I Just Finished Reading Harry Potter. Now What?

I’m not gonna lie, I’m kinda not sure what to do with myself at the moment. I know I’m one of the last people alive who hadn’t read the series but now I’ve done it. I’ve joined the club and I now understand all of the internet humor references to Muggles, Butterbeer and Draco Malfoy.

I’d never watched any of the movies or read any of the books before. Well, maybe I’d attempted to read the first book a time or two, but didn’t find it captivating at the time. I was determined to try again.

First, I feel like I need to explain why now, after nearly 20 years, I decided to dive in.

I tend to turn movies on in the background while I work at night. One night several months back I noticed Breaking Dawn Part 2 was on and I was sucked in, and sucked back about five years.

Isn’t it incredible how certain memories can be tied to smells, sounds, or tastes? A familiar scent can bring back a flood of emotions from our childhood. A song we hadn’t heard in awhile can move us to feel nostalgic.

It’s not the movie itself that makes me sappy and emotional. But all of the memories that come back when I watch it, and listen to the score.

It made me wistful for a period of my life when I had more time with my husband, before kids–when I had time to sit down and read a book for hours before bed, just because I wanted to.

I started the Twilight series well before it was the crazed fad that it is today. I can remember the night I started the book, buying the third book on opening day, and waiting in line for the midnight release of the final book.

Cherish 365: The days are long but the years are short. A project to making moments last and cherish every day.

I saw Eclipse in theaters five days after I was due with Lil’ J (she didn’t come for another five days). It was one of the final days of my life that I’d ever experience boredom, and a certain kind of freedom you can’t get back after you have kids.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but a couple months after reading Breaking Dawn–just days after Twilight the movie premiered, I started this blog. I was itching to have a place to write about something other than news stories. As lame as it sounds, I’d be lying if I said Bella’s first-person account didn’t influence the start of all of this.

So anyway, all of these memories came flooding back as I watched this cheesy yet personally-amazing movie!

Taking note, I decided I wanted to replicate this. I wanted to take on another series that could encompass this time and phase of my life as I made my way through the books.

I decided to read Harry Potter.

Tired mom escaping to the bubble bath for a few short moments of quiet while reading a book. Sneaking in a chapter or two a night as I rocked my kids to sleep. Will that be what’s ingrained in my mind when I think back to the first time I read Harry Potter? Maybe.

Lil’ J asks me night after night to listen to what I’m reading. I read her a few pages of the first book but was too eager to read at my own pace, and I told her I’d read it to her once I finished. Just as I was starting the final two books I noticed a new Illustrated Harry Potter book was released. I just ordered it tonight, and I plan to start reading it to her once it arrives.

I’m not sure if it’ll have the same lasting impression other series of books have had on me. I think there’s something to say about the spacing of release dates, and corresponding movies spanning over a decade, and the anticipation and excitement that builds with that. However, 2015 will forever be the year of Harry Potter for me. And perhaps, the year of a kindled love for fantasy.

So here’s a quick a spoiler-free review for others who have yet to give Harry Potter a try:

It’s not quite what I imagined it to be. I was highly critical knowing I’m not into fantasy. Witches and wizards aren’t really my thing. But neither were vampires, so I got over my hang-up and dove right in.

The first couple books may seem overrated but by the third book I was completely sucked in. That one is probably still my favorite. I was really amazed by Rowling’s creativity, especially from here on out. It was really hard to guess where she was going. I mean who things this stuff up?

Don’t watch the movies first. I mean, it’s ok if you already have, but the books are SO much better. After you read the book put some space between watching the movie or the movie will be such a letdown. Once you’ve forgotten some of the details that are fresh in your mind you’re safe to watch the movie.

I’ve held off watching the last three movies for this reason. I’m having a Harry Potter movie marathon by myself sometime soon.

I think the book could possibly be most touching to parents. While I love a good love story, this series focuses on the love found in friendships, and between parents and children and at this stage in my life that really struck me, and even brought me to tears.

As I closed the book (or turned off my iPad screen tonight) and heaved a sigh of satisfaction, my husband looked over at me and threw a curious look.

“I just finished reading Harry Potter,” I told him with a smile.

“Oh ok, so you’re going to stop ignoring us and rejoin the family now?”

He thinks he’s so funny.

But yes, I’m back. Until I discover the next series to journey away with.

Have any recommendations?

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  1. I am a Harry Potter Fanatic. I stood in line at midnight at barnes and nobles for the last 4 books. NO SHAME. It is one of the best written series that I have ever read. The movies, while good, did not do them justice. I can’t wait to start sharing them with Pookah!

    1. The more time that goes on the more I’m like “man… this is REALLY good.” Even now I want to find people to talk about it with, but I feel like I’m so late to the game people are just giving me the side eye. haha. And I totally agree. The movies so far just don’t do the books justice. I’m surprised people were so into them. But I guess I understand. Did you read Hunger Games? I’ve enjoyed those movies, but I haven’t read the series again since the first movie. I think the multi-year-span helps ease the disappointment.

  2. I loved the Harry Potter series as well and read them along with my oldest, who is now 17. He is also the one that started me on The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. I like the movies, but again the books are so much better! My absolute favorite series is by Diana Gabaldon, The Outlander Series – there are currently 8. They are incredible and I have reread all of them many times. I personally have skipped the novellas and short novels on Lord John Gray as they are an offshoot and don’t have the main characters that I love. Good luck on finding a pleasant escape in reading! It is my main special time, hobby for me! A way that I sneak in “reading” is audiobooks that I check out from the library by downloading onto an app on my phone. I can listen when I am driving or doing mundane cleaning, etc.

    1. Oooh I’ll hafta look into The Outlander Series. It sounds familiar. I actually have been getting into audiobooks lately! But I normally put on “inspirational” reading. Things I rarely give myself a chance to read when I sit down. I feel like I’m being uplifted while I drive, or clean, which are typically boring for me. haha.

  3. I agree that the books are way better than the movies! Since Harry Potter and Twilight, I haven’t had any luck finding a good YA series that I love. I’m currently reading the Monster High series to Moo, but I’m having to edit it as I read it to her because the characters are 16 and some of the stuff is way too old for her. The MH movies are much more kid-friendly for her age in my opinion. I think this weekend, I’m going to get lost in the library and see what I stumble upon.

    1. Oooh have you heard of the Princess in Black books? They’re sooooo cute! Lil’ J loves them! I bet your Moo would too! The first one may be at your library. I can’t remember if you said you’d read The Descendants to her. That one is cute too. Let me know what else you stumble upon!

  4. I am a total Harry Potter fanatic. My grandmother had bought the series for my oldest daughter and I wanted to read it first to make sure it was ok for her to read. I totally got hooked myself. I have seen all the movies too, but prefer the books.

    For your next series, try the Hunger Games. My son got me reading those.

    1. I definitely prefer the books too. Thought I watched he 5th movie last night and thought it was pretty good! It’s interesting knowing the twists ahead and watching for clues. I LOVED the Hunger Games! That is a great series. Your son has gotten you into good books. haha.

  5. I can’t say that I’ll ever read either of those series but as I get closer and closer to meeting my little one I wonder what will be the trigger for the memories I’m forming now. I believe it is time for me to start reading to him since the baby app says he can hear. This post is right on time for me to jump start my love of reading again and to get my son involved before birth. It can be our thing! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. I read the first three Harry potters back in school but then had to wait for the 4th one. Since it was so much bigger than the others I never started it in favor of doing school and hanging with friends. I’m super excited to read the whole series with my kids at bedtime when they get a bit older. Next you should read The Martian. I know the movie just came out but I LOVED the book. Also along the fantasy/sci-fi thread Dark and Day by Isreal Grey is another great young adult book. He has 3 books out so far and has plans to go up to 7 so you can jump in now and have to wait for the next release again ;). He is putting them each up for a free download at different times through November so you can even jump on them for free and give it an amazon review.

  7. I’ve never read Harry Potter! I have seen one a bit of one of the films whn my mum was watching it, lol. To be honest I got put off by all the hype. Maybe one day I’ll have a read and see what I think. 🙂

    It’s funny because when I read the title of your post I was just thinking how I might have been put off Twilight too if I hadn’t already read the book and then you mentioned it! I think it was 2007 or the beginning of 2008 when I read Twilight and then it came out in later in 2008. I imagined Edward differently in my head, lol.

    I prefer the books but like the films too. (I was just watching the first one on DVD again the other night actually). My favourite books are Twilight and New Moon. I like Breaking Dawn too and Eclipse is ok but it seems a bit of a “filler” book to me.

    About 5 years ago I got into other teen supernatual books like Evermore by Alyson Noel and Fallen by Lauren Kate.

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