I've had a full-fledged, complex, 14-year relationship with Harry Potter.
With both the last movie coming out and me listening to the entire series on audiobook in reverse order this summer, I’ve been thinking a lot about Harry Potter. And I’ve come to realize just how much me and that boy wizard have gone through.
It all started in 1998. My mom read to me every night before I went to bed, and she would often bring home new books that she found at the yearly Scholastic book fair at my elementary school. We had our favorite standbys (the Ramona Quimby series, the Half Magic series, anything by Roald Dahl) and I was a very stubborn child who eschewed the unfamiliar. So when she brought home Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I immediately judged it by its cover. She told me to just be patient and give it a shot. By the end of the first chapter, Harry Potter and I were best friends.
We had play dates every night, supervised by my mother. I was completely enthralled by his charisma, sense of humor, intelligence, and of course all the magic. We played together for many years, and I would always await anxiously for his next book to come out so we could have brand new adventures together. This lasted until about 2000. My mother, growing tired of chaperoning our visits, waited until the end of the fourth book before she gave up.
In 2001, the first Harry Potter movie came out. This was when I was starting to develop those “more than friends” feelings for Harry. It was like finally seeing a pen-pal after many years of writing. Not what I expected at first, (and I must say I was slightly disappointed when I saw the first peeks and Harry’s eyes weren’t green, nor was his hair jet black and all messy) but I grew closer still. I yearned to spend more time with Harry. I would write fanfiction and draw fanart just so I could immerse myself a little deeper. When the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets movie came out in late 2002, I was head over heels in love.
In 2003, I was very excited to start seeing Harry on my own. That summer Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out. A little shy and very awkward, Harry and I started courting. It was wonderful at first, but soon things grew rocky. I was not as strong a reader as I should have been, and an 870 book was daunting for someone like me. I started to neglect Harry, leaving him under my bed while I was at camp. We started fighting. We made it all the way through Order of the Phoenix together, but things weren’t the same on the other side.
In 2004, Harry and I were as good as done. I didn’t even see the third movie when it came out. He just wasn’t holding my interest the way he used to, and other men had sparked my interest. (I believe that period was my brief but passionate stint with Clay Aiken.)
In July 2005, the sixth book was released. I tried reconnecting with my former love, but I had no real interest in rekindling the spark. I would hear others talk about how great he is, and how he and I should get back together, but I ignored them. I did see him when the fourth movie was released in November 2005, but it was more as two friends reminiscing. In no way was it anything like our romance from a few years prior. And then, in February 2006 the unthinkable happened. Mikey Masullo, a slimy, arrogant boy I went to high school with, ruined the end of the sixth book for me: “Snape kills Dumbledore.” It was like seeing Harry in bed with another woman. Or worse, walking in on him masturbating. I was ashamed to look at him, even think of him. I had seen him in the worst light possible, and I could not go back to what we once were.
Harry and I didn’t speak for quite some time after that. Whenever I was in the company of people who were talking about him, I would zone out and think of something else. “What’s the point?” I thought. “I’ve already seen him at his dirtiest, lowest point. There’s no mystery left. There’s no where left to go.”
And then, in the summer of 2007, a wonderful thing happened. The stars aligned, and the gods of media and literature decided that this would be the summer for Manda and Harry to get back together, and for good this time. This was the summer when both Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix were released in book and movie form, respectively. Everyone was buzzing with excitement over both releases. I could not help it. I remembered my romance with Harry, and now that I was older, more mature, I thought I could give it another go. I decided to relive my days with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by rereading the book. It was wonderful. It was so much more captivating than when I had tried reading it when I was 13. I finished it in under a week. And now that our flame was going strong again, I couldn’t stop. I moved on to the sixth book. I had forgiven Harry for his slip up, and even though I knew his darkest secrets, it made our relationship stronger than ever. I flew through the rest of the series and found myself crying like never before when I reached the end.
As the last three movies were released, Harry and I continued seeing each other, just as infatuated with one another as before. Except this time it’s more than simple infatuation. It’s more than love. It’s true love, the kind of love that only comes about once in a hundred years.
I’m happy to say that Harry and I have been fully committed ever since. Our relationship has been through the ringer on more than one occasion, but like all of my strongest relationships, it has stood up to the tests and we came out on the other side better than before.