12 years on

For my birthday in grade four I received the best gift a child could hope for but I didn’t know it yet. It was a book that my cousins said was all the rage. It had just come to Canada from the U.K. and people were starting to notice it. On the cover were goofy looking letters and people dressed strangely wearing witches hats. I had received a book that would change my life and the lives of many children. It was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Upon first reading it some things were confusing — I would strongly recommend starting out on the first book — but I didn’t really mind. These kids were like me but better. They had magic and they were British. Every day of their life was an adventure. I was in love.

Most kids love Harry Potter but I went a little bit farther. In free reading I only read Harry Potter books. I got the French translations so that I could read Harry Potter during French free reading. I dressed up as a witch for Halloween. I played Harry Potter on the playground and got confused when other kids wanted to play something else. What else was there? Honestly.

The first Harry Potter movie came out 12 years ago today, though I probably got to see it a few days sooner. One day during class my teacher called me up to her desk and told me that a reporter from the local TV news station was looking for a kid to go watch the Harry Potter movie and review it. She said that clearly I was the most qualified (obsessed) in the class so she had picked me. I would get to go to the advanced media screening complete with free popcorn.

Of course I thought the movie was amazing. A couple of days later I went to an old movie theatre (the Plaza) where a camera was set up. I have no idea what I said but it was pretty cool.

In hindsight the movies weren’t as good as I had originally thought. It’s kind of like going to the wave pool as a grown up. Nothing is as big or as magical. I realized that Daniel Radcliffe was not how I pictured Harry. For one his hair did not behave as described in the book.

There was a barista at a coffee shop I liked in University who I thought was Harry Potter cute. His hair was disheveled, he was dorky, he had round glasses and he was also a striking individual. I pictured Harry Potter as striking. The type of person who just has a power over people. The type of person that distracts you from the conversation you are having with your friends. He was the boy who lived and he turned heads. When I told my friends this they just didn’t get it. They said striking and attractive no way. I replied that he was supposed to look like James and Lily. Case closed.

I suppose we all had different ideas in our head of who Harry Potter was and what this world looked like. There was no way the movies would capture it all.