Friday, Nov. 11, marked the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2,” the eighth and final installment in the legendary saga. The third-highest grossing box-office film of all time, it serves as the crowning piece of a film series that has earned over a billion dollars over the course of the past decade.
There’s no doubt that many will flock to purchase copies, but after the excitement dies down, the sad realization that this series, which has defined a generation, has come to its close will set in. For more than 10 years, Harry Potter has touched the lives of hundreds of millions, and Maryville College students are no exception.
For senior Craig Owen, Harry Potter has been in his life since he was only nine years old.
“It opened me up to more modern books on fantasy. Before then I would only read older novels such as “Lord of the Rings” and Piers Anthony novels from the ‘80s,” Owen said.
Other students have also credited the series for sparking an interest in reading. For Lindsey O’Neal, a junior, her introduction to the books was nearly magical.
“It was Easter, and I walked out onto the front steps because the ‘Easter Bunny’ had rung the doorbell,” O’Neal began. “Instead of an Easter basket filled with candy, there were three books wrapped in a baby-blue blanket, with a letter tucked between two of the books that said, ‘Ms. Lindsey O’Neal, 4 Privet Drive …’Just like Harry’s adventure began.”
A unique benefit to college-age fans was the chance to grow with the series. Many of the book and movie releases coincided almost perfectly with the ages of current MC students. Junior Kelley Blankenship was one such individual.
“When Harry grew up, I did too,” Blankenship said. “It was a story that transported me to another world, which was awesome as a kid and still is to this day.”
The Hogwarts spirit has continued to spread throughout our school. Last year’s homecoming was Harry Potter themed, and this past summer many students attended midnight premieres of the last film, some even venturing to the Wizarding World theme park at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla.
Junior Lane Dodson visited the park in July.
“It was probably one of the most surreal things I’ve experienced,” Dodson said. “I felt as if I was legitimately immersed in J.K. Rowling’s descriptions, minus the heat. I could have lived without that.”
The end of the series weighs heavy in the hearts of many, and sophomore Gavin Walker is no exception.
“I felt like it was a great conclusion, but now I wonder what there’s left to look forward to,” Walker said.
Others, like Ellison Berryhill, a senior, look back with fond memories.
“I was kind of ready for it to be over, and it had a really great run,” Berryhill said.
While bittersweet memories and childhood nostalgia may run rampant at times, the series will likely stand the test of time. It has been a part of our generation and will surely continue for those to come.