Thank You, JK Rowling
Last night as my family and I got ready to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, I remembered anticipation of my children, especially the eldest, before we headed out to midnight releases of the books or film premieres. Those nights were always special and quite surprisingly, it was always my children who were pushing me out the door instead of me waiting by the car for them to go to be on time for things like…school? For it wasn't always easy to match their excitement after a day of writing in the morning, taking them to school, teaching three or four classes, grading papers, preparing for the next day, and attending a film where I knew I would be quizzed: "How did you like the scene…?"
And I'll never forget the look on my daughter's face (she's back from Seattle and living with us again) after the midnight release at Books & Books of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and she stayed up all night to read the book. When I came downstairs, huge gobs of tears stained the cover of the book and she was depressed for about a week. Coincidentally, she was cleaning out her room in preparation for her next big adventure and found this booklet that she'd saved since 2001.
I look at the photograph of the Harry now and again I realize how much he has become a part of my children's lives and imagination. Harry has grown up with my children. As Harry was going through his quest for identity, adolescent love, and facing challenges to his integrity, my children were going through similar issues.
So, thank you, JK Rowling, for providing my children with an outlet for wonder that spurred their imagination and giving them a model to trust their inner and outer guides of wisdom.
Thank you for a great story that gave me a way to talk with my children about life, love, and yes, death. I'll never forget Amos Diggory's howl in The Goblet of Fire as he cradles his son's body: "That's my son! That's my boy! My Boy!"
Thank you for creating a character who cherished his relationships with his friends and mentors, and whose love saved him from the perils of ego-driven power. For even as Harry struggled bravely with the forces of evil incarnated in "The One Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken," I hoped that Harry would (while secretly praying for my own children) find the strength to become the shaman that I always knew he could be. For in the end, that's what Harry taught me: True magic springs from hope.