Twenty years ago today a massive fandom was born. A fandom that I would later become obsessed with to the point where I can’t even remember how much money I’ve put into it. Let’s see. I have:
- Three copies of the first novel. (One I had to replace due to wear and tear, the other is a special Ravenclaw edition for the 20th anniversary.)
- Two copies of the second novel due to wear and tear.
- VHS or DVD copies of all associated movies.
- Homemade wands and purchased ones.
- Pins and jewelry of all kinds.
- Shirts. Tshirts, tank tops, sweaters.
- Pop Funkos.
The funny thing though? Back when the the first book was published I didn’t even care that much. I saw it in my school library in fifth grade and was somewhat interested and then someone checked it out. And every time I looked for it the book was still checked out. So, in sixth grade, I finally decided I had to do something about it. I waited and waited. I could not get my hands on Sorcerer’s Stone. This led me to doing something I had never done before and have hardly done since.
I picked up the second book in the series and I read it first.
You’d think reading book two first would have maybe put me off the series as a whole but nope. I devoured Chamber of Secrets, finally bought Sorcerer’s Stone at a school book fair a few months later, read that and then reread Chamber of Secrets. So began my life as a Harry Potter fan.
After that I started reading Harry Potter fanfiction. I started pre-ordering the books from Amazon and anxiously awaiting release days. I re-read the series each time a new book came out, timing it so precisely that I was usually finishing up the last book I already owned the day before or the day of the newest book release. I had a system.
I grew up with Harry Potter. He aged more or less as I did. He felt out of place and had a friend, Hermione Granger, who loved books and had big brown hair like I did and I felt like these characters, this author, got me like no one had before. It was amazing.
And then 2007 came and with it the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last book in the series. I had literally just finished my re-read of book six less than an hour before the doorbell rang and even though, at that point, I’d been up for nearly fifteen hours straight already I dove right in.
And then I kept putting it back down. Partially because characters kept dying and I couldn’t see straight. But mostly because I didn’t want it to end. I knew I could always re-read and yet there was always only going to be one first read and that was emotional. But finally, I did it. And though I’ve since written fanfiction that changed the plot around a bit I was satisfied.
And even though I’m nearly thirty I don’t regret the time and money and energy I’ve put into the fandom. Hell, I’m probably buying more HP merchandise now than every before. It’s just such a big part of my life and I’m not ashamed. And social media shows me everyday, but especially on HP related fandoms, that I’m not alone and that is awesome.
Just as JK Rowling once said, “Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”