Friday, the final installment of the Harry Potter movieseries hits American theaters. It is the end of an era for many of us. Forsome, it means the end of a series of 8 movies, for me it is the end of ajourney that started with the first book and one more example that my son isgrown and no longer my reading/movie buddy.
The journey started for us 10 years ago when my son was only9. He was reading above his grade level and I was at a loss as to what I couldoffer him. Our house was full of my nonfiction books and his very young readers’soft backs. I did what any good mother would; I headed for the local independentbook store (remember when every town had one of these?) in the hopes of findinga book or two that would hold his attention as it was becoming clear my son wasbecoming a voracious reader. Alex was coming home with armfuls of schoollibrary books, reading at a pace that matched my own. So, heading towards the northcost in our purple jeep (yep, I used to have a purple jeep) I wracked my brainas to what book I could introduce Alex to. At his age I was reading Nancy Drewstories, would he like the Hardy Boys? Was there a new series for boys? As wedrove he went on and on about the boring library books and lamented the lack ofimaginative books found within its walls. Can you picture a 9 year old decryingthe lack of imagination in children’s books? By the time we got to the bookstore I was convinced nothing would satisfy his need for something new andexciting. We lived on the California coast and our cozy independent book storewas small. I was under no illusions that we would find the perfect book.
The smell of that book store will always stay with me; a mixof new book pulp and sea water. All ocean side buildings, no matter how new, absorbthe light musty smell of salt water and seaweed. It is a comforting smell tothose of us who live or lived, on the coast; it is the smell of home. Alex ran over to the children’s sectionintent on finding the perfect book. I looked over to the owner with pleading eyes,could she possibly recommend a book for my picky reader?
So started our journey with Harry Potter. Theowner of the book store (oh what was her name?) pulled a large book from astack and told us that she was having a hard time keeping these in stock. Itseemed everyone was reading Harry Potterand the Sorcerer’s Stone. I was apprehensive; it seemed an awful large bookfor a 9 year old. Alex sat on the floor and started reading, about two pages inhe looked up with his green eyes wide with excitement and asked if we could buyit. I was not sure if I believed he would finish it, but that look got to me,we purchased it and headed home. One week later he finished it, and our love ofall things Potter had begun. He and I read all the books and watched all themovies and argued over Snape’s role as a bad guy. Alex thought he was bad, Ithought he was good, but that may due to Alan Rickman’s portrayal, rather thanwhat I read in the pages. During hishigh school years, Alex read the last three books. The movies no longer held a fascinationfor him, but the books always did. Now, the last movie is coming out, and I amreminded that this is the end of an era. I wonder if my grandchildren will lovethe books. I am keeping them, just in case.