My uncle gave me the box set of the first four Harry Potter books when I was about 11 years old. I vaguely remember trying to start reading them, but for some reason I just couldn’t get into them. The first couple of chapters seemed vague and boring, and I didn’t really know what was coming later to be interested in making it through them. So…I stopped. And didn’t pick them up until a few years later.
I feel a bit shameful to admit that my next real experience with Harry Potter when I went to see the latest movie with my cousins. Unfortunately for me, the latest movie was the seventh in the series, Harry Potter in the Deathly Hallows Part 1. I had no idea what was going on, but I wanted to.
So that was how I got back into the series when I was 17. I started reading, and made it through the first four books in two weeks. I bought the rest and went through those a bit slower, what with school work and other responsibilities, but all in all it probably took me about three months to read all of them.
Then I watched the movies, which I had somehow avoided on TV and otherwise in all of the years since they had come out. The seventh movie made more sense the second time around, by the way. When the final movie came out, I was ready to see it in theaters.
I’ve always wondered how a book that was so easy to put down when I was a kid would mean so much to me as a young adult. I loved the world between those pages, and couldn’t imagine how I wasn’t intrigued by those first few chapters.
But I’m honestly glad my first experience was when I was older and just a bit more mature. I better understood the emotions and difficulties the characters meant through, especially the hard ones like grief and betrayal. I could appreciate the nuanced characters, knowing that good and bad traits exist in every single person.
Now, I’m sure I would have gotten some of that as a kid. But knowing how much I enjoyed them as an adult, I’m glad I waited. I’ve had other friends who have had the same experience. There’s no right way to read, no right time, but if anyone out there has been putting a “juvenile” series because they think they’re too old for it, know you might have had the right idea in waiting.
~~Lindsey, Library Aide