For most of the books even, I can remember where I bought them. The first couple were from Barnes & Noble. I bought a lot of them at Target (they NEVER had lines on release days!) and I remember going to Target the morning after my wedding in 2005 to get Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with my husband and BFF from Germany before going to my after-wedding brunch. I remember my husband reading it on the balcony of our vacation apartment, overlooking the Mediterranean in Nice, France on our honeymoon. I remember hustling down to Hugendubel bookstore on the Marienplatz in Munich in 2003 to pick up the UK copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for myself and same German BFF and then heading back to her apartment where I read the whole book in a day. I've collected copies in German, Spanish, and French so far, and hope to collect some more.
I have 3 copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in English, all US versions. One of them we just discovered at my Grandma's house after she passed away. It was worn, she had clearly read it, which I thought was way cool. (I already knew my granny was cool, she read Into the Shadows, so there you go!)
I saw all of the movies in the theater, my husband went with me to all of them, and always went on the day they came out, but never at midnight, because I get sleepy!
I have all the films (except for HP 7 Parts 1 & 2) in German and show them to my German students every year. They are bilingual in Harry Potter vocab, which I think is pretty awesome.
I also have a growing Harry Potter poster and Lego collection which has now taken over a room in my house, aptly dubbed the Harry Potter room. It's where my 'office' is now.
I do realize that I'm 33, I'm not a young kid who grew up reading the books. I started reading Harry Potter in the spring of 2000 when a student at Fremd High School in Palatine, where I was student teaching, recommended it to me. She really had to convince me it wasn't just for kids. I was definitely skeptical. But after I read the first book, I was sucked in. J.K. Rowling's writing was so rich, so colorful, so imaginative. She had me from this opening line:
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
Her voice, her style, her British-ness. Awesome. Reading the rest of the books, I was drawn into a world that I loved, somewhere I wished was real. And loved characters like members of the family.
When the books ended in 2007, I was a bit lost, unsure of what to read next. It was then that I decided to start writing. I will never be J.K. Rowling, there is only one throne, and she's earned it. But I must thank her for inspiring me so much. If it wasn't for her and Harry, I wouldn't be writing this blog right now, I wouldn't have written the books I have, I wouldn't have all my friends at DarkSide Publishing, and I wouldn't be sharing this future with you.
Whatever the future brings me for Harry Potter, whether it's Pottermore, or having the ebooks on my Kindle for easy reading, or maybe (one can dream) more books related to the Potter world, as well as a visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, I'm excited for it. My daughter, who is now 4, has seen all the movies, but I look forward to the day she pulls my well-worn hardcovers of the Harry Potter series off the shelf and begins to read them herself. I love it when I hear her playing with other kids and saying "I'm Hermione!" So for her, it's just the beginning.
100 years from now, readers and film fans will continue to enjoy Harry Potter, just like I enjoyed greats like The Wizard of Oz. And hopefully they'll understand why we loved it so much.
And as Severus so succinctly says in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:
"It's real for us."