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Nine Years Later or Why I Should Be a Patient in St,. Mungo's Hospital...
“Har-ry Pooootteeeeerrrrr!” Mum sings at me through my bedroom door.
I groan and mumble back, “Mu, guway! M’ geddin up.” I scowl towards the door, but in my groggy imagination a lit wand is raised towards the sky. I roll out of bed and crawl over to the dresser, where I don my Time-Turner “Exact Replica.” I spin it on its golden hinges, and I smile.
At school I am filled with overflowing joy. Today Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One is coming to theaters. As I have passed through the grades at my school, Harry was always here. From kindergarten on, this fictional boy lived for me and many of my classmates. I remember reading the first book when I was six, back in kindergarten:
My sticky hands grasped the pages as I lay on our tan couch, my toes not even close to reaching the other end. My mother walked by, vacuuming the carpet, but I didn’t even notice. My eyes scanned the pages faster than ever before. I was strolling through the grounds at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, my mind stuck deep inside the world of magic.
Now, almost nine years later, here I am, still a voluntary captive inside the wizarding world. Over the years I collected a huge amount of Harry Potter stuff and sentimental souvenirs, including a Time-Turner, book release slip, Muggle-fest ticket, trading cards, video games, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Universal Studio’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter merchandise, Butterbeer, Margarine Mead, Film Wizardry, and so much more. The shelf above my dresser is filled to the exploding point with Harry Potter collectibles, posters, tchotchkes, bottles of (unopened) juices and concoctions, you name it.
Through all of it, there have been doubters: people who questioned the almighty Potter. I think back to third grade, when my best friend Morgan, completely attached to Nancy Drew, refused to even read a Harry Potter, in case it meant abandoning her beloved Nancy:
We screamed as we flew into the turquoise sky and jumped off into the air. I yelled, “Look, Morgan, I’m flying my broomstick. Come play Quidditch with me!” She laughed as she tumbled to the ground,
“Quid—what? No, I’m Nancy Drew, jumping off a cliff to save somebody’s life!”
She ran up the slide hugging George, her worn, stuffed monkey,
I replied “That’s no fun. You could do that in real life. Come on, Morgy, learn some magic!”
Eventually she gave in and read the books; of course, she was hooked. She submitted to the imperius curse cast by Harry Potter.
I get my daily Potter dosage in many ways — the original books, along with movies, commentaries, and “Behind-the-Scenes”— but my favorite of all is listening to Harry on CD. Jim Dale reads the books with a voice to match every character. I remember the time when I listened to the CD of Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, also narrated by Dale, right after listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:
I lay on my bed, and Dale’s voice sounded in my room, except this time it was a new story. Each of his familiar voices was meant for a new character, a new personality. As Verne’s words drifted through the air, Detective Fix’s voice entered the action. I snapped out of my silent trance, sat up, looked around the room, and yelled “BELLATRIX LESTRANGE?!” before realizing my mistake. The cat, spooked by my sudden outburst, sprinted across my desk and knocked over my star-spangled Dumbledore doll. I stood up, disconcerted by Dale’s French accent, padded over to the desk, and realigned the small, cloth figure.
Next year I will leave my cozy little grade school for the crazy, frightening, adventurous world of high school. I will still have Harry— I always will— but somehow I think he’ll seem less substantial to me. Maybe that’s because everything will be behind me then: no more new books, no new movie releases, no new characters to befriend, no new plotlines to unravel. On June tenth, when I leave CTL for good, I don’t know how I’ll feel: lost, grown up, depressed? I do know that I’ll be ready, and that part of my childhood will have ended, pale, distant —like a ghost. But I know That Harry will have prepared me for whatever’s coming next. Whatever happens, deep inside me, I’ve got a friend.