Tonight my friends and I are off to the midnight screening of the final Harry Potter film. It’s both exciting and ever so slightly traumatic.
It may sound weird to some, but Harry, Ron and Hermoine are like personal friends I grew up with. When they were eleven, I was eleven, and we all grew up together. In the end, I overshot them a little, but it didn’t really matter – the effect was the same. There are just so many memories. All the lining up, math classes spent reading, discussing everything in detail, trying not to spoil M about Dumbledore because she couldn’t read the The Half Blood Prince until after exams were over. Oh, and she was so into the fandom too, introducing us all the dubious joy of wizard rock (which incidentally I still have on my computer.)
Of course the movies played their part too. The Philospher’s Stone was the first film I saw here, I went with my mum for my birthday. Funny to think about it now, it seems like a lifetime ago. There came new friends, more memories, silly things like hanging out after school to watch The Prisoner of Azkaban and smuggling hot chips past a highly suspicious security guard. It’s just scattered through my entire adolescence.
Really, when it comes right down to it, this is all I have left of my childhood. It’s the only thing that overlaps the two halves of my life. You know how everyone has that stuffed toy they had all their life? Mine got lost when we moved here, and in a way Harry Potter is that for me. That link. We’ve been through so much together, good and bad. Harry, Ron and Hermoine were always there, a reprieve, a rallying point.
I remember when the exhilaration of blitzing through The Deathly Hallows wore off and the reality of it being the last book ever sunk in, it didn’t seem quite so sad because “we still have the movies!” And yeah, I never liked the movies nearly as much as the books, but it was still something. After tonight, it’s all gone. My childhood is officially over. Even though you could argue that it’s been over for a long time, it still feels like this is the moment when the door finally, resolutely closes.
It seems so surreal that at midnight, I’ll be saying hello to all these characters for the last time. The only consolation I have is knowing that, out there, there is a whole generation of people who know exactly where I’m coming from with this. ‘Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.’ Really, we’ll never be alone. That’s got to count for something.
Music: Every me, every you - Placebo