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Five Years Later

Opinion
Posted by: Melissa
July 21, 2012, 10:04 PM

And they said we wouldn't last!


Today, in case your Muggle calendar is broken, is five years since the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Five years ago most, if not all, of us were huddled over new, magical pages as we discovered the last secrets of the Harry Potter saga.

Since that time, we have been faced with questions and demands from people who know us less well than we know ourselves. What will you do? What's next? Where is the Harry Potter fandom going when it's over? I don't know about you, but I am tired of those people and those questions. We come from the age before, and are part of the age after, the glorification of enthusiasm. Part of what made Harry such a story was that no one could believe young people could be that excited about anything, much less a book. For whatever reason, it was less cool then than it is now to geek out about that which you love. Harry Potter will always be an enormous part of that evolution. For all its forbearers, for every pop culture phenomenon that led into the enormous boom of enthusiasm by which the decade of Potter was marked, Harry was the first one to break through the jaded, resisting wall of people who could not be bothered. It was the first one to make those guys seem uncool.

A lot has changed since then, but the important things have not. We still love Harry Potter; we still read Harry Potter. But we're lovers of other things too. Other books. Other series. Movies. Music. Culture. By engaging with Harry as wholly and with so much intelligence and passion, we learned how best to express a fandom: with compassion and curiosity and creativity. 

Now, geekery has become cool - nay, even hot. Showing your enthusiasm is expected. The age of being shocked that young people are obsessing over fiction, or writing their own versions of stories, or inventing music about their favorite characters, is over. It's time to unabashedly rejoice in the magic of story, and Harry Potter will always be part of why that's so very okay.

In five years from now, where will we be? Will some of us be reading the Harry Potter stories to our children? How many of us will be published novelists ourselves? Who, of those of you reading this right now, will create a TV series or movie that inspires its own fandom? When you see the unfailing joy, the unironic excitement, and clear-eyed ebullience that meaningful stories can inspire, we hope you'll think of Harry, and remember the time we all spent discovering such happiness together.

Leaky will still be here, helping chart the course. After all, a good story never dies.

Happy anniversary, everyone!

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44 Comments

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566 Points

Our son is autistic and dyslexic and reading has always been a huge challenge for him. He loves stories, we still read together every night, and retains them but reading has mostly been beyond reach.

Trying to engage him with the HP stories was hard. While they start out in an almost fairy tale fashion they quickly introduce big concepts: cruelty, bullying, death, friendship, loyalty, and love. These concepts also made it hard for our son (and daughter) to be willing to hear them. So I did what every sneaky parent does, I gave him an HP game. And he did start to read the short in-game bits to inform his game play. The unknown side effect was it engaged his younger sister too who, as any younger sibling knows, wanted to do what her older sibling was doing.

Just this summer, his 12th year, we were on a long road trip and I put on the first book in the car on my iPhone; both kids were hooked!

We have tutored him in reading every summer for years and this year he is reading, and excited about, Harry Potter. It has been a long journey and it isn’t over yet but I can’t thank JKR enough for writing these stories. My wife and I love them (and still re-read them) but seeing them through the eyes of our son may be an even greater joy.

Posted by 2tal - SpiritMagic174 on July 22, 2012, 02:22 PM report to moderator
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20981 Points

I remember so vividly, the first time I laid my hands on Deathly Hallows, right in the middle of the store, I cried. :) Cant believe its been five years, and they’ve been the best five years of the HP fandom. We’ve all been a part of something so big, and that makes me so very proud. To know I’ve added to the wild, wonderfulness of these past ten years. And will continue to do so. Harry Potter will live on in our hearts, always. :’)

Posted by LunaLuver on July 22, 2012, 02:31 PM report to moderator
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27 Points

It’s quite amazing how in these past few years, the fandom has grown <3

Posted by KeyCloak75 on July 22, 2012, 02:33 PM report to moderator
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1623 Points

Beautifully said, Melissa! Leaky will still be here, helping chart the course. After all, a good story never dies. This made me tear up as much as Jo’s line about Hogwarts being there to welcome us home!

Posted by Bookworm Jen on July 22, 2012, 02:56 PM report to moderator
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1839 Points

Thanks, Melissa for this wonderful reflection! Harry will no doubt live forever in each of us.

Posted by Lillylove on July 22, 2012, 03:14 PM report to moderator
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1466 Points

Five years, wow, I can still picture myself at home siting at my kitchen table nearing the end of DH and telling my mom ‘I just want to finish, and then I’ll go to bed’ It’s been a while since then, and a lot has changed, but as always, my love for HP has stayed with me and I think will forever. Some things never fade, and for us, a love of Harry is one of those things. Five years from now, I have no doupt that I will still be re-reading HP and having mini movie marathons by myself and with the few friends I have that will still love HP as much as I do.

Posted by Jacket on July 22, 2012, 03:28 PM report to moderator
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140 Points

Happy Anniversary to us all!

Posted by RaytheforgottenWeasley on July 22, 2012, 03:55 PM report to moderator
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444 Points

Well said, Melissa. Except that it’s not just people of your generation who were enthusiastic, and still are, about Harry Potter. I’m considerably older than most of you, I suspect. But I’ve been every bit as involved. I love the books, love listening to them and love the movies. Since it’s been five years and I’m still re-reading them, I don’t think that will change in another five years – or ten. My daughters were in college and finishing high school when we all started reading the books and having wonderful discussions. We went to midnight book releases and midnight movies. Those are special memories that we share. In five years my grandson will be six. I still think that’s a little young for the series, but we’ll see. So it might be 7 or 8 years before I am reading the books to him. He loves books already so I have high hopes that the Harry Potter books are something we can share.

But you are so right in saying that Harry Potter made it OK for all of us to be engaged in a story in a way that I had never seen in my life time. I wonder if that’s what it was like when people lined up waiting for the next part of a Dickens story to come out. I would think it would be similar. But what makes Harry Potter even more special is that there are so many other things for people to do with movies, television, computers. And it is really cool that books brought us all together. Very cool.

Posted by Eeyore on July 22, 2012, 04:41 PM report to moderator
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I can’t believe it’s been five years. Yes, I’ve read other books, whole series even, but my heart still gives a little jolt, when I spot a Harry Potter book in the store, the library, or – best of all – when someone is reading it in the train or bus. And I still feel the urge to try to get children to read the books. Sadly, I don’t have many nieces/nephews, and some even think that seeing the movies is enough. Whaaat? How can they not realise that the books are so much better and more fun, and would give them much more insight, etc, etc? But I guess, it’s different now. There aren’t even anymore new HP movies to look forward to. I refuse to be sad, though. I intend to reread the books again, soon.

Posted by Tarana on July 22, 2012, 05:19 PM report to moderator
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883 Points

it feels so much longer than that! i remember my younger sister was obsessed with the books in 2007 but i was just a sometimes reader, then on the day of the release, we all went down to our local book store and lined up with hundreds of others all dressed up in costumes. At that moment when i saw all those people, I realised, Harry Potter was awesome, and that this was my family, my fan family, and that for once, I was home. Harry Potter has changed my life forever. I am still a dedicated fan and I still wonder if I didn’t have Harry Potter, would my life be different? The answer would be hell yes. I would not be typing this right now, but perhaps doing chores, or homework. Life without Potter would suck. Thanks to all of you who shared the journey with me, it has been such a blast. Even though the journey will never be over, I just wanted to say, without you nerds, I wouldn’t be who I am today. THANKS TO YOU ALL!! <3

Posted by Mudblood_and_proud on July 22, 2012, 07:22 PM report to moderator
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442 Points

WOW, I can’t believe that… Here’s to 5 more years!

Posted by Mad But Happy on July 22, 2012, 08:14 PM report to moderator
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3266 Points

WOOHOO! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY HARRY!

Posted by Acciobrooms on July 22, 2012, 10:15 PM report to moderator
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1749 Points

5 years…wow! But I take exception to the references to “young people”…I’m not so young anymore, but I love HP…and geekery! And there are lots of others my age and older who are as well! We read them to children, or found them some other way, and fell in love with them just like the “young people”

Posted by Rin68nyr on July 22, 2012, 11:07 PM report to moderator
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910 Points

I still get wistful every time I drive by a “Barnes and Noble”. I do miss the Midnight Release Parties. I’m so greatful I was part of the experience as it originally unfolded.

Posted by sessionka oom4 CW on July 22, 2012, 11:12 PM report to moderator
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Five years. I’ve now lost track of how many times I’ve finished the books. But every time I finish Deathly Hallows, I feel like it’s time to start Sorcerer’s Stone again. I’m not heavily involved in fandom, though I did go to midnight releases for the last two books. It never occured to me that someone could turn a midnight party into a thing of evil, but here in Colorado we have our own Voldemort now, and for many of us now refuse to use his name. Not fear of the name, just respect for the hundreds and hundreds of victims, whether they were in the theatre or not.

Posted by likehagridonlyshorter on July 23, 2012, 12:40 AM report to moderator
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