The Final Inning – A Look Back at “Deathly Hallows”

Eight years ago today the book that marked the end of an era made its way to bookstore shelves and into the hands of an eager generation of Harry Potter fans. We all remember where we were when we read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the first time. For some of us, it was directly following the release, while others waited a few years before coming to the end of the journey. My first time through the pages of the seventh volume in the Harry Potter series was the very second the clock struck twelve on July 21, 2007.

There had been some talk from my parents about how I couldn’t go to the midnight release party this time around due to having a softball tournament the following morning with a 7 am call time. I knew this couldn’t happen, so my twelve-year-old self poured my heart and soul into a very compelling and heart-wrenching argument about how my childhood was coming to a close with the printing of this final chapter of the story. Either I spoke very eloquently, or my parents didn’t feel like dealing with my stubbornness. In the end, I was allowed to go, so I donned my robes and carried the wand that my dad had made me the previous year for Halloween.

When the salesperson handed me my copy of Deathly Hallows, I moved to the side, propped it open on a bookshelf, and began to read as my parents paid. The marathon continued all the way home in a silent car where both myself and my older sister were in a race to the finish line, and our parents knew not to interrupt our progress. I read through the night, stopping only to replace my tissue box, which had been drained when Hedwig was blasted out of the air. I got approximately three hours of sleep before I had to be up and get to my softball game. I spent the rest of the day reading, as I did my part for the team as a bench warmer. My teammates and coaches would occasionally check in to ask me what was happening in the book as I continued my progress in the dugout, my feet dangling a few inches off the dirt floor. I may not have gotten more than three chances at bat that day, but I did spend those precious remaining moments with the characters that had become like a family to me. Between games, I went to the car under the pretense of refilling my water bottle, when in reality it was to let out the tears in a place where I couldn’t be interrupted. These periodic sobbing fits took place where no one else could see them, not because I was ashamed of my attachment to a fictional book but because I didn’t need to give my peers another reason to think I was odd and solidify my status as an outsider.

I was sad for so many reasons while reading Deathly Hallows. Of course, I was upset at the loss of these characters that I’d grown up with, but I was also upset that the thing that had been my peaceful retreat for so long was coming to a close. I couldn’t have understood back then that this comforting place would never truly leave me. To this day, I revisit the books any time I’m feeling like the real world is a little too difficult to face at the moment. At 12 years old, however, it seemed to me that the place where I didn’t ever have to worry about judgment or not being “cool” enough was being taken away from me. There was so much uncertainty in my life that summer, but if I could go back and tell my younger self that it never really ended and how I am surrounded by friends and a strong support group that has emerged out of my love for Harry Potter, I think I may have been able to save myself a few trips to the car to cry that day.

 

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Amy Hogan

I was 9 years old when I discovered the magic that is “Harry Potter.” I am a proud Hufflepuff and exceedingly good at eating, reading, being sarcastic, and over-thinking small tasks. Since I spent too much time worrying about the correct way to write this bio, this is all I was able to come up with before the deadline.

No Responses

  1. Neville says:

    Amy, well said. Very eloquently put. I was nodding my head in agreement throughout.

  2. Eduardo says:

    Great text Amy, congratulations! Back then I was only 10, so unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to go to a midnight release. I remember very clearly going to the bookstore as soon as I woke up the following day to get my pre-ordered copy. Great memories come to my head when I remember these books and the fandom that suround them. And it makes me extremely happy to see that even after 8 years we, the fandom, are alive as ever and will remain so. Sorry for my english, I’m brazilian

    • AmyMN says:

      Thank you for your comment! You have very good english. 🙂 The Harry Potter fandom is absolutely the best, but I might be a little biased. 😉 So many great friendships made through the books and the fandom. We are very lucky to have grown up in the years that we did!

  3. Alleona Marie says:

    Why are you doing this to me? I can’t stop crying. #8yearsDeathlyHallows

  4. Kate/Kili says:

    Man, you made me cry! I was 15, very close to 16 that day. (I just noticed on the Potter calendar thingy it says Hedwig and Mad-Eye’s deaths were on my birthday…err >.<) I think Hedwig and Dobby were the worst deaths for me in DH, but out of all the books, probably Sirius. Great article! <3

  5. Anna B says:

    Beautiful post! I felt the same way–an era of blissful pastimes caught in the wonderful world of Hogwarts was ending, but if anything I’ve learned, the magic lives on….especially in all the fervor of our love for Harry Potter.

    • AmyMN says:

      It absolutely lives on. I never thought back when I was 12 that in 8 years I would be writing for MuggleNet and just as in love with Potter as ever!

  6. Inglevine says:

    A beautiful article, thank you.

  7. Brandon Meacham says:

    This was nice, not the you crying part even though that is understandable. I finished the final book last year and since i knew what was going to happen prior to spoiling myself to the film, I liked there was more than the film gave and it made such a excellent climax. The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson was my Harry Potter. The series was with me through the last year of middle school and first years of high school. Even though the series concluded a few years back, I still have finished the last three novels because I don’t want to see it conclude, I want to keep it the way it was.

  8. RowenaRules says:

    Eight years on we all love it as much as we did back then, and it just proves how powerful the feeling was when we held the last book in our hands, not knowing how we would feel once it was all over. Personally, I shed a tear just reading the dedication: “…and to you, if you have stuck with Harry until the very end.” I will love these stories forever and Jo will always have a place in my heart for giving us a second home where we can find comfort whenever we need it. Always.

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