Harry Potter and Me: A Celebration of the Boy Who Lived

Dear whoever is reading this:
I don’t want to be cliché and say “Harry Potter changed my life” blah blah blah but that’s the truth; though I got into the game late and only read the books in 2012 after seeing the first movie, Harry Potter has really changed my life.

2009

Let’s start off with the beginning. This year for my birthday, I was given the complete set of the Harry Potter books and was stunned to be handed SEVEN hardcover books. I was extremely psyched but also decided I wanted to wait to read the books until I was older.

2012As the little book nerd I was (and still am), when the idea to watch the first Harry Potter movie at a party was brought up I tried to steer away from it because DUH, you can’t watch the movie without reading the book first. That’s just how life works. But, sometimes situations are unavoidable, so I sat through the first movie and tried not to think about the fact that there was a book. When the credits started rolling, my mind was blown. I was immediately enthralled; I felt like a Muggle stepping into Diagon Alley. I remember that night, I went home, pulled my copy of Sorcerer’s Stone off of the shelf and opened it up to page one. I decided to drop whatever book I was reading and start reading about The Boy Who Lived.

As the little book nerd I was (and still am), when the idea to watch the first Harry Potter movie at a party was brought up I tried to steer away from it because DUH, you can’t watch the movie without reading the book first. That’s just how life works. But, sometimes situations are unavoidable, so I sat through the first movie and tried not to think about the fact that there was a book. When the credits started rolling, my mind was blown. I was immediately enthralled; I felt like a Muggle stepping into Diagon Alley. I remember that night, I went home, pulled my copy of Sorcerer’s Stone off of the shelf and opened it up to page one. I decided to drop whatever book I was reading and start reading about The Boy Who Lived.

As the little book nerd I was (and still am), when the idea to watch the first Harry Potter movie at a party was brought up I tried to steer away from it because DUH, you can’t watch the movie without reading the book first. That’s just how life works. But, sometimes situations are unavoidable, so I sat through the first movie and tried not to think about the fact that there was a book. When the credits started rolling, my mind was blown. I was immediately enthralled; I felt like a Muggle stepping into Diagon Alley. I remember that night, I went home, pulled my copy of Sorcerer’s Stone off of the shelf and opened it up to page one. I decided to drop whatever book I was reading and start reading about The Boy Who Lived.

2013

By the end the school year I was done with the series and I completely loved it. I was so in love with the story. I watched the movies and started recreating the paper props from the films. MinaLima, the graphic designers behind the films were my heroes; I hung Quibblers all around my room, started going to craft stores to get cardstock and gold foil and made Honeydukes boxes with the art from the movies. I wrote to MinaLima once, asking for a signed picture and praising their work, and to my surprise, I was sent a picture of them wearing Spectrespecs in a silver envelope. That picture is still one of my prized possessions.

2014

This is the first year I ever went to BookExpo America, and my world was already blown; I was in heaven, in a convention center in New York. After the last panel on the final day, I was walking around trying to talk to authors and I saw a man in front of me. He was guiding authors around so I thought he must be important. I looked at his nametag and gasped: He was Arthur A. Levine. If you recognize that name you’re not alone; it says it on the bottom of the spine of every US Harry Potter book. He published Harry Potter and helped J.K. Rowling become a household name. I went up to him and got a picture, which I love so much:
IMG_0902
Over the summer on the way home from Greece, we stopped in London for a few days. These were some of the best days of my life; I went to King’s Cross Station and tried to find the photo op but ended up going to the actual spot where Platform 9 3/4 was. We ended up looking around for about 15 minutes and finally found it. Man, was the line long but it was so worth it! I left my mom in line while I went to the Harry Potter shop and bought a ticket for the Hogwarts Express which is exactly like in the movie!

The next day we journeyed to Watford Junction to make our way to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. My excitement was unreal, and as we pulled into the parking lot in the Harry Potter double-decker bus I was freaking out. 8 hours later, we were practically kicked out of the place but the experience was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I got to see EVERYTHING from the movie, walk in the great hall and touch a REAL Nimbus 2000. I took loads of photos that I will post in another blog post. My last day in London was equally as awesome; I was invited up to MinaLima’s studios and showed around by their interns. This was a place in a back alley that J.K. Rowling had been to, and this was where all the magic happened. I saw Daily Prophets, and postcards and general paraphernalia.

This year, over the summer, was when the first domino fell and I bought my first translation of Philosopher’s Stone. It was sitting in a box in a small bookstore called “Book Mouse,” which is sort of like the Greek way of saying bookworm. It was a used copy and it was only €5, so I bought it because I wanted to read it in Greek as well. Over the next year or two, my dad and I made slow but steady progress through the book in Greek and finished it.

2015

This is the year that I really started on my translation collection. I always get asked why I collect translations so I’ll tell you the whole story since this is already a really long blog post. My mom’s favorite book is The Little Prince, and she has been all over the world. When she would go to different countries, she picked up the translation of the book, and she has 15 different languages as of now. I thought that was such a cool idea, so I had been wanting to do the same thing. I wasn’t sure if I should do it with Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, or a different book, but when I found that Greek Harry Potter, I knew it was going to be HP. Around November of 2014 I ordered the Catalan, Spanish and French translation because those were the countries I had been to. But one day…I saw a copy of the book in Irish Gaelic at my Half Price Books and bought it, never having been to Ireland. At that point, I realized that I might as well go all in. I made myself a spreadsheet which is now over 200 rows and 20 columns big and color coded, with all the information you could possibly need about any of the translations. I started an Instagram for my collection, @foreverpotterish, in July, which I keep up to date when I get new books. By the end of 2015, I had 26/86 translations of book 1, and a copy of the elusive Greenlandic edition just a year after I started collecting; I was making progress!

Screenshot 2017-06-26 at 7.19.43 PM

2016

This is when I got really invested in finding rare translations and met tons of Harry Potter collectors and fans around the world. Most notably I’d like to give shoutouts to Peter (@thepottercollector), Carly (@alltheprettybooks), who drives down to nerd out with me, Mel (@thehpcollection) and Topher (@pottershelves) for being the most amazing community of collectors around, and always talking about the most random and nerdy translation things. There are few people who would be interested when you say “You’ve got to check out the last page of the Sinhala translation! Isn’t that cool?” and these are some of them. In July, I waited for the SDCC Exclusive Potter and Newt Pop!s to be released early in the morning at Barnes & Noble, and I almost didn’t get them! Collectors can be crazy sometimes, haha! Cursed Child came out and I went to the midnight release party at BookPeople and the next day I read it. It was good to have new Potter material, but the book was collectively disappointing the fandom. In November, Fantastic Beasts came out and my life was complete. Gah, I still can’t get over how amazing that movie was. My Halloween was spent as Newt Scamander:

DSC_6714-1 copy

By the end of 2016, I had 47/86 translations, and about -$200 in my bank account. (Just kidding, slightly)

2017

This past half-of-a-year was spent looking high and low for an Asturian, which I successfully got my hands on in February, thankfully, as well as searching for other, more rare translations. Right now I’m at 63/86 translations, with some still on their way! I am very excited to keep checking translations off and showing them to you guys. It’s going to be a hard, long stretch but I think it will be fruitful and worth it in the end. The rush is just so incredible. Also stay tuned for some exciting Potter-related things I’ll be doing with some friends, and I can’t wait to have many more celebrations of Harry Potter with you guys.

 

2017-05-23

So, why do I collect Harry Potter translations and other HP related things?

Sure, I do love seeing all my books on my shelf and reading them, as well as getting packages and getting closer to finishing my collection. But there’s more to it than just that.

It’s the community.

If I didn’t have Potter people surrounding me that I could talk to whenever I want to, I probably wouldn’t be this invested into this hobby. Collecting by yourself is one thing, but collecting with friends is a completely different story. My collector friends have been there for me when I get SO CLOSE to a book, and they’ve also shared my victories. being a Potterhead is not a surface-level thing; we are a tight-knit community. I’ve met some of my best friends because of a shared love of Harry Potter. Harry Potter is something we can bond over, unlike any other. I’ve been sent books by fans all over the world, from Thailand to Korea, as gifts because they wanted to share the Harry Potter they know. I now have an invitation for a tour around Latvia, and one of my close friends/pen pals lives in the Czech Republic, whom I met because she loves Harry Potter.

See, languages aren’t universal. I definitely don’t speak and can’t read most of the translations that are now on my shelves. But Harry Potter is universal, it crosses borders and has a home in over 200 countries. Harry Potter fosters kindness and friendship, teaches us bravery, loyalty, wit and ambition. I guess that’s the point this post is trying to make; Harry Potter is a language that all us Potterheads speak. Harry Potter unites us.

Thank you.

Haha.^

Happy 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone! Long live Harry Potter!

Also, if you know anyone in Nepal, please message/contact me 😉

Xander

Advertisements

3 responses to “Harry Potter and Me: A Celebration of the Boy Who Lived

  1. Something to look forward to- my daughter is a huge fan and was elected the treasurer of the Harry Potter club at her university. I’ve taken her to Orlando, London and even Oxford so she could see some of the places they filmed. Luckily (for me and my bank account!) she’s content to stick to her original books.

  2. I love this. I am definitely not as invested as you, but I’ve loved seeing how happy you are when you receive a new copy. I miss you so much! Come back soon:)

Leave a Reply, and I will do my best to get back to you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s