Friday, July 15, 2011

My Harry Potter

Today I close a chapter of my life: one that started 10 Years ago, in 2001. I didn’t like to read when I was little. I didn’t do it very often, and I wasn’t very good at it. But I had cousins who loved reading. They often told me of books they thought I would enjoy but I never wanted to take the time to sit down and read one. One day, they told me about a book called Harry Potter. They made it sound wonderful. So I went to the bookstore to buy it. When I got there, I saw a massive 300+ paged book and thought “No way am I going to read that! I couldn’t finish that in a year!”

Not long after that, the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone came out to theaters. I didn’t see it right away, but eventually I rented it from blockbuster and watched it at home with my family. I loved the movie but I was still nervous about reading such a long book…and Sorcerer’s Stone was the shortest book in the series. Eventually I talked myself into reading the first one as I walked through Sams with my dad one day and saw a hardback box set of the first four books right after Goblet of Fire was released.

Once I got started reading, I couldn’t stop. As I continued, the books got better and better. I quickly learned that when a book is fun to read, it doesn’t take very long to finish. I had finished the first four books before I even considered a Chamber of Secrets movie. But alas, the day came when the television started blazing with images of Harry’s second journey to Hogwarts. I was beside myself with joy when my dad took me to see the movie at Windsor Theater. I don’t necessarily remember walking into the theater, but I remember walking out and telling my dad everything that happened differently in the movie than it did in the book. I’m sure he was very interested…

After Chamber of secrets there was a bit of a lull in the Harry Potter community. I had read all the books, and seen all the movies and now kept my eye out for the third movie, Prisoner of Azkaban. It wasn’t long, though, before I heard talks of a fifth book. That year (2004) was a good year for fans of the series. In June I traveled to Minnesota to visit my uncle’s family who had just moved there. I flew with my mom and my other cousin. We planned it for the weekend that Prisoner of Azkaban hit theaters. We didn’t go to a midnight showing, but we did get tickets to a 10:00 pm showing opening day. I was so excited to be seeing the movies with my cousins that I could barely sleep! We sat in line for a couple of hours to get good seats. We were first in line for that showing and I was so proud of us! That was the movie I refer to as “the one we flew to Minnesota to see and my mom slept through it.”

Two short months later, the fifth book, Order of the Phoenix came out. I went to a midnight release party at Barnes and Noble. There were so many people there and I didn’t know I was supposed to preorder a book. Luckily I got there early enough to claim one of the wristbands for a book even though I didn’t preorder. There were all kinds of fun games to play and good food to eat at the party. I never knew people got all dressed up and sat at the bookstore for hours just for a book, but I liked it! That was probably my biggest selling point for the series. It was always fun and exciting, but after that first midnight release party, I didn’t want to miss anything else. I wanted to be at every midnight release party for every book and to go to every midnight showing of every one of the movies.

The next stop for my personal Hogwarts Express was the Goblet of Fire movie. I took a bunch of friends and didn’t order tickets in time and didn’t make it to the midnight showing, but another opening day showing none the less. It turned out for the best because I got to see what it is like to sit all day at the mall, surrounded by people in costume. Now, that might scare some of you away, but for me it was like heaven on earth. All of my friends and I met at the mall and spent all evening together. If you know me, (and if you don’t it is kind of weird that you are reading my blog) you know that I always try to have a good time, and this was definitely no exception.

Fast forward to July 2006. I am in between my junior and senior years of high school. I definitely didn’t forget to pre-order my book this time…as a matter of fact, not only did I double check, but I triple checked that I had everything correct and in order. Unfortunately, the book came out just a day or two before I was supposed to go to church camp so of course, I had to take the book with me to camp. I knew I wouldn’t have time to read it, but I knew if I didn’t take it, I would regret it. I tried to read it every chance I got. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that one of the girls in my dorm was a huge harry fan as well and we bonded over our shared interests. Half way through the week I had to go home for my mom’s retirement party and I accidentally left my book with the girl. I wasn’t planning on going back after the party, but I wasn’t going to let that girl have my midnight party book, so I bought another copy for her and took it to her to trade out. Looking back, I know I didn’t owe her a book, but it just felt like the right thing to do.

A year later, just after my high school graduation I attended my first midnight movie premier for Order of the Phoenix on July 10, 2007. It was nothing short of magical. I would expect nothing less from a Harry Potter movie. It was a completely different experience because with the opening day crowd, you have the crazies running out an about and tons of kids in full costume, but at a midnight showing, only the most dedicated of fans show up. With a phenomenon like Harry Potter, it is best to get to the show early. This is where I learned about line time and people who will sit in line for 12 hours just to see a midnight movie. Those people were my heroes. They were even bigger fans than I was! I couldn’t believe it. But it was true: as big of a fan as I was, I had much to learn.

I don’t even know where to start talking about the Deathly Hallows book. I didn’t preorder. I know what you are thinking….didn’t she learn? Yes. Yes I did. I learned to go to the midnight party with friends, but wait until the next morning to go to Sams and buy it there for a cheaper price and shorter line. I went to two different Barnes and Noble stores the night of July 6, 2009. I ended the night at the one on May and Memorial with a group of friends. I’m glad I went to that one because if I hadn’t, I would not have experienced the funniest Harry Potter fan moment to date. Imagine me and three friends, in our own little nook of the store, not in full costume, but we definitely don’t look like amateurs. We are quietly discussion all the books and what we think will happen in the final installment of JK Rowling’s infamous series when out of the blue, two adult men in robes run to the middle of the store apparently mid dual. When one man takes his wand, turns and shouts at the top of his lungs “AVADA KEDAVRA!” The other man stops in his place, rolls his eyes back into his head and faints to the floor and just lays there. What do you do to that? You applaud. Loudly. At least that was the general consensus around the room.

Every other story from here on has taken place at the same place: Harkins Theater in Bricktown. I attended the Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows part I, and Deathly Hallows part II all in the same theater: Cine Capri. From my experience (please note I have never been to the Warren in Moore) it is the best theater in the OKC area. It was at Half-Blood Prince that I was introduced to a couple of guys called Twinprov. They are hilarious. You can YouTube their performances. I highly recommend you do, actually. See, they do raps about movies. They have done Harry Potter, Twilight, and many more. Mix their songs with the heightened emotions and excitement of the night and there is an energy that can’t be beat nor duplicated. I know, I’ve searched for excitement like that…After their performance at Harry Potter I was thrilled to learn they would be performing at the Twilight Premier as well…and they did a great job for New Moon, However, I was disappointed when I tweeted them before Eclipse and they assured me they would be there. I made T-Shirts and everything and they didn’t even show up.

Now, Deathly Hallows rolls around. One book—two movies. All is right in the world because finally we can dedicate enough time to actually explain why so many things are the way they are. Sometimes with the movies, you really need to read the books to understand parts of the movie. Part one premiered November 19th so on the 18th I arrived at Harkins at 9am to find the theater still locked. I was puzzled because I was under the impression that they open their doors at 9 am daily. Since I was the only one there, I went ahead and left. I went to school, took a test (aced the test), and went back. Still made it in time to be first in line and the doors were still locked. DHp1 was another high point of Harry Potter. As first in line, I found out you get interviewed for the news, you get quoted in newspapers, and you get bragging rights over all the friends you make in line. I felt like I was the Harry Potter Queen for the Day. It was the best time I have ever had in my life. Imagine spending the day with your best friends at a high energy party honoring something you have spent 10 years of your life loving and you might get some glimpse as to the pure joy I felt that day. For one day I didn’t have to explain why I like Harry Potter to angry mobs of people who constantly feel the need to question anyone and everyone who has any interest in pop culture. It is nice to be completely surrounded by like minded people, eating movie-themed snacks, and watching youtube videos on our iPhones.

It comes down to the last day. Deathly Hallows part 2. July 14, 2011. I am happy. I am excited. I am pumped and ready for the movie. I am sad. I am heartbroken. I am not ready for these happy memories to come to an end. I want more. Is that so wrong? These people I see in line have come to be my friends. We have laughed together and cried together. I’ve spent hours next to you playing games, answering trivia questions, and talking to each of you about life. Harry Potter was what made me want to start reading. It is what got me interested in movies. I owe a lot to that messy-haired kid with the lightening shaped scar. You have helped me come up with some of the greatest pet names imaginable (I’m talking to you Ronald Bilius Weasley-Gordon my beloved bird who died….and to you future lizard pet I plan to name Harry just so I can say “You’re a lizard, Harry.” Just like Hagrid does in Sorcerer’s Stone.)

So now I will leave you with the greatest movie quote of all time. One that we should all hear and take to heart. “Dark and Difficult times are ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right, and what is easy.” –Albus Dumbledore

Obviously I wrote this in line yesterday. I just want to add a few things. Last night I actually got to sit down and talk with the Twinprov guys. It completely amped me up for the movie. (plus they signed my arm in sharpie) I had a total fa...ngirl moment. You all would have been embarassed of me. Also, the movie was the best movie I have ever seen. Not just the best of Harry Potter. They did a really good job of using the other movies to create flashbacks. The sad parts were sad enough to fully appreciate, but were not overwhelming and there was plenty of humor. Even though the series is over, Harry will live forever in our hearts. "He will never be gone. Not as long as those who remain are loyal to him." (Chamber of Secrets)

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