I was twelve. I remember being in my school library, with classmates I knew talking about Harry Potter. I had to put my name on a list to get the first one. I read it in a day and got the second one as soon as I could. I read it in a day as well.
I was hooked from the start.
As I try to remember what it was like reading as a kid, I know I was devouring the books whenever I could. I would stay up late reading them in the dark. I was enthralled with the fact that there was a female character like me: Hermione Granger, a bushy-brown-haired know-it-all who loved books. In all the books I had read, she was the first one close to me, and it was the greatest thing ever.
I read through Prisoner of Azkaban before Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Hogwarts were taken away from me.
I grew up in an evangelical, Pentecostal home. My mom, listening to the preachers on the TV bash Harry relentlessly, banned Harry Potter from being in our home.
I was devastated. My favorite book series gone in an instant.
I tried to rebel. Just a little. I read through Goblet of Fire before my mom caught me. I had gotten the nickname “Hermione” my first year in marching band because I could read drill charts when the rest of my section (including a senior) could not. Mom forced me to put a stop to that, though I do believe it’s one of the best compliments I have ever gotten.
So I waited from Goblet of Fire until I turned eighteen before I went back to Hogwarts.
I read through the series as soon as I had time. I wanted to know what happened. When Deathly Hallows was released, I went to our local Wal-mart with friends (lame I know) and waited until midnight and ended up getting two copies of Deathly Hallows, one for me and one for a family friend. I stayed up and read it in seven hours. While I had not been a consistent reader all my years, I was one of the ones who stuck with Harry ‘til the end.
So now, being twenty-three, knowing the last movie is coming out, my heart is heavy. In some ways, I feel like the magic will die with this movie, but I know that is not the case. Harry, Ron, and Hermione, along with Hogwarts, will always have a special place in my heart.