2003...The Year for Harry Potter

An article on the year I fell in love with Harry Potter.
February 20, 2017

Every generation has their defining fantasy escape that they latched on to as kids. For Gen X, it was Star Wars and Indiana Jones, for older millennials it was Tim Burton's Batman or Jurassic Park - but for my generation, it was Harry Potter.

Ahhh, Harry Potter...my favorite book series of all time and quite possibly my favorite fantasy series of all time. You won't find a bigger Harry Potter fan in the world than me. I've read all the books, seen all the films and own them and love them both equally. I even went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando shortly after it opened!

But what I'm talking about today is not about the series as a whole, but how I became a Harry Potter fan and what made me a fanatic of the magical world of Hogwarts in general.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (film):

I was only 6 years old when the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was released in theaters on November 14, 2001. I remember constantly seeing TV spots advertising the film's release on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network around this time. I had known what Harry Potter was from always seeing Harry Potter books on the bestsellers table whenever I went into Barnes & Noble as a kid, but I wasn't interest in the series nor did I knew what it was about. I didn't see the first film in theaters either.

When the film came out on DVD/VHS in May 2002, my parents rented it on DVD from Movie Gallery to watch as a family together. At the time, I liked the film and so did my parents and it got me interested in seeing the second chapter of the series. I thought the film was film was creepy and silly at the same time.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film):

A year later, the second chapter of the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was released on November 14, 2002. Like the first film, I did not see this in theaters and didn't watch it until I bought it on DVD in 2003.

As an 8 year old kid, I loved this film and thought it was an improvement over the Sorcerer's Stone. It's the film that got me hooked on Harry Potter and made me want to begin reading the books. I loved seeing Ron, Fred, and George Weasley rescue Harry Potter from the Dursleys with their flying car and thought it was so funny when Uncle Vernon fell out of Harry's window and into the bushes. I loved Dobby the house-elf and thought he was funny, yet clumsy at the same time. I also thought it was a little darker than the first film and the action improved a little as well.

Looking back at the first two Chris Columbus films, I feel he did a great job at bringing Harry Potter to the big screen. But watching them now as an adult, I feel they were little childish now and think some of acting was a little wooden. I thought Richard Harris was a horrible Albus Dumbledore. But Chris Columbus did an excellent job of laying out the entire universe, characters, costumes, design, music, and capturing the overall atmosphere of Harry Potter into film. I also loved the John Williams' score for Harry Potter and don't think any other composer could do a better job. I also feel the first two films were the most faithful to the books.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Video Game):

And who can forget this game...

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was an action-adventure Harry Potter video game that was published by EA games and was based on the second film and novel of the Harry Potter series. Throughout the game, you play as Harry Potter, who explores the Hogwarts castle and grounds in the game. Harry encounters many events that tie into the storyline of the second book.

Filling the gaps between these events are various classes, you will learn how to fly a broomstick and learn new spells for combating bosses, among other things. Each new spell is accompanied by a challenge, which you must get through in a certain amount of time to complete that class period. During the later parts of the game, the you will face challenges which are not time-limited and are not related to learning spells. These challenges are all based on events from the book, for example, travelling into the Forbidden Forest and gathering ingredients for a potion Hermione is making.

Me and my family use to love playing this game together on Xbox and I was so addicted to it as a kid. I found it really challenging sometimes to play back then and hated getting stuck on certain parts, but I loved how much the game was like the film and book and the graphics were good for their time. It's also a big part of what made me fall in love with the Harry Potter universe in the first place and what made me want to start reading the actual books.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book):

One thing that got me wanting to start reading the Harry Potter books were my own cousins, Patrick and Taylor. Patrick is five years older than me, but Taylor is only a few years older than me. At the time, they were big Harry Potter fans and had already read the first four books. They told me that if I liked the Harry Potter films, I would love reading the books. So one night, while me and the whole rest of the family were on a summer trip to Destin in the year 2003, my Aunt Kim took me to Barnes & Noble to buy Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I was so excited when I finally got this book because I been wanting to buy it for at least a month.

When I began reading the Sorcerer's Stone, I was instantly engrossed into the book and couldn't take my eyes off the pages. I thought the book was much easier to get into than the film the first time I watched it and was impressed with how much more in-depth with the story and characters the book was compared to the film. It made me watch the first Harry Potter film whenever it was on TV. It was also the largest and most challenging book I had ever read at the time and what made me the big reader I am today. It took me the whole summer to read it.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book):

I got the second book for cheap at Wal-Mart the same summer I bought the Sorcerer's Stone and was currently in the middle of reading it while buying this book at the time. After I finished the Sorcerer's Stone, I instantly began reading the Chamber of Secrets. By this point, I was already a full-blown Harry Potter fanatic.

Like the first book, I loved this book and was impressed with how similar both the books and movies were so far. I thought the Harry Potter films did an excellent job at capturing the magic and excitement of the books and I was really looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I was also extremely excited about seeing the rest of the books being adapted to film and wondering how the story would playout.

Well, that's concludes the beginning of my Harry Potter love! Please leave me your thoughts on the article and I will be writing more articles in the future, thanks!

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