I said I’d do a post about my relationship with Harry Potter someday, and today happens to be that day because I’m bored and have nothing else to talk about.
I’m currently 16, and I first discovered Harry when I was 11. Well, not ‘discoverd’, because of course I already had heard of it a long time before, but I thought it was this dark scary tale about a wizard who lives in a distorted wonderland (that was my initial impression) and fights giant snakes (because I had seen the last scene of the second movie on TV once; although I didn’t even know it was the second movie. I thought Harry Potter was just a single film). Either ways, all the books and movies had already come out, except the very last one.
So, at 11, I was properly introduced to the Harry Potter universe. A close friend who was an avid reader like me and who was also a Potterhead was like ‘you should read harry potter‘ and I was like ‘okay‘ so I did.
She lent me the first book (she had them all in French; back then I didn’t even know how to speak English) and at the time it was the biggest book I’ve read (even though it was like 350 pages; little did I know that there was a little something called Order of the Phoenix in my near future that would smash that record). I started reading it in a boring class, probably history or arabic. As you might know, the first chapter may be the dullest of the series, as in the first few pages not much happens (I’ve been told by someone that they refused to read the whole series judging by these first few pages. I know they’re dumb but what can we do). Still, it was better than listening to the teacher ramble about some historically boring battle, so I kept reading. At home, I had gotten to the vanishing glass chapter, and at that point I was very intrigued. How the hell did he do dis?! So I kept going until I got to the big reveal (Yer a wizard, Harry) which btw is less iconic in French because Hagrid has no accent. I had gotten to the fifth chapter and was fully intending to continue but unfortunately my mom came and said it was bed time so I slept.
I don’t remember exactly how long it took me to finish that book, I do however remember being sure it was Snape who did it; and the last chapter would have been a huge surprise, if it wasn’t for my friend who told me a few pages before it ‘guess who QUIRELL turns out to be!‘ I don’t know if she did it on purpose or if she thought I’d guess something like he was actually a female stripper who pretends to be a male wizard to feed her family and she has a turban to hide her long hair. Did she really think I wasn’t going to guess he had something to do with Voldemort?!
So anyway, I still enjoyed the ending and was like ah well Voldemort is probably dead for good now and they’ll live happily ever after, and that Giant Snake I saw on TV wasn’t in the book because it might scare children who read it. So imagine my shock when my friend told me that there were six other books.
She gave me the second one (which had the Giant Snake in it), and it all started to get bigger and scarier from there. My reading speed also picked up incredibly, which was a relief, because if it wasn’t the case, the fifth book would have taken me ages. It was 1031 pages. 1031! I didn’t know a book could be that big! I prided myself then, and I still pride myself now about reading it three times. It should be noted that I’m under the impression that the french versions are bigger. The english version of that book was roughly 800-900 pages or so. Maybe it was that French words are longer and more complicated than English ones, or maybe Jean-François Ménard (the traductor) liked to ramble or just insert additional text wherever he liked because it’s nobody’s business but his.
I took the last book with me to read it during summer vacation. I feel like I’m one of the lucky few who got to read the books after they all came out without the ending being spoiled. Because now pretty much every knows what happens. I remember reading it twice because I had nothing to do all summer. That same summer, the last movie came out, and I found a cheap copy at a DVD store, so I bought it and watched it, because the closest cinema was like an hour by car, and my parents weren’t going to take me to watch witchcraft and sorcery because my uncle told them it would somehow make me a satanist (he’s a man of religion). My parents didn’t exactly buy into that but they still weren’t very fond of the whole thing. But that’s alright because they never really made an effort to stop me.
This is getting long, and it’s not even half of the story, so I think I’m going to stop here and write the second part later. [which I did – read it here.]
Do you have a special relationship with a book, movie or even a character? Let me know in the comments and we can share our craziness together.