Hi there! My name is Marianne. I’m 27 years old and I live in the Netherlands. I’ve been given the status of a true Harry Potter geek by the founders of Girl Gamer Galaxy. And honestly I cannot disagree. I’m a proud collector of multiple Harry Potter items. I’ve bought all the video games on every console and own all the books in Dutch (my native language) and in English. I have all the Harry Potter movies on dvd and blue ray. I even own some Harry Potter clothing. Because, like the greatest wizard of all time Albus Dumbledore has taught us: ‘You can never own too many (Harry Potter) socks’!
Now, I know I may not be the most devoted or the biggest fan out there. But people that know me think I’m stretching this Harry Potter fandom a bit too much. You know, maybe they’re right. But then again, I don’t care.
Believe in magic, you Muggle..!
Last wednesday was the premiere of ‘Fantastic beast and where to find them’. The first of the five movies, all taking place before the story of Harry Potter starts. So, in my opinion, this asks for a blog about my favorite subject: Harry Potter, the world wide phenomenon. If you’ve never heard of him: Harry is an eleven year old boy who discovers that he is a wizard. And not just any wizard. No. He is the one who defeated the darkest wizard of all time as a baby. And during his time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he’s been challenged over and over again to defeat ‘he who must not be named’.
Obsessed with Harry Potter. Sorry, but I’m not sorry.
Harry Potter. Some hate the stories, and others love it. Then there are the true Potter fans. But even within the Potter fans there are gradations:
- Some just watch the movies and enjoy them (this is the level that my older brother is at).
- Some have watched the movies and read the books once or maybe even a few times (I’m willing to bet you know a few of these people as well).
- And then you have a whole different level of Potter fans. The most devoted, obsessive and hard core fans. These are people who:
- own all the books and movies;
- have read the books at least 20 times;
- played every Harry Potter video game there is;
- watch the movies at least once every year;
- talk in Harry Potter references (I admit, this one gets a bit annoying for other people);
- have come up with one or multiple Harry Potter theories;
- have written their own fan fiction;
- and maybe spend some time dressing up like one of the Hogwarts students;
Well, let me see what group I belong to. Hmm check, check and check. Category 3 it is! Yes, that list you’ve just read is basically a description of the last 17 years of my life! And probably also the reason why my brother refuses to watch any Harry Potter movie with me.
How did my Harry Potter obsession begin?
I was 10 years old when my mom gave my brother a Harry Potter book for Sint Nicolas (A Dutch festivity). It was Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban. My brother decided he was too old for a children’s book (well, with him being 12 years old and all). So the book came into my possession. During that time I was not much of a reader. I have dyslexia and I preferred playing games on my brothers PlayStation over reading “some stupid book”. Boy, I was so naieve back then! On a rainy day in March, I decided to just ‘give it a go’. After 3 chapters I was hooked and it wasn’t long after, that I finished the book and bought the fourth book ‘the Goblet of fire’. Later I bought Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone and Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets.
I started reading the books over and over again.
I was sucked into this amazing world of magic where a lonely boy, who had been terrorized his entire childhood, found a place where he belonged. And who became a great wizard who could fight against the evil forces that crossed his path. I identified myself with Harry, Ron and Hermoiny and they sort of became my best friends and my greatest examples. I could not stop reading these four amazing books. And after I finished the books for the first time I started reading the books over and over again.
I was hooked and I wanted more…
For me, and for any other Potter fan, the release of the 5th book took so incredibly long. I mean, book 4 had such a cliffhanger and you just had to know what happens next. It was pure TORTURE! I felt like an addict going through rehab and I was desperate for my next Harry Potter shot. So, when Warner Brothers finally released the first movie and Electronic Art released the first Harry Potter game, this was during my first year of middle school, I couldn’t be happier! The movie gave an extra dimension to the story. Seeing every character on the white screen inside the castle, this had occupied my imagination for so long. It was truly amazing.
Of course they changed some things, but in my opinion Christopher Colombus nailed it. The first PC game was so much fun as well. I learned later on that the creators of the game only had limited resources and time and were not really experts on making this kind of games. But all the extra’s they put into the game, like the haunt of the chocolate frogs cards and introducing characters like Peeves (which they let out of the movies) made the game really fun to play.
What was a Potter fan to do?
But now we had to wait for the new movies, games and the new books. What was a Harry Potter addict… I mean… Harry Potter fan to do? Well the answer was simple: join a support group! And with a support group I mean multiple Harry Potter forums. I have met other Harry Potter fans online with whom I discussed and created multiple theories about what was going to happen in Harry’s fifth year and the years to come. Some theories eventually never happened in the books. But I am pleased that I guessed 3 things right! Also there’s a great Dutch Harry Potter Website were you can follow real magic lessons made up by the creators of that website! And of course you have to do your homework, which the professors rates, so that you could earn House Points! Oh, I owned these Harry Potter fans so much! Easy!
Finally, the fifth book arrived…
It was july 2003. Three years of waiting came to an end when J.K. Rowling finally published her fifth book! I decided to buy my first English book. I just couldn’t wait for the Dutch translation! After 4 days of non stop reading I finished the book that I had been waiting for so long. J.K. Rowling delivered, again. The book was nothing like I expected, it was so much more! And the waiting started again, now for the 6th and 7th book and so my daily activities (re-reading the old books, re-watching the movies, discussing what will happen next with other fans and playing the games) continued…
The ups and downs of the Harry Potter movies.
During ‘the wait’ more movies came out. Emma, Rupert en Daniel grew up, and so did their characters. With the loss of Richard Harris (playing Dumbledore in the first two movies) and the change of directory, everything seemed different. This had a huge impact on how I experienced the Harry Potter movies. I remembered being so disappointed of the Prisoner of Azkaban movie (which was my favorite book). I told everyone that I’d never watch that movie again, nor was I going to buy it on dvd. Of course this was a lie. I mean, who was I kidding? I bought them on the release date and I watch it during every Harry Potter marathon. But still, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t disappointed.
Fortunately the other movies improved significantly. And I have learned to accept that the movies will never be as great as the books. Pay attention, I’m dropping some adult wisdom here! So that is why, when I was old enough, I still went to every new Harry Potter movie night premiere. Of course in style. The best movies in my opinion were 7.1 and 7.2 (the deathly hallows). The filmmakers still changed a lot, left out a lot of essentials pieces and the character of Harry was weakened in comparison to the Harry Potter in the book. But the movies are still great and I still enjoy watching them in a marathon session or on TV in december!
The Harry Potter games were a treat!
Ok, let’s get back to business. The Harry Potter games were great. I was already a huge PlayStation fan. And I have to admit that I bought my PlayStation 2 especially to play the next Harry Potter game (the chamber of secrets). In that time the graphics of the PS2 games were so much more realistic than I had ever experienced before, that Aragog’s relatives really gave me nightmares (Just like Ron I was and am truly afraid of spiders). After the first PC and PlayStation game, the games became better and better. But then the fourth game arrived… which was such a disappointed that I returned the game to the store and bought a Rayman game instead.
The whole adventure game concept, which was so great about the previous games, was thrown away. And with that all the fun. Fortunately the creators redeemed themselves with the fifth and sixth game, which, with the new graphics and possibilities of the PlaysStation 3, were pretty awesome! But the final chapter, The deathly hallows 7.1 and 7.2, where the movie surpassed my expectations, the games were really disappointing. I was so psyched to play these games, but while playing the game felt like a bad version of Call of Duty. With just dueling with other wizards and dementors and only a fragment of the challenges that Harry, Ron and Harmony had to endure, it was overall a big disappointment. Fortunately I have had 5 great games which I still play from time to time!
The seventh book and the end of my childhood.
The seventh book came before the last film and games of course. But well I have started my journey with a book and that’s is why I end with a book as well. The last book was full of surprises, unexpected deaths and tragedies but still some humor in the worst year for the wizard community. I sincerely cried when Harry heard about the last secret and was walking to his ‘close’. But then suddenly the book was over. There are no more pages left and the book was finished. What was I going to do?
In Great Britain they had set up a Harry Potter support hotline to help troubled fans with the sudden emptiness in their lives. And after finishing the book, I could totally understand why. As an addict I wanted more, and interviews with J.K. Rowling were never as satisfying as a new book. Forums were closing, Harry Potter websites did not get updated any more… it was a sad time for Harry Potter fans.
Thank god for Pottermore and JK Rowling!
The introduction of Pottermore came. And soon after that a lot of companies started to build up their own initiatives, like the Harry Potter studio’s and theme parks. Rowling, who never wanted to write another Harry Potter book again, started co-creating with other writers for her play (Harry Potter and the cursed child), a new movie (Fantastic Beast and where to find them) and her own 4 new Hogwarts books.
9 years later…
Now, more than 9 years after the release of the last Harry Potter book I’m still totally hooked. Last June I organized a Harry Potter Movie Marathon & High Tea (Which included homemade butter beer, bertie botts every flavored bean and chocolate wizard hats). I have just reread the entire series and of course the new play script book of Harry Potter and the cursed child. Also I have just visited the new movie Fantastic beast and where to find them. I dare to say it is a grate add tot he Harry Potter universe and if you haven’t seen it yet, GO NOW! Like literally drop everything what you are doing and reserve a ticket at your nearest cinema (before I buy all the tickets, because I have to see it like at least 7 times).
The Harry Potter experience is coming to the Netherlands in february of 2017. And now, with the recent discount given from Pathé, I am definitely going there. Then you have the 4 new Hogwarts books which are released as e-books on Pottermore, which I intend to read. Of course I have to see the Harry Potter play in action in stead of reading it. And the wait for the other 4 Fastastic beast movies has just started. So enough left to explore in the Harry Potter universe, for this old Harry Potter geek.
And so… even after all this time… a Harry Potter geek… Always.