I’m 19 years old and I never received my letter from Hogwarts. I’ve been waiting for 8 years. I’m starting to worry that I might actually be a muggle. I’d settle for squib at this point.
Being born in 1991, I am technically on the cusp of belong to both Generations Y and Z. In reality, however, I belong to the Harry Potter Generation.
Sure, I’m fluent in text-speak, can’t remember a time without cell phones or laptops, jump to the internet for the most basic queries, can barely remember using a modem for the internet… hell, I can barely remember not having the internet. Regardless, I’m not truly a member of Generation Y (1982-1994) or Generation Z (1991-2009).
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I was 7 years old when the first Harry Potter book was released in the US. I picked up my first copy when I was 9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the first book I can remember buying new from a bookstore – it was a present from my mom to read in the car while moving from Alabama to Ohio. This is a boy – a complete set of extended family, friends, enemies, mentors and teachers – that I’ve grown up with. While Harry Potter does get credit for re-engaging an apathetic generation in reading, that’s not why it’s famous to the kids who read it.
I started reading Harry Potter when I was 9 and he was 12. He was only ever a couple years older than me, in print. In the movies, we were even closer in age. I’ve literally grown up with him; I’ve snuck down the 3rd floor corridor on the right hand side, traipsed through the Forbidden Forest, punched Draco Malfoy in the face, cowered from the Death Eaters, cheered from the stands of the Quidditch World Cup, sobbed when Sirius, Dumbledore, Hedwig, George’s ear, Fred, Lupin, Tonks, and even Snape died – any emotional high or low that Harry’s been through, I felt it too.
I’ll forever resent my generation for regressing in terms of vocabulary, but I’ll champion the word “muggle” being added to the international lexicon. I won’t forget standing in a parking lot at 2 am with my friends, pretending that Roman Candles were actually wands, and that the sparks shooting out were actually related to the spells we shouted. I’ll still try to “accio” a book from across the room, “muffliato” when I’m trying to tell a secret, “sectumsempra” my brother when he gets on my nerves or “levicorpus” my roommate on April Fool’s Day.
The thing about Harry that bothers me the most, though, is that his age is a lie. Not in the sense that he’s timeless – though he is – but in the fact that this past July 31, Harry actually turned 30! In reality, he’s 11 years my senior. It feels like, just a little bit, Harry betrayed me. It’s like that episode of Friends: The One with the Ick Factor in which Monica, at 26, starts dating a guy she thinks is 22. She, lies, telling him that she’s also 22, before finding out that he’s actually only 18 – resulting in an eight year age gap.
I’m just saying, Harry, you took advantage of me a little bit. You cheapened our relationship. Regardless, you could pull a Malfoy – stomp on my face, cover me in an invisibility cloak, and leave me on a train for God knows how long – and I’d still find it in myself to forgive you. Because, Harry, you’ll always be my Chosen One.