When I was about 7 or 8, I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for the first time. It changed my life.
They just recently changed the covers again, and while I’m a little jealous of the pretty pictures on all the different versions, I adore my original cover.
Okay, fine, that sounds dramatic…but it opened a whole new world for me, and I’m not just talking about Hogwarts. After reading Harry Potter, I started reading all sorts of middle grade fantasy books, which lead me into young adult fantasy/paranormal/supernatural romance, and now here I am, trying to work up enough nerve to start querying agents so that one day my own YA novels can be published.
But that’s another story.
When I was 11, the first HP movie came out. I remember being so excited and so worried that they were going to RUIN one of my favourite books. Thankfully, they didn’t (sidenote: if you want to see the WORST ADAPTATIONS of a FANTASTIC BOOK, watch Ella Enchanted. Just thinking about how HORRIBLE AND INSIPID it was, and how much they DESTROYED MY MOST FAVOURITE BOOK OF ALL TIME is enough to have me spitting with rage. GAH, I shouldn’t have thought about it, now I’m all grumpy).
I have never understood why they changed it to “Sorcerer’s Stone” for the Americans. Like…are they ACTUALLY that incapable of understanding?
ANYWAY: I remember not seeing it opening weekend because my sisters wouldn’t take me. I suppose they didn’t want to deal with the crowds and it was probably sold out well in advance, but there was a little piece of my heart that broke at the thought of waiting an extra week to see it. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, I remember going to school on Monday and having two bossy, semi-bullying girls ask me if I had seen it, only to have them say with wide-eyed wonder “You didn’t?! We did, and it was great!” I never figured out if they were being serious (I mean, they hadn’t read the books, and teased me for reading them) or if they were just being mean in that catty, awful, eleven-year-old girl sort of way.
But eventually I saw it. And loved it. But also analyzed it to death (though I wouldn’t have considered it “analyzing” at age 11). They were missing the troll challenge and the potions challenge on their quest to the stone. They changed tiny little details that shouldn’t have mattered, but to me was a perversion of the original text. And, horror of horrors- HARRY HAD BLUE EYES, NOT EMERALD GREEN.
Admittedly, by the time I was 12 and Chamber of Secrets came out, I’d giggle girlishly every time I saw Daniel Radcliffe (I still do…) and think “LOOK AT HIS BABY BLUES, THEY’RE BEAUTIFUL”. So I got over that fairly quickly.
This weekend, my best friend Nina (I’ve mentioned her before) is coming over and we’re going to watch ALL 8 HARRY POTTER MOVIES over the course of the weekend, accompanied by several cans of cider (Magners and Foundry – that’s where it’s at), a couple of pizzas, and an absurd amount of snacks (I’m assuming…I eat a lot when I drink). I imagine there’s going to be girlish giggling and some cringing (the Deathly Hallows dance scene, anyone?) and possibly shots every time Hermione acts all huffy (we may need our stomachs pumped if this actually happens).
So that’s why I’m suddenly nostalgic for Harry Potter. I say suddenly, but really, it’s a daily curse. It’s been 12 years since I turned 11, but I still check the mail every day for my Hogwarts letter. Except on Sunday – everyone knows there’s no post on Sundays.