I was working at a kiosk in the mall – directly in front of a bookstore – the summer that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published, and I wasn’t impressed.
I hated Harry Potter. I couldn’t stand it. To me, the people waiting outside the bookstore to pick-up their pre-ordered copies were sheep. They were just buying into the hype. They wouldn’t know a good book if Jane Austen herself read Pride and Prejudice over a loudspeaker. I mocked them. I pitied them.
There was only one problem: I had never actually read any Harry Potter.
And really, why would I have? It was a kid’s book, and I was in high school when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was published. I was definitely much too old (and clearly too cool) for it. Witches and wizards? Please.
Then, one night, I got bored. Pushing thirty and home, exhausted, on a Friday night, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was on TV. Getting off the couch wasn’t even an option, and there was nothing better on, so I watched. I didn’t even channel surf, nor did I nap – which is a pretty big deal for the Friday night version of me.
I was intrigued. I tracked down the rest of the movies, and I got the hubs to watch too. We watched the entire series in a week, and wouldn’t you know it? We got hooked.
But there was still an issue. I had an English Literature degree hanging on the wall, and I was studying to be an English teacher, but I still hadn’t read the books. I had to silence my younger self. I duct taped her mouth shut (in true Canadian fashion, naturally) and cracked the books.
Holy crap. I had to take a steadying breath, shake my fist at younger me, and sheepishly admit that I had been wrong.
I questioned my sanity. Why had I been so convinced that I would hate these books? I was an avid reader. I appreciated good writing. I liked entertainment. I routed for the underdog. But, for years, I deprived myself of Harry and the Hogwarts crew. What the hell was I thinking?
Well, I think I thought that I was thinking, at least. As a teen, I had been so committed to shirking what others were doing, determined to do my own thing, that I couldn’t entertain the possibility that I would like something mainstream – something that I was supposed to like.
I have to wonder what else I missed out on – what else didn’t gain the fame and notoriety of the Harry Potter series. Maybe, just maybe, I would be ready for it now.