Fan Focus: Mary – February 2, 2003

Age 31, Ohio, USA


I will be the oldest person so far lucky enough to be profiled, and at 31-years-old, I consider this quite an honor. I think about Harry, Ron, and Hermione throughout the day at work, wanting to go home and review the DVD, picking out my favorite scenes. Harry at the Mirror of Erised is a favorite, and also the ending under the castle with Quirrell. Harry is the essence of courage, and it is this quality that draws me again and again to this character. He never gives up, never lets evil overwhelm him, and stays loyal to himself and his friends. What Harry learns about himself by the end of the Sorcerer’s Stone changes him. Not just discovering he is a wizard, but that he is not “just Harry.” He is someone special, as we all are, and this is a lesson lost on most of us in this world as we rush about, looking for ways to please anyone but ourselves. Harry learns that his dreams and his beliefs are as important as anyone else’s, and finally sees value in himself. I love this series because of what it can teach us, and because it reaches down and touches the insecurities I carry like a curse. It helps me to see beyond them.

How and when did you get in to Harry Potter?

I first saw Harry Potter on HBO, sitting around at home one night finishing up laundry. I hear “Hey, Mary, Harry Potter’s coming on. Want to watch it?” I answered “Sure,” thinking I could finish up laundry while watching the movie. Suddenly, it’s three hours later and I’m still sitting on the edge of the couch, my eyes are big as plates, and wet laundry is still in the washer. Daniel is so excellent as Harry, and I immediately saw this as not just a “kid thing” but as a story I really liked even as an adult. I couldn’t stop talking about it. Chamber of Secrets was playing at the theater, so my wonderful husband took me to see it. Wow. When Harry started talking like a snake during the dueling match I thought I would go out of my mind. This kid has powers beyond his own imaginings. I now own the four books, and have read the first two (working eight hours a day and driving for two more is not conducive to regular reading).

Which Harry Potter book is your favorite?

The Sorcerer’s Stone is by far my favorite book. Is it the most exciting, most thrilling? No. But this book brings Harry to life. Here we see a boy who is suffering suddenly thrust into a whole other world. Here is his opportunity to “prove yourself” (Sorting Hat), and he doesn’t back away from it. He grabs this new world and his adventures with a new zest for living. His life is changed with the arrival of a stranger. This book will remain my favorite because I have often wished I could start over, go back and not be so scared to be a teacher, or a doctor, or whatever I want to be. Harry is what I should have been.

What character can you relate to most?

I envy Harry and his newfound world, but I relate to Hermione. Yes, at 31, I pranced around for days saying Wingardium Leviosa, and turning my nose up and saying “Pleasure.” But deeper than that, I was the smart kid who was shunned by many, and in my thirst to prove myself I often came off as a stuck-up brat. So Hermione is the closest to me.

What do you think of the inevitable boy/girl stuff coming in Book 5?

I fear it might mean the end of suspense.

Who do you think Harry will “hook up” with in Book 5? What about Ron?

Ginny and Hermione, respectively. Both boys make great single men, however.

What character do you think will die in Book 5?

Oh, what a terrible future! Maybe Dumbledore? Maybe the passing of Richard Harris had an influence on her decision, if this is true.

Which school house would you want to be in? Do you think the Sorting Hat would place you in that house?

I’d like to be a Gryffindor, but I think I’m more of a Hufflepuff. Always faithful, some courage, but more of a follower.

Do you have any interesting HP stories to share?

My niece, who is 13, gave me a Harry Potter poster for Christmas. I found out later that she had taken that poster off of her own wall since she knew I liked Harry Potter, but didn’t have the money to buy me a poster. What a sweet-heart!

Do you have anything else you’d like to add? Maybe a theory you’ve concocted, a shout-out?

I need a wand. One that works, preferably. I may love this story for different reasons than most of the audience because I am older, but I love it just the same. Whether you’ve read one book, all the books, or the series six times, it doesn’t make your love of the series any greater. What you learn from it and how it can make you grow are as important as the joy of imagination. To all of those younger than me who are reading this, thank you for getting to the end of my profile. Please keep reading, and never let anyone tell you that you are “just Harry.”