In honor of the Release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II:
I've mentioned before how much I LOVE Harry Potter. I resisted the urge to pick up the first book until about 2001 (it was published in 1997), even though many of my friends LOVED it and went on & on & on about it. But, when I was a freshman in high school and babysitting overnight for my cousin, six years my junior, I borrowed his copy. Good thing I was babysitting overnight, because I was able to return the book to his bookshelf before I left the next day. I'd finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in less than 24 hours.
I picked up books 2-4, and read through those as quickly as I could. Then I reread them. Then I reread them again. Then I read them a fourth time in preparation for the release of the fifth book. I couldn't tell you how many times I've read books 1-4, with books 5 & 6 thrown in a few times after their debuts. I reread the whole series last winter. And now I'm on book Five of my second full read-through.
Every time I read any of the Harry Potter books, I get completely lost in the story. No matter how many times I've read them, and regardless of the fact that I know how it ends--each book and the series as a whole--I find myself staying up way too late, or staying an extra 10 minutes on my lunch break, just to squeeze in a few more pages. So, yes, I'm 25 and obsessed with a wizard named Harry (and, well, all of his friends, too).
I've not been terribly diligent about seeing each movie as it was released in theaters. (Though I did wear my Golden Snitch pajama pants on opening day of The Sorcerer's Stone.) In fact, I've still not seen Deathly Hallows, Part I yet. But today, Deathly Hallows, Part II released in theaters, and...it's all over. I'm sure I'll see the last two movies soon. I just won't be able to stand it. Perhaps I'll wait until after I've finished my current read-through, but that probably won't take too much longer.
I've been watching a lot of the coverage--of the premiers, the interviews with actors, etc. over the past few weeks. Emma Watson (who plays Hermione Granger) has said more than once that she's spent over half her life BEING Hermione. She's grown up AS Hermione. And I feel like I've grown up with her, Harry & Ron, too. The actors are all just a few years younger than I am, which, for me, makes the story even more captivating. And to be honest, I'm a little sad that it's all coming to an end (in movie form) today. I wept when I closed the last page of Book 7 for the first time. Cried like a baby. (Let's face it, I cried when I reread it, too).
But Jo Rowling said it herself at the London Premier last week: "Whether you come back by page or the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home."