For whatever reason this week’s final Harry Potter movie doesn’t feel as major an ending of anything for me as the publication of the seventh book did. That was exciting because I was eager to see how Rowling wrapped up her story. And it did feel like an exciting end of something remarkable — a global obsession with a series of books. The movies feel different to me — something more tied to a broader societal aspect of the Harry Potter phenomena. Don’t get me wrong — I think it is great — I had a blast last November at Wizarding World and enjoyed my butterbeer very much.
But what pleases me most of all is something most people don’t see — the way the books are steadily read, quietly read, by kids who weren’t alive when the first one was published, who have none of the nostalgia so many have right now. I’d always thought the books would have legs, that they weren’t a flash in the pan, that kids would continue to enjoy them as they do the Oz books and so far that has indeed been the case among my fourth grade students. The media mix now is interesting — with many books they have often seen movie versions before reading the books, but that is just fine. They are savvy viewers and know the books will be different.