Graduation from Hogwarts: the end of Harry Potter and my adolescence

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Unless you live under a rock, you’re aware that the final Harry Potter film was recently released. If you know any fans of the series (statistically speaking, you probably do), you have somewhat of an inkling just how big a fucking deal this is.

For me, Harry Potter ending represents the ending of my childhood. Sure, I didn’t like the movies when they first came out (for many reasons that deserve their own blog post, really), but after the books ended the movies became the last thing to look forward to. Now, the final film has released, and its leaving theatres at the end of summer signals the imminent end to my adolescence.

Ok, ok, I’m almost 25 and so technically my adolescence ended about 6 years ago. Biologically, at least. Socially and mentally, I’m still a teenager. (Socially because no one really treats you like an adult until after the magical age of 25, and mentally because a) when one is treated like a teenager one tends to remain in that mindset and b) I don’t really want to grow up.) When I started reading Harry Potter, I was a really fucked up teenager. I was floundering, lost in depression and bad choices. One morning Mom woke me up by flinging a book at my head; I opened it up and started reading, and from that moment on my life began to change.

The Golden Trio were characters who were major influences during my formative years (as were the rest of the characters in the series). The Harry Potter series taught me about the power of friendship and its value. It taught me about courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. It taught me that it’s ok to be emotional and logical at the same time (Hermione: truly feminist witch). It taught me about strength of heart, and the power of love.

On top of all the lessons the series had to offer me, it also offered me escape – but an escape that I could share with other people, which was far more valuable than an escape only I knew about.

My friends and I were rabid Harry Potter fans. At one point three of us called ourselves the Golden Trio (because we were, really), and a group of my friends in high school and I would run around LARPing on campus as Harry Potter (and Lord of the Rings) characters. (Not true LARP, there were no costumes and we were far from SRS BSNS.) When we didn’t want to think about all the shit that was happening in our lives (and my friends and I went through a lot of shit in our adolescence), we had Hogwarts to escape to.

I used to dream that my letter had gotten lost, and I was truly a student at Hogwarts. Sometimes I still do.

Now, I have to face a future where we’re not waiting for another instalment of the life-changing series (JKR has said that there are “no more books in her” which I have a lot of strong opinions about, but anyway), where everything Harry Potter-related is an expression of nostalgia, not anticipation.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does signify the ending of an era of my life – and the lives of many other people. That ending needs to be mourned. Life goes on, but only after we’ve given what is ended its proper dues.

So I graduate from Hogwarts – I can go back, but as alumni, visiting current students. I don’t have much in common with them – I’m now in the adult wizarding world, working (as an Auror, of course), and I cannot recapture that magic of school days.

My one hope is that someday in the future my children will pick up a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and I can watch the magic begin all over again with a new generation of young wizards and witches, who have yet to learn just how powerful they really are.

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