Harry Potter. As many adults around my age, the series was fundamental in our upbringing and childhood in general. For me, the books were what kept me sane for many of my childhood years.
I remember reading the first two in school with my third grade class and having my mom purchase me the third book that Christmas...only to forget about it on a shelf in our living room. The following year I went to the public library for a book reading, which just so happened to be the opening chapter to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. My mom refused to buy it for me until I finished the one collecting dust on the book shelf. I thought this was incredibly unfair at the time, but finished the third one within a week and the fourth within another when my mom made good on her promise.
When I got to high school, I was surrounded by people who were not afraid to admit their obsession with the boy wizard. My 15th birthday, I brought a cake and decorations to the Quad at school in Harry Potter theme. After Daniel Radcliffe was on stage for Equus in the nude, my friends posted photos of him by the bubbler knowing people would assume it was me due to my intense crush on the actor. I got replica wands my 16th birthday as well as a t-shirt and scarf the following Christmas.
By my sophomore year, by mania was in full force. I had created the small DDIND club (Dumbledore Is Not Dead, or "dind") with some of my theater friends, even though we were sadly proven wrong the next summer with the release of the seventh book. I discovered mugglenet.com that year as well as MuggleCast, the weekly podcast that I would download onto my iPod every Thursday or Friday. My iPod was one of those brick, first generation ones that died the minute you turned on the neon blue backlight. It was so old I would have to plug it into my speakers, insert my headphones, and sit there to listen. Those were some of my happiest after school hours.
When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, you can believe that I was there and for some reason was one of the only people over the age of ten in costume. I thought to myself, "Move over bitches, you weren't even born when the first book was published! Get to the back of the fucking line!" But I, not being a complete asshole, controlled myself. I even got on the news for my Ravenclaw ensemble and still have the news segment saved on our TV (my mother being in the background is another added bonus to the footage).
For the fourth, fifth, and sixth, I read the books as fast as possible. Usually locking myself in my room or in the attic with a box of Cheez-Its, I would read furiously and become agitated by the necessity of things like sleep and meals. Yet for the seventh I took my time and stretched my reading period out to a whole week. My books are still in my bedside table, with many illegible scribblings, highlighting, and dog-eared pages. I had a notebook full of my own theories for the seventh book and of the philosophical, ethical, and historical, and mythological references/aspects of the books individually and as a cohesive piece.
In my senior year of high school, I created the Harry Potter Book Club (which consisted of me as president, sophomores Alexia and Katerina as VP and secretary respectively, and junior Sarah as treasurer) which actually attracted more members than I had anticipated. The club continued on for two more years after I graduated and they even went on to create their own t-shirts. The sophomores in that club with me its first year just graduated in May which is frightening to me; I remember them in their capes and plastic wands by the Art Wing on one of the last days of my senior year reenacting the final battle at Hogwarts.
With the second part of the seventh movie almost here and the recent discovery of my old cape in our basement, my sentimental and nostalgic side in regards to the series has resurfaced. I've been in love with Daniel Radcliffe since I was eleven years old (most successful relationship thus far, boo yah!) and in love with reading since those school days in Mrs. Brooks' third grade class.
Oh, Harry Potter, I would not nearly be as nerdy as I am today without you.