Back in 1998, when my daughter was 5, I began to read the first book written by J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone . Entering into this fantasy world of wizards, following three young children, Harry, Ron and Hermione and their adventures, made for great bedtime reading. There were some nights when I didn’t turn off the lights on time, because I was captured by the magic. Unlike other fantasy series (Narnia, Lord of the Rings), this world was plausible and we both loved it.
Who doesn’t love the ritual of a bedtime story. It’s what we did. It took us 3 years to read the first three books, at which point she took over the reading and bedtime reading slowly turned into bedtime stories of “what happened when I was your age, or what happened at work today. Of course the ladder was always exaggerated to make it seem more fun and exciting. Inspiring her to want to have a career when she grows up. Reading the Harry Potter series was somehow different than reading the usual bedtime stories and the award winning books of the day. Bedtime reading is a delicious way to end your child’s day (it ended most of my days too). It provides all of the comforts and magic of being together, yet these books lead to adventures and moments outside of the bedroom.
In 2000 when Harry Potter’s Goblet of Fire came out, she was at camp in Maine, I was up in Canada. We devised a scheme with my friend Susan to have her ship the book overnight to camp for her summer reading. This was before ordering it on line pre release date like we do now. You had to go to a store, elbow your way to the display and fight for it. I once went to the book store at midnight to get the next book, like an addict with no self control. She was Harry for Halloween one year. We went to several Potter themed events over the early years. We have a Harry Potter tree ornament and the highlight (for me at least) was attending the World Cup Quidditch games in New York last fall. A game created by all of those brainiac, voracious reader kids who were able to turn fantasy into reality. They created Quidditch clubs at universities and it became the hottest club for membership. By far the most fun we have had at any sporting event.
Last Fall, for the midnight release of the first half of book 7, her friends came over for some Butter Beer and Caldron cakes. All dressed up, they reminded me of the time I use to dress up for a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture show. These are memories that she will have for life. I also believe these books nurtured her love of reading .
So there I was last night, at the theater to see the final movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She had already seen it with her friends at midnight on Thursday, but agreed to come with me. We had to end the series together. It was good fun. I realized at the end of the movie, when Harry and his wife (I wont spoil it for you) , Ron, Hermione and their now school age children, are at King’s Cross station, entering platform nine and three quarters, sending them off for their first year at Hogwarts, that I too am sending my first born to college.
How ironic to think that both the story and my time at home with my daughter would come to a close on similar timing? It hadn’t occurred to me until last night. I asked her over dinner if she wanted to come back for the World Cup Quidditch games in the fall and she answered “I hope to come back on my university team if they have one”.