Laura Detwiler

A lifetime of Harry Potter

By Laura Detwiler
July 13, 2011

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‘MR. AND Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.’’ Little did 7-year-old me know that when my mom read me that line for the first time, my world would be forever changed.

Harry Potter entered my life in second grade. Today, two days before the release of the last film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II,’’ is released, I turn 18.

I can’t remember a time before there was Harry Potter. From when I learned to read, to my last year of high school, Potter has been a constant in my life. It’s not just me, either.

So many people my age remember wishing for an owl. Our brains told us Hogwarts was fictional, but we secretly believed an acceptance letter to the school might arrive. We remember when we were finally old enough to stay up until midnight to buy the latest book in the series, standing in line in front of Borders, chatting animatedly with a bunch of strangers about this magical thing we all had in common. So many of us can tell you about finishing the seventh and final book, and feeling an ache of “wow, this is actually over.’’

Thankfully we didn’t have to feel that way for long. The movie franchise was flourishing with the arrival of the fifth movie that summer. Harry Potter was still alive. These films gave us something to hold on to and best of all, a good excuse to reread, if not just one, then all the previous books leading up to the next big movie.

As Harry Potter finally retires, we are graduating from high school and heading off to college and our next big steps in life. Although it is weird to picture life without another Potter installment, it couldn’t have come at a better time. We are reaching adulthood alongside Harry Potter, just without the dueling and the death.

I feel blessed that I was born into the generation that got to grow up with Harry Potter and wouldn’t change this experience for anything.

Except to have attended Hogwarts. Yeah, that probably would have been better.

Laura Detwiler is planning to attend college in the fall.