Life After Harry Potter

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After ten years of Harry Potter, what comes next?

From the count down to midnight of July 20 in bookstores across the country to Monday, most avid Harry Potter fans probably spent the weekend locked away reading the final installment of the epic Harry Potter series. With the series finished, fans are asking themselves “what now?”

One group of fans tells their own magical tale of what the final hours of their Harry Potter experience had been like, and what their plans are now. Drew Cole, Audrey Axt, and Emily Schroeder all have been reading the Harry Potter series since it first began a decade ago.

“I was 11 when I started reading Harry Potter,” said Drew Cole, who is now 20. “Harry Potter has kept me reading, which many other books couldn’t do. Sirius Black was my favorite character.”

Audrey Axt, also 11 when she began reading the series, said “Harry Potter changed my outlook on everything. Harry Potter has been a role model for me, no matter how cheesy that sounds.”

Emily Schroeder, who began with Harry Potter at age 10 (is 20 now), has been an avid fan of the book since its beginning.

“Harry Potter encouraged me to read way more than I had before.” Schroeder stated. “Without Harry I wouldn’t have been able to meet a lot of different people, and friendships were solely based around Harry. I can’t imagine a life without Harry.”

The three fans all celebrated the book release at the Burnsville Barnes and Noble, where the three of them dressed up as characters from the book and waited until the midnight release with hundreds of other fans. The bookstore reached its capacity around 11 p.m. and many fans waited outside until called in groups to get their books as others left the store.

“I dressed up as Lucius Malfoy,” Schroeder said “and made some Harry Potter zines that I gave to friends, and hardcore Harry Potter fans. Also, I listened to a lot of Harry and The Potters (A band devoted to the HP series).”

Before the book was released though, all three took precautions to keep spoilers from ruining their final adventure with Harry Potter.

“I avoided the internet, newspapers, radio and television.” Schroeder said. “Whenever I heard someone talk about anything that even sounded remotely close to Harry and plugged my ears and ran away.”

Axt and Cole also tried to avoid the mass media, along with the public.

“If I had to leave the house,” Axt replied, “I had headphones on. I even had my headphones ready at the book release party, just in case! I was so paranoid. There was no way the last book ever was going to be ruined for me!”

Schroeder and Axt were in one of the first groups to receive the book at the release party.

“It took me 18 hours straight to finish the book,” Axt said “Albeit for eating and drinking. Afterwards I was completely devastated, yet uplifted at the same time. I was in tears. Cried my eyes out for 30 minutes straight after I finished. It was like the end of an era for me.”

Schroeder had a similar reaction to the ending.

“It took me I think I’d say about a day and a half.” Schroeder recalled. “I am feeling a huge sense of loss, I really don’t know what to do now that Harry Potter is over.”

Cole finished his book in the shortest amount of time between the three.

“It took me about 12 hours, almost exactly, to finish the last book.” Cole said of his book. “I had a lot of fun reading the books, and after finishing the last one I felt sad that there wouldn’t be any more adventures to read about.”

Though they were all sad to see the series end, none of them have finished being Harry Potter fans. Schroeder says she will continue to re-read the books, make fan art for the books, and watch the movies. Cole also says that he will continue to watch the movies as they come out and re-read the books.

“I’m going to keep re-reading the books and watching the movies.” Axt said. “I want to start a wizard rock band and carry on the message. I also want to buy the UK Adult editions, and save the books for my friends and someday, my kids.”

Amanda Bingham is a local freelance writer, college student and Harry Potter fan.