Sunday, April 17, 2011

Harry Potter and the Introduction Conundrum

It is no secret that I love Harry Potter.
I adore Harry Potter.
I delight in Harry Potter. 
I treasure Harry Potter.
I cherish Harry Potter.
In short, I am obsessed with Harry Potter.

Now that I have Jamie, I CANNOT WAIT to share these books with him. But I'm not quite sure how to do that.

Here's the problem: I simply cannot comprehend being born into a world with Harry Potter. When Jamie was born, not only had the entire series been written, but there were also six movies and an entire Harry Potter theme park. My experience was a wee bit different . . .

When I first read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (that's right, no silly sorcerer's stone for me), I had never even heard of Harry Potter. I had zero expectations and no idea of what to expect. It was all a wonderful, glorious surprise. 

Also, in The Philosopher's Stone, Harry is 11, and I was 11 when it was published. When Chamber of Secrets was published, Harry and I were both 12. Prisoner of Azkaban - both 13. And with Goblet of Fire, we were both 14.  Now after that, I started to age a bit more quickly than he did (I was 21 to his 17 when the last book was published), but I never lost the feeling that Harry and I kind of grew up together. What if I had read them all at the same time? I would have been done with the entire series in a matter of weeks, rather than savoring them over the course of my entire adolescence.

Plus, having them come a year or more apart allowed me to grow up between books. I was about 12 when I started the series, but the first book--or even the first few books--would also have been great had I been a few years younger. But scenes from some later books are probably too intense or scary for a younger kid.  And in Order of the Phoenix, when Harry was going through some serious teenage angst, so was I. I could relate, because, again, we were growing up together.

I want Jamie to have as wonderful an experience with these books as I did, but I'm afraid if he hears about them for his whole life, goes into them expecting them to be amazing, and reads them all in one sitting, he just won't have a chance. So what to do?

Here's my current plan: Home school him so he never hears about them from other kids, hide my copies and never mention them, and then one day, when he's about 10, leave Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on his pillow for him to find and enjoy all on his own.

Yes, it is that important.


  1. I read them all at my own pace over a year or two, after all of them had been written, and amazingly my life didn't spiral into chaos. But I can see how it was a much different experience for you, especially since you read the early books several times each. I like them enough to re-read them someday maybe...but I rarely read anything more than once.

    As for growing up in a world w/o about growing up in a world with all the ridiculous technology that we have now? When we were growing up there was no internet, no email, no cell phone (practically), no DVD, heck not even really is a bizarrely different experience for young people now, something worth considering the implications of. (And that was a sentence worth ending with a preposition.)

  2. I wasn't suggesting that his life would spiral into chaos if he read them all at once; I just don't think it would be as amazing of an experience.
    And I've definitely thought about the other crazy stuff that exists now. Interestingly, we had the internet at home starting when I was in 3rd grade and I had my first email address in 6th grade, but I didn't have my first cell phone til my sophomore year of college.