This morning, I picked up my daughter from a sleepover. She and her friend (and the friend's Mom) went to see the eighth -- and last -- Harry Potter film last night. They were so intent on getting a good seat that they got in line at the mall at 1 p.m. for the midnight show.
I am not that dedicated a Mom.
"How was the movie?"
"Oh, Mom, it was SO good. But it's sad, I feel like a part of my childhood is over. Like it's the end of an era."
We talked all the way home about how much Harry Potter has been part of her 14 years.
She asked us to start reading the books to her in Kindergarten, and her first written sentence (in her kindergarten journal) was "I wish to go to Hogwarts".
Not, "I wish I could go to Hogwarts" but "I wish to go to Hogwarts". Her Dad and I joked that she was our little Brit and she practiced a (terrible) British accent on and off through second grade.
Harry Potter was so popular with her kindergarten class that the teacher and parents decided the end-of-the- year cake had to be a Harry Potter one. Most of the kids couldn't read the books yet, but they were hooked on the series. While some of you may undoubtedly grumpily complain that this was all about marketing, I'll argue that if you have to market something to kids, better it be a boy wizard, his good friends, his wise teachers (Dumbledore is forever in my heart), his triumphs over tragedy (orphaned because the bad guy killed his parents) and his hard-knock lessons about such things as race and tolerance and fairness (muggles versus wizards, giants versus non giants, Hogwarts versus other wizarding schools, etc.) than a cartoon platypus, a teenage singing sensation, or a sponge and his starfish friend.
It's not that other things marketed to kids cannot also contain the occasional good lesson, but there were important lessons in all of the Harry Potter books (and movies); the marketing may have played (as marketing tends to do) to the visuals (capes, wands, video games, etc.) but the content of JK Rowling's universe was far deeper than anything else I've seen marketed to kids in a LONG time.
And JK Rowling got kids to read. And wrote books that the adults in their lives wanted to read, too.
By the beginning of first grade, my daughter was reading the books on her own. She has since read all of them, each more than once. And of course she has seen the films.
Her grandparents gave her a Harry Potter umbrella and a Harry Potter backpack. My Mom and my friend made an absolutely beautiful wizarding cape for her -- black, lined with purple and silver. She had Harry Potter glasses and a fake wand. Her make-believe games were, more often than not, about wizards and a magical school where kids could have unusual pets and befriend giants and ride dragons. Her best friend's parents made their kid a "lab" in their basement, where the two of them made various potions.
She attended every Barnes and Noble book party (at midnight) for every new Harry Potter book, dressed either as Harry or Hermione. I always wanted her to go as Moaning Myrtle, but she refused. (One kid did, complete with a toilet seat around her head; BEST. KID. COSTUME. EVER.)
I had always meant to make her a Gryffindor scarf like the one Harry wore (burgundy and yellow stripes), but I never got around to it.
Two nights ago, my youngest (6) asked if I would start reading the books to him. We are only on chapter two of the first one.
Thank God the era can begin again.
And this time, I'll make that scarf.
- My interests include veganism and vegetarianism, health, ethics, politics and culture, media, and the environment. I have three kids; I teach college part-time, study piano and attempt to garden. I knit. I blog on just about anything, but many posts are related to my somewhat pathetic quest to eat better, be more mindful of the environment, and be a more responsible news consumer. Sometimes I write about parenting, but, like so many Mommy bloggers, my kids have recently told me not to. :) Thanks for reading.