When I hear the song "Torn," by Natalie Imbruglia, I am instantly hit with the memory of driving to Oregano's for lunch with the girls on the last day of our Sophomore year of high school. When I hear "Barbie Girl (oddly, I find myself hearing this crazy song at least once a year)," my mind is infiltrated with screaming girls at cheer camp and the memory of getting so fried that my ears peeled. I can't see the cover of "Francie's Paper Puppy," and not remember my first year as an art teacher. And I can't see a Harry Potter book or movie without eleven years worth of memories and associations flying back to make me smile!
When our kids ask me, "Were you around when the Harry Potter series was first released?" I will laugh and say, "OHHHHH yeah - I remember them ALL!" (PS: You MUST watch that video)
This is why I forced myself to wake up last Thursday and throw myself into the throng of fans at the world premier for the final movie in London. Do I need to admit that I am one of those crazy fans? Probably! Am I ashamed about beating my 5th graders at Harry Potter trivia? Not in a million years!
A guy standing next to me on Thursday was interviewed by a reporter from the BBC and was asked, "What is your favorite Harry Potter book?" His response was so great!
He said, "For those of us who have followed the series from the beginning, it's hard to pick one. When I read the first book 12 years ago, it meant something different to me than when I re-read it now. For fans my age, we have grown up with it...we have grown up with them! Now that it's coming to an end, it's hard to say goodbye."
Thinking back on my Potter journey has reminded me of momentous occasions I associate with the books and movies!
* Begging my dad to take me to the book store in Las Vegas when I first finished book one
* Wearing thick, black-rimmed glasses with Lauren Miller when we saw the first movie in Pine Top for her 20th birthday
* Seeing the third movie with Chase in London when we were studying abroad
* Getting held up at gun point with Jake, Chase, Suzanne, Kevin, Lowe, and Shea when we were alley romping in Suzanne's jeep on our way home from picking up book five at midnight (true story! - for another time)
* My husband, sitting through movie five with my mom and I, ABSOLUTELY covered in melted crab butter that I spilled on him at dinner before the movie
* Seeing movie six with my incredible husband in Ireland
This London premier was the icing on the cake, the butter in the beer, the snitch in the Quiddich, and the Hog in Warts.
When our kids ask me, "Where were you when the last movie was released in the most epic film series of all time?"....I will have an answer.
Sidenote: Literally, this series beat out Bond, Star Wars, and Pirates of the Caribbean as the highest grossing movie of all time. Worldwide, these films have made $6,413,576,303 - sit with THAT for a moment!
Enjoy my play-by-play of the comedy filled day I spent last week in downtown London - all in the name of Potter!!!
- I go online Wednesday night and find out people are camping out in Trafalgar Square to get wristbands for the Harry Potter world premier
- I kick myself for not knowing about the premier and not being there with our tent, canteen of Butterbeer, and battery operated tent fan
- I set my alarm for 7:00 AM to get down to the premier ASAP first thing in the morning
- 7:00 AM Thursday – wake up giddy
- I throw on clothes (no, I did not wear a Griffindor scarf, draw eye-liner glasses on my face, or strap a stuffed owl to my shoulder) and hop on tube
- I exit the tube at Westminster and find myself in a down pour of glopping rain!
- Umbrella up
- I fight my way through the umbrella-less tourists huddling in the covered passageways outside of Big Ben
- I round the bend and see Trafalgar Square up ahead in all of it’s Harry Potter glory
- I can’t stop smiling at the red carpet, waving banners, and barricade fences covered in Griffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw house crest tarps
- I get yelled at by a Harry Potter security nazi for looking through the fence to the “I’m so cool” Wristband section
- I decide this demon of a guard’s favorite character is probably Voldemort or Malfoy
- I gawk at the thousands of people crowding the streets
- I sneak into the National Gallery to take photos of the gated section of Trafalgar Square
- I pat myself on the back for getting some great photos
- OOPS! I get kicked out of the art museum
- I get herded down the back staircase with the other art museum posers
- I happen to stumble upon a small group of people, a rolled up red carpet, and a smiling security guard
- I decide this jovial guard’s favorite character is Luna Lovegood…or maybe Professor Sprout
- I ask what’s going on
- I find out that we are standing in what will be a red-carpet section beginning at 3:00 and the nice guard is going to let us stand here and claim a good spot when the section is built
- I do a little excited dance
- I call Jake to share my stroke of good luck
- I look ahead and see the outside of the Ollivander’s store front set being put up along the walkway
- I do another little excited dance
- I meet friends, carry on, take photos, and smile at the full-grown-adult wearing Radish earrings in homage to Luna Lovegood
- I take down my umbrella when the glopping rain stops (yes, I stood in the rain for 3 hours)
- I watch as the rosy cheeked security guard’s shift ends and wave goodbye to my new friend
- I watch as the security guard of doom takes over
- I, along with my 20 new Potter buddies, get kicked out of our secret section by Mrs. Nasty
- Children are crying all around me
- Adults are screaming all around me
- I decide Mrs. Nasty doesn’t even have a favorite character…she is a Death Eater herself!
- I cut my loses, stroll through the streets, and see all of the people who have secured great spots along the carpet
- I feel homeless and alone
- I see the best outfit of all – a women dressed in a homemade Dobby the Elf outfit
- I find the theater where the premier is going to occur
- I see reporters
- I see miles of red carpet
- I smile
- I think to myself, “Maybe I have found a better spot!”
- I see a section of barricade that isn't STUFFED with people
- I walk over to the barricade and am bombarded by a group of Armenian women screaming at me
- “Jump over the barricade!!! Join us!!!”
- I quickly hand my belongings over the gate as I put my trust in, what I am sure, are the ladies from the final scene of Sex in the City 2 (you know the ones that start out in burka's and reveal that they are wearing Chanel and Lois Vuitton underneath!)
- I scale the barricade and leap the metal wall
- I feel like a sycho fan
- One of the Armenian women drops our camera
- I pray the camera is fine – IT IS!
- I tell the women I am from California
- Their first question, “DO YOU KNOW KIM KARDASHIAN?!?”
- I think about saying yes, but realize that these accomplices in my barricade break-in don't deserve to be lied to!
- My saintly husband arrives on his lunch break to bring me food and drink
- I decide, for the 100th time that day, that I am married to the most amazing man in the entire world
- I bond with the Armenian women over the next two hours
- I watch as a truck supply arrives and two huge walls are constructed in front of our view of the carpet
- People around me begin screaming
- The wall is taken down
- The wall is reconstructed
- I face the bitter reality that this premier is in classic UK style and no one knows what the hell is going on
- I can’t understand how this thing is still being sorted out just a few short hours before Daniel Radcliff shows up
- I chalk it up to the 1:7 ratio and am reminded that this will haunt me for the next 1.75 years
- I decide maybe I should just go – didn’t I just come to see the hallabaloo anyway?
- I decide I am in it to win it now…what have I got to lose?
- I hug my Armenian friends goodbye and relocate as the wall is constructed and taken down once more
- I find another area only about 5 or 6 people deep
- I make new friends
- I laugh
- I watch live footage of the interviews happening in Trafalgar Square
- I send nasty thoughts to the security guard who made me leave that area
- I meet a nice gay guy dressed in a Hogwart’s cloak
- I find out the premier is 2 hours delayed because of the rain
- I realize I am committed to this event and not going anywhere
- FINALLY….the people start coming down the red carpet!
- I see the kids who play the sons and daughters of Harry and Ginny/Ron and Hermione
- I laugh with joy
- I spot Lavander Brown, Luna Lovegood, and Neville
- I fend off a screaming Spaniard who has decided to use my shoulders to steady her camera
- I fend off the Spaniard again
- I tell the Spaniard to STOP TOUCHING ME!
- My new gay friend tells the Spaniard in Spanish to stop touching me
- The Spaniard relocates
- I wish my husband was with me to witness this hilarious mayhem
- I proceed to live out my Harry Potter dreams and see….
- Bellatrix (on the balcony in the long green dress)
- The Weasley Twins
- Dean Thomas
- Seamus Finnigan
- Professor Slughorn
- Professor Sprout
- Blain from Glee
- Some people from Made in Chelsea – PRICELESS!
- The band McFly – and was informed by my new friends that since I didn’t know who they were I was ‘SOOOOO American!’
- Fleur Delacour
- Gregorvitch (engaged to Ginny by the way!!!)
- Lucius Malfoy
- Finally, there is a lull in the madness and we know who was coming next!
- 10 minutes pass
- 30 minutes pass
- I remind myself that even if I don’t see the 3 Amigos, I got to see more characters than I EVER expected to see when I woke up that morning
- I watch (and photograph) as three mini-vans come down the carpet
- I am informed that Harry, Ron, and Hermione got held up in interviews and were required to drive to the theater
- My fingers cross that they will still make an appearance
- I fall in love with Ron as he quickly flies out of his car and runs down the carpet before going in to see the movie
- I try not be bitter and angry that Harry and Hermione did not follow in Ron's heroic footsteps
- I try to steal a piece of red carpet for my scrapbook
- I get yelled at - oops!
- I arrive back home 13 hours later and feel like the luckiest girl alive
Lesson Learned: Waiting for 13 hours in the rain was TOTALLY worth the world premier of the final Harry Potter movie!