Harry Potter and the Months-Long Readathon

It is impossible to encapsulate the breadth of my involvement with Harry Potter. Suffice to say (for the time being, for this pitifully small blog post) that my parents bought the first two books while we were on a weeks-long road trip. My brother and I passed them back and forth over the next several days. By the end of the trip we had each read both Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets about five times.

This will be a familiar story to many of you: My obsession quickly developed. I waited eagerly for each new book to be released, rereading the entire series in anticipation. I was seventeen when Deathly Hollows came out (the same age as Harry himself). I awaited the movies with bated breath, crossing my fingers that they wouldn't be an entire shambles. I come back to Harry Potter time and time again. And it warms my cold little heart every time a new reader discovers Harry Potter at the bookstore.

...After all that, this is not a blog post about the wonderment of Harry Potter. (There will doubtless be many blog posts in the future about the wonderment of Harry Potter.) This is a blog post about my fiancé.

One of the hazards of getting involved with a Polish-South-African-born-Australian is that the pop culture references of such a person are, by nature...unusual. Growing up in South Africa under apartheid means that many things that were just part of my upbringing (Disney animated features, for example) are foreign to him. Not so Harry Potter.

Anyone who knows me knows that I will foist books upon acquaintances at the first sign of any interest whatsoever. True to form, from the moment the Australian walked into my life, I was throwing books at him: Walk Two Moons. Howl's Moving Castle. Sabriel. Holes. Et cetera. Et cetera. I take great pride in having introduced him to all of my growing-up favorites. But the one thing I could not take credit for (spoiler: until now) was Harry Potter.

He LOVES Harry Potter (both the books and movies), and when I mentioned to him that I was considering a re-read, he was right on board. So a few weeks ago, we started a Harry Potter read-aloud readathon. The clever dialogue! Harry's sarcastic inner narrative! The characters! Hermione! Ron! George! Fred! Forge! Reading Harry Potter aloud is like happening upon a bunch of dear, dear friends one hasn't seen in some time.

And then the most shocking thing happened. The Australian admitted after three chapters that perhaps it was possible that he had not read the first three Harry Potters. Perhaps it was possible that he had only seen the first three movies, and picked up the books starting at Goblet of Fire.

I was gobsmacked. Horrorstruck. Far be it from me to tell people exactly how they can and cannot be a fan of something, but to be a Harry Potter fan on the basis of three movies (and not the books) is simply missing out! I was stunned! But at the same time...thankful. Because Harry Potter is so wonderful that not only is it amazing by oneself, it actually becomes doubly splendiferous when you're sharing it with someone else.

We're now just over halfway through Sorcerer's Stone. (His favorite character is Snape. Mine is not.) It's taking some time (A 16 hour time difference will do that to a couple). But it is one of the best things, to be able to share something that means so much to me with him. (And to say "I told you so!" every time he grins and says, "This is so much cooler than the movie!")

Reading: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (J. K. Rowling)
Listening to: "Blank Space" (Taylor Swift)