Add to our Harry Potter Memories!

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Illustration by Mahammad Guliyev.

Dear Readers,

The time has come. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part I will be arriving in theaters near you shortly.

There are thousands of pre-sold tickets. There are Facebook count-downs and quizzes. There is a Yule Ball in the works.

How can the Gazette contribute to these fine celebrations of Potter-mania?

By asking you, our fine readers, to submit your Harry Potter memories in the comment box below. Let’s all share our long waits in midnight lines, our Halloween (or just everyday) costumes, our I-read-it-faster-and-more times-than-you poker (you know you play), and our genuine love of Harry and his pals.

Below are some staffers’ remembrances to start us off, but send-send-send us your memories. Our comment box is faster than by owl, so you can keep them coming as you count down the hours, minutes, seconds…

Don’t be shy!

Ever since the day Harry Potter 1 came to theaters, I have routinely been accused of looking like Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton). It didn’t help matters that I enjoyed riding around on my Nimbus 2000 broomstick or that I desperately craved a real magic wand of my very own. Then, when the fan fiction started gaining popularity, I found myself enmeshed in increasingly-awkward circumstances. No need to elaborate here.

Needless to say, I try to avoid Harry Potter book and movie pre-release parties for my own safety and peace of mind. Looking like Draco hasn’t been all bad, though. I must say, when I took the Battling Against Voldemort course that Swarthmore offered a few years back, I was treated as somewhat of an authority on all matters pertaining to the Slytherin house and the Dark Arts. Ironically, however, when I recently took the Which Harry Potter house are you? quiz on Facebook, it put me in Ravenclaw. Go figure…

The first time my father took my brother and me on a trip without my mother, I fell from a horse and broke my arm. I needed surgery and while I was in the hospital my father read aloud the first Harry Potter book.

When the fourth Harry Potter book came out my entire family went to the midnight release and we bought four books. We then raced to see who could finish it first. I won.

When the fifth book came out I was in Greece with my family and we scoured Athens for an English copy. We were successful but my parents would not let my brother and I read it until the plane ride home.

Going to embrace my full Harry Potter nerdiness here and go ahead and say that I waited for my Hogwarts acceptance to come with as much excitement and anxiety as I had when waiting to hear from Swarthmore.

I lived in denial for a while, thinking there had been a mistake and I would be getting that letter any day now (I’m like fifteen at this point ?). But alas, I think I am Muggle. What a shame, I totally would have fit right in to Hogwarts. Internet quizzes say I’d be in Ravenclaw: it’s the closest I’ll ever get to the Sorting Hat…

I grew up with Harry Potter. I was 11 when he got his first letters from Hogwarts, I was 14 when he was entered in the Tri-Wizard tournament, and I had just finished high school when the 7th book came out. That’s something you younguns from 2012 and below CAN’T claim. So, forgive me for this embarrassing story:

Right after I INHALED the first book, I wrote myself a letter. From Hogwarts. Accepting myself. To Hogwarts.

I copied it word for word from the book, substituting my name for Harry’s and “small room I still share with my sisters” for “cupboard under the stairs”. It was written in green gel pen (remember them?!) on coffee-aged “parchment” in my best stilted cursive.

I found it a few years ago tucked away in an old diary, addressed and still in its original envelope. It made me smile and then wonder if my escapist tendencies as a 5th grader were a little much.

I went to the Harry Potter 7 book premiere with my friends at a nearby Borders. Before going there, my friends decided to dress me up as Ginny (I am a ginger so this works out pretty well). We went to the premiere, and as we were waiting for midnight, we noticed that there were Borders employees dressed up as Harry Potter characters going around and entertaining the crowd.

Before I knew it, people started approaching me, asking to have their picture taken with “Ginny.” My friends thought this was hilarious, and went along with everything. I had to pose with multiple people as the token ginger, and now my friends have great blackmail pictures. Oh, and they tricked me into eating a vomit flavored Berti Botts Every Flavored Bean.

The Phoenix