Deb: I drove up to the boy’s camp last Friday to take him and his fellow counsellor and girlfriend to see Harry Potter. They have been together for over three years now and we adore her. She is like family to us.
It was their day off and we were doing the movie and dinner and then I was to drive them back to camp and then I’d drive home. With my new Dick Van Dyke audio biography on CD, the prospect of a long day of driving did not seem daunting at all. I thought it would be fun, and it was. I only panicked about being lost twice. Down from my usual six panics.
It was to be the end of a lovely journey, this last viewing of the Potter. Like many of you, my soon-to-be 21-year-old boy has grown up with Harry. We read the first three books to him, and then he read one himself. Then last year, disappointed with himself for not reading them all, he challenged himself to read each one through the spring and summer, which he is doing. His girlfriend is a devotee and has read them all and knows them like the back of her hand.
So it was a trip we all very much looked forward to taking. But in my heart, I was on a slightly different journey. The prospect of Harry ending just as the boy turns 21 led me smack up against his coming of age. As I drove the winding country roads on the way to camp, my mind ventured back to sweet memories of curling up in his tiny bed reading about Hogwarts and kid wizards and watching him fall asleep with visions of sorting hats hovering above his head.
And as Harry matured with each book, each film, so did our boy. Which is why the last film was so poignant for me. I knew it would be emotional, but I had no idea I would start to well up as soon as FEATURE ATTRACTION blazed across the screen. I have sat through many a moving film with the boy. He is always so tender with me. As soon as he hears even a sniffle from my general direction, his arm is around me comforting me, making me feel safe to cry and show my emotions. And the Deathly Hallows Part 2 did not disappoint in that regard. By the end, I was sobbing shamelessly. So was Megan. And he comforted her and made her feel okay about it. Didn’t turn in my direction even once.
As it should be.
Thank you Harry, for everything. Luke’s all grown up too.
Barbara: It’s a big moment when a devoted son turns to his girl over his mother. As you say, Deb: as it should be. But still. It’s a turning point. And this is why Harry Potter is so poignant for so many of us. It is chalk full of turning points.
I was one of those moms who read the series to my kids, curled up in bed together. And the girls loved it. Even when they were young teens. That said, we did stop at the fifth installment because by that time they were both such avid readers, the draw of crawling into their own beds with the latest tome and reading through all in one go was too strong to resist. Plus there was all that requisite comparing of story points with other eager readers that needed to be done. Without me.
My misgiving is that because I stopped reading to them, I also never read those last two books. There were just too many other books on my reading pile that I HAD to read. And so I also didn’t see the last three films. I’m one of those people that has to read the book before I see the film. So now I find myself at the end of an era, both my girls feeling nostalgic and bittersweet about how much they’ve been through in exact correlation to how much the Potter kids have been through (without the, you know, quidditch, butter beer, magic and he-who-would-not-be-named). I feel a bit out of the loop. Hate to say it. Hate to admit it. But I lost the rhythm. The rhythm of Generation HP, as it were.
This is what I want to do: I want to curl up with my kids and watch all 7 movies, maybe not all in one go, but certainly all in one week, then see the last one (which is supposed to be wonderful) in all its 3-D glory in the movie theatre. And then I want to reflect on significant turning points both near and dear to my heart and as far off as a little place called Hogwarts.