Saw the new trailer for HP7 the other night. Completely floored. This is going to be the best Harry Potter movie yet, as it should be. But as excited as I am, I'm also a little sad it's all going to come to an end, just as I was when the final book came out.
I imagine all HP fans share this sentiment, but I have a particular soft spot for HP. I was introduced to this amazing series at one of the lowest times in my life. It was the summer before my final year of college, and I was pretty sick (understatement). I had the misfortune of contracting Lyme disease, which probably doesn't mean much if you're not from Connecticut. I'll spare you the details but basically you feel so crappy that everything loses meaning. You don't have enough energy to email your friends and even watching TV is an effort. I couldn't walk or talk properly because my motor skills were all messed up. After I was released from the hospital I mainly laid in bed half-hoping that the next day I'd have enough energy to get out of it, and half-scared that even if I could get up, I still wouldn't be able to walk and it would all be pointless.
And then one night my sister came into my room carrying Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and pressed it into my hand. She thought I'd like it, she said. Now I hadn't been reading middle grade or YA at the time--I was an English Lit major in college so most of my time was spent reading the classics. I'd heard about Harry Potter--they'd already made the first couple of movies at this point--but it never occurred to me that the books would be something I'd like. But I guess there's something about being sick that takes us back to a childlike state, the need to feel like we're going to be taken care of an everything is going to be okay. So I gave it a try.
I didn't think I'd be able to get through more than a few pages at a time, but I did! I totally got sucked into the world of Hogwarts and for a little while forgot about the crap going on in my own world. And at a time when nothing seemed worth exerting the energy for, I managed to get through that first book in a matter of days.
I wasn't the only person going through a terrible time then. Every American and a bunch of people around the world were, too. Because I was so sick, I had to delay going back to school. And that meant I was still in bed that September in 2001, barely able to process what my father was telling me when he called from work that morning to tell us that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.
I write because I believe in the power of books, their ability to transport us when our own world is falling down around us. Whether it's a blockbuster series that brings together millions of fans, or a singular story that touches us on a personal level. I'll never replicate J.K. Rowling's success, and that's okay. All I hope is that one day I'll have a book out there, and some girl who just broke up with her boyfriend, or lost a tough basketball game, or was bullied at school, will pick it up and for a few hours she'll get sucked into the world I created and her day will be a little bit better for it.
So tell me, are you an HP fan? If not, is there a particular book out there that got you through a rough time?