On my very first day in publishing in April 1998 (yes, I was twelve), my new boss handed me an advance readers copy of a book that Scholastic was publishing in the fall that everybody really liked. At first I thought, “A boy wizard? Hmm, fantasy really isn’t my thing.” But I went home that night and started reading it. And that was when I feel in love with a boy named Harry Potter (actually I’m more of a Ron girl).
I worked at Scholastic during the first five books of the Harry Potter series. It was a truly magical time to be in publishing, especially at Scholastic. I never worked on the series myself (that was my boss Kris), but I was able to witness things that I never thought I would experience working in books, especially children’s books. I got to meet JK Rowling (aka Jo) a few times back when no one knew who she was (hard to believe there was a time!). I was always struck by how nice and humble she was. And how she’d smile when some nutjob would start going on and on about Azkaban and how she almost missed meal service on her flight because she was SO into the book (full disclosure: I was said nutjob).
I always think back fondly at the beginning of the Harry phenomenon. And I followed the books with even more interest after I left Scholastic. And with the last movie coming out, I’ve been feeling extra nostalgic. When I finished reading Deathly Hallows, I was too happy and overjoyed with the book to really be sad. I remember closing the book thinking, “Well done!” Seriously, I thought that ending was pure perfection. However, I find myself getting very emotional thinking about the end of the movie franchise. Entertainment Weekly’s recent cover of an 11-year-old Daniel Radcliffe made me smile and then think, “Goodness, Harry is all grown up.” Which is odd, since I haven’t aged at all…
My birthday is tomorrow (so much for not aging!). And I originally planned on spending it with my friends at Hogwarts, but then Paul McCartney decided to play Yankee Stadium so how could I not go to that (yes, I could do both in one day, but there’s only so much excitement one can handle in 24 hours). So I have my tickets for next week so I can see it on the ginormous Imax screen at Lincoln Center. And as much as I know I’ll probably cry at the end, I know that Hogwarts is just a turn of the page away.