Editor’s Note: Since my planned posting schedule got a bit messed up with the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m wrapping up my Harry Potter revisit today and moving our last GeekyNerdy Book Club “meeting” for the year to Friday, December 1. See you then!!
Ever since I first finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when it came out in 2007, my main memory has been about how much I hated the epilogue. After such an intense ride, I wanted something a little more complicated than “everyone’s married now and sending their kids off to Hogwarts.” I mean, there had just been an absolutely massive battle at the wizarding school and I wanted to know more about what happened next. Four years later, when I finished watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, my main thought was, “Yep, still hate that ending and am super-annoyed that I splurged for 3D.” Needless to say, I hadn’t returned to either until now.
Knowing that these were my primary recollections of the final chapter in Harry’s story (I’m sort of pretending that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child didn’t happen), I was a bit nervous about this revisit – mainly because I didn’t want to end up being disappointed once again. I was also keenly aware that my more recent posts in this series have focused on the differences between the books and the movies, and I didn’t want this recap to follow a similar path. As such, I just sort of gave into the story and did my best to watch the movies on their own merits. Of course, there were A LOT of changes from page to screen, but I didn’t get as hung up on those as I have before. In fact, I didn’t take a single note during either one of the films. (The only other time this happened was when I revisited Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.) And because I let myself get carried away by the story, I was able to unlock some part of me that I didn’t really know had been hidden away.
Before, whenever I was in doubt or nervous, Harry Potter was what I turned to for strength. Perhaps that’s because I saw so much of myself in Hermione or because I was essentially growing up with the characters themselves (the series has existed in either book or movie form for more than half of my lifetime), and tracking their successes and failures gave me a way to process my own. Regardless, there is no denying the importance to my life of the Boy Who Lived.
Yet at some point I seem to have forgotten about all of that. Oh sure, I still thought about the Harry Potter tattoo, but I never considered re-reading the books and only caught snatches of the films when they were running on television. It’s like some sort of shift that happened, maybe in graduate school, where I deemed myself a grown-up and put more of those “childhood” pastimes on the shelf. Since then, it’s been a bit of a struggle to focus on the things that I’m truly passionate about, instead the things that I think I should be passionate about.
In a little over 780 pages and 4.5 hours of film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows changed all of that. I stayed up way too late in the morning watching both parts back to back (something I’m still paying for), but it was absolutely delightful. I haven’t given myself permission to do something like that in ages and it truly released a floodgate. Of course, finding out that my supervisors are as into Harry Potter as I am – and even have the same Hermione Funko Pop! figurine as me – helps, but a lot of it came simply because I allowed myself to enjoy the journey. It also helped me understand why so many people return to J.K. Rowling’s tales once a year or so. I can’t quite say that that’s a schedule I’ll be adopting from here on out, but I definitely won’t stay away for another 20 some-odd years. Instead, whenever I feel a bit out of sorts or like I am being too hard on myself, I’ll simply return to Hogwarts, where “help will always be given . . . to those who ask for it.”