I knew back in 2007 that my childhood was, inevitably, coming to an end. I graduated high school and turned 18 later in the year. And sometime between the two I went to the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. My journey with Harry started when I was 11 — the age when all wizards and witches get their letters from Hogwarts. At the time, half of my fellow sixth graders were required to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I stayed strong for most of the year, lamenting that Harry Potter was nothing but a fad, that everyone would forget about it in a year or two, and that I was not a follower, but a leader. In fact, I detested anything that was deemed popular ranging from flared pants to Nike shoes.
Every year our school had an annual book fair hosted by Scholastic and every year I would end up buying something. That year, I caved in to buying Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets since it was, after all, a buy one, get one free deal. I thought, that if anything, it would be slightly enjoyable. I never conceived that of all my friends, I would turn into the Potter nerd. I gave Sorcerer’s Stone a one chapter try: if I wasn’t intrigued or hooked by chapter one, I’d read it later when it wasn’t so popular, or after I saw the movie. I ended up devouring the books and wondering how long I had to wait for Prisoner of Azkaban.
And since I was 11, there was always a Potter book or movie to look to. I adored Hermione, looking up to her as the perfect role model. I knew that if she were real, I’d want to have her as a friend so we could have study parties together (yeah, I was such the nerd). The people of Hogwarts were people I respected and grew to love.
And it wasn’t just J.K. Rowling who I grew up with. Pixar gave my generation a tearful goodbye with Toy Story 3. We were first introduced to the magical world of computer generated animation in 1995. Who would’ve known that in 2011 computer generated animation would become the norm and nearly push traditional hand-drawn animation to extinction?
In all the years that I grew with Harry and went to Hogwarts with him, I had never dressed up for a midnight release or even for Halloween. Perhaps it was because I thought I was too old for that. But as an ode to my childhood, I felt it necessary to dress up at least once when it was still deemed acceptable. If I was any older and I had dressed up many might think that I’m weird, or immature, or even trying to relieve the “glory days” of my youth. And that’s the sad thing about growing up. We stop playing dress up, we worry about upcoming bills, we stop dreaming. We’re hammered every day about rising unemployment and our dwindling finances. But for the last time, I was able to revisit Hogwarts at midnight. I was allowed to dress up, to dream, to not worry.
Our simple lives end with childhood. Maybe it hit home for you when you saw the epilogue: knowing that in a few years our generation would end up married with kids of our own. But Pixar did it best with Andy leaving Woody and company with Bonnie and driving away to college. To Generation Potter: it’s time to leave our simple lives behind and accept our fate. It was fun while it lasted though, wasn’t it?