After ‘Harry Potter,’ Hogwarts ‘will always be there to welcome you home’

Published on USA Today College blog on July 15, 2011. Original post found here.

Seven books published. Eight movies released.

The July 15 premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 marks the official end of the Harry Potter phenomenon.

Technically it was over after July 21, 2007 when the seventh and final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released, but no one likes letting go. When Warner Bros. announced that it would be splitting up the last installment of the wizarding series into two films, fans were relieved that they’d be able to put off dealing with “post-Potter depression” just a little bit longer.

I think it’s safe to say that we college kids will have the hardest time saying goodbye. We grew up always having Harry Potter in our lives, going from grade schools to universities with the series. The end of it all feels like an unofficial marker of the end of our childhoods.

We picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — our introduction to the imaginative and beautiful wizarding world — in third grade, waited outside of Barnes & Noble at midnight to get our hands on a new copy of Goblet of Fire, lined up in movie theaters at 10 p.m. to ensure a good seat at the midnight showing of Half-Blood Prince and went on an Internet hiatus to avoid accidently reading spoilers, real or fake, about Deathly Hallows.

As cheesy as it sounds, we are the Hogwarts Generation. We had the privilege of growing up with Harry, Ron, Hermione & Co., and we’re the only group of people to ever be able to have that pleasure and perspective.

Now what? We can’t survive in the panic mode that switched on when we reluctantly realizedDeathly Hallows: Part 2 was more or less the last push into adulthood. Living in denial, try as we might, won’t work. And just like our process for writing papers and studying for finals, we’re going to procrastinate with this ending, too.

Like any loss, we have to learn to accept that our adventures with Harry Potter are over and there are no new journeys at Hogwarts left for us. Yet, with that acceptance comes the knowledge that the Boy Who Lived will always be there for our generation. After all, J.K. Rowling, the magical mastermind behind the books, said at the emotional London premiere of the eighth movie on July 7, “The stories we love best do live in us forever.”

We might not have any new midnight movie premieres or book releases to count down, and we won’t be able to analyze any new adaptations of the story from print to picture, but we do have all seven books and eight movies waiting on our shelves to revisit the magic at any time.

Just as JKR, always with the right, eloquent words, reminded us at the London premiere: “Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”


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