Saturday, May 03, 2014

The End is Also A Beginning

For the first time this weekend, I'm going to be reading Deathly Hallows - the last book in the Harry Potter series. Even though I've watched the movies countless times, a wave of emotions are still rocking my fangirl boat about the end of an era reading the books. It doesn't seem like a big deal to the rest of my family who are not exactly Potterheads, however, this event is monumental for me.

As a little kid growing up, my religious relatives pretty much ridiculed and banned me from reading the series. I didn't have much outside influence in my small Northeastern town - only to continually witness on the news and with friends in my community that Harry Potter was deemed as a "bad series" capable of damning and poisoning the imagination and faith of young children.

I was all ready half-way through Prisoner of Azkaban when the threats of my relatives repeatedly haunted me to put down the book. If people on television had been burning hundreds of copies and my own family had though the book was 'dangerous' - surely, this wasn't something for me. Down went my copy the Prisoner of Azkaban. Swarming in the loss of reading the series, was a void and loss of watching the series morph from afar.

Over the years as my close family ended up separating itself from those relatives mentioned previously, I still didn't have the courage to pick up the series again. I felt like I was never going to catch up. Every year came a new movie I couldn't see in theaters, and every year came another book that had way too many holds on it. Deep doubts consumed me, and yet I also continuously pushed the series to back of my mind trying to deem it as not important enough for me to pursue. What started out as an inexcusable control game of my relatives became something that I punished myself with - since I hadn't stayed with Harry until the very end, I might as well had not started again ever.

But then when the last movie came out - YES, I waited until Deathly Hallows Part 2 to be released to finally shed all of my guilt, nerves, and doubts. Over a weekend I watched the movies with bated breath right in time to see the final film on opening weekend. The experience was everything that I dreamed. This was the first ending that turned into a beginning - because I picked up my old love of the books and began reading.

Family issues of no control of our own started plaguing my family again when the last movie came out - however, I didn't let the obstacles sway me. I began reading the series again - this time I took my time and savored every time I finished reading an installment.

Gradually book by book was finished. Last summer, the Goblet of Fire helped me through every financial and emotional obstacle you name - moving, abusive landlords, the brink of homelessness, bullies at school. Gradually it was harder to put the books down. Order of the Phoenix only took a few weeks. This March (after waiting for some school semesters to wind down from busy work-load), I finished Half-Blood Prince in a few days. Now comes Deathly Hallows.

Having watched a documentary late last night after weeping through Deathly Hallows Part 2 (to mark the Battle of Hogwarts anniversary), I was struck with awe when J.K Rowling being filmed writing the last few sentences of Deathly Hallows as finished. Not in exactly the same way but this weekend I'll be able to declare that sentiment too when I reach the final pages of the seventh book. However, I don't look at it from a sad perspective - because every ending has a new beginning.

Like Rowling's venture into writing other books, the expansion of theme parks, and the new spin-offs of the wizarding series, it's not going to be long before I begin reading the books again - my sister is finally now starting to read the series (after four years of begging her!). Questions are going to want to be answered. Stories are going to want to be experienced again. And after facing the battle of ignorance with my relatives, I know indefinitely and certainly, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome me home.

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