Saturday, July 21, 2007

ALOHOMORA: A Look on How Harry Opened Doors in my Life


12:08am--7 minutes ago, the last book of Harry Potter was released: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and I'm pretty sure a number of people are already lined up now at Walmart and Borders to claim what they have long been anticipating.

Seven years ago, after I graduated elementary, I was a "kicked-out-of-the-top-ten" student who had no clue of what skill I possess, and it saddens me whenever we're asked to introduce ourselves and share what talents we have. I had nothing to share. I didn't know how to dance, sing, play an instrument, or eat live chicken (;D), I had NO interest whatsoever, so I just said that my talent is in drawing, although I know I'm really bad at it.

I felt worthless.

November 2001-Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was shown. Dad heard it's phenomenal so we decided to watch it. Boy, I was mesmerized by Daniel Radcliffe. I can vividly recall that I was madly crushing on Westlife's Kian Egan and I felt "wrong" to "fall in love" with another boy. Next thing I knew, I was proclaiming Daniel's name in every corner of TSU Laboratory School, with matching scotch-tape-scar sticked on my forehead. I was so crazy about Harry Potter, or rather, DANIEL RADCLIFFE that I admit I've gone to great lengths to find money so that I can watch the film for the second time around, and see Dan again. I was so obsessed, and there's no doubt I was his biggest fan in our school at that time.

Back then, I didn't know how to use the internet. My cousin, Ate Dhang, once invited me to surf the net with her in the internet shop named "Cyberspace" (if I remember it right, this shop is no longer in existence now due to bankruptcy). I was in front of the computer, with no idea of what to do. Then, I saw the address bar, and remembered the Harry Potter website from its movie poster. So I typed: and pressed "Enter"

It was as if I was transported into another dimension-- the World Wide Web. It was then I discovered Yahoo! and learned to save pictures of Dan. I had approximately ten diskettes filled with Harry Potter pictures.

July 2002- My friend, Hiroko, gave me a Bloomsbury book of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. She knew I love Harry (or Daniel), so when her father sent her 2 copies of the book, she did not hesitate to give the other one to me. It was then I felt myself being plunged into Harry's world. It was one of the best feelings I had. My mind was wandering into the grounds of Hogwarts, seeking for the Chamber, wondering who Tom Riddle was and if he's really handsome. I finished the book, thinking about the events stated in the second book that were not in the first movie.

October 2002- Our second-year field trip, where one of our destinations is Uniwide Superstore (Science of Man and Aquatic Thingy). There, I purchased Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I HAD no idea this was the FOURTH book. While we were eating our lunch, I saw that my friend Tristan bought Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I asked him why he bought the fourth book, and he was like: "Huh? Third kaya ito". I showed him the book I bought and he said "Fourth kaya yan, tignan mo sa spine". True enough, it was the fourth book. Nevertheless, I still read it, without having a clue of who Sirius, Buckbeak, Pigwidgeon, Crookshanks, Professor Lupin, and Professor Trelawney were. I spent an almost sleepless night mourning on Cedric's death.

Jeen, another friend of mine, also knew how I love Harry (yes, it's Harry now, not Dan) and told me that she has the third book, and if I would like to borrow it. Well, who am I to say no? So there... I read the book in about a week and understood everything.

January 2003-First day of classes for the year 2003. Susan, another friend of mine, received Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as a Christmas gift. She let me borrow it and I was able to read the first book.

Finally, I have read the all the four books.

July 2003-Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released, and Tristan was one of the first people in our campus who had it. I mustered all the skills I have and tried to persuade him to let me borrow the book. At first, I had to photocopy the first three chapters until he has finished reading it. After 2 readers who apparently were ahead of me in borrowing the book, I was able to read it aside the workload I had for our quarter exam. It was very devastating for me when I read the death of Sirius.

Harry Potter opened a whole new world of opportunities for me. Through it, I discovered my passion for writing. It's the reason for the VERY LARGE improvement in my English. When I was in third year high school, it gave me the courage to try out for our school newspaper, and much to my surprise when I was chosen to be one of the Editors. Harry Potter had a very significant contribution on how I wrote essays. It expanded my vocabulary and improved my grammar. I helped me find joy in writing. It inspired me to write poems-- something I thought I can never do. There was also an amount of vast joy when I saw my writings published on the school newspaper and see my name on the Editorial board. It was a dream come true. A dream I thought was nonexistent.

When I was in my senior year, I tried again for the school newspaper--and thank God I got the position I have always wanted. I wrote articles both inspired by the Holy Bible and Harry Potter.

I never saw Harry Potter as an invitation to an occult, and it never became a reason to doubt my faith. I saw Christian values embedded in the book--the value of unity, sacrifice, courage and friendship, and the power of LOVE--the foundation of all Christianity. Remember? It was LOVE that defeated the most powerful Dark wizard Voldemort.

I joined the Press Conference and fortunately, I won. My entries were all influenced by the Holy Bible and Harry Potter, except for the last one (which was based on my personal life). The choice between what is right and what is easy had been the core of most of my analysis. That was the main message of Dumbledore's speech on Cedric's death.

All of these, I owe to Harry Potter and of course, to God.

July 2005-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released. This time, I was already in college, and it was my classmate Charm who lent it to me. It was a huge burden to carry around the stairs of Saint Louis University, to tell you the truth, but it was worth it. I love the story, and again, grieved upon someone's death--this time, it was Dumbledore's.

I also tried for the University newspaper, not having a shred of expectation that I would be accepted, since it is a Nationally Acclaimed publication (it won the first place for the best University newspaper in the Philippines that year)and I just tried out for fun, and because Jay-R encouraged me to do so. "Wala namang mawawala sa'yo eh." My jaw just practically dropped when I saw my name posted on the lobby's blackboard and Tristan texted me, saying I got accepted (Tristan's layout Editor. Yoohoo!). Unfortunately, a week after our oathtaking, I received my Chemistry grade and it was not good-- that's why I decided to resign.

Six years after I got to know Harry Potter, I now face the last book of his life (darn, the song "It Only Reminds Me of You" suddenly began playing). I have pre-ordered the book at WalMart and I hope it will arrive soon. I have read the spoilers, and heard JK Rowling read a part of the first chapter. It suddenly occured to me that this is the end--the end of Voldemort, the end of Hogwarts, the end of the story. I completely understand why Rowling cried upon finishing the book. She treated Harry like an imaginary son, and finishing the last book of the series may seem as if she bade goodbye to a son who will never come back, and what's painful is that it was her who ended everything.

It hurts to imagine myself finishing the seventh book, and after reading the last page, I will close the book and heave a deep sigh. I know a lot of characters will be killed. I know a lot will be sacrificed, and I know that this closes the doors of Hogwarts--this will close the door of Harry Potter's life. We would not expect anything now. Reading the first six books will only deliver a flashback. It's sad to think that I will no longer have something to look forward to in the magical world of the boy wizard.

Goodbye Harry Potter; until we meet again.