[I just know someone's going to scold me for using first person or going off on tangents or something like that, so I'm going to state now that this is an informal essay. Meant to be humorous, maybe a little thought-provoking if I'm feeling up to it. ;) Really, it's in the essay section because I wouldn't know where else to put it. It's not fanfic, it's not fiction at all, but it doesn't fit anywhere else. So it goes here. So don't scold me. I'm not trying to be proper or persuasive.]
Confessions of a Harry Potter Addict
Hi, my name is Alyx. ::waits for the resounding chorus of "Hi, Alyx":: And it's been five hours since my last fix.
I realize that I have a problem. And I'm okay with that. The funny thing is that it didn't even start out this way. I was one of those people who at first adamantly refused to read the Harry Potter series. Why? No real reason – I was a rather hard-headed young woman (still am, though I've toned down considerably) and a self-proclaimed Outcast. If the rest of the world was doing it, that was reason enough for me not to. And so I ignored the people who told me I really would enjoy the series and tenaciously stuck to my decision.
Until 2001. That year the first movie came out. I wasn't geared up to see it – my attention had been focused on the release of The Fellowship of the Ring. My mother eventually got me to come see The Sorcerer's Stone, bribing me with the fact that I wouldn't have to pay and she'd even buy extra candy. And only a fool passes up free food.
I found the movie intriguing and amusing, but I was still on a LotR kick and thought it was more worth my time. I was already halfway through reading that series; why should I switch the focus of my attention? Even though I had to admit that I'd enjoyed Sorcerer's Stone, it wasn't enough to make me pick up the book.
Until June. On a whim, standing in line at CVS, I grabbed a paperback copy of the novel. Why not? If I read it and hated it, it would just prove I'd been correct all along. And if I liked it, well, then I liked it and would probably read the others. It was the Saturday before exam week of my junior year in high school. And so I paid my $6.99 plus tax and found myself the new owner of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in its second paperback edition.
To this day, I cite that as one of the biggest mistakes I've ever made.
I'd finished the first book by Sunday evening and grabbed my sister's copy of Chamber of Secrets so I could start that. I was completely enthralled. By Monday afternoon, I was sitting outside, basking in the sunlight, with my physics notes on my right and Chamber of Secrets on my left. I still remember the thought process. "Alright… I'll study for two chapters of physics, and then I'll read a chapter of the book… well, maybe I'll read two chapters. That's fair, isn't it? Chapter for chapter? Yes, I think so. Oh, but that chapter was really short… maybe I'll read another one… you know, I don't really need to study that section. Who ever understood momentum, anyway? Wow, this is really exciting… I don't need to study light and color. All you have to remember is that everything they taught you about color in kindergarten was wrong. Right, I'll just read one more chapter… maybe two…"
And so it went. For the rest of the week, Chamber of Secrets, and then Prisoner of Azkaban were tucked into my backpack. I would pull them out following exams, during lunch, between sections of an exam – really, whenever I could. I was hooked.
And then the week ended, and I was faced with a terrible quandary. The paperback edition of Goblet of Fire wasn't due out for another three weeks, and I was leaving for Italy in two days. I certainly couldn't carry the two-pound book about in my knapsack for nineteen days while tramping up and down the Apennines a la Hannibal. (Minus the elephants, of course).
There was no way around it. I was going to have to wait until I got back from Italy on July 4th to read the fourth installment of the series. The thought saddened me greatly, until I realized that I did have enough room in my backpack for the paperback editions of the first three books. Success! I'd just read them over and over again to appease my now-urgent need for Potter.
If there was going to be an intervention, it needed to have happened then.
Instead, my addiction was only fed. The other girls on the Italy trip, some of my fellow rising seniors, realized I had delved into the obsession and immediately descended upon me and started clucking with excitement.
"Oooh! You haven't read the fourth one yet?"
"Shut up, Casey*, you'll spoil it for her!"
"I didn't say anything!"
"Had you heard before who dies?"
And so the suspense grew. No one would tell me anything more about Goblet of Fire, except now I knew that someone was going to get the ax. Which was distressing.
Yet, at the same time, I was glad to now have people to discuss the first three books with. Amy had a level of obsession which my own was rapidly approaching; one day in Paestum, she bought a copy of Prisoner of Azkaban in Italian. Never mind that she doesn't speak (or read) a word of it. Discussions at the dinner tables were no longer about which boy on the trip we'd most like to shag senseless; no, now the topic was much more dire.
"So, isn't Sirius Black just the coolest ever?"
"I would so shag him."
"::sigh:: I want to have Lupin's children…"
"Lupin? Sirius? What is this? It's all about Snape."
"Michelle, you're strange."
"And proud of it."
Of course, we didn't just talk about the incredibly sexy Marauders and other assorted men whose wands we wouldn't mind casting a few spells with. There were also some very deep philosophical conversations about the nature of segregation and racial prejudice.
"Well, you Slytherins are all a bunch of genetically obsessed pricks."
"It's only because they're all inbred."
"Well, how else do you keep a pureblood family that way?"
"She has a point."
"What about you, Alyx?"
"Nope, never inbred."
"Silly, what House?"
"Ravenclaw? Oh, you're too good for that. Be a Gryff!"
"Don't listen to her, she's only a Gryff because she's panting over Oliver Wood. Be a Slytherin, Alyx. You know you want to."
"Y'know, everyone forgets about the Hufflepuffs…"
"That's because they're worthless."
"That was uncalled for."
And so on.
The trip ended. I was back in the States, where they published books in a language I could read. I snatched a copy of Goblet of Fire as quickly as I could and spent the next two days sitting out on the beach with a 734 page book. I'm sure I looked quite mad; a sixteen year old with her nose in a "children's book" rather than the latest issue of Cosmo.
I was sucked into the magic of the series and couldn't get out, and wouldn't want to if I had the ability. Never let it be said that I can not admit when I'm wrong – I was converted. I went from wanting to keep as far from those books as possible to not being able to get enough of them. I then somewhat belatedly joined the wait for Order of the Phoenix. I believe I'll expound upon the wait for that in a subsequent chapter. For now, I've got to go see if there have been any updates to mugglenet.com. After all, it's been five hours and twenty-one minutes since the last time I checked.
*names have been changed to protect the fanatic
[There will be more chapters. More mindless little ravings from a girl who's dottier than a ladybug and quite proud of it. I think the next chapter will be on Order of the Phoenix. Or perhaps a more in-depth look at House relations. Or maybe a well-constructed rant against people who think the series is satanic. Or maybe a reader will have a good idea for something I could write about. ::smile:: ]