I found a draft of this post that I started back in early July 2011, and thought I would finish and post it. It made me quite emotional reading it back!
It was started when I first found out about the "Dear Mr Potter" book, and I have since bought a copy which I can't read without crying!
Here's my letter:
Dear Mr. Potter,
I remember the moment we met, very clearly. Granny (Ravenclaw) had bought 'The Philosopher's Stone' for herself from a 2nd hand bookshop. She handed it to me in the car to have a look at, and told me she'd bought it because the papers were going crazy about this boy wizard, and she wanted to see what the fuss was about. Well, as far as I know, she has still never even read the first book. The church made its' position on Harry clear fairly early on, although I have never shared its' view.
(My Mum (Hufflepuff) on the other hand has definitely read books 1-4, even if she may deny it now!)
I wasn't hooked from the first page, but then, you were just a baby, I needed you to grow up a bit before I got to know you. I think it was the Hogwarts letters that got me. If I had been younger, I would have been waiting there at my letterbox from midnight on my 11th birthday, waiting for my letter, and even though I know it's just a story, I would have been devastated when it didn't arrive.
Prisoner of Azkaban was still in hardback at the time, but I devoured PS and CoS very quickly, and waited until it came out in paperback before buying it. I never bought another paperback. I've privately wondered who DOES wait for an HP paperback to come out, and why they even bother to print them.
I think it was because of the wait between books, but I got into fanfiction pretty quickly after GoF - I was 18, and discovered the yahoo group for Cassie Clare's 'Draco Trilogy' and Lori Summers' 'Paradigm of Uncertainty'. This was my first (and only, so far) fandom, my first yahoo group, and my first experience of amazing well-written stories of characters I knew intimately, written by fans. I wish I had got into the fandom in person this early on, but it was just online. Cassie was in the middle of Draco Sinister, and I waited eagerly for each weekly chapter, and any cookies in between. I can't believe this was ten years ago.
Cassie and Lori both had a livejournal, I was used to reading their entries, and by 2003 I also had a livejournal. My fandom journey continued on LJ. I discovered Emma Grant, and fell in love with Harry and Draco as a couple, after exploring the possibilities of their deep friendship in Cassie's trilogy.
I met my ex (Slytherin) on LJ, in 2004. We went to see Goblet of Fire at the cinema on our first date and spent many long hours in Potterverse debate.
I remember when, where and with whom I saw each film:
- PS with my Dad in Vienna (I was spellbound but Dad was fiddling with a water bottle the whole way through, and I didn't really want to chat to him about the film afterwards as he hadn't read the book and just didn't get it!)
- CoS with Liz in Camden.
- PoA with Liz again
- GoF with Jen and Abi in Vienna
- OotP with my ex (at the IMAX I think)
- HBP on my own in Celebration, Florida when on a family holiday to Disneyland
- DH1 as a work's do
- DH2 as a work's do
YouTube entered my consciousness in a big way in 2006, when I started getting into wizard rock, and looking up my favourite bands' YouTube channels. I discovered the five awesome girls and guys. DFTBA started. (Nicky and I love loads of bands on the DFTBA label and are considering them for wedding music!)
I met Nicky (Hufflepuff) in 2008 and couldn't believe she had never read the HP books. That she didn't love them, that they had not changed her life, that she was happy just to watch the movies and only skim the surface of your world. It sounds utterly ridiculous, but I seriously questioned whether I could be with someone who didn't know and love you as I did. How could a series of children's books matter this much to a grown adult? I still don't really know the answer to that!
I do know that there is a difference between a fan and a member of the fandom. I have friends who love the idea of you, who read every book voraciously and watch every film on opening night, who plan marathon 24-hour film watching sessions, and argue excitedly about whether Snape is good or bad. And then there are the members of the fandom. The ones who, like me, list Harry Potter as a hobby, an interest, a passion, and know what that means. The strangers you meet at a party, who have a certain glint in their eye when Harry Potter is mentioned, and you feel lucky to have found them. You spend the rest of the party together, mentally Sorting the other party guests into Hogwarts Houses and listing every point where the films depart from the book canon. The ones who understand the difference between canon and fanon. The ones who HATE the epilogue.
If it was up to me, Nicky and I would be having a Harry Potter wedding, in Gryffindor red and gold, and would be honeymooning at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. (Nicky has always known this full well, and will not mind the small touches I manage to sneak in here and there, and also will not find out the fact that I intend to have my big entrance to the ceremony to the theme from the Harry Potter films until she watches the video back...) Unfortunately our honeymoon is on a budget, so is more likely to be at the Watford studio tour!
Harry, you were there for me when I was lonely in the school holidays, you helped me to improve my German and French before my A-levels, you helped me to get through a deep depression during my Gap year, you were there for me in the months I thought I was going to be kicked out of university, you led me to my first relationship, you were still there when it was over, you were the inspiration for my favourite band, you taught me how difficult but worthwhile it is to be true to yourself, you've help me to bond with my awesome Potter-loving little brother (Gryffindor). You're my hero.
I know it's officially all over now, and there will be no more books or films, however the fandom still lives on! I truly cannot imagine you ever meaning any less to me than you do right now, and I can't wait to share your story with my children and grandchildren.
P.S If you're looking for a new Seeker, my dog Milly (may be changed to Ginny...) plays a killer game of "find it"!
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