Archive for July, 2011

Why I Don’t Want to See the Last Harry Potter Movie

July 13, 2011
Mr. Weasley's Ford Anglica

Mr. Weasley's Ford Anglica

In case you haven’t heard, the final installment of the Harry Potter movie series begins this week. The movie, which already has earned twenty-five million dollars in advance ticket sales, and is projected to earn another 330 million dollars in the US alone, will conclude one of the most successful, highly publicized, book/movie series of all time. According to an article today in the Kansas City Star,“About 450 million copies of Rowling’s novels are in circulation in almost every language under the sun.”

But I don’t care. I don’t want to see the movie.

It’s not that I’m one of those purists who gripe that the movies aren’t as as good as the books. No, as a writer, I understand that movies and books are different formats that tell the same story in different ways. I loved the movies just as much as the books. No, the reason I don’t want to see the movie is simple:

I can’t bear to let go.

My son was four years old when the first book was released in the United States, and for the last thirteen years, Harry Potter has been a part of my family’s history. I read the books to my three children, and they considered it a rite of passage to be allowed to see the movies in the theater.

We were on vacation in Colorado the year that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released, and we scoured the little town of Montrose for a bookstore to find a copy. I spent much of our twenty-three-hour car ride home reading the book out loud. I read through the state of Colorado and on into Nebraska. I read until my voice went hoarse, then switched with my husband so that he could read and I could drive. We didn’t finish the book by the time we got home, but it was close.

When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, my older daughter dressed up like Hermoine and we went to a Harry Potter party at a local bookstore. While we waited for the offical release at midnight, we ate cauldron cakes and drank pumpkin juice and then applauded as the book store broke open the boxes and gave us our copies.

We’ve visited the Harry Potter exhibit at the Science and Industry museum in Chicago (the picture above is of me and my daughter in front of the Ford Anglica used in the movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets). My kids have dressed as Potter characters, we’ve had Potter trivia games, and we’ve enthusiatically enjoyed our neighbor’s Harry Potter funhouse on Halloween. Our copies of the Harry Potter books are so well-worn that they are literally falling apart, and our DVDs are used so constantly that they are seldom stored in their original cases. In the past thirteen years, we’ve fought over who got to read the new Harry Potter book first. We all have our favorite characters (Mrs. Weasley and Luna Lovegood for me. Ron and Lupine for my older daughter. Snape for my younger.) Harry Potter is embedded in our family’s culture.

But all that is about to change.

It’s not just that the series is ending, of course, but it’s that my family is changing as well. About this time next year, my oldest will be entering college, and my youngest daughter will be starting high school. I can’t bear to let them go, either. Harry Potter is leaving. My kids are leaving. Already, the house seems very, very empty.

I know that I’ll end up seeing the movie. After all, I can no more make the Harry Potter phenomonon continue than I can force my children (and myself) to remain young. As much as I want to, I can’t postphone the inevitable.

Because as every writer knows, the story must end sooner or later. Otherwise, what’s the point?