Fangirl Friday – Harry Potter – I Open At The Close

Coat of arms of Hogwarts, the fictional school...

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I blame Nick Rhodes. Honestly, almost all my fandoms can be blamed on a member of Duran Duran. I started reading the books when Mr. Rhodes made a (seemingly) offhand remark about Muggles.

Now, with the series at a close, I look back at one of the most influential series of our time. Reading had been on the wane until J.K. Rowling made it fun again. Make no mistake, there are lessons to be learned in the series. Things like friendship, loyalty, hope, and a score or more other virtues were woven into the seven books chronicling a young wizard’s growth.

Each book was darker than the last, which some folk complained about. I agreed with it. Our world gets darker as we grow older and accept more responsibility. Things get harder. We have to make more and more sacrifices. Even so, Rowling handed us Pandora’s box, with hope still fluttering around inside it. Hope that good will triumph over evil, that there are still honorable, kind people in the world.

I love those books for many reasons. First, they are an escape. Even if we don’t pay mind to the broader meanings, dragons and goblins and magic transport us out of our mundane existences to a more exciting place. Second, as stated before, they bring hope, a desperately needed commodity in this world. Third, they brought reading back. Justin Timberlake may have brought sexy back, which is all well and good, but bringing reading back in this age of instant gratification was nothing short of a miracle, yes?

People learned patience as they waited for each new book or film in the series. And even though there were those jerks who bootlegged things and put them up on the internet days before release, we still had to wait while they were being created. No matter what else she does in the future, J.K. Rowling has gifted the world with wonder, inspired new generations, and for that I will always admire her.


How did you all feel about the Harry Potter series? What did you learn (or just enjoy) while reading? If you’ve never read them, then why? Please share your thoughts here!


  1. I didn’t read them until maybe three years ago, and mostly just because I love reading books that are turned into movies and comparing them. I like your comparison to the world gets darker as we grow up, so the books do too. And they follow that longer time period, whereas other YA series stick close to the age range.

    I enjoyed the books, though I didn’t fall in love like a lot of people did. There are other series that stole my heart more completely. And, thanks to Harry Potter’s success on the big screen, some of my favorite series now have movie deals. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Gigi Salem said

      What series? What authors?

      I try not to compare books to film too much because there are so many things that just don’t translate sometimes. On the whole, I think they did a decent job with this series, though.

      • Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments. Nothing’s in production yet.

        With the amount of story they had to cut to fit in a movie, the movies were pretty good, though I do think they did a horrible job with the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and made it only for an audience who has read the books. They relied too much on name-dropping and vague references to backstory so that anyone who hadn’t read the books would be lost.

        • Gigi Salem said

          I adore Cassandra Clare, and Jace is one of my favorite characters EVER.

          I think Half-Blood Prince was worse than DHpt2 in that respect, honestly. Then again, I’d read all the books and was so wound up in the story and that it was the last film that the only thing that bothered me was the addition of the epilogue, which I didn’t like to begin with.

          • I didn’t mind the epilogue in the book, but trying to dress up the same actors to make them look 20 years older looked ridiculous.

            Maybe I only noticed it for the last one because I saw it with a friend who hadn’t read the books, so I was more mindful of how she was seeing the movie.

            • Gigi Salem said

              agreed on the first, as for the second, yeah, that makes sense to me – we’re always more sensitive when we’re looking out for others, I think

  2. Catherine said

    I love the books and the movies. At some point soon I’m going to re-read the whole thing, though I can’t say when, because Kat Richardson and Jim Butcher’s latest books are waiting for me to get stuck into them. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I started reading them because I wanted to know what the fuss was about. I was working at a chain bookstore when Goblet of Fire came out, and I’d never seen such a fuss over a book that hadn’t been recommended by Oprah. :-p So out of curiosity, I bought and read the first one (Philosopher’s Stone here in Canada). And I was hooked. And then I got my mother hooked. Next, as soon as she’s old enough, I’m getting my niece hooked… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    What I like is the way the books seem to transcend generations. As I said, I read them as a thirty-something; my mother read them as a fifty-something; and then my niece will experience them as a child. (She already loves books, so I’m betting this will be an easy sell.) Not all books can do that.

    • Gigi Salem said

      That is absolutely one of the best things about the series, the way it crosses the generation gap. And now, get to reading Ghost Story! We have much to discuss when you’re done!

  3. I haven’t read the books yet or watched the movies only because I want to read them all first and in order and then watch the movies all in order. It may take me years, but I’m not giving up!

    I followed Christian Kane today from your FF. I saw Kaniac and thought immediately of you!

    • Gigi Salem said

      They have box sets of the books, just so you know. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      And, you know I have a whole column of Leverage people on my Tweetdeck, right? I think I have everyone but “Nate”…

  4. Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos said

    I’ve read all the books and seen all the movies. I was sad to see it all come to an end. I have great memories of laying in bed on summer mornings with my kids, reading them each story. We started when they were quite young, and now they are in high school. They grew up with Harry Potter.
    I thought the books were brilliant, well written, all of it.

    • Gigi Salem said

      That’s wonderful! What an amazing gift for you and your kids!

  5. I started reading them in 9th grade. They were a very serious part of my high school years because they were something that my friends and I could share. We talked about them, convinced people who hadn’t read them to read them. We went to midnight release parties and had movie parties toward the end, and continued to share them through the first few years of college. I think that, more than anything else, is why I’ll always love them. They were fun and entertaining and touching escapist fiction, and no, they weren’t the best books ever written (though some have tried to make that argument) but they were special to us — I think especially to those of us who were still young enough to “grow up with them.” And they are a link to my friends that I will always treasure.

    • Gigi Salem said

      That, right there, is the beauty of a shared fandom! ๐Ÿ˜€

      I think saying something is or isn’t the best written (filmed, recorded, painted) kind of detracts from the whole point, sometimes. Art of any genre is so subjective that I don’t really tend to pay attention to that. One can have all the technique in the world and never catch my imagination, you know?

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