Falling in Love with Harry Potter

I am dragging Justin to watch "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" today. Dragging him! I've been bursting to watch this movie since last summer and I'm absolutely giddy to watch it.

Uh, can you tell that I'm a huge HP fan? :) I much prefer Robert Patts as Cedric Diggory, thank you very much!

So...all of this Potter-mania has made me think about the first time I read the books. Ready for a slightly boring story? Well, here you go!

Back in December 2000, I was a freshman in college and I had recently flown back home to Maryland for winter break. Imply put, I was pretty bored. My break stretched over three long weeks and I didn't have much to do except watch TV and annoy my little sister.

One night, I was moping around the house and I saw a copy of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" sitting on the coffee table. I had perused the HP books at my local B&N but I thought they looked rather silly. See, I was too good for children's literature back then---by God, I was going to be an English major! But, like I said, I was really bored so I picked up the novel and turned to the first page:

Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways. For one thing, he hated the summer holidays more than any other time of year. For another, he really wanted to do his homework but was forced to do it in secret, in the dead of night. And he also happened to be a wizard.

Holy opening paragraph, Batman! I was hooked from the first page. I read, I read, and I read through the night. The next morning, I went to the library and checked out Books 1 and 2. Then, I stopped by the bookstore to pick up the newly-published Book 4 since I couldn't find a copy at the library.

Yep, it was pretty much love at first read. I absolutely adored the world of Hogwarts and I absolutely loved Harry. Even now, ten years later, I still look back fondly on my first encounter with Harry Potter and I totally credit the series for helping me land an agent. After all, I re-read Book 3 numerous times while I drafted my sci-fi book because I wanted to capture the magical essence that J.K. Rowling injected onto every page.

So are any of you watching the HP movie this weekend? If so, let me know what you think! And what was your encounter like with the Harry Potter series?