The Time Tone was Right about Snape
The Final Potter Day
I came to Potter late, mostly due to a lack of Potter obsession on Catalina Island before 2001. Once I arrived at college, I was introduced to Pottermania, but I was a contrarian by nature and had never liked the books that "everyone" liked... especially in the fantasy genre. I hate LotR, always have. It's a book series about a field trip full of wizards and monsters and furry-footed burrowers. If all the people who loved LotR loved HP, then why would I read HP? Besides, I was double majoring in English and Theatre. I certainly did not have time during the school year to read 4 increasingly large children's books that promised to be 7 eventually.
Of course, I caved. At some point during Sophomore year of undergrad, I borrowed the first book. The writing wasn't polished and perfect, but the world was amazing, the characters had depth, and I wanted more. I got the second. It was a sophomore book, and much like other second books, it wasn't as good as the first. Still, the writing was getting smoother, the world was getting broader, and I began to understand why my roommate and her friends had a text-based roleplaying game based on this world. Time for the third. Oh, Prisoner of Azkaban, I'm in love. Rowling has matured; we get the Marauder's era. Brilliant. Sure, I don't really have time with lines to memorize and classics to read, but bring on Goblet of Fire. At this point, homework be damned. I must catch up with the books.
Suddenly, I began to get the jokes my roommate and her friends were making. They linked me to hilarious fanfic and burned me copies of soundtracks they'd made for characters in their RPG. I had taken the bullet train from snubbing HP straight into the deepest trenches of the Potter nerds. I was prone to hysterics whenever I thought of the phrase, "What am I doing with you children? I am the Slytherin sex god!" and Millicent Bullstrode's soundtrack became my make-a-bad-day-better mix. Sweet Merlin's panties, I was in too deep.
Then, there was Aftermath, a new RPG that the lovely and talented Sarah, then my roomie's girlfriend, was making. I was invited. Not only invited, but invited to be Hermione. With much trepidation, I stepped into the shoes of one of the Trio and became only one-step higher than a fanfic writer, an HP roleplayer. I took on multiple characters, I actually teared up when Hermione told Ron it just wasn't working between them, and when we lost a pivotal player, I took on even more characters to keep the game afloat.
Cue the publishing of Order of the Phoenix. I stood outside Lloyd's candy shop on the island, waiting in line for butterbeer and chocolate wands. I wasn't getting the book that night given the crazy prices the island bookstore was charging, but I had to be there. I had to feel the energy. I had to tell the pointy-blonde man in Armani in front of me that he looked like Draco "but in the best possible way." He looked offended, but his arm candy laughed. I got the book the next morning from Amazon and disappeared until I could plow through it. Tonks! OMG, Tonks! So many new characters. I made my own game that Christmas after agonizing for months about what to call it, when to set it.
Confusion Fall, title taken from Titus Andronicus, skipped ahead a year and a half to Christmas of seventh year. Dumbledore was dead, Fudge had quit, Hermione was a ghost, Draco had a Dark Mark. I recruited a handful of my friends and away we went. Harry killed Voldemort, Snape faked his death and disappeared, Harry went through the crisis of realizing that he'd done what he was supposed to do with his whole life by the time he was 18, and Bellatrix became the Dark Lady. For the rest of undergrad, Confusion Fall was what I did and I kept it going through losing players and gaining new ones.
When Half-Blood Prince came out, I was once again on the island. I chatted with the CF players, rejoicing that we had killed many of the right people and whining about how boring Tonks suddenly was. That Fall, Tone and I began debating the Snape issue. He firmly believed that Snape loved Lily. I denied it over and over. It was too Disney. Rowling wouldn't do it. The argument happened over and over. I would not believe it.
By the time Deathly Hallows came out, I'm sure I was insufferable with my speculations. I needed to know. I got the book, once again on the island, and put up a sign at the coffee shop threatening anyone who ruined any part of it for me with no caffeine for life. I was dead serious. At home, I read so many passages aloud to my then-husband that I eventually gave up nd just read the last two-thirds to him completely. When Dobby died, a character I had never really liked, I had to put book the book down and finish crying. Yes, she went the Snape+Lily direction. Yes, the train station scene was a little to Matrix-esque. Yes, the epilogue was an abomination, but I had closure.
After a respectful waiting period, Tone messaged me, "Remember that time I was right about Harry Potter?" To this day, he will message me that a few times a year. Sometimes, it's the only thing he'll say in months. Somehow, it keeps our friendship alive... that stupid time he was right about Harry Potter.
So now, Harry Potter is ending, in a way. The movies will be over. Pottermore looks to be little more than a Band-aid, and everyone is celebrating as they mourn. But honestly, for me, Potter ended last summer, like lots of things ended for me. My Tonks cosplay got packed in a separate box from his Lupin cosplay and Brett took his Harry robes to Wisconsin. Confusion Fall couldn't survive when the player of Bellatrix, Fred, George, and Lupin played a big part in the end of my marriage. To me, Harry began to play a new role in my life long before tonight.
Even so, I sit here in a cubicle a year later at my grown up job in a Slytherin head scarf, wearing a lovely Venetian glass snake necklace and a silver blouse with a Prefect badge attached to it. I spent hours last night making Sorting Hat cookies with house color sprinkles. I passed them out this morning to coworkers, some bewildered at my nerdiness but all grateful for baked goods. I worked 9 hour days this week, so I can get a half-day at work tomorrow and avoid being a Potter zombie. I have learned to be grown-up and keep Potter with me.
I suppose I'm lucky that I didn't grab a book until college. Potter has never been about childhood to me. I don't see 3 am as the end of my young adulthood. I see 3 am as the culmination of 10 years of hard work on the part of a talented group of actors. Potter will always be there when I need it. It will always be there when we all need it. We all had to pass our NEWTs eventually. I just hope I see you all at the castle's next reunion.