Inbetweenie: Life Caught Between the “Potter” and “Beasts” Generations
Before I was even born, two Harry Potter books had been published. By the time I was five, not only had three more books been printed, but Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets were movies as well. Prisoner of Azkaban was in the works too. Conventionalism never applied when it came to my experiences with Harry Potter. I entered the story via the final movie aged 12 and then made my way through the books. Now at 18, like many others, I am beginning at the start with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. In many ways, I don’t feel like I truly belong in either of the Potter or Fantastic Beasts generations. Instead, I am living a life in between.
Being a younger Harry Potter fan often means feeling left out. When you meet people at the Studio Tour or the theme parks donned in House scarves avidly talking about their experiences with the original series, their wands burst with silver stars of excitement as they remember their first midnight release. These are the people who lived and breathed Potter from its early days, and who inhaled each book the same night it was released, even the Hagrid-sized Order of the Phoenix. When you are so wrapped up in a fandom it becomes your life, to not have those memories is isolating. Quizzes that are scattered across the Internet repeatedly claim that people aren’t “true” Potter fans if they didn’t go to midnight releases and screenings of the books and movies. Of course, everyone experienced the fandom differently, but how is that fair when a great proportion of the fandom, like myself, was too young to even remember the years in which these moments happened?
At the same time, with Fantastic Beasts, I am going to be here from the very beginning. The day J.K. Rowling tweeted the announcement of a Fantastic Beasts trilogy is one of my favorite memories. I counted down the days until the release, listened to SpeakBeasty, live-streamed the moment two additional movies were revealed, and viewed every trailer religiously. When an opportunity to go to the European premiere was thrown within reach, I caught it. Midnight screenings, five movie theater visits, and a pre-ordering of the screenplay were all had, and I will do the same for the next four movies if I can. But by the time this is sadly over, I will be 27. Again, I won’t be part of a generation that grew up alongside a series or franchise but instead will have done it unconventionally once more. Harry Potter made growing up at a hard time bearable, and the wait for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them pulled me through to the point where I am now an adult. In some ways, I and those of my age are in a Potter-Beasts generation of our own.
Even though I am caught in between, as will many other people be, I’m happy with that, because I like to think that I easily belong in both. Despite never doing the “full Harry Potter experience” that came with being a child of the early-mid 1990s, I was still a part of the generation. I still remember being seven years old and my parents having to stop the DVD of Sorcerer’s Stone because Fluffy terrified my brother. I still remember exclusive clips of the Half-Blood Prince movie being shown on daytime television, and I still remember that July day in 2007 when my dad bought me a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, not that I realized what it would later come to mean. I was still a part of it in my own way. I did the unconventional madness of my way, and now with Fantastic Beasts, I’m playing by the book. With Fantastic Beasts, I’m going to have all those Harry Potter experiences I missed out on, and that fills me with such excitement. Right now, to me, division really isn’t what matters, but a union between the two halves of my fandom heart that will be split across these generations. I didn’t just grow up in either; I grew up in both.