Enduring Potter magic

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Guys. Did you know that this July marks seven years since the final installment in the Harry Potter series was published?

Seven. years.

I was a freshly-minted college graduate working at Borders when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, leading our store’s midnight party with trivia, activities and more. All with the grace and aplomb you’ve come to expect from me, of course.

Kidding. I was acting like a total lunatic, dressed in a black gown I’d originally purchased to wear as the wedding date of a man who would ask me to be his girlfriend in one of the most public, cringe-inducing moments in Megan History.

But that’s another story . . . and one I am totally not putting on the Internet.

(Don’t worry: that man is happily married now — to someone else. No permanent damage done.)

But back to HP. Given I still run an Etsy shop stocked exclusively with Hogwarts fashions (and still sell ‘em!), I remain enmeshed in the Potter world. But for the average person? Well, I guess the magic has worn thin.

Or has it?

When Amber recently wrote she was finishing up the first book in the series (for the first time!), I was reminded of all the excitement that came with experiencing the stories myself in 2007. I’d resisted the allure of Potter as my dad and sister, both huge fans, eagerly devoured each new tome in the series.

Dad and Katie were such huge fans, in fact, that I kind of figured that was their thing — and just stayed out of it. As an English student, I guess part of me also thought I was above a “children’s” fantasy series.

I didn’t get it.

Until I did.

Pressed into leading the Deathly Hallows activities that July night, I wanted to have a darn clue who these characters were so I wouldn’t embarrass myself. Given we had almost 1,000 people show up that night, I wasn’t too keen on looking dumb on a microphone — and knew I needed some background knowledge.

I’d seen the films released to date, of course — so it’s not like I couldn’t pronounce “Hermione” or something. But the details? The bigger picture? I didn’t have that. And I wanted to be as excited as everyone else.

I’ve written about this night several times, which is sort of funny. It was a blip in the grander scheme, I guess — the night of this book’s release. But I had just started as an assistant editor at the newspaper, keeping Borders as a part-time job because I loved the atmosphere and adored my coworkers. I started working evening shifts and weekends, dividing my time between the office and the bookshelves.

Fresh from college with my bachelor’s, I was savoring the freedom of reading whatever I wanted whenever I wanted — of no term papers, no homework, no long commutes to school. My family had just returned from Europe, my graduation gift, and I’d fallen in love with London so swiftly that it startled me.

I’d just turned 22 — just two days before.

They were happy times. Pretty carefree times. We all have our problems, sure, but I felt young and free in a way I never had before. And when my manager asked me to be our store’s “mistress of ceremonies,” I was flattered — and took my job super seriously.

Hence my reading of the series.

Flash-forward seven years . . . and I’m still at the newspaper, albeit in different roles. Borders has shuttered and re-opened as a Books-a-Million, which has the bones of the former place but not the soul. My relationship with a coworker there has long since ended, and I met and married a wonderful man in that time.

But I carry those memories with me. Even if I’ve lost touch with the people and customers who filled my days with so much fun and joy, I’ll always look back on my years there — years painted brightly, too, with Harry Potter — with happiness.

On a recent dash into the post office, I learned about a limited-edition book of stamps featuring The Boy Who Lived, along with his friends and enemies. Now — in 2014.

I bought it. I’m using them.

The magic does live on with us. Every day.


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20 thoughts on “Enduring Potter magic

  1. I reread the series every year – also Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. The wonder and fantasy of the series never palls. I, too, have the Limited Edition postage series but I can’t bear to use any. I keep the postage sheet with me in my Daytimer and it makes me happy. It’s silly that I won’t peel off the stamp images but as I look at them, it brings back memories of the books and discovering the author.

    • Totally understand about not wanting to part with them — I actually contemplated just “collecting” these and saving them forever! I still may go back for another book, but I’m going to try and spread the “Potter” love. :) My first stamp went on an encouraging letter to a young man in North Carolina.

  2. Ahhh…the spell of Harry Potter…I was 15when I started reading the first books back in the year 2000. In that summer the 4.th book came out and it was the first book I ever read in english (I am german so that’s pretty good for that age). Since then I was caught up in the world of HP. I even started to join a Harry Potter Fan Club and was active in the chat there for a pretty long time. I met wonderfull people through that and always couldn’t wait for the next book. And no I can’t belive that this last book is now 7 years old… Thanks for reminding me of this great time!

  3. I TOTALLY went to a midnight release party for Harry Potter book 7 too! I didn’t dress up, but definitely stood in line as a 21 year old among a bunch of little kids with their parents. I drug Shawn with me so I wouldn’t have to be alone. What a nice guy. I stayed up until the sun came up reading it. The best.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  4. What a lovely homage to Harry Potter and what it means in your life! I too rushed out to get the commemorative stamps… these books are just a part of who I am now, and it felt lovely to see that reflected in stamp form.

  5. I re-read the Harry Potter books again last year and reviewed them as a whole on my blog, so I get the continuing draw of Harry Potter. Years have passed and many re-reads later, I still find myself swept up in the story of it.

  6. Oh, HP, how I love you so. I’ve read those books so many times I’ve lost count at this point but I will always remember the first time I read them. Those first four books kept me company the summer after my freshman year of college after all my friends had gone back to their hometowns and I was left alone in Chicago, just working all summer. I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since book 7 came out! I hung out in our neighborhood bookstore until midnight when it was released so I could pick up my pre-reserved copy, then went home and stayed up literally all night reading it on the couch until I finished it the next afternoon.

  7. Um, I CLEARLY need these stamps! and to visit your Etsy shop (next stop). I am going to eat up HP before starting a grad. program. I am loving every stinkin’ minute of it! Thanks for the shout out :)

  8. I, too, resisted HP as long as possible because I thought I was above a children’s fantasy series. My BFF made me watch the first movie with her one night on DVD and I was immediately hooked. I devoured the books, have all the movies, and still watch them whenever they come on TV.

    Love the stamps!

  9. I remember going to target with my mom and she grabbed the last Harry Potter book at the store. She is so impatient that she skipped to the end to see if Harry died. Not that I wasn’t right by her side, asking “she didn’t did she oh please tell me Harry lives!”

  10. I’m a huge, huge, HP book fan and those stamps look great – I’ll have to investigate if they’re available in the UK. The films aren’t a patch on the books, in my view but I’m a sucker for memorabilia! I was relatively young when the books came out but once I’d read the first one I was hooked. I’d read the books repeatedly until the next came out, and I still have my yearly read. They’re brilliant books and will always, always have a very special place in my heart! ^_^

  11. I still love the books and movies too! I did not know about the stamps, I shall have to head out and get some! I recently watched “Magic Beyond words – The Jk Rowling story” on Netflix.

  12. Don’t throw me out, but I’ve never read the books, we have them, my non reading husband read them. I’ve seen all the movies of course. I love the stamps. I love what HP did for reading and the frenzy each new book release created! I love reading about your evolution…:)

  13. I don’t like Harry Potter and everything that relates to magic… I think the so-called “magic” actually comes from God, meaning the miracles that God makes… But I appreciate the literary talent where ever I see it, and speaking of that, what do you think of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C. S. Lewis? :)

  14. SEVEN years? Has it really been that long?! Seven years ago I was 13… Wow (being a bit flabbergasted over here!). I grew up with the Harry Potter series and it’ll always have a special place in my heart. I still read them, and proudly display the entire series both in Dutch and in English in my tiny living room. Loved reading your Harry Potter evolution story, and I am very jealous of those stamps, haha!

  15. Hello, I started reading this series when the last book came out too. All my girlfriends were talking about it. I saw the movies. But then my daughter wanted to read book one… So I decided to read them with her. Well, we feel in love with the books and after each would watch the movie. It was a great bonding experience for us and she still lives the series, rereading it every year. I’m happy to say it really got her her interested in reading. Even now, she also has a book in process on her.

  16. Oh yes, the magic does live on! I am 62 and was a spring chicken of 45 when I read Philosopher’s Stone. I followed the series, relishing the light touch and the sheer story-telling genius of JK Rowling (I only read it because I was a high school teacher of English and was always on the look-out for books that would appeal to reluctant readers – not swallowing it, huh? Okay – I read it because it sounded like fun and it was – and there was the bonus of it appealing to many of my reluctant readers)! Your job sounds like much more fun than teaching though!

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