My collection of Harry Potter merchandise isn’t as vast as some fans out there, but I do have some tokens from midnight releases that I’ve been to. But even though the tokens and merchandise are great to have, it’s the books that I fell in love with. Each and every book means something to me that’s priceless. For instance, I know that my copies of Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets are falling apart and in dire need of replacing, but I keep procrastinating on updating to hardback replacements because it was those two books that are marked with my middle school mascot that made me fall in love with the series in the first place. I finished both of them within a week.
I received Prisoner of Azkaban on the day it was released as a gift and it was the first time I ever anticipated the release day for a book. I remember being extremely antsy and being overly dramatic about not having the money to go out and buy it. My parents came home from Kroger and gifted it to me and I showed them my appreciation by holing myself up in my room on a glorious summer day and only came out to eat and use the bathroom. I finished it in about 2-3 days.
My copy of Goblet of Fire was slightly destroyed by a dog. I never quite forgave the dog for ruining the cover and putting bite marks on my beloved book, but it’s still in tact. Luckily it got slightly destroyed after I had finished reading the book, which took about 3 days.
After the destruction of Goblet of Fire, I was determined to never have any future Potter book get destroyed. I stayed on my toes when I received Order of the Phoenix (which I finished in 2 days) and it was the first book that made me stop and pause over a character’s death. I was shaken. I didn’t understand how J.K. Rowling could take Sirius away from Harry. I was rooting for Harry’s happiness, after all, the Dursleys weren’t exactly the most affectionate relatives in the world and Sirius, despite being wanted, was his father in a way.
The first time I went to a midnight release party was with Half-Blood Prince (I have the bracelet to prove this). A book has never made me cry so much. I was a complete mess with Dumbledore’s death. Here was a man who I had grown up with, respected, and cherished. I felt as close to him as Harry felt. I’ve never been so enraptured with a character’s back story, either, as I was with Severus and Lily. There was a point in the book that I felt where Harry really shouldn’t have existed at all because, despite knowing that they never ended up together, I still wanted them to be together. I finished the book in 21 hours.
I have never, in my life, devoured a book as quickly as Deathly Hallows, especially when taking its massive size in account. I didn’t cry nearly as much as I did with Half-Blood Prince (surprising, really), but I felt just as hollow as the characters did with each and every death that came. I prayed that all my favorite characters would somehow make it through (Lupin, Tonks, Dobby, should I really go on?) and I desperately wanted Harry to make it through and have a happy ending. Even though I kind of knew that Harry and Hermione wouldn’t end up together, I still clung on to the hope that they would because one has to admit, they did have some sweet moments especially in Deathly Hallows. I finished the last installment in 19-20 hours.
It was sometime past 1 am when I closed Deathly Hallows and there was a thud of finality when I shut the book. I never wanted to admit to myself that there would never be another Harry Potter to wait for because Warner Brothers was still making the movies. But with the final movie looming ever closer, I can hear that same thud echoing at night.