Albus heads off to Hogwarts, I sob.
J.K. Rowling took to Twitter this morning to remind us of a very emotional fact… September 1st 2017 is the date of the epilogue in the final Harry Potter novel. Today is the day Harry and Ginny accompanied their children to King’s Cross to see their second born, Albus, onto the Hogwarts Express for the first time.
I’m the world’s biggest dweeb, and I consider myself lucky that I happen to have a friend who matches me in this respect (sorry B, but you know it’s true), so naturally I messaged her as soon as I read this to have a wee moment, though I couldn’t quite explain why I got quite so emotional. Then she basically summed it up…
As of today, we are officially beyond the universe in which Harry Potter existed. Excuse me while I stifle a sob.
I know it seems melodramatic, but for most people in the western world of my age group, Harry Potter is so much more than a book series. It is our childhood. It is a world that was once as important to us as the one we actually inhabit. It captured our hearts, our minds, our imaginations. We grew up with Harry, reading about his schooling as we went through our own, reaching new ages and stages as he did.
Without playing down the magnitude of other child literary writers and the worlds they created – C.S. Lewis, Roald Dahl, A.A. Milne, J.M. Barrie, Jacqueline Wilson – there has arguably never been a series that has gone so far beyond what most books do; become so much more; meant so much to so many. There are no words I can use to adequately thank Jo Rowling for the scale of the gift she has given me, and everyone.
Having grown up with Harry since I was seven years old, he and his world has been a part of mine for the majority of my life. I remember the immense sadness I felt when the books ended – as I do when I finish any novel I’ve enjoyed – that I would no longer be able to immerse myself in that world anymore. But I comforted myself thinking, ‘there are still the films.’ When those too came to an end, I was gutted all over again.
It’s why the Warner Brother’s Studios in London are so wildly popular. It’s why a whole theme park has been created in its name. It’s why I re-read the books for about the ninth time this year, as an adult and with so much else piling up on my ‘must read’ list. It’s why I can’t watch Jo’s speech at the final movie premiere in London without tearing up when she says to the crowds, ‘whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.’
And it’s why we all jump on any opportunity to re-experience Harry’s world, because it truly is magic. The series’ epilogue '19 Years Later' is the final moment of Harry’s world Jo Rowling ever gave us, and ever will ever give us, having vowed never to write another Potter book. For a generation who grew up alongside this story, it is the last time we will be able to align ourselves with it.
She’ll never read it, but Jo Rowling, thank you, THANK YOU for the gift you gave us.
P.S. If you’re a fan and haven’t watched the key speeches from the aforementioned final premiere – YOU MUST. See them here and grab some tissues.