Goodbye, Harry This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

July 18, 2011
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I first met Harry James Potter in 2001. At the time, I did not fully understand the first movie. I was just a kid, and seeing the magic happen – like Wingardium Leviosa and the giant chess set – was enough to make me watch it.

I first met him in 2001, but I fell in love with him in 2006. Truth be told, it was complete coincidence. I just needed to borrow something from the library when my eyes fell upon the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I decided to try reading it. Little did I know back then how much he would affect my life.

His story, which I barely understood up until then, captivated me. Harry was just a nobody with a lightning scar on his forehead; he was an orphan, living under his aunt and uncle’s roof for the past 10 years. But on his 11th birthday, the most magical thing happened. He found out that he was a wizard, just like his parents, and he was chosen to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There, he found friends in Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. He found out the secrets of his past, and he triumphed over the Dark Lord, the one who murdered his parents and tried to kill him when he was just a baby, giving him his lightning-shaped scar.

Maybe it was the whole fantasy and magical concept, maybe it was how author J.K. Rowling wrote it, or maybe because it was how real, genuine and unique the characters – Harry, Ron, Hermione, the wise wizard Dumbledore and the Potions professor Snape – are, but something about the series drew me in, and in the following months, I finished reading the whole series.

I became a ‘Potterhead’. I learned the quotes by heart and I eagerly awaited the next films. On July 21, 2007, I was one of the many who arrived early at SM North Edsa to claim their copy of the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

No one could have read that book and did not close its pages crying, for many of the characters did not survive. I remember reading about one particular death one lunchtime, and when the bell rang, I felt so numb and hollowed, so shocked to the point that I barely noticed where I was going. That night, I cried myself to sleep because of the memories of the Half-Blood Prince.

But despite the fatalities of the concluding battle, the series ended with a happy ending. Nineteen years later after they defeated the Dark Lord Voldemort, Harry was able to start a family, Ron and Hermione ended up together, and the wizarding world was at peace. Ultimately, the epilogue gave a sense of finality, and I am sure that I am not the only one who did not want to close the last book, who did not want it to end.

But end it did. Last July 14, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 premiered in the Philippines, and every cinema was full. Everyone wanted to see the ending, wanted to see the conclusion of the story of The Boy Who Lived.

It all ended. I think I cannot emphasize this enough. It was the end of an era, dubbed by many critics as the ‘Harry Potter decade’. It was the end of a saga praised by many and loved by all. It was the end of a way of life for the dedicated fans who stuck with Harry until the very last page. It was the end of a childhood for everyone who wished and waited for Hagrid on their eleventh birthday.

But the funny thing is, even though the magical world of Harry Potter is now gone, it still lives on. It lives on in the heart of every fan, of everyone who was touched by Harry’s story one way or another. It lives on in our thoughts, when we use a flashlight and whisper Lumos, when we hear the first notes of Hedwig’s Theme, when we dream of going to the castle where the movies were shot, when we tell the story to our future children.

Just like what J.K. Rowling said in the London premiere of the last movie, “No story ends unless someone wants to listen... Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you back home.”

I want to thank you Harry, for teaching me the importance of friendship, the invincible protection of love, and the bravery to fight for what’s right and to protect one’s friends no matter what the cost. You have been my hero in all the years I have known you.

Thank you, J.K. Rowling, for introducing these wonderful characters to the world. Thank you for making me laugh, for making me cry, and for making me aspire to be a writer one day.

To everyone in Harry Potter, to all the cast, the crew, and the publishing house, thank you for the story of a lifetime. You have inflamed my passion for reading and writing, and I am truly grateful for that.

And now, no matter how much I would prefer not to say it, goodbye, Harry.

For now, at least.

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