Harry Potter has played a huge part in many lives this past decade and a half, least of all my own. My nephew was born the year the first book was published, and read the series as avidly as I did when he was older.
I first heard about the Harry Potter books from my sister's ex-boyfriend. Curious, I bought the first book and found it an interesting read, with strong echoes of Roald Dahl. Upon learning the author was British, I asked my sister, then at university in London, to bring home the second book for me, and the third when it came out in paperback, as they were unavailable in local bookstores at the time.
By the end of Book 3, I realised that Rowling had gone beyond her literary influences and indeed created a world that was nothing less than magical. A first edition Book 4 was my first ever Amazon.co.uk purchase, with a copy that was delivered to my parents' London flat just in time for their return trip to Manila.
With Bloomsbury editions unavailable in my country, (Scholastic has the rights to publish and sell Harry Potter books in America and the Philippines) I had to find other ways to complete my collection. Book 5 was purchased online and brought home by a colleague who was in Singapore at the time of the release. Book 6 was bought at a Hong Kong bookshop (it seems that former UK colonies sell UK editions, and former American colonies sell US ones) when my best friend's family were there on holiday right after it went on sale.
Book 7, being the last, was special. I wanted to be in London, queueing up outside a bookshop for the midnight release, but my life had other plans. Little A was born two days before the final book was launched worldwide, and while my fellow fans spent July 7, 2007 with their noses buried in their books, I was in hospital, nursing and burping a newborn every two hours.
Little A's godmother took my last book home from Edinburgh in time for his christening, a full two months after its release. It was the longest wait I'd ever had to make for a Harry Potter book, but I hardly noticed it, what with colic and nappies and sleeplessness.
When I started reading, in fits as my baby slept, I didn't mind the wait at all. The series got ever better as it advanced, and the ending was no less magical than I had hoped for. These books have been reread numerous times, and will be read again in years to come.
The films are equally memorable, as they chronicle my relationship with Big A quite well. We watched every movie on the first day of release from the same seats in the same cinema until it shut down after the third film, which I had to watch on my own as Big A was at a golf tournament. He knew better the next time though, and made sure he was always free on the day a new movie was released.
We saw the last one today, and I thought it was done just as wonderfully as the book ended. And we do not bid the series farewell, but look forward to Little A enjoying it in years to come.