On November 19th the world of Harry Potter begins its last lap in the theaters with the release of The Deathly Hallows Part I and fans worldwide will have another year in coping with the grief and loss of their favorite boy wizard.  Many children shared their childhood with Harry and his friends, experienced their joys and their sorrows, and fought alongside them against the dark wizards and beastly creatures. 

No one could truly predict the marketability of this “children’s book” when it was a mere ideaHarry Potter Films; Photo by Cheryl WeldonCredit: Photo by Cheryl Weldon in J.K. Rowling’s imagination, though in an interview Ms. Rowling did state she knew the hard part would be getting in published, but once that hurdle was overcome, the story would be huge.  However, even she did not anticipate the level of popularity her story would reach. 

By now, anyone who has read or even heard of Harry Potter knows how the story was conceived so many years ago.  It has been quite a journey since the first book in the series was released back in 1997.   Years later when the seventh and final book in the series was released, fans wept at the thought of losing Harry or any other of their favorite characters.  Fans lined up for blocks, sleeping overnight in front of Barnes and Nobles stores in anticipation of that final chapter.  Many read the book at record speed to learn the fate of Harry. 

Sixth of Seven Harry Potter; Photo by Cheryl WeldonCredit: Photo by Cheryl WeldonHow did this happen when there are so many television shows that have faithful followers?  Take a look at the Star Trek franchise and other shows that have huge conventions.  Somehow, the Potter world is different.  Perhaps because people actually did grow up with the characters in the book they seem like family. 

We met Harry when he was just a young boy; learned of his terrible fate as a mere babe; was beside him when he struggled to be a normal boy in an unusual situation; grew with him as he learned what it means to be loyal, mature, and inherently "good."  When he faced evil for the final battle, we were right there until the last "expelliamous" was uttered and he had firmlyFinal Harry Potter Book; Photo by Cheryl WeldonCredit: Photo by Cheryl Weldon grasped the elder wand in his hand.  Yes, indeed, we suffered as Harry suffered, and we rejoiced  as he rejoiced in his triumphs, both small and large.

What is the best way in coping with the finality of the wizarding world saga?  Kubler-Ross defines five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Individuals experiencing loss pass in and out of the first four stages before reaching acceptance. It is safe to assume most Potter fans experienced some level of these stages.  Like teenagers leaving the nest, fans will have to leave the wizarding world.

The Potter films brought a bit of a delay to the ultimate goodbye to the story.  Fans can revel in a retelling of the final book, but in the end, they will still have to find ways in coping with their grief and loss.  Part II of The Deathly Hallows is scheduled for release in July of 2011.  That gives fans another eight months to prepare for the end.

Saying Goodbye to Harry Potter & Friends; Photo by Cheryl WeldonCredit: Photo by Cheryl WeldonOf course, fans may never have to really say goodbye to Harry until they are ready.  The book series and Harry Potter audio books can be reread and listened to for years to come.  The movies can be watched on DVDs again and again.  Fans can visit the new theme park in Florida and actually physically experience the magical world.  

The phenomenon of the Harry Potter series will endure for many years as a new generation explores the fantasy world through the Potter films, books, and theme park.  No one needs to say “goodbye”, just “Until we meet again.” Fans can write their own final chapters of Harry and his friends and finally find… acceptance.

 

 

The copyright of the article Saying Goodbye to the Harry Potter Series is owned by Cheryl Weldon and permission to republish in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

 

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