See You Around, Harry...
June 27, 2011
In June of 1997, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in the United Kingdom with an initial print run of 500 copies. It was an instant success.
In July 1998, the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was published in the United Kingdom with an initial print run of over 10,000 copies. Meanwhile, in September, the first book was renamed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and released in the United States. The initial print run was 50,000 copies.
In June 1999, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was released in the United States with an initial printing of 250,000 copes. In July, the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, was published in the United Kingdom. It sold more than 68,000 copies in the first two days. In September, the third book was published in the United States with a first printing of 500,000 copies. All three held the top three positions on the New York Times Bestseller List.
In July of 2000, the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, was released in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
This is about the time my cousin suggested I read her copies of the first four books. I was bored and needed some new reading material, so I took home the first book. I read the first chapter and was totally and completely hooked. I stayed up all night reading. I should have been exhausted the next day at school, but I was so set on getting her copy of the second book, I didn’t notice.
That afternoon, I started the second book. I stayed up most of the night again. I read the first four Harry Potter books in less than a week…I returned book four to my cousin with the saddening realization that there was not a book five available quite yet. So, I started the countdown to the release of the fifth book. While I waited for the book, I settled for the film versions of the first two books. They were good, but I wanted Book Five!!
That glorious day finally arrived in June 2003, when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released. I went to the midnight release party at Borders, and probably broke speed limits on my way home. I read all night long. I bawled my eyes out when Sirius fell through the curtain. It was so much worse than when Voldemort murdered Cedric! And what in the world did Harry see in Cho Chang?? Didn’t he know he was supposed to be with Ginny??
The sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was released in July of 2005. I was relieved to read that Harry finally came to his senses and was dating Ginny, only to have my happiness ripped apart when he broke up with her in the end. And Dumbledore….once again, I bawled like a baby. Poor Harry!
I was torn about the seventh book. I couldn’t wait to read it and find out if everything I thought was going to happen was right…but, I also was horrified by the thought of no more Harry…
When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released in July of 2007, I cried my way through the entire book—tears of happiness, tears of grief, and tears of the realization that it was over. No more books. There were even only a few more movies…
The final Harry Potter film is about to be released (July 15). Harry has been a part of my life for years now. I may not love the films quite as much as I love the books, but this feels like the end of an era. It feels like one of my best friends is going away and I will never see him again. I recently read an article by Annie Ropeik about the release of J. K. Rowling’s new Pottermore site, and she described my feelings perfectly. I regard Harry Potter as a dear friend, "and that has made the upcoming release of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 — how do I put this delicately? — embarrassingly, impossibly, sob-inducingly painful to deal with." My boyfriend will most likely want to sit a few rows away from me when we go see it. I probably need to bring a box of tissues with me, as I suspect seeing this film is going to involve some serious sobbing.
After July 15th, I plan on fulfilling my Harry Potter mania by re-watching the movies, re-reading the books (again and again), eagerly awaiting the release of Pottermore, and reminding myself that this isn’t goodbye.
See you around, Harry…