I spent the weekend hunkered down first rereading (for the third time) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, then going to see the movie. Harry has been such a big part of our family for so long that I am sad to see the whole franchise winding to a close.
My kids were exactly the right age for Harry Potter when he first cast his spell on America. We would sit out on the deck, a fire in the firepit as dusk settled, my husband and I taking turns reading the books out loud to our kids, then 8 and 6. Nearly every roadtrip we have taken since then has been narrated by Jim Dale, the incomparable voice actor who recorded all of the Harry Potter books on tape. To this day, he is the only voice actor I can name. I once was offered the chance to interview him when he visited Chicago. Sadly, I was traveling at the time and had to say no.
As each movie has arrived in theaters, we gathered as a family to reread the book and gear up for the story. Each movie before now, that is. These days the kids are teens who are far too busy sleeping late and hanging out with their friends to invest that much time in a family reading of a 600-plus page book. But the lure of rewatching the fifth movie, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” was enough to get the 15-year-old to stay home on a Friday night. Only something as magical as Harry Potter could do that.