For years, it was funny that I never read the Harry Potter series. What kind of a book nerd was I, that I had never read this modern classic? The truth is, though, that I felt myself to be “too old” for it when book one was released in 1998. (Hey, this is my teenage years we’re talking about. I was too cool for everything.) And then the rest of the books came out, and my chances to start it seemed further and further away, because I was so terribly behind.
But in time, I decided I should start reading it. I was bold and bought all the books at once. And for the first three books, I found it cute. I could see how people could be drawn into this; the world was fun and detailed and Rowling wrote in a way that made you care about its characters, that you rooted for their survival and booed the bad guys.
But that was all. I wouldn’t consider myself a “fan;” I simply liked them like any other book.
But then I read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
I was reading its big, dramatic scene while on the bus, which was probably a bad idea. (Note to self for future Potter titles: finish them at home.) Because I had difficulty hiding my chuckles, and I had to bend over my book so my hair would hide the tears in my eyes. What happened in Goblet that made me so emotional? Why did I care this much, all of a sudden?
It was when I finished that book, now being halfway through the series, that I understood. I understood the craving for the next book to be released. I understood the need for a house identity. I understood how there are an innumerable number of fans out there, still waiting for Rowling to write something—anything.
Because this series is brilliant. You don’t have to read it to know it’s good—there’s plenty of proof on that. But there is a certain bond between these books and the reader that you can’t describe. Perhaps it’s better that I wanted over ten years to start this series. Because I have the luxury of owning all the books already, and I don’t have to sit around impatiently for the next.
But at the same time, in retrospect, it would have been nice to be part of the hype. To complain that we had to wait a whole year for the next installment. I won’t boast that I’m a “huge fan,” because I’m not, because I wasn’t a part of it. But I can truly appreciate the wonder these books provided, and still provide.