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Dec 5, 2008

Different

Well, I've just finished the "Harry Potter" series again. I realized the other day, as I was making my way steadily through the books, that I had only read the seventh and final book once - the day it came out. I remember being moved by it when I plowed through it then, staying up all night at my father-in-law's house to finish, my feelings then were nothing compared to what I felt today. Through all of the books, but this one especially, I have been shocked to discover that the single, subtle difference in my life now from when I read them before has made all the difference in my reaction to the books.

I am someone's mother.

This changes everything. Where before I always identified with Harry, the young protagonist, rooting for his more mundane victories over school foes or with girls, now I invariably and without any choice in the matter take the perspective of the parent. Each time Harry thought of or wished for his lost parents, my stomach twinged with grief. Every scene in which some important point about his parents came to light, my throat tightened. Tonight, as I finished the seventh book, I read the part where Harry's parents were 'resurrected' for a short time to help him to pluck up the courage to do a tremendously difficult task. This interaction kind of blew past me a few years ago when I skimmed it quickly, anxious to get to the end of the story. Tonight, I was absolutely floored by the reunion. I was holding my little Colin, who was fast asleep after nursing, and I cried into his little belly (waking him, of course). Where I once thought this particular plot point a rather foolish way to transition between action sequences, I appreciate now how those lost relationships, and the imagined ones in their place, were so formative for the entire story. I got the basic point before, but tonight, I really got it.

Before I felt sad for Harry because he didn't have parents to guide him or love him. That's sad. But tonight I ached for both Harry and his parents because they lost what I now treasure most: family. It's certainly not that I didn't value my family before I became a mother. One only need to read back to my early posts regarding the Best Nephew Ever to discover as much. But it is so different now. What "they" say is true: having a kid changes everything. Everything. Including which parts you cry though in "Harry Potter".

2 Readers rock!:

Alykat said...

See? Further proof that the Harry Potter books really are the BEST BOOKS EVER! (And I will admit, I read number seven twice in a row....)

becky said...

I was already a step-mom when I read the HP books, so I don't know if that influenced me when reading. I always felt so sad for Harry losing his parents. I have such a great family that I wanted him to have it too. I cried so much when Sirius died, just wanting Harry to have a chance at happiness.

But now that I have another child, I think I will go back and reread them. Maybe it will color my reading even more.

BTW, now that I'm a mom with a baby around, I can't watch any movies or TV that have kids in peril. Cannot handle it at all.