonderful that Arwen and Aragorn got together in The Lord of the Rings, even though she gave up her immortal life for him. I think My Little Pony toys are just adorable. I have a heart. I just don’t cry at movies.
Last night I saw an early screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. The streak is broken. I cried. I hate admitting that, but it’s true. I know everyone has something to say about the end of this series, but I’m going to have to weigh in here. Harry needs to know what a big deal this is for me. No, I’m not crazy. Doesn’t he feel a little real to you too?
I’m really not alright with this parting of the ways. I’ll never be alright with it. You’ve been a part of my life for so many years now. I might have been too old to wait for an owl when I turned eleven like so many of my friends, but believe me, I would have.
Your story struck me for so many reasons. I never got over that little spark of hope that there really was magic in the world, even if we couldn’t see it. That maybe, if I just opened my eyes a little wider, I’d see something amazing.
I think every little kid (and quite a few adults) hoped that someone would swoop down and pull them out of their misery/everyday life/ordinary existence and tell them that they were special. That all the crap they went through (and would continue to go through) meant something. In the absence of a real half giant on a motorcycle coming to swoop us up and away to Hogwarts, we lived vicariously through you.
What meant even more was that it never really did work out as planned. It wasn’t just the sweet story from the first book/film. I mean, your parents died saving you, but in the end, it all could have been a magical beginning to a lovely, quiet life of magical cooking and traveling through the Floo network instead of being stuck in traffic. But no one pulls punches in real life and no one did here either. Your story got darker and darker. Your life got harder and more complex. The villains were real and people you loved died. Now, after living through your discovery that there was more to life than you knew as a little kid, we live through your discovery of mortality and pain, and what it’s like to grow up. In a very magical and dramatic way, of course, but if you think about it, how different was it? We all go through wonder, then disillusionment. We just saw it amplified up on the big screen.
In a way, I think that’s why stories like yours are so well loved. Everyone has to be built up and cut down and then build themselves back up again to move forward in life. But to each person, it feels far more dramatic and painful…and sometimes joyful than it looks to the outside world. Inside everyone’s head, they’re saying, ”What I just went through…yes, I know you’ve dealt with it to, but LOOK! It’s huge for me. Don’t you get it?” So when we get to see you battle evil for a real cause and fall in love and lose people so dramatically, so magically, we are looking at our own battles. You’re living them as loudly as we feel them. Do you know what I mean?
Last night, when I watched the epilogue play out on the silver screen, it really hit home. Seeing those who survived move on and age and realize they’ll never be as innocent as the first day they boarded the train to Hogwarts at platform 9 3/4 was like the day I visited my old elementary school. The chairs looked so small. The teachers so old. There was such a sweet sadness there. It’s a time that can never be captured again. I think that’s why I finally shed tears at a film. Because the phenomenon that was Harry Potter is over. I’ll never discover the next chapter. Your story has been told. I’ll never hear the haunting notes of the score begin another leg of your journey. I’ll never get to say, ”I can’t wait to see how they do that,” or hear the binding crack as I open a new book, or sit back in my theater seat and repeatedly tap my husband’s arm, unable to contain my excitement about what was about to be shown on screen.
I feel a little older today, Harry. And a little sadder. I’ll miss you. Tell Ginny I said hi.