The Magic and the Memories: A Nostalgic Fan’s Harry Potter Timeline

By Isabella Summit

Word Count: 1767

Rating: G

Summary: A fan looks back to her times with Harry Potter.

Image Credit: The Nerdist

…A girl saw an ad in a Lego catalogue that came in the mail. She loved Lego but knew nothing about this new Lego set line. When she showed it to her mother she told her not to have anything to do with it. Who was the ugly looking professor snap with the glow in the dark head? Her-me-oh-my-oh-me Granger? She couldn’t figure out how to pronounce that.

    …While she was out shopping at the mall with Dad, they visited a bookstore that’s not there today. She saw a display of books in the Harry Potter series. She didn’t know anything about it except that her friends’ parents at church said bad things about it. She girl stuck her tongue out at the books, her father rebuked her.

    …An ad on a box of coke cans that dad drinks in the garage as he worked on some models. Later, she saw a coke commercial depicting a boy and girl on a magical train. Again, the parents advised caution. The mother has read the second book and didn’t like the rule breaking habits of the main character.

    … The girl requested a Lego set with a man with a purple turban as a reward for catechism homework. The parents had a long discussion behind closed doors. The dad agreed. The girl loved the little plastic red jewel. She didn’t know why the purple turbaned man had a face on the back of his head.

    …The girl sat in the waiting room of the center where her brother had a therapy appointment. There was a little castle playset on the shelf that she wasn’t allowed to touch but she wanted to. A woman noticed the mini-figure of the purple turbaned man. The girl said it’s her favorite character. The woman said he’s the villain. The girl was shocked and became further resolved to see the movie.

    …At a birthday party for her best friend, she and the guests retired to the rec room to watch a VHS of Charlie and the Chocolate factory that was a present. A trailer for the film played before the movie. The girl thinks it looks cool, especially the creepy man in the long black robe.

    …She asked her parents if she can see the movie. They had another long discussion. Finally the dad agreed to take her and to see it with her. It was a frigid afternoon in January, the rain had washed the air clean. The film had been out for a month and the film was a bit scratched and dusty. They left the theater that is not there anymore both with a different opinion of Harry Potter.

    …Somewhere the Dad bought her a paperback of the book the movie was based on. She read it while eating out with him at a Chinese buffet that is still there but isn’t as good anymore. She still has the paperback. Her father also bought her the second book. And the third, but these have all fallen apart now.

    …In the hot summer months she made little dolls of the characters in the books out of Popsicle sticks. She picked up a magazine in the supermarket about the second film. She read the second book already and knows what to expect but was still awed and terrified of the snake. The ending made her cry, the music was so beautiful. She asked Dad for the soundtrack when they shopped at a record store. She was sad to hear of the death of the actor who played Dumbledore.

    …When Dad got her the third book she read it sitting up in the old mountain ash tree in the backyard. She sat in the tree telling him about what she just read as he barbecued outside on the lawn. He figured out the nature of one character just by his name, the girl is amazed and learned something new. She filled him in with the other details as she read the book aloud to him. She read the good part at the end while they were camped out, just the two of them, out by a calm riverbank at a small motel in Montana. She was proud with how interested he became in the story.

    …She read the rest between her swimming lessons at a recreation center which now has been remodeled and is unrecognizable. She and her fellow swimming students gossiped about it among themselves. Her father had trouble finding the fourth book in paperback so she asked her fellow students about what will happen in that one.

    …She loved the fourth book but there was a long break between that and the next one. She read her favorite parts lying down, camped out under the Christmas tree, illuminated by the multi colored lights. She got new Lego sets, collecting as many of the Harry Potter ones that she dared to ask her parents for. She built the castle, she played with the PC creator video game of it, got the cloth dolls of Harry and Hermione and lamented that there isn’t one of Ron Weasley. Later she got a calendar of illustrations from the second book; it was only her third calendar ever. Her dad pointed out some toys of a werewolf from the third film in the front window of a toy store that is gone, replaced by a Best Buy.

    …For many Halloweens to come she dressed as Hermione Granger as her hair was perfect for it. She got a wooden wand at a curiosity shop to complete her costume. It was a shop in a railroad town on a field trip with a co-op of homeschooled kids like her. The friend at whose birthday party the Harry Potter trailer was shown is with her. She loved Harry Potter too. They loved sharing their thoughts on it.

    …At a church summer camp she was disliked by the other girls in her cabin. She let slip that she liked Harry Potter and they bothered her about it. She made graffiti of playing card suits on the wood of her bunk bed. Playing cards was one of her only pastimes in this lonely summer camp. When she had to switch bunks, one cabin mate found it and called it ‘nude Harry Potter symbols’. She spent most of summer camp crying.

    …On an otherwise boring road trip her parents stopped at an acquaintance’ house. They had a whole drawer full of Legos. She entertained herself and a group of their children with a Harry Potter trivia board game.

    …She was excited when the fifth book finally came out but was quickly exasperated. The summer afternoon when she first opened it was just as hot as Private Drive in the first chapter. In the second chapter, as she read it out loud to her parents, Harry got a letter saying he was expelled from Hogwarts. She couldn’t read any further and ran to her bedroom and cried. Her Dad read on and assured her that it wasn’t permanent.

    …Mom took a turn reading the book aloud on a road trip to California, down long highways with nothing to look at but fields of corn. They took turns reading because both of them get motion sick riding and reading in the car. This book has so many layers, so many parallels to real life events. This new teacher is loathsome.

    …Dad read some more of it aloud and got ticked when he found out the girl has read ahead. She read ahead some more while sitting in the waiting room at the emergency room for another bladder infection. She learned of the death of a main character.

    …She thought ahead and preordered the sixth book. She went for one last time to that bookstore in the mall where she had first seen the cover of a Harry Potter book. She was shy about going up to the front desk and requesting it. Her parents told her not to be shy. She read it in the car as Mom stopped on the way home to get new glasses. More deaths were revealed as she read through the book at the airport waiting to board a plane to California with her Dad.

    …She went with her dad to an island meeting about public speaking. He was catching up on the sixth book himself. He read to the end of it in his old van on a cloudy winter day after a long wait for the ferry to the island. He came to his own conclusion about the main death in the book, one which had not occurred to her but totally made sense.

    …The hype for the seventh and final book was building around her. She preordered this one again and this time she convinced her dad to go to the midnight party at the mall bookstore. It was a different bookstore from the last one, but this one too is gone. The police had locked down the mall after a drive by shooting. The girl and her dad jokingly suspected fanatical fans. They ate at a Teppan restaurant while they waited for it to reopen.

    …They were not the first ones there; a pair of girls cosplaying as sisters greeted them. The girl guessed who they are supposed to be; one had long straight blond hair, the other had dark curly hair. She got a long way in the trivia contest and got free stickers based on the theory her dad explained to her. She met her old friend from the birthday party whom she had to thank for bringing her all the way here to the end of the series. She touched the covers of the books at midnight when they were wheeled in on a cart. Everyone was tired. Once she got home with her book, glow stick and stickers, she was too tired to read.

    …She sped through to the end, passed all the deaths and cried a good deal. She put on music in her room in memory of those characters that died. She was still kind of in shock when her dad asked her how it went but she learned to deal with it.

    5 years have passed since she first was enthralled, but they feel like a lifetime. Characters and stories she knows as if they were her classmates. Books with the back streaked with white lines from frequent use. The books are on her back shelves now…but they will be part of her library forever.


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