Is It The End of Harry Potter As I Knew It?

February 1, 2014

The wanderings of a mind that is wont to ponder. Check out past Between Bookends posts here!
Harry Potter... I think I've Outgrown You
I recently went to a Harry Potter quiz with my friends Pooja @ On Books! and Abhirami, and it was SO ABSOLUTELY AN OUT OF THIS WORLD EXPERIENCE THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET! It was just pure, unadulterated, Harry Potter for around 3 hours, with an auditorium full of hardcore Harry Potter fans. It was beautiful, you guys.

As an aside, the turnout for the event was a bit of a shock to me. I knew that there were Harry Potter fans in Chennai, but I had no idea there we so many, and that they were all Potterheads! The quiz was open to basically all students - whether you study in school, doing undergraduate or graduate studies - and it seemed like a considerable amount of the Chennai student population was crammed into that freezing auditorium that day. It felt so wonderful to be sitting there, strangers all of us, but brought together by our mutual love for Harry Potter and J K Rowling. Like a sisterhood. Or maybe siblinghood? There were guys there too :)

Apparently, I'm not as good as I thought I was
We went in pretty confident that we had a shot at it, because, hey, we grew up with Harry, right? And we love the books to pieces! And we saw the movies, like, on the week they got released! But yeah, you can say our confidence dimmed a bit after seeing the mammoth audience sitting there. The prelims were pretty tough, as was to be expected, but we got every answer correct, except 4. We had a feeling that was a few too many mistakes, but were still hopeful.

But guess what? Out of the six teams that made it to the finals, 3 got ALL correct, and 3 got just 1 wrong!

Now is that not a testiment to how completely steeped in Harry Potter they are? And there were even a few over enthusiastic school teams (Pooja's words :D)  in those 6!

The quiz, needless to say, was just freaking brilliant! The questions were tough, such that only those who really read every single page of the book thoroughly, and went behind the scenes for more research, got them right. I loved it!

Side Note: I know there's a major amount of freaking out happening here, and for those of you who're wondering why... This is the first ever major book related event I've gone to, other than lit quizzes, because you hardly ever have anything interesting (bookish) that happens here. Also, its Harry Potter. 'Nuff said.

The Downside of Growing Up
But as we were walking out, we realised something about the answers that we did not know. Had we asked ourselves the same questions three years ago, we would have known them. Somewhere through the years, somehow, we seem to have lost that magic touch, we've somehow come to a place where we're not as much in touch with Harry Potter as we were.

Maybe, dare I say it, is it possible, am I growing out of Harry Potter? Or maybe 'growing out' is not the correct phrase, because God knows I adore the books and always will, and get a tingle every time I pick any of them up. It will always be like home to me, a place I go to when I need some comfort and some happiness.

While reading Jamie's thoughts on the books, I saw she said it felt a bit younger than what she normally reads. At the time, I was like, "What?! Did she honestly just say that? Harry Potter is for all ages!" But now, I think I get her.

Somehow, I'm not as into Harry Potter now as I was even two years back. I mean, yes, I can hold my own against another Potterhead, but now, even if I dont, it's no longer a matter of personal dignity and respect.

When I see people who've just gotten introduced to Harry Potter, I used to wish I could wipe my memory of the books, and start all over again. But now, I'm not so sure. I dont know that if I read it now for the first time, I would feel the magic of Harry Potter as I did when I was a kid. Which is not to say that those who read it when they're adults are missing out on something (better late than never!); this is just me thinking aloud.

The Start of A New Age
But surprisingly, right now, I'm a lot more interested in the behind-the-scenes info on the books. Like how Rowling came up with the names, the little titbits of trivia, how she named the Black family after stars, constellations and galaxies, stuff like that. When I was younger, this never used to hold my fancy, but now, it's different.

Pooja says the Cormoran Strike series is more her scene right now. I should give it a try too, and see if the same holds true for me.

So yeah, maybe this is the end of Harry Potter as I knew it. Maybe it's the end of my 'Harry Potter Obsessed' period.

But maybe its the start of a new phase.

Hey, you didn't think I was going to say I'm leaving Harry Potter behind forever, did you?

Oh, and here's an interesting bit of titbit about the books we all love:
The name Voldemort comes from the French words meaning “fly from death,” and that's basically what he dedicates his entire life to! How cool is that?!

Is J K Rowling a complete genius or what?

Just in case you were wondering, the answer is YES.

What's your take on this? Do any of you feel like you're losing touch with Harry Potter? Or am I the odd one out here? Do you always approach it the same way you did when you first read it?