I feel rather sad that it’s the last Harry Potter premiere tonight. So much of the girls’ childhood has been caught up with the boy wizard. When they were very small, a friend gave them a bubble bath bottle with a plastic Harry on the top, flying. That was our first encounter with Pottermania. At the time I thought it was quite weird and chucked it away. No doubt it would now be worth billions on eBay.
When they were a bit older, I started reading the first book to them as a bedtime story. I remember finishing the first chapter, and sneaking the book downstairs with me to read myself. I’ve never done that before, or since. All right, the early ones are a bit reminiscent of the Wickedest Witch/Narnia/whatever, and JK Rowling is no Jane Austen, but she has a certain something nevertheless.
I’ll always be deeply grateful to her, anyway, for getting my children interested in books. Child One loved and devoured every volume, and soon our summer holidays were spent playing endless Harry Potter quizzes. There was a time when I could have told you the name, age and inside leg measurement of all the founders of Hogwart’s four houses. Now that bit of my brain is stuffed with equally useless information about the boy band The Wanted, but I feel nostalgic about all that long-lost Harry Potter lore.
More recently, I was banned from going to see the Deathly Hallows with Child One, another rite of passage moment though not a very enjoyable one. I was very thrilled to get a review copy of the film on DVD, and then heartily disappointed when I’d dragged myself through what seemed like two weeks’ worth of sulky teenagers throwing moodies in tents. If I want to see sullen faces, I can look around my own breakfast table.
But I’m still looking forward to seeing the last Harry Potter. Fair enough, Daniel Radcliffe, though he seems quite a sweetie in real life, still can’t act for toffee, and Maggie Smith goes through all her scenes pretending she’s had a bad whiff of drains, but somehow Harry Potter has always transcended his own limitations. Rather like a lucky boy having the ride of his life on a flying hippogriff, in fact.