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