It’s funny to think that it’s been over 20 years since the first Harry Potter book came out. Twenty years. More than half my life, more than half Harry’s life.
Today, in another universe, Albus Severus is walking towards the Hogwarts Express. He’s worried about what house he’ll be put in. His father tells him it doesn’t matter. He and Ginny wave goodbye to two of their kids as, next to them, Ron and Hermione do the same with their eldest.
All is well.
Sometimes, I sit down and think about it. I’m a bit younger than Harry, but I am part of the generation that grew up with the books. I didn’t discover the Harry Potter books right away; I found them, at perhaps, the best and worst moment, in that long stretch of time between book four and five, when fandom flourished, theories were plentiful and every little scrap of information was treated like a revelation.
I made friends then, life-long friends. I was knee deep in theories that, somehow, never quite lived up to the magic that was CAPS-LOCK Harry and Book 5. I got into ship debates, back when people thought that were was even a possibility JKR wouldn’t go for the couples we know now she always meant to write. I wrote fanfic, and I became, not just a better writer, but a better person because of what I learned in that fandom.
Back then, before book five, before Harry and Ginny were a certainty (to some people, I was always pretty damn sure), before I lost Remus Lupin, my absolutely favorite character, before Luna Lovegood, before Dolores Umbridge, I had a hard time imagining I would ever be here – not waiting for new canon, but celebrating it.
Though, in a way, Harry Potter, and what it gave me, will never end. I still have the friends, I’m currently doing a re-read of the books and enjoying it just as much, if not more, than the first 47564 times. I still, every now and then, fall into a fanfic spiral. I still love it, I probably always will.
I just now, perhaps, relate more to the problems that Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Fred and all the others faced after the war. The problems of re-building, the problems of changing people’s long-held beliefs. The problems of adulthood, if it were. It’s been nineteen years for Harry, and though it hasn’t quite been as many years for me, and even if I have no kids to walk to the Hogwarts Express today, for the first time, I realize that I now look at Harry as an old classmate I’ve never quite lost touch with.
He grew up. I grew up. We did it together. I will never forget the lessons he taught me, but nineteen years later, I don’t need Harry to teach them to me again. I know them now.
What a scary notion that is? We’re adults now, Harry. How did we get here, and how in the world do we make it stop?