There are times in life when Freud’s “oceanic feeling” seems to permeate the air a little more than usual, when you can feel the a larger, stronger pulse beating along with your own. Now, you may think it trivial, and perhaps you don’t understand, but for me the premiere of the final Harry Potter film is one of those times.
Everywhere I see fans of the series – fans from the very beginning, from the first book – lamenting on how they feel like their childhood is somehow ending, that the culmination of this truly epic series is much more than the end of a franchise. We had a preview of this feeling when the last book came out, but then we still had the films to look forward to. And now that the last has come, what we should be feeling is a mystery. (Of course, the movie posters and trailers screaming “It All Ends” don’t really help.)
It is particularly strange to think about this at this very time for me, because so much is changing. I’ve finished grad school, people I’ve grown to care for are leaving, and the life I have known is becoming something else entirely. It feels very fitting and bittersweet to have the Harry Potter series finish at the same time when I feel that I am really not a child anymore at all. And to me, this is what the series is all about: growing up, accepting one’s fate but also determining it, acknowledging death and new beginnings.
Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings as well, have become more than books and movies; they are stories and memories that have become entwined with my own, and I feel very lucky to be a part of that.
At the movies on Saturday, there was a group of young teenagers sitting behind me who were clearly very big HP fans, and I realized that I must view the series differently than they do, because the release of the books and films have coincided with important moments in my life. While they are still kids, I’m not. Watching the film, there was this triumph in seeing the characters play out their roles, but also the sadness of everything being finished.
It reminds me of a line at the end of the original Winnie the Pooh movie that always get’s me, when Christopher Robin is growing up and must leave. It goes something like this:
Winnie the Pooh: Good-bye? Oh, no, please, can’t we go back to page one and do it all over again?
Narrator: Sorry, Pooh, but all stories have an ending, you know.
Or perhaps this can be summed up by Luna, the character most comfortable with death, who says that the things we lose have a way of coming back to us, in the end. Actually, many characters in HP convey some form of this idea – J.K. Rowling is clearly on to something.
The wonderful thing, however, is that the books and the films will always be there to go back to, to relive, and to make new again. And in that way, things may change, but they are never truly lost.