The sentence “I never got into Harry Potter” is a fairly thorough understatement. I’ve never read a book, never seen a movie, never seen a *trailer* for a movie, and never spent any money on any licensed or tie-in products. I don’t think I’ve even so much as touched the dust cover of a book in the series. I’ve spent over a decade being absolutely uninterested in the characters, environment, or overall plot of a book series that has apparently enveloped my generation, along with a significant splash zone of people both older and younger.
It’s not that something being popular makes me not like it. I’m not a hipster. But the fact that something is popular, by itself, has never been enough to motivate me to be interested in anything.
Since I first heard about Harry Potter (in a political cartoon from Newsweek some time during the 2000 election, if you can believe that), I’ve never really had any reason to regret not reading the books. If you look at life from an economic perspective, the opportunity cost of devoting any energy to Harry Potter would have been *not* devoting energy to something else I was doing, and I can’t say that I’m unhappy with how I’ve spent my recreational time since middle school (although my non-recreational time is a completely different matter).
I’ve never thought to myself, “oh, you could have joined in that conversation.” Most of the time I could have joined in anyway with knowledge I’d absorbed through osmosis, and good-natured needling of friends for their interests can often be preferable to just talking about each other’s interests normally (Trelawney? What, Chandler’s roommate?). I’ve never thought to myself “wow, I wish I had something to read right now.” As I type this I’m in the middle of three books, one of which I will definitely never finish, one of which I’ve probably lost interest in, and the last of which is about Mangaboos. I don’t go out to see movies that often (soldier salary), and if I’m downloading anyway, I have way too vast a database of interesting films to choose from to get bogged down in an 8-film series.
There’s only been one moment where I ever wished I’d read the books and watched the movies. Only one moment where I thought to myself “you know what? maybe following this series would have had some value.”
It came a few days ago, when I saw a picture of… uh… what are their names? The three actors that play the wizard kids. You know, Hairy, Ron Stoppable, and the girl character. I saw a picture of them together, some time this year, and thought “wow, I’ve basically grown up with these people.” And it would be nice to have taken advantage of that, to be able to think of them more along the lines of “the kids I ate with at lunch,” instead of “the kids that ate a table down from me at lunch,” so that I could appreciate the development they’ve gone through in real-time. It’s about the closest one can get to a real-life Truman Show, and the kids seem to have taken it well, unlike a lot of their “grew up in front of the camera” predecessors.
For a moment, for maybe a few seconds, I felt a little envious of my friends who were going out to see the last movie at the premiere. Of the experience they would be having, seeing the culmination of seven years of build-up, watching characters that had been with them for all of their adolescence finally reach the end of their journey.
But I didn’t. *shrug,* Oh well. The moment passed and I went on to something more interesting. And hey, I’ll always have Toy Story.