Like many bibliophiles we all have a series or favorite book we grew up reading. It stays with us and may have even helped shape usinto the people we are today. If anyone were to ask me what my favorite series of all time was, I would effortlessly tell them, “Pfft, Harry Potter. Duh.” I’d go on to describe the wicked love affair I had with all things Harry Potter. How I used to go to the midnight parties, obsessively check Mugglenet and J.K. Rowling’s site for the latest happenings, re-read the books that were released over and over hoping to find clues to the ending, ect. I was a die-hard fangirl and I loved every minute of it… er sometimes.
But what you also may not know is how Harry Potter singlehandedly scared the bejeezus out of me and crushed my little soul into a million pieces. And then the films cames out and further traumatized me. What’s that? Are you snickering at me? Oh, c’mon, you know it’s true too. Don’t remember? Well, allow me to walk you down memory lane.
Also, I think this goes without saying, but there will be major HP spoilers. Though, if you haven’t read this series yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
1. A Face Not Even A Mother Could Love
Tell me that image doesn’t just burn a hole into your brain. Look at him. Look at him! He has two faces! I’m not exactly proud to admit this and I know Kennedy probably will never let me live this down, but this scene scared crap out of me. I think I was in elementary school when I first read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and my mom came home one day with the book telling me we’d read it together. For a while we did, but she was a much faster reader than I was so she quickly finished it, leaving me alone to face Voldy and a boy who could burn him with love. That scene gave me nightmares for a week and it took me months to even think about continuing on with Chamber of Secrets. So, thanks mom for teaming up with Rowling and screwing with my mind.
2. “I Don’t Like Spiders!”
So here I was conquering my fear and continuing on with this series, thinking that I just needed to man the hell up. Everything was going great until Hagrid introduced me to his “pet.” Aragog was one scary mothersucka with his big, hairy body and big, black, beady eyes. And don’t forget his “babies.” Poor me Ron was all terrified and yet I couldn’t stop reading! I mean, really. There were times where I just wanted to ask Rowling if she knew she was writing for children. *stares at picture* *shudders* Yup, that’s just how I imagined he would look. Bravo Hollywood for bringing my fears to the big screen. I’ll never look at spiders the same way again.
3. Baby Voldy
If I thought old Voldy couldn’t be anymore terrifying as a grown wizard, his baby form was downright disturbing. DISTURBING. Obviously, he was never very huggable in the first place, but leave it to Rowling come up with something like that and scare a teenager. (Accio, nightlight!) I was actually in 9th grade when I read Goblet of Fire and I read it in my best friend’s basement at night. BIG MISTAKE. When Voldy rose from the caldron a babe no more without his nose, I had to put the book down and step away. When my best friend asked me why I decided to stop reading for the night, I cooly told her I was just really tired and needed sleep, secretly hoping that info wouldn’t get out damaging my “street cred.” No sleep was had that night. Unsurprisingly, it’s my least favorite in the series. I think part of that is because it gave me nightmares. Again. It was at this point that I began wondering what was wrong with me. Surely a children’s book shouldn’t affect me this much. Oddly enough, Goblet of Fire still remains the only book in the series that I do not own. That may or may not be a coincidence.
The Order of the Phoenix is where I thought I had gotten brave. That is, until my favorite character, Sirius Black, died. I’m not ashamed to say I cried a river into my pillow. I was angry at Rowling for not killing off Author Weasley instead. I was angry at Beatrix for *sniff* taking Sirius away from Harry and I. That woman was so evil! H-h-how could she possible do that to us?! We had just found our god-father and she just stole him from us without a care in the world. And then the little heifer LAUGHED! I’ll Avada her Kedavra! I couldn’t believe it. I walked around my house depressed feeling awful. I almost gave up the series at the ending of Order of the Phoenix because the heartache was just too much to deal with. It seemed the only things Harry Potter had to offer me was nightmares and tears. But like the stubborn person I am, I waited right in line with the rest of the fangirls and fanboys for The Half-Blood Prince.
5. “He Trusted You!”
Do you guys remember when Albus died? Was it one of the saddest days of your life? Well, I was in serious denial. In fact before the truth hit me, my mother read it, cried all around the house and I couldn’t understand why she was even upset. Her response was something like this: “Didn’t you read the book? Dumbledore died.” I stared at her in disbelief. She actually believed Dumbledore died! I thought it was all a part of Rowling’s ultimate HP plan. Dubmbledore would come back and help Harry save the day. I just knew it! I held onto the feeble hope all the way until the release of Deathly Hallows. If there is one thing Half-Blood Prince told me about life besides the fact that sometimes even the greatest wizard can die, it’s that Rowling totally shat on my feelings.
*rages in her living room* *throws HP books around*
Okay, I feel better. Sorry about that. Sometimes I can be a little emotional. Let’s never speak of that okay?
Till this day I still ponder the all important question: How could you do this to me?! *weeps* I remember reading that scene thinking there was no way, absolutely NO WAY she could kill of Dumby. I mean, first Sirius, then Dumbledore and then Fred, Hedwig, Dobby, Remus, Tonks and a bunch of other characters I can’t be bothered to remember in my grief. That’s one long list of death, Jo. It tore me to pieces. And then you ended your series and left me with Post-Potter Depression. How was I supposed to go on with my life? Twilight?! Yeah, right. >_>
Sometimes I’m surprised I managed to survive while reading this series. While it’s true Rowling isn’t exactly the Grimm Brothers, she, in her own right, had the ability to bring out some pretty strong emotions in me. So go on and sit smugly behind your computer screen pretending to be unfazed. I know the truth. You’re just as scarred as I am.
#4 – oh my god #4. When Sirius died, I was angrycrying. Anger at Rowling and Arthur and genuine sadness. This is a brilliant post. HP has long been one of my favorite-ever series and will always be.. If I ever have kids, I hope to scare them the same way your mom did with you, Steph!
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Ploting already, Jessie? 😉
Yeah, I think I was more upset about Siruis than anything else. 🙁
Oh, I am so sorry you felt this pain while reading HP. My heart got broken in all the deaths…except Dumbledore. I don’t know why. I was expecting him to die at some point, but I did not enjoy the way he died. I guess for me, he was always the wise old man who needs to die to let the young hero reach his full potential. I think that is a trope seen in so many stories. However, I cannot say I was scared by anything in Harry Potter. Maybe because the only content that scares me is the one that comes in stupid jump-scare sequences, otherwise I am quite unfazed, as you said. I grew up with this series, but the only way I will ever re-read it is when I have kids and they will read it. I see too many flaws in it now, as I look upon it with adult’s eyes, but it is definitely essential lit for kids and teens. Even though it can apparently cause permanent scarring, 🙂
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Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
@Lavi: Agreed! I totally wasn’t particularly upset about Dumbledore. It was coming. I mean, he already had issues from the horcrux destruction missions, and he was super old. I mean, I wasn’t high fiving Snape or anything, but I didn’t weep buckets either.
Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (10): Let the Sky Fall
Yeah, you could see his character was on a steady decline in HBP. I just didn’t think Rowlight would take that route. And I generally scare easily, so don’t mind me!
AH! #1! I had successfully covered my eyes and avoided that image for over 10 years and probably hundreds of viewings! Not anymore! Thanks for that image that I will never be able to burn from my mind! Lolol
LOL, oh no! D:
Well, I guess we can huddle in a corner together. 🙂
SIRIUS! His death was undoubtedly one of THE saddest moments in the book! I was also in major denial when Dumbledore died! HP is one of my favorite series EVER, but man did the last couple of books screw with my emotions!
Joie recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday
Right?! How could JK do that to us? T.T
Donna @ Bites
I love that Sirius image. I didn’t read these books until I was an adult so I didn’t have much scarring going on. Although that spider freaked me right the hell out, as do all spiders. Because they’ll suck the life out of you in your sleep. I saw Arachnophobia when I was 8. I know the truth.
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@Donna @ Bites:
You did the smart thing and waited. The spiders disturbed me to no end. I can’t believe you saw that movie at 8!
Haha! That Sirius picture is genius! Poor Sirius… 🙁
My little cousin actually burst into tears and had to be taken out of the cinema when Voldemort appeared in the Philosopher’s Stone. And people say the later books ‘got very dark’, did they just skip over The Chamber of Secrets?
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Yeah, CoS was creepy! The voices in the wall, the basilisk at the end, people getting petrified. I think every HP book had me on the edge of my seat.
Harry Potter changed my reading life. I had never picked up a fantasy/sci-fi or YA book in my life. I thought that I hated fantasy and especially Sci-fi (even now it has to be great sci-fi for me to like it) but my sister begged and begged me to read the series and I finally gave in when I was stuck at my parents house during a blizzard with nothing to read but Harry. I fell quickly in love with the entire series. Thank God I didn’t have to wait for releases, I don’t know what I would have done. When Dumbledore died I felt soooo betrayed by both Rowling and especially my sister. How dare she set me up for that kind of heart break? I called her bawling and screamed profanities at her while snot and tears ran down my face!
I know that feeling! I felt so betrayed too. I didn’t know how Harry was supposed to go on without Dumbledore.
Mari - Escape In A Book
I dare not read more than the intro to this post. I’m the last person on earth, well in the book blogsphere at least, that yet has to read the HP-series. I’ve always wanted to but never gotten to it, now our oldest is almost old enough that we can read the first book together.
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@Mari – Escape In A Book:
Aww, I hope you two enjoy it! I really loved reading HP with my mom. 🙂
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Stephanie! I agree with you so much.
Sirius was my favorite character as well. I remember reading book five. I was crying and yelling at the book, “Just pull him out from behind the damn curtain. Come ON! It’s a curtain. Not a death trap. HE IS NOT DEAD. LALALALALALALALA. Don’t believe it! Fuck. He’s dead. Really? Really, J. K.? REALLY?!?!?!”
Or something like that.
I also haven’t been able to reread Deathly Hallows yet, because I’m not over how she went on a rampage and killed off most of my favorites. Number 1 was already gone, and my second and third favorites got killed off in this one: Lupin and Fred. I also blubbered like a baby when Hedwig and Dobby died, even though I didn’t like Dobby. And Hedwig’s a pretty animal. I can’t help bawling when they die. Also, how could she not leave me at least one complete twin? And she killed my favorite one! How did she know?
As soon as Lupin ran in all excited and asked Harry to be the godfather to his child, I knew he and Tonks were dead meat. *facepalm*
Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (10): Let the Sky Fall
@Christina (A Reader of Fictions):
LOL! That was my reaction as well! HBP and DH are the only two books I haven’t read over because I can’t deal with all the deaths again.
Dobby and Hedwig…YES! What purpose did their deaths serve? Just to upset me. *sniff*
When Sirius died, I remember shouting out Noooo, and then sobbing into my pillow. When I first watched Chamber of Secrets, the whispers that Harry heard creeped me out a lot, I think I wanted to hide under my blanket. To this day, I still think those whispers scare me. How embarrassing. xD
Deathly Hallows has to be the most scarring for me though, after all those deaths I moped about for days. I dread rereading the book.
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The whispers definitely scare me! It’s creepy.
I was reading the series out loud to my son, and when we got the point where Cedric died (not even Sirius – CEDRIC), my son got so upset he started yelling at me like it was my fault. And I was like, hey, don’t be mad at me, I didn’t write this. So then he went and made a HOWLER for J.K.Rowling out of construction paper. It had teeth and everything. It was the most adorable thing ever, but I didn’t dare smile, even, because he was so very, very serious about the whole thing, and how the howler was really going to yell at her and everything.
So then we took a couple years off before attempting Order of the Phoenix. During that intervening time his friend told him Sirius dies (stupid friend! B didn’t tell you there was no Santa!) and so when it came down to it, my son was all ho-hum. He even knows Dumbledore is going to die. Stupid so-called friend.
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Him making the howler is the cutest thing I’ve ever heard! Awww, poor guy! And boo to the friend. Hopefully, that will lessen the blow, but probably not. I know what happens in the books, but I’m sure they’d still upset me if I went back for a re-read.
This is great. I was actually older when I read the HP series & saw the films so it didn’t affect me the same way as it appears to have affected you. But I have my own series of books that I read when I was younger that definitely scarred me & I definitely kept reading!
Jenny recently posted…Books & Movies: The Twilight “Saga”
Thanks! It must be a childhood thing. There is always that one series or book that leaves a lasting impression.
BABY VOLDEMORT IS JHDFADHAGDFHAD!!!!!!!!!
Hehehe, I read Harry Potter as growed-up, so I suppose it didn’t mess with me as badly, but oh. my. goodness… this shit is creep when you think about it -___-
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Just look at his HANDS! Ugh. So creepy!
Well, I’m definitely with you on the spider. EEK. Also with you on Sirius. I almost put it down and never picked it up again. In fact, I think I re-read the end THREE times because I couldn’t believe it. No irony on the number 3 and the fact that it was the third book, by the way. Just…weird coincedence on the phrasing there.
Baby Voldy may be more frightening than the computer generated E-Trade Baby(and that scares the hell out of me). So yes, you are not scarred alone, for what it’s worth. 🙂
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Yeah, I re-read the ending too! I just didn’t want to accept that Sirius was gone. Hahahaha! The e-Trade baby is… ummm… special. LOL.
Gaaaah!! Y’know after this reminder, HP really is a rather dark series, isn’t it. I’ll be hiding the books from my little boy for a while I think :-/
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It is! At my book store they have it in the intermediate children’s section, separate from the other children’s book. Sometimes I’m surprised it’s not considered YA.
Sarah @ Smitten over Books
I will forever love you for this Stephanie!
A lot of scenes broke my heart (Rowling was really good at this), but the most will be that part in HP 7 where the heart-wrenching word Always was uttered. I felt like I was punched in the heart and there was this gaping hole… Oh snap. *sniffs*
I was not really scared about the stuffs you mentioned but I’m not bragging, it’s just that I was a really odd child back then and I live and breathe horror things. I was in fact fascinated but I would not deny that I’d pee in my pants if I ever see a spider even 1/16 the size of Aragog. 😀
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@Sarah @ Smitten over Books:
I love you back! 😀
I was a rather sensitive child growing up and scared very easily. My mom took me to see Jurassic Park when it first came out. I was in elementary school and had to be taken out of the theatre. My brother, who was two years younger, loved that movie. LOL.
Oh, Harry Potter. I am reading Order of the Phoenix aloud to my son right now! Read the books with my soon to be sweet 16 daughter (tomorrow!), went to the HP release parties at B&N to get the last 3 books in my hands ASAP, with my girl dressed up as Hermione Granger. I cried like a little girl when I took her and my son to see the final Deathly Hallows movie, because I honestly felt like a part of my world was ending. Because it was the last, very last, forever and ever last, new Harry Potter experience I would ever share with my children.
You did that, JK Rowling. And it’s awesome.
Aww, such sweet memories. I haven’t even seen the last two films. I’m afraid to relive those moments and emotions. One day I’ll be brave enough.
My daughter refuses to see any of the movies past the fifth one because even though she’s read the books a gazillion times, she doesn’t actually want to see any of her fav characters die. Plus, I think the scarring might get worse when the owl fails to come on her eleventh bday next year… sigh…
I can totally understand how she feels. That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t see the last two films. I’m convinced it must have been just a clerical error for my missing Hogwarts letter or my owl got lost on the way. LOL.
First the pictures you posted had me laughing secondly #4. I cried, I cried. I had to stop reading for a couple of minutes because I couldn’t read through my tears. It was the middle of the night and I believe I woke my mom up in the other room with my unsexy sobs because she walked by my door and looked at me. I couldn’t even say anything. I didn’t even cry when it happened I was in shock and then Harry was talking with Dumbledore and the flood gates opened. And then of course JK goes on to kill Dumbledore and Fred…FRED! The twins were never to be touched! THEY ARE SACRED but no she broke the set and our fragile hearts. Sadist.
Oh, the twins! I completely agree! I never saw Fred’s death coming. *weeps*
When Albus died at the end of The Half-Blood Prince I remember getting into a fight with my daughter (she was about 14 at the time). I said I thought that Severus Snape was a good guy and that when Albus said “Please” to him he was asking Severus to kill him, to keep his promise. Wow was she angry with me. We argued about it until The Deathly Hallows came out. And that book was completely devastating.
That reminds me of the scene where Hermione obliviates her parents. That scene @ the beginning of Deathly Hallows made me cry. I knew it was going to be a rough ride at that moment.
As an aside, I still find that to be among the most poignant and devastating of all of the scenes in all of the movies. When Emma Watson sets off down the road leaving her parents for the last time. Holy crap.
@Ms. Mayhem: Comment
That scene made me cry too. Every time I have seen it. I thought it was sad in the books but the movie made me weep. Emma Watson’ s performance was devastating, waving her wand and watching her life wink away from all of the photos. Her parents resting their heads together as they completely forgot her. And she slipped quietly out of the door. That was wonderful.
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Oh, I can only imagine! That scene left me so conflicted!
I could totally relate! The character deaths were so heart-wrenching. It’s just unfair for letting us love them, then kill them. I can’t even accept that Fred died, until now.
Goblet of Fire is actually one of my favorites of the series. It was when the series went from being kids books about good guys and bad guys to actually being more adult stories about real evil vs. good. Since I wasn’t a kid when I read Harry Potter that was much more interesting to me. I read it twice within like a week or two.