End of an Era: Five Years Since the Release of “Deathly Hallows – Part 2”
A lot of things happened to me when I was 19 years old. I had been diagnosed with a chronic illness. I had lost a lot of friends. I had my heart broken. I had reached the end of my teenage years, and life was seemingly upended.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 happened to be my first midnight premiere from the series, and naturally, it would be the last. I donned my Hogwarts shirt, which was purchased at the Wizarding World just a month prior. I rode with my sister and two friends to the movie theater, overwhelmed with excitement and a little bit of fear.
I had grown up with Harry, like others from the Potter generation. He took me through my childhood, holding my hand the whole way. Of course I had some sadness when the book series ended, but I still had the movies to look forward to, at least. But what happened when the credits rolled on this movie? What then? (Of course, I had no way of knowing I would eventually work for MuggleNet and be on a podcast dedicated to an expansion of the Harry Potter series, but there you have it.)
Like the others in the audience, I soaked in every moment of the movie. The midnight crowd laughed and cheered at all the right parts, and of course the deaths rattled all of us. What we had read in books now was being visualized on-screen, and it was better than I could have hoped for or imagined.
And then it was over.
When I first read the final pages of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I never predicted how poignant the final three words would become. “All was well.” As a 19-year-old who had been told she’d live with an illness for the rest of her life, those were words to cling to. To know that Harry, throughout all of his struggles and battles, could come out of them in the end and still feel that “all was well”… well, it made me feel like I could reach that point, too.
Sitting in the theater seat as others began to leave, I was the girl crying. I don’t mean a single tear as I smiled and reminisced on the good times. No, this was a shoulders-shaking sob fest. Strangers, with concern on their faces, approached me cautiously to ask if I was okay. My sister and friends couldn’t understand what seemed to be an overreaction.
Once home, I went to my room and played the acoustic version of “End of an Era” by Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls, just to further unleash my sadness. I wanted to wallow. I wanted to cry. I wanted that ache in my heart to last, because once it was gone, I felt as though I was truly saying goodbye to Harry.
Of course, those things weren’t true. J.K. Rowling has since expanded the universe, letting the magic continue. For that night, though, I truly felt as if I were saying farewell to a friend. It never mattered to me that he was fictional. Harry represented so much to me. He was a beacon of hope, a warrior for love, a symbol for possibility.
I always found it coincidental that the epilogue started at “nineteen years later” since I was a 19-year-old girl who had just been thrust into the unknown world of illness. Rowling always placed importance on numbers, and in this instance, I did, too. Despite the hardships I had faced in that year, I (like Harry) would willingly step into the battle with my head held high.
That day marked the end of an era, but the beginning of another. Besides, Dumbledore himself even said,