Posted by: Trisha Leigh | July 13, 2011

To J.K.Rowling, With Love

I am really horrible at goodbyes. Tomorrow night, though, I’ll sit down in a movie theatre and await a brand new Harry Potter film for the very last time. It’s not up to me; Jo Rowling has decreed that it’s time for all of us to say farewell.

Now I know there are those out there who will argue (and rightfully so) that since we have the material on the page and on discs we never really have to leave the cast of characters behind, and yet…watching or reading about their adventures for a second, third, tenth time isn’t the same as experiencing them the first time.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released the summer after I graduated from high school (yes, I’m old). I recall hearing about the books but thinking they were for kids, and I don’t remember exactly what made me pick it up sometime in the next couple of years. By the time I’d graduated from college in 2001, I’d read each book as it came out and sat down as a critical (okay, fine, annoyingly jaded) film student prepared to rip apart the first film installment.

I loved it.

As an author, I understand Jo’s reluctance (I love that I feel like calling her Jo even though I’ve never had the privilege of meeting her) to let Hollywood adapt her films. We’ve watched other beloved novels and series decimated by the transfer to the big screen. The Harry Potter films are treasures. As Emma Watson said her own goodbye’s recently, she saved her final thank you for Warner Brothers, for “making these films the way they should have been made.” Without the faith and support of the studio, without their commitment to unleash a quality product, these films could never have taken flight, have captured our imaginations, and expanded our love for Jo’s novels.

I’m tearing up right now, writing this post.

Harry Potter and Jo Rowling are part of what inspired me to not only pen novels, but to write them for children. They made me believe in witches, and unicorns, and giants and a million other magical things I’d never encountered before they leapt off her pages. Her books don’t ever talk down to her readers. She trusts us to discover her world piece by piece, to continue to come back for more, and to follow her along a winding path with faith in our hearts that the end will be perfectly worth it.

And it was. The end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is as close to perfection as any reader could have hoped for, and I have faith in Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, David Yates, and the rest of the outstanding ensemble gathered by Warner Brothers to deliver an equally stunning conclusion to the film franchise.

So tomorrow night I’ll say farewell. I’ll probably cry. Okay, I’ll totally cry. The best reason I can give for my emotional state at the end is that for a project like this – from conception, to the first novel, to the completion of a seven book series, to eight films – to be executed with such love and precision is a rarity.

The artistic and monetary success of Harry Potter is like capturing lightning in a bottle, as magical as the stories Jo pounded out on her keyboard, and it’s something none of us may see again in our lifetimes.

So thank you, Jo Rowling. Thank you for reminding us that imaginations are out there for the capturing. Thank you for bringing magic back to Hollywood.

Thank you for making us all believe.

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Responses

  1. YES! OMG, yes. I feel the same way. I’m (much) older than you. I brought home the first HP book from the library and read it out loud to my son. We both fell in love with the characters and the magic. Better yet, we bonded. I’m a voracious reader who’s never without a book in her hands. The other day, I played hours of 500 Rummy with my in-laws’ while reading Jeff Somers’ latest as the cards were dealt. Not even their visit this week could pull my head from a favorite story.

    When the HP movies were released, they provided my son and me with more bonding time. We have a long-standing ‘date’ – dinner and the movie, just us. No big brother. No dad. Just Mommy and Me. The HP books let me pass on my book obsession and the movies that followed let us deepen the bonds of that shared interest. My son is sixteen now and he is counting the minutes until this last date. Now I’m choking up. 😦

    I’d better bring a whole box of tissues.

    • I cried. A lot. I didn’t want to get up and leave, just wanted to listen to the music and pretend it wasn’t over. But it is. I’m going to re-read the books now.

  2. Fabulous post, Trisha!

    All that is amazing about each one of the books in this series, has been captured and brought to life in all of the movies, in what I can only assume would be a writer’s dream. Reading the pages and imagining the stories as they unfolded was insane, but seeing how they translated to the big screen, took each tale to a whole different level. I’m sure the last movie will not disappoint, and I can’t wait to see it (Kleenex in hand, for sure!).

    There are so many reasons why I could thank Ms. Rowling for ever bring Harry Potter to life – her unbelievable imagination, her insanely creative world building, her characters that are well beyond multi-demensional…but I think for me? It was just thinking about the possibility of what it would be like to jump on a broom and fly, play a game of quidditch, or wave a wand and create my own patronus. Just the idea of being so lost in the HP world, remembering reading each page for the first time, being introduced to new characters – it’s every reason why I love writing myself. After all, it’s all about the journey you get to share with your readers, right? And what a journey it’s been!

    And well, while I’m sad it’s all coming to an end…I can only say I’m forever grateful for even having the chance to have witnessed something so beyond words, during my lifetime!

    Great, great post!

    • Thanks for the comment, and I agree with everything you said. I started re-reading Sorcerer’s Stone when I got home last night (this morning) because I just can’t let it go. The entire body of work is truly a once in a lifetime phenomenon.

  3. I first discovered Harry Potter through my fourth grade son. He read the book first. When he brought the second book home from the school library, I literally stole it from him, telling him I was a faster reader and I’d give it back to him in a day. 😉

    When the final Harry Potter book came out, I convinced my oldest son (NOT a Harry Potter fan– how can I claim him as my own?) to go to Barnes & Noble and stand in line to get my reserved copy. It was a hilarious adventure neither one of us will forget.

    • Yet another reason you deserve a mother of the year award, no? Seriously, so many people connected with their children – just another gift the series gave us. And thanks for going with me 🙂

  4. Trisha, I know exactly what you mean. We’re going to see both parts of Deathly Hallows back-to-back at the drive-in and I’m besides being more fun (the Drive-in!) it will also save me some embarrassment when I blubber like a baby.

    Though I suspect I won’t be the only one. ❤

    • It was gorgeous, was it not? Such a heartrending, perfect portrayal of friendship.

  5. Exactly. I’m already dreading the end of the movie almost as much as I’m looking forward to the beginning.

    • It was both, and pretty close to perfection.

  6. This is a perfect goodbye to the series, Trisha.

    Great post. Miss you.

    • Thanks, H. It was a sad day but a beautiful film.


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