I've been told a lot of things about my love of Harry Potter
That I'm obsessed.
That it's an addiction.
That I'm a nerd, a geek.
That I have a problem.
I've also gotten a lot of rolled eyes and sighs and maybe-if-we-ignore-it-it'll-go-away kinds of looks.
Maybe it's all true. I embrace it. No one can make me feel bad about my time with Harry Potter. No one can make the last ten years less than they were--and they can't make the coming years less either. I've had experiences I'll never forget. I've made friends I'll always cherish, even if we've grown apart. I've met the most amazing people and learned the most uplifting things, all thanks to this fandom.
Thanks to Harry Potter, I found myself when I didn't even know I was missing. I embraced my inherent nerdiness--the very nerdiness I'd tried to hide--and ran with it. I learned it's okay to be a know-it-all or a goofball or feel lost. These characters taught me how important it is to be myself and to stand up for what I believe in. Harry Potter taught me how to use my voice to speak for those who can't. It taught me that anything can be done if it's worth fighting for. It taught me that it's okay to be scared or unsure in the face of adversity, as long as you face it head-on anyway.
No one can take away the moments I've had over the last decade. Even though it's over, it's not really over. Those memories will always live on. The midnight book releases and midnight premieres, staying up all night to read, making t-shirts and donning costumes, entertaining at the movie theatre, waiting anxiously for the next Mugglecast, solving Jo's scavanger hunts for announcements, RPGs and fan sites, wizard rock, speculations and theories, debating to the death over every miniscule clue or theory or passing reference, Muggelcast Fan Chat late into the night, HPA Livestreams and Skype chats and team meetings, counting down the days and dreading the end. Dying Emmy's hair blue, cheering with every other fan when Hermione punched Draco, house cup competitions and trivia contests, immediately bonding with someone because they're a fellow fan, inside jokes like *confetti* or "delusional" or "HE SAID IRKED", hearing Caitlin scream "not again" in the middle of the Prisoner of Azkaban movie, feeling like this world we read about is read if only we could get to Platform 9 3/4, waiting for cast announcements and theme park announcements, suffering through Post-Potter Depression. Together.
Knowing that, even though it's the end, it's not over.
The fandom will change. It will get a little quieter. The anticipation will be gone, but the fandom is going nowhere. Those of us who grew up with Harry will grow up too. Perhaps have children of our own. And one day, those children will ask about those seven well-loved books on the shelf and we'll take them down and open them up and pass the magic on to the next generation. We'll get to watch them discover Harry Potter for themselves and fret over the next chapter and we'll smile and remember. We'll remember the lessons and the people and the events. We'll remember that anticipation and those friendships.
When that time comes, when I'm passing Harry on to my future children, I know I'll smile. I'll remember vividly the thirteen-year-old girl with the insanely curly hair who skeptically opening this book called Sorcerer's Stone while sitting in her middle school library. That could could never have imagined the impact that book would have.
So, from the bottom of my heart I have to thank you. Thank you to all the friends I made in this fandom and the friends I've yet to meet. Thank you to the fan sites and the podcasts that made me think and laugh and helped me fight away the boredom.
Thank you to Harry, Ron, and Hermione for showing me there are things worth fighting for.
And thank you, JK Rowling, for creating this world for us, that became more than even you probably imagined.
"Of course it's happening inside your head...but why on earth should that mean it is not real?
--Dumbledore, Deathly Hallows UK pg 792--