Thanking Potter and Company in Trafalgar Square on Bates Ave

Potter and the gang is in London – Trafalgar Square in London is packed, some people have been camping there for a week; it is being reported as possibly the largest premiere crowd for a movie ever.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part II opened today in London.  According to the master of ceremonies in the Square the previous 7 films have grossed between $8 and $10 billion world-wide in the last 10 years; and over 450 million books have been sold since the first one was published in 1997.

Harry Potter did not come into my life until 2002; I met Harry, Heroine and Ron sitting in my mother’s living room with my grandchildren.  It happened just after my grandson’s eight birthday.  I had been  looking for a book to read to him and his sister; my mother read to her children, collectively and individually – it is one of the most powerful bonding activity that I know and I want to have that experience with my grandchildren.   I asked my sister Sue for advice on a book to read; she worked in book stores and knows a great deal about children’s books – Harry Potter was her suggestion, even as early as 2002 the series was already a phenomenon.

Every Sunday my grandchildren and I went to my mother’s house to do hang out, eat and take her grocery shopping.   In June, we started reading the first book together, one or two chapters a week – okay sometime three when it was really exciting; we finished the first book in time to see the first movie together.  We read each of the books, one chapter and one Sunday at a time.  They each read the books to themselves as well, and still reread them, my granddaughter is currently rereading the last one before we see the final movie.  We have seen each of the movies together and at some point got the DVDs and watched them together and we bought the books together, standing in line with other fans to buy a book as soon as it went on sale.

The reading was usually just four of us, my granddaughter, grandson, my mother and I; sometimes other people were there, but mostly it was just us.  In some ways, it has felt like it was our private story and our private world; we lived it together.  The movies started that way too and extension of our reading;  but going to the moves have grown in to a major family holiday with 20 or so people going together to Potter.  This will be the last time for us, just as it is for the cast of the film and all of the other fans around the world.  It is fitting in a way; my granddaughter was 10 years old and my grandson 8 years old when we started reading Potter together, this year she will be a sophomore in college and he is a senior in high school; like the children in the movie they are nearly grown and finished with that stage of their education.  The private world of Potter that we shared belongs to that time, when Natasha and Johnny were children learning about the world, just like Harry, Hermione and Ron – all have grown up and gone on with their lives; and like Daniel, Rupert and Emma they are attractive, confident and capable human beings.   I was always the old man, something like Dumbledore – although we ones don’t have to die as he did, but the future does not belong to us – the past was ours the future is theirs.

In Trafalgar Square the actors, directors and the writer, J. K. Rowling are all standing on stage making speeches about the books, the films and the contribution of the series to everyone of their lives; they cried and laughed and each thanked the other and all of the fans world-wide.  So now, I would like to thank them for all of the wonderful hours of entertainment I shared with my grandchildren because of Harry Potter.   thanks harry (my mother really did live on Bates Avenue Mr. Hitchcock)


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