In high school, I used to love to watch Rosie O'Donnell's afternoon talk show. She was so funny, and liberal, and my dad hated her, so I thought it was kind of rebellious to watch her and laugh. Plus, I loved A League of their Own back in those days, and as a result, I loved "Ro." One afternoon, in the fall of my junior year, she had a British children's author on the show to promote the release of the third title in her series. Rosie introduced JK Rowling to the crowd, and everyone erupted in applause. I had never heard of her so I decided to pay attention to something else (probably my dog Abbey Road, may she rest in peace). Jo and Rosie began to chat about the novels, and I couldn't figure out if this was a book about a real boy who pretended to be a wizard or a boy who really was a wizard. Rosie was going on and on about how much she loved this "Harry Potter" and asked Jo if she would read a passage from the newest novel. This was when I really started to pay attention. I love hearing authors read their own work, so I dropped what I was doing and tuned in. JK Rowling then opened the Prisoner of Azkaban and began to read from the scene where the dementors pay a visit to the Hogwarts Express and, in turn, meet Harry Potter (to this day, this remains one of my favorite scenes). By the time she had finished I was fully mezmerized. Two hours later, I had purchased my first copy of the Sorcerer's Stone. (It was a paperback, and, in case you are wondering, I have since purchased two others: a hardback edition and a French translation). Three hours after that, I started to read Harry Potter. At first I still had my doubts. I am going to be perfectly honest, I was still confused about where the story was going. Back in this day and age, I had never even heard of Dumbledore before. Just imagine picking up Harry Potter for the first time before the movies, the theme parks...before all of the hype...it was all completely new to me. And, it was, for lack of a better word, magical. By the time Harry made it to Hogwarts and was sorted into Gryffindor, I was fully and completely obsessed.
Eleven years have passed since I saw JK Rowling on Rosie. A lot has changed (including Rosie). Today, the novelty of Harry Potter is gone. I know every character, every place, most of the spells, and how the story ends. Nonetheless, last night at the Midnight premiere of the Deathly Hallows Part One, my heart was pounding as the movie opened with the meeting of the Death Eaters at Malfoy Manor. I cried when certain sad things happened that I don't want to give away for those of you who I am still holding out will one day pick up the books. I laughed at Fred, George, and Ron. I clenched my fists and held my breath and even screamed a bit...on the inside. Harry gets me every time, and the Deathly Hallows Part One was NO EXCEPTION.
With all of the books published, and only one movie premiere left, there isn't much left to discover in the amazing world of Harry Potter. But, for me, there is still nothing better in the world than a day spent just enjoying the greatness that is Harry. I may be hallucinating (I'm so tired today because I am an old woman who can't stay up past 11:00 pm on a weeknight), but I still feel the same magic I felt when I opened that first book at the recommendation of Rosie O'Donnell in 1999. And, I am having yet another amazing day because of it. Everyone, do yourself a favor and go see Deathly Hallows, or rent any HP movie, or better yet, start reading the books. Rosie O'Donnell and I both promise, you will not regret it.
I love the boy who lived,
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