I’m off to Africa today so will probably have to wait till I come back to see the last Harry Potter movie, but all the reminiscing has me recalling my experience with the first movie. It came out ten years ago this coming November and, for me, will be forever linked with something that happened two months earlier downtown from my school. Here’s my letter to the New York Times about it:
Harry Potter’s Triumph
Published: November 24, 2001
To the Editor:
Re ”Harry’s Big Weekend” (editorial, Nov. 20):
No doubt the Harry Potter movie would have broken box office records even before the World Trade Center tragedy. J. K. Rowling’s books were already very special to children, which made the movie’s release an additional form of healing for our city’s children, who are still coping with the events of Sept. 11.
My fourth-grade students had a first day of school they will never forget; they have had field trips canceled and more than the usual evacuation drills; and they have had to contend with the same grief and fears that adults are coping with.
For these children, the Harry Potter movie is better than anything a trauma specialist could provide — not escapist entertainment, but the satisfaction of knowing that good can trump evil.
New York, Nov. 20, 2001
The writer is a teacher at the Dalton School.