Tuesday, July 3, 2007

How I Met Harry

I resisted meeting Harry for years. All my friends told me "you'll love him." Family told me "He's just your type." People tried to set us up on dates. I resisted. He seemed juvenile. I wasn't interested. My life was full. I didn't need Harry.

Then, I was doing a play, and EVERYONE was talking about Harry. Finally, I gave in. I decided to find out what all the fuss was about. But I figured he couldn't possibly live up to the hype.

My friend hooked me up. One night, she handed me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, as well as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. (and yes, I'm an American, and so I had to read the Sorcerer's Stone and have Dumbledore talk about Lemon Drops. I can't control the publishers. Don't blame me.)

Three days later I was back at rehearsal, books in hand, asking for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. My friend was still reading it. Exasperated, I turned to my public library, also checking out Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

I was hooked. I loved the books. When I got within 60 pages or so of the end, I couldn't put the book down. Harry wasn't juvenile, at least not in a bad way. He was great! I loved him, and Hermione and Ron and Neville and Dumbledore and.... I excitedly joined in the conversations at rehearsal. Harry Rocks! Later that year the movie came out, and we all gathered to see it together on opening day. We cheered! I wore my "wizard pants" (covered in stars). We talked excitedly afterwards about the movie. (I have to say, as the sequels came out I have become increasingly frustrated with the things they have left out, among other quibbles) I have purchased each new book on its release date, and gobbled it up. I am currently rereading the series in preparation for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It will be an exciting and terrible day, indeed.

Harry got me reading again. Me and thousands of 10 year olds across the globe. I had gotten a bit burned out in college, too many literature classes that ended with me falling asleep on the couch with Lord Jim stuck to my face, and in the 5 years since I had graduated was only reading for pleasure occasionally. But after meeting Harry, I dove back in. I read the whole Chronicle of Narnia series. I started going to the library all the time. I was hooked. Again. On reading. I have Harry to thank. Why oh why did I resist for so long?

How about you? I know there are lots of Harry fans out there. Surely you have interesting stories about how you met Harry. Or why you have resisited meeting Harry. Or perhaps (GASP!) why you don't like Harry. I'd love to hear them.

20 comments:

Furrow said...

I met Harry during that very scary year that I taught middle school English. I considered it homework, but within 2 weeks I had read the first 4 books, and I was hooked. That's one good thing I can say about teaching middle schoolers. Were there others? I forget.

thirtysomething said...

I am going to the library tomorrow and check them out. I feel I have missed out on something.:)

Candygirlflies said...

My favourite "Harry" story is one that J. K. Rowling told a couple of years ago... A little girl came up to her and told her that "Hermie-one" was her favourite character.

Having grown up with Shakespeare and The Winter's Tale, it never even occurred to me that some children might have trouble with the pronunciation of that name. Clearly, it never occurred to J. K. Rowling, either.

It apparently gave her a great laugh. It gave me a good chuckle, as well.

Tracey said...

I met Harry on a whim. I needed a book for a trip, and so bought the paperback because it was there and fast. I WAS HOOKED. I love the books. They are deep, well written and complex. I am rereading the series as well, in preparation for the next one!

bubandpie said...

I first came across Harry as a question I didn't know the answer to on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Shortly after that, a friend loaned me the first three books (this was pre-Goblet of Fire). Prisoner of Azkaban is still my favourite - every book after that has been an initial disappointment, but I've loved them all the second time through, once I know exactly how little plot development will take place and can just settle down and enjoy the story.

niobe said...

How can I put this? I gave him a chance. I honestly did. I usually like children's books, so I started the first book with high expectations, which, sadly, were rapidly dashed. I forced myself to finish reading the first book and then to read the second one and the third one and what I think is the most recent one. I kept thinking I must be missing something because they all seemed, well, like something I probably would have liked a lot if I were 10 years old.

I know that mine is decidedly a minority view and I guess I'll never understand the phenomenon. But I'll be really glad when it's over so I don't have to keep wondering what's wrong with me.

painted maypole said...

That's OK, Niobe, you can still be my friend. ;) There's all sorts of stuff that people love that I just don't get. Reality TV, for instance. arg.

Christine said...

i have never read the books, but want to. really. i just haven't got to it yet. . .

thirtysomething said...

I agree with you on the Reality TV--what a waste of MANY people's time. Ick.

jen said...

we have never made our acquaintances. he's tried, but i've been coy.

thailandchani said...

I never read the books but I do recall getting caught up in "Clan of the Cave Bear". There were several of them, just like Harry... and I gobbled them up.

Just never drawn to Harry at all. :)



Peace,


~Chani

nomotherearth said...

I decided to read them after I saw a MUCH older woman reading the first book while in the waiting room for a specialist appointment. I have never looked back. I am SO excited about July 21st!

Even if you don't like the books, you have to love what the series have done to get kids reading again. It's gotten kids who never read, who don't like to read - to read 600 page books. And want more. Any series that can do that is alright by me.

Sober Briquette said...

I've been a Harry fan since the first book came out. Absolutely love them. The movies too. Sadly, my memory is terrible and I can't remember them the minute I close the back cover.

slouching mom said...

Oh, I loved the first three or so. And then I don't really know what happened, but I stopped reading them. And now I'm hopelessly behind.

Joy, of course said...

I was on Amazon browsing for something to read to my elementary school son and picked this book that had rather good reviews. I had never heard of Harry Potter prior to that but I was really hooked. Brandon and I were doing this thing where he would read a page aloud and I would read a page. For the first time I actually snuck and finished the book ahead of time. Something that was taboo. We all love Harry in our house now. He makes the rounds.

Magpie said...

My father bought the first three books one day, and left them for me. I read them all in a weekend, just entranced. I know I later read th fourth, but I can't remember if I read the fifth, and I know I didn't read the sixth. So, I'm a little indifferent about #7.

ewe are here said...

I originally heard about the first Harry Potter book in a book review way back when I was living in Hawaii. So, after doing a little checking around, I ordered my 6 year old nephew a copy from the UK (amazon co uk) because I just knew he had to have the proper version. Of course I read it before I shipped it off to him in Massachusetts... and was hooked.

I send the UK versions to my sister as well... I'm sure I'll be buying a couple of copies of number 7 in a couple of weeks...

kittenpie said...

As a children's librarian, I am mgihtily impressed that no matter how little editing they subject Ms. Rowling to, no matter how mightily weighty those books grow (and they do, with each volume), no matter how much really should have been trimmed to get to the point faster, kids will still read them. That is some hold she's got on them. The power of a really great writer, and I am impressed. I lvoe that even reluctant readers will take on 750 pages just to be part of it. So much better than other fads, which just pass in the wind, leaving nothing with our kids.

blooming desertpea said...

I met Harry in 1999 at a time when the Harry Potter mania hadn't broken out yet. I had just returned home from a three year stay in Australia and I was on the search for some English book to read. At that time there weren't many English book shops in town and I stumbled upon English books in Children's book shop. I asked the clerk what she would recommend and she said: "these ones are great, they are children's books but good for adults as well ...". Ok, so I found myself buying the "Philosopher's stone". I started to read and I couldn't stop. A few days later I literally ran to the bookshop to get the other two as well ... the rest is history, lol

stacy michelle said...

i'm commenting a little late, but i couldn't resist.

i met harry in the bathtub.

seriously. it was my senior year of college (spring 2000, i think) and i was feeling stressed and wanted to take a bath. i was getting ready, but then i realized i didn't have a book to read. maybe i'm weird, but i can't take a good, relaxing bath without a book. one of my apartmentmates offered me her mom's copy of the first harry book. i'd never even heard of harry potter, but i needed something to read so i figured i'd give it a try.

i don't remember exactly how long i stayed in the bathtub, but i do know i was very wrinkled when i got out!!