In 2001, I was 11 years old.
On November 16 of that year (my birthday!), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone had its first showing in my small city. My best friend’s father worked at the movie theatre, so my best friend and I were there almost every weekend.
I had no idea what or who Harry Potter was, but it was the only kid-friendly movie showing that night. My best friend and I squeezed into the last available seats in the front row. We sat back, craned our necks, and the obsession began.
Over the Christmas holidays we devoured the books in the series that were already out. We excitedly discussed theories and covered our bedroom walls with printed photos of our favourite characters. We discovered the world of fanfiction – the website Schnoogle, in particular. We would read as many chapters as possible on our dial-up computers on school nights and on weekends.
I began writing my own fanfiction around this time (2001/2002). My pre-teen self wrote pages of self-insert Digimon: Digital Monsters stories, X-Men stories, and of course, notebooks-full of self- and friend-insert Harry Potter stories. I enjoyed the challenge of keeping the characters as close to canon as possible. I have vague memories of my character dating Ron Weasley while carrying on an affair with Draco Malfoy behind his back. My 12 year old self loved drama just as much as my current 31 year old self does!
Now, in 2021, I get to experience Harry Potter through a different lens. My 9 year old daughter has been watching the movies; we finished the first part of the 7th and final movie a few days ago. She knows bits and pieces of the story, but was never particularly interested in reading the books or watching the movies until lately (she wanted to know what her friends were talking about so she could join in). Dobby’s death hit me differently as an adult. My daughter was very upset about it, understandably. The second part of the final movie is going to be even worse, emotion-wise, I’ve warned her.
At least in the epilogue portion the badly-done old age makeup on the actors should make her laugh!