So have you seen HP7-P2?
Don't you think that would be a fab name for a distant relative of R2-D2? Sorry, I digress, I mustn't get side-tracked onto the links between Harry Potter and Star Wars, I mustn't.
I noticed the glee that news broadcasters jumped on the 'Harry Potter - the end of an era/it's all over/grown women crying in the streets etc' stories at the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 premieres. And I totally see how people could be incredibly upset about it all being over. I'm not feeling that way at the moment though.
(Yes, I and my sister-in-law are totally shameless publicity seeking mothers, dressing their cute kids up and going to the opening screenings/book launches knowing the newspaper photographers would be there too ;) Spot Goth Child and Melchett with their cousins....yes, we are aware they all look like one family....adds to appeal to newspaper photographers!)
I have to admit I was sad about it ending reading Deathly Hallows for the first time....I faced the difficult balancing act of wanting to devour the book as fast as I possibly could, but slowing my reading down, trying to only read a few chapters each day because I didn't want it to end.
Now those of you who know me, or know my family, know we're geeks. We love great stories, we love partying and we definitely love any excuse to dress up.
Harry Potter was a godsend to us.
(Goth Child far left with her cousins....the littlest, far right didn't see CoS at this time as we considered it too scary for him, he saw it when the DVD came out, he was just dropping his brother and sister off with us....on my chest in her Baby Bjorn carrier was Melchett though, who slept through the whole movie....thank goodness)
I have to admit the first two books initally passed us by. We can't claim to have been Harry Potter fans from day 1. I remember being at a friend's house and seeing he'd built a cardboard model of this castle with a sign saying 'Hogwarts'. "What the heck is that?" I asked and got preached to by an exisiting Harry Potter convert with all the conviction of a fire and brimstone pastor about why I HAD to read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and the Chamber of Secrets.
It was 1999 and there was a smattering of news coverage on the newly released Prisoner of Azkaban. I also watched a programme about JK Rowling and the Harry Potter phenomena even though most of it made little sense. But everyone talking about Harry enthused, their eyes brightened....so as I hate to be left behind on any craze, I bought the Philosopher's Stone to read on holiday.
IT WAS BLOOMING FANTASTIC!!
I don't think I've ever read a book so fast, or read so much late into the night. Probably the funniest thing was that even though I loved it, I mistook it for 'just a kid's book' and thought myself soooooo clever all the way through to have worked out that Snape was the baddie. Finding Professor Quirrell down in the chamber blew my socks off. I'd been fooled. This wasn't just a book for 'kids' like so many other 'kids' books I'd read, this was intelligent, witty, massive, wonderful (in the true full of wonder and delight sense of the word).
Straight back off holiday I bought Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban (which remains my favourite novel and my favourite movie of the whole saga).
My sister-in-law got heavily into Harry Potter too and soon we were reading the stories to our children and getting them hooked.
The next joy was the Stephen Fry read audiobooks. These kept Goth Child company before sleep each night and HAD to listened to on every car journey, even the short ones. Stephen Fry is the BEST at all the multiple voices in Harry World world - I adore his Molly Weasley and his Aunt Petunia. (More on this later).
The Harry Potter birthday parties followed...I can't find at the moment photos of when we hired the village hall, set out tressel tables and prepared a Hogwarts feast all for just 8 or so children. My youngest nephew sprayed his hair bright orange to be Ron Weasley...he's probably be quite glad I can't find the photo. I have got these ones though from the opening of Prisoner of Azkaban....
And this...one of the many Harry Potter photoshopped birthday cards we did, this one for my brother-in-law's birthday:
And the planning holidays so we could visit places they'd filmed the Harry Potter movies:
(By the way, if you're near Alnwick Castle next week they've got special Harry Potter themed events on for the UK school hols!)
As you can see we dressed up for the movie openings, and for the book launches. The best two of these were for the final two books and organised by the world's best bookshop Wenlock Books!
After what seemed an eternity after the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix my sister-in-law rang me full of excitement - Wenlock Books had chartered a steam train for the launch of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince!!!
The Severn Valley Railways train left Bridgnorth station just before midnight so that we arrived at the next station on its route in time for midnight when Dumbledore and lots of other characters from the books (played by members of the local drama group and secondary school) met us and presented us with our pre-ordered copies of the book. A bird sanctuary had also come along with owls for the kids to marvel at.
It was possibly one of the best nights of my life (I'm such a saddo ;)). The tickets sold out stupidly fast (predictably) and almost everyone on the steam train came in costume. What I cannot believe was that I didn't take any photos but I was in the pit of a deep depression at the time. Luckily there are some pics on the Wenlock Books blog.
I do have photos of us at the launch of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Wenlock Books this time took over the local science museum and decked it out for the night like Hogwarts. There were magic displays by wizards (ok, magicians), dance lessons from Professor McGonagall, songs from the resident band the Weird Sisters, plus butterbeer, chocolate frogs and everything else you could imagine would be part of the perfect Harry Potter night. Then at midnight, we queued up the spiral staircase to the 'Astronomy Tower' and were presented with our books by Professor Trelawney.
Here's the husband as Remus Lupin (do you like the werewold rips in the t-shirt?) and brother-in-law as Severus Snape (he got hissed and booed by kids all night, how little we all knew) and just behind his shoulder, you can just see me, with newly reddy-purple hair being Tonks:
So now that all the books have been read (including of course Beedle the Bard and the Comic Relief specials) and all the films have been seen, DVDs bought, HP Top Trumps & Trivia games & Playstation games played, Lego Hogwarts built, fan fiction read and written, Leaky Cauldron and other HP forums posted on etc.......is it all over? :(
Harry Potter is having a new lease of life with us!
Despite the fact that Melchett always loved posing with the books as if she was reading them...
PLUS, with our Stephen Fry audiobooks all being on cassette and therefore not on the more acceptable ipods, we've had to start anew with the American Harry Potter audiobooks, read by Jim Dale of Carry On fame. I'm sorry but Jim's voices are not a patch on Stephen's but it is breathing new life into Harry again.
And then there's Pottermore! Loooooook look, I found a magic quill on Day 4 and I've been accepted for early entry before all the rest of you plebs (haha, to be honest, if you've read this far, you're probably as obsessed as I am and have been accepted too):
If you haven't found your magic quill and been accepted, tomorrow (6th August) is your last chance. Here's some extra hints about when the Pottermore clue will be appearing (between 12.30am and 3am BST) and what to do.
I'm SnitchFirebolt82 by the way.
So you see, Harry Potter isn't over, not until the Fat Lady hangs up her hat and retires forever from the Gryffindor Tower.....or something like that.