Dear J. K. Rowling,
Several years ago you gave me a gift that I didn’t properly thank you for… and now you’ve extended your kindness to my son.
Thank you for Harry and all his adventures. My husband, Robby, and I read through all of your wonderful books as they came out (starting a few days after our friends because I’d picked up the first book on a trip to Canada and insisted that we must finish out the series with the same cover theme… so there were agonizing waits for our hardcovers to find their way to us from across the Atlantic). Mostly we read your books in the car on long trips—though we’d bring them into the living room and keep reading during especially thrilling bits.
I got pretty good at coming up with voices for all your characters—Luna Lovegood and Professor Trewlaney and Mad Eye Moody were particular favorites. I used to read the books through quickly first, on my own, before reading them out loud to Robby. This practice ended after HP & the Order of the Phoenix. When we are finally assured that Lupin is, in fact, on the side of good I paused to look at my husband. He said, “I already knew we could trust him.” “How?? When did you figure it out?,” I spluttered. “The voice you gave him—I knew he was okay.” I was horrified that my own love of Remus had ruined a bit of suspension for Robby so after HP&tOoP I didn’t read past where I’d read aloud to him.
In 2004, Robby and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary and were very much blessed with the arrival of our long awaited son, Jack. He was three when we finished the last book in the original canon and we shelved the books waiting for the day when he’d be old enough for us to relive the adventures with him. (To tide us over we have a niece, Maddie, who loved the books as much as I did. Thank heavens!)
Now Jack is an amazing boy. He’s smart and funny and full of questions. And he reads—constantly. We’d known loss—so we only prayed that “the baby” (we didn’t know his gender—though I suspected) be delivered safely and in good health… I’d secretly add “and please, please let baby love books, too.” Our Jack is an actual-factual monkey—and rarely has time for fiction. No matter. I’d told him from the time he was quite young that Harry Potter was quite real and that, if we paid attention, there was, indeed, magic all around us. And I refused to let him see a single Harry Potter movie until he’d read the corresponding book first.
Two years ago he rather reluctantly opened Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. This last week he went on a 14 chapter binge (a first for him!) to the end of HP & the Deathly Hallows.
What a wonderful two years it has been. Thank you! Thank you for letting us revisit our dear friends again and to introduce them to our boy. Jack, at nearly-13 (next month!), still brandishes his wand (Aunt Trish gave him it on the eve of his 11th birthday when we threw him a “Hogwarts’ letter eve” party) and dreams of playing Quidditch. He’s shyly pleased that Ron and Hermione married each other and didn’t see Ginny coming any more than Harry did. Jack and I are pleased to be in Hufflepuff (we imagine being near the kitchens at Hogwarts must be lovely) and wonder about the differences between North American wizards and those that we know like the back of our hands. We rate the books in order of our favorites. And bemoan the things that the movies left out. We are still mourning the losses, still especially fresh for Jack, of so many dear ones in HP & the Deathly Hallows. (We are, at heart, Weasleys. So that particular death was brutal.)
And we dream of Hogwarts feasts, Weasley sweaters, and using a Marauder’s Map to get up to no good…
Always, thank you.
With much, much love,
P.S. The other day was the first day of school (8th grade) for Jack (and the day after he’d finished HP & the Deathly Hallows) and we had to pick up some groceries. The store had paperback copies of HP & the Cursed Child. Jack asked, “Mom?” Now—I have read it—devouring a friend’s copy while we were camping last year—and didn’t yet have our own on the shelf. I was reluctant to get a paperback but was so swayed by Jack’s excitement to read it that I said, “Okay” and popped it in the cart.
When we got home Jack said, “Mom. I can’t read it yet—I need to see the Deathly Hallows movies first.”
Curious to remember how it began again I opened it to read it again myself—only to discover that the pages are all out of order (!) and it’s missing the first 18 pages!!!!
Jack and I agree that it must be dark magic, indeed.
Or a muggle at the helm.