I grew up with Harry. The first time I read each book, I was never more than two years older than Harry was and really could relate to him and his emotions. When I reread them as a college student, I was astounded at the literary depth I had missed the first go around and how she could make so many references tie together almost seamlessly across seven books. I read them in a whole new light that made me appreciate them even more.
I've been following Mark Reads Harry Potter, a guy in his 20s reading the Harry Potter series for the first time relatively spoiler free and blogging his each chapter. Experiencing them again with him as he read them combined with the first part of the last Harry Potter movie coming out has put me in a nostalgic mood. So I got curious to other's experiences with Harry Potter and asked the group.
When I first discovered the Harry Potter books, 1-3 were in print and I got them from my parents. I loved them so much that while waiting for the Goblet of Fire to come out, I reread them over and over again. For about 4-5 months. I must have read them over 8 times in that period, my parents thought I was crazy.
I also read loads of fanfiction while waiting for the next book to come out, most of them centered around Harry's parents' time at Hogwarts. It gave me my Sirius fix anytime, he's my favourite character. I have to admit I even wrote some myself, one of those is a story I never finished, a cross-over between Harry Potter and Charmed, which I was also obsessed with at the time.
I have so many great memories from that time and just reading the books, the anticipation when the next one was almost coming out.. It's what made me start reading books in English, it took way too long for them to get translated!Lori said:
I was 10 years old when I first read them. My grandma ordered the first three for me from Amazon. (I'd never received anything from Amazon before, so I remember it well) I don't recall expressing a desire to read them; they just showed up one day. But I did read them because I loved reading. I fell in love with them. Then I spent the next ten years of my life waiting for the rest of the books to come out. I never went to any watch parties or anything, but we always reserved/preordered the books. I started joking with my mom that the series is really about what was supposed to happen to me because I have a scar on my forehead. A couple of days ago we were talking about how I got it and I swore I saw a bright green light and heard screaming. She wasn't amused. I was 12 when the 4th book came out. I snuck it to summer camp with me, against my mom's expressed wishes. I cried when the 7th book came out and I read the dedication because it was, in part, dedicated to me.
Each new book that came out, I read and read and read and finished in a couple of days. I don't think that people who start reading now really understand because they don't have to wait two years in between each book. They don't have to resort to speculation; they just pick up the next one. My eleven year old cousin is reading them and all I can do it shake my head at her because she just doesn't get it and takes them for granted in a way. Yeah, that totally sounds crazy, but Harry Potter has been over half of my life.Jess said:
I received Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when I turned 10, from my uncle's then-girlfriend (now wife). I distinctly remember it; she purchased it from the Village Toy Shop, which I knew because it had a small sticker covering the price. I devoured the book within a day, and hopped on my family's first computer to see if there were more books. I found two websites (very bare bones by today's standards), one of which was the beginnings of the Harry Potter Lexicon. I heard rumors of a sequel, but it wasn't for sure. In the time between reading the first book and the release of the second, I read and reread the first book constantly. Something about the characters and the world J.K. Rowling constructed captured my attention. To this day I continue to reread the entire Harry Potter series at least once a year, often taking one of the shorter books on vacation as comfort reads. I'm also incredibly proud that neither of my copies of the Sorcerer's Stone and the Chamber of Secrets say "Book #" on the spine. (I was an original reader before Pottermania, I like to think.)Jessi said:
September 22, 1999. I turned ten that day. My aunt was in town and she’s been one of my best friends since I was a little girl. For my birthday, I got a cassette tape of Britney Spears “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” and my aunt gave me a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone. God help me, but I was more excited about Britney Spears than Harry Potter. In all honesty, I wasn’t too thrilled about Harry Potter. This was before all the hype, and I really didn’t know too much about who this Harry kid was. Plus, at that age, fantasy books weren’t really my thing.
Hah. What did I know then?
Well, about a week later, I sat down with the book. I ate it up. And then ate it up again. And again. I loved Harry! Were there more books? I had to know. I went to school and we always had those Scholastic book order things, and I was big on those. I was so excited the day I saw Chamber of Secrets for sale! It’s been a love affair ever since. I bought the second and third books from the book order. I pre-ordered the fourth book, the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh, and I’ll be sure to pre-order anything else J.K. Rowling ever puts out.I also decided to find out why people had not read Harry Potter or if there were any stories about that.
I too have never read them. In all honesty, I don't know why I haven't. My friend Andrea is forcing me to read them. So, maybe someday!Jen said:
I think I was in middle school when the Harry Potter craze began. At first I didn't want to read the books because wizards and stuff like that didn't really interest me. Then I think a couple more books came out and I just didn't want to give into the masses and I resisted the craze once again. Then I felt that the books were hyped up so much that I was afraid of a letdown. Now I'm a little more curious about the series...but unfortunately I've heard many spoilers so I don't think I'd be as engaged in the story since I kind of know what happens. Lastly, I'm afraid of reading the books and not liking them. I feel like I should read them and love them...but what if I don't? Who knows, maybe one day I'll finally pick up the first book!Jamie said:
I just wasn't into wizards or fantasy when they first came out. I started to read the first one and really liked it but I don't remember why I put it down. I just never picked it back up despite so many people telling me should. I think I've just felt like it would be as great as an experience for me because I wasn't young anymore. If you see our list of future Top Ten Tuesday's, you'll see one called "Top Ten Books I Resolve to Read in 2011"..you can bet HP is on the list for me. I need to see what I'm missing.
So what is your Harry Potter story? Have you ever read the books? Do you just watch the movies? Have you even heard of Harry Potter? (ha). I want to hear your stories, any and all (though I would like to keep the comments spoiler free, thanks)! As of this writing I am heading out to the midnight showing in a few hours and I am starting again to feel that anticipation that I've come to love... a new Harry Potter experience