Friday, July 15, 2011

Last Call - All Aboard for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2


I cannot, in good conscience, as a self-proclaimed Harry Potter wizard, allow myself to close this chapter upon my life without posting and dedicating a blog to all of you fellow wizards.

I have to admit I went to the cinema with a lot of doubts. I was so anxious they would utterly screw up the final film and that I would hate it. It kept me awake most of the night.

Ironically enough, I had passed up a midnight release ticket, because I was attempting to be "responsible" for work the next day and was planning on getting a good night's sleep. All of my anxiety made that virtually impossible. I honestly didn't know how on earth I'd make it through work the next day, anxiety mounting, in anticipation to head to my 7:30 PM showing.

The highlight of my wait in line was when the usher/ticket girl told me to put my wand away because, apparently, during earlier showings, there were incidents of people stabbing one another with their wands. I scoffed. "I'm a wizard, I know how to handle a wand. People who stab others with wands are clearly the worst kind of Muggles, otherwise known as Twilight fans who are trying to stake each other."

Her response?

"Ha ha, no. Put your wand away."

I harumphed and walked to my theatre. Some people have no sense of humour.

You see, I'm very, very proud of my wand. It is a true Alivan's original, sent to me by my best Welsh mate 2 Christmases ago. My redwood wand means the world to me, as it is a symbol of love and friendship born of the Harry Potter fandom. But I digress.

Long story anxiety was largely for nothing, as I absolutely adored the film (mostly). It was a fitting way to close the series, and the ending music was what made it all the best.

Short story long, it pains me greatly to see the end of this era. In the words of Oliver Boyd, there will never be another one like this. Ever again.

It feels as if even the likes of Pottermore and even the possibility of new Potter books will fall short of the magic that the "First Cast" has managed to spin. That for whatever reasons, anybody who comes "second" will be somehow less impressive than that which we've built up in our hearts, minds, and souls as the end-all, be-all, quintessential Harry Potter experience.

Part of me wants to jealously guard my experience, something I consider almost sacred, and to shut myself off from anything new.

But a larger, more accepting, more creative part of me says..."what if"? What if I give this thing a chance? What if I continue to write fan fiction and wizard rock, and what if I continue to meet new and wonderful people, despite the end of this era?

So to those of you who are wondering "What now"... In the words of a wizened old wizard, we must do more than exist...for "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." I'm going to twist Dumbledore's words into the corollary... "It does not do to dwell on [the past] and forget to live."

I suppose that's what I love most about this fandom--this wonderful, glorious, magical Harry Potter fandom. It has adapted and changed with me, rolled with the punches, so to speak. And heaven knows I've gone through many different phases of life in the past 7 years.

Harry Potter led me to find many trusted and lovely people during those years...and many of them--it might even be you, reading this right now--have stuck with me through to the very end. Just like the Marauders did for you have done for me. I don't know what I would have done without many of you. Suffice it to say I will be forever grateful you've become part of my Harry Potter Continuum.

It might be the end of one era, but it's the beginning of everything else. And so we open by closing with a bang and a tear. I love you all. <3

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dear Jo Rowling - My First Encounter with Rowling's Magic

Dear Jo Rowling,

Where to start? Probably at the very beginning. First of all, this post is dedicated to the very lovely and talented Susan Sipal, and her blog, Harry Potter for Writers. Another blogger/writer gal named Brooke, inspired me to write my own version of the following post, Encountering Magic for the First Time.

Like Brooke, I too, had a problem with Harry Potter lovers. I thought it was utterly ridiculous that so many people could get so very into a simple "children's book series," and I found myself feeling sorry for them. I even openly mocked and laughed at people who were into Harry Potter.

Also like Brooke, I much preferred to write more "logical" stories and I loved reading horror/mystery novels as well as science-fiction. The closest I ever got to reading a full-on fantasy series was in high school, when I read "A Wrinkle In Time" by Madeleine L'Engle...and even that was considered far more sci-fi than fantasy. I'd attempted to read both "The Hobbit" and "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" as a tweenager. I was horribly disappointed with both series because I found them slow, dull, and boring, even at the age of 11. Star Trek was more my speed.

It wasn't until I was 26 years old that I at last allowed myself to read the Harry Potter series. I was bored, alone, recovering from an illness at my parents' home, and had nothing to read except religious texts, self-help books, and religious self-help books. My father, who is somewhat of a fuddy-duddy had listened to the Potter novels on tape, so I figured...what have I to lose?

Ever since I read the participle "thank you very much" at the end of the first sentence in Philosopher's Stone, I was hooked--irrevocably and hopelessly hooked.

I felt like Harry needed me to read his story, that if I didn't continue on with him through his adventures as quickly as I possibly could, that something even more terrible might happen to him. I wound up reading all 5 books in 8 days.

So many events in my own life paralleled his in so many ways...that I found myself identifying with him more and more. This boy was making it through so many destructive forces in his life--and it was a beacon of hope that I needed so desperately.

Allow me to reverse a bit. Remember when I said I was at my parents' home because I was recovering from an illness? I had caught pneumonia, which in turn caused me to miss so much work that I lost my job, which in turn caused me to lose the lease to my own place.

Before moving back in with my folks, I became so distraught that I was literally in the process of going to take my own life...when I was stopped. Thus the illnesses I was recovering from were every bit as physical as they were mental. I was sad and angry and any other feeling you can possibly imagine.

In my suicide survivor support group, we were encouraged to find a hero--somebody we could picture in our minds any time we found ourselves getting caught-up into suicidal ideation--and Harry Potter had become mine, at a time when I needed a hero the most.

It sounds a bit ridiculous when I try to explain it, but Harry Potter and Jo Rowling quite literally saved my life. My story does not end there, however. This is just the beginning of how Rowling has helped me.

Fast forward seven years. I am here now, as a wizard rocker, fan fiction writer, a better friend, and overall better person than I ever thought it was possible for me to be--at least back in 2004. Thank you, Jo, for your brilliance and fortitude in getting your story published. I would likely not even be around today were it not for Harry Potter.

Love and Sincerity,
Rae Carson