Scarvey column: End of the Harry Potter era

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 15, 2011

It has to be a time of mixed emotions for Harry Potter fans. On the one hand, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” just came out. That’s reason to rejoice.
On the other hand, it’s the last Harry Potter movie. That’s reason to mourn, especially for a generation of young people who spent much of their childhoods reading the books and watching the movies.
Karen Puckett’s daughters, who are 18 and 20, grew up on the Harry Potter books and movies.
“It’s like the last Harry Potter movie came out with that ‘end of childhood’ theme right when childhood ended in my own household,” she says.
I can relate to that, since my daughters are about the same ages.
“It’s kind of saddening,” says Bethany Vodchosky, 15, a self-described Harry Potter fanatic.
But she’s also excited to see the film and she knows she’ll end up watching it over and over, as she’s done the others. So far, “The Prisoner of Azkaban” is her favorite.
On Thursday, her family — including her brother Kevin, 21, the other fanatic in the household — had a Harry Potter party at their house, watching some of the earlier movies and making homemade “butter beer” (a concoction that other Harry Potter fans will understand).
Mary Dalton, a communication professor at Wake Forest University who reviews films for WFDD, says that reading the books made her feel like a kid again. In her view, the films are complements to the books rather than standalone products — they are components in the whole Harry Potter experience.
“I have enjoyed all the books and the movies,” says Frances Miller of Salisbury.
She remembers reading the first Harry Potter book to her son Luke for his “night reading” at school, which required him to read aloud to his parents each night.
Frances couldn’t wait sometimes and would read ahead.
She didn’t say if she divulged this to Luke at the time. I suspect not.
Robin Daye of Salisbury says her favorite part of the whole Harry Potter phenomenon was that she could “read something really fun at the same time as my kids.”
“We could actually talk about a book; for an English teacher, that’s pretty big. I’ll miss them terribly.”
“You’ve got to love a popular series of books and films where the strongest magic is mother’s love in an age where our children seem to act as though they don’t need parents for anything,” says Julie Ontko Parker of Mocksville. “I love the theme throughout that we are stonger and can accomplish more when working with those who love us and communicating with our family and friends.
“I am looking forward to seeing Mrs. Weasley attack Belatrix for going after her children!” she adds.
As for me, I don’t count myself among the biggest fans of J.K. Rowling’s books, but my own personal taste aside, I love the books because my children loved them and because it made them want to read and read and read some more.
I’ll never forget going on Quinn’s Make-a-Wish-Trip about seven or eight years ago. One of the Harry Potter books had just come out, and I remember moving heaven and earth to get my hands on it for my older daughter Spencer before we left. I have a distinct memory of her finishing the book while we were waiting in an airport.
When she had finished, she heaved a big sigh — the kind of sigh you hear people make after eating a particularly large and delicious meal — and closed the book. She tucked it in her backpack.
About five minutes later, she pulled it out and opened it to chapter one and began reading.
And that, for me, is the true magic of Harry Potter.
Contact Katie Scarvey