I once joined a Harry Potter contest myself — it was a diorama contest for the launch of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and my entry — a papier mache diorama (that took me two weeks to make!) of the first task in the Triwizard Tournament — Harry and the Hungarian Horntail.
I was not supposed to join the contest, but Dianne talked me into it because she planned to submit an entry too. So in a panicky fit, I started making mine, and just when I was halfway through, Dianne tells me she can’t go through with her entry and I was too far in to quit!
I’m glad I went through with it, though, because I bested the rest of the entries in the contest, most of which were cardboard cut-outs and dollhouse furniture.
Disclaimer, the next two photos are from five years (and size zero days! waah!) ago.
And up until then I had only had the paperbacks (battered from many many readings), and I’d just started working so technically Half Blood Prince was the first Harry Potter book I was buying with my own money (I was so thrilled to reserve my copy!). And then I ended up winning this hardcover boxed set and some gift certificates:
That was an awesome day.
Anyway, I just wanted to share that because I was really overwhelmed with the entries to the Harry Potter giveaway. There were 11 total, all of them heartfelt, and Dianne and I had a difficult time narrowing it down.
The good news is, I was able to get more prizes for the giveaway so we chose the 5 entries:
We were in awe of Anne’s and Iya’s stories of how Harry Potter became a huge part of their lives
Like most the other fans, I wanted to have each book immediately upon release, but since my copies are UK editions I always had to wait a little while to get them. They were all, save Books 1 and 6, online purchases sent to different people in different countries, so each holds special significance for me.
My sister was studying in London at the time I started reading the series, so she would bring the books home for me every July when she came home for the summer. (Books 1 and 2 together, then Book 3 softbound and Book 4 first edition a year later, all courtesy of Amazon UK.)
She graduated by the time Book 5 was published, so I had to ask a colleague who was luckily in Singapore at the time of the release to bring home my Bloomsbury hardcover from there. (To date my only online purchase from Singapore’s Popular bookstore)
Book 6 was kindly purchased by my best friend’s mother, who was in Hong Kong about a week after it was published.
Book 7 was the most special. It was the last book and I really wanted to be in the UK, home of Harry and Hogwarts, for its release. But I was 9 months pregnant and due to give birth a few days before the release date so the London trip was an impossibility. But it had to be a UK edition from the UK, so a very good friend who was working in London at the time agreed to take the book home for me. She was planning to return to Manila in time to be godmother at my son’s christening.
It was the longest wait I had to endure for an HP book, and the last one at that, but it didn’t seem like it as I held and nursed and burped and changed my new bundle of joy while hearing how everyone loved or hated the conclusion. (No spoilers though!)
I finally got my copy exactly two months after the release date, and had to read it in bits and pieces every 3 hours over two days as I sat in the rocking chair beside my son’s crib while he slept. I missed my old habit of being able to read straight through, but just like Harry’s, my life had changed significantly between books 6 and 7, so it seemed like a very fitting way to end things.
We loved Tricia’s fighting spirit, because it’s never too late to start reading Harry Potter:
It’s not a secret that I’m the last Muggle who haven’t finished the whole series because I am forbidden to read, touch even a single book of Harry Potter. I remember when I was in Grade 5 when it became popular and I really really want to read them but of course, I am not allowed. I cried a lot because I cannot.
Then I went to high school and we have copies of Harry Potter in the library, I read it there (I had the magical feeling as I turn the page, I couldn’t forget it and I still feel it now whenever I read my HP books) but due to limited time for that at school, I decided to borrow the book. I was in hell when mom saw it! Seriously, she yelled at me about the negative side of witchcraft, devilry, blah blah blah. So I returned it the next day and never touch it even in the library (I’m obedient like that). But mom will never know I watched the movies with friends. It’s like an adventure, how to ask for permission to go out just watch movies (without telling it’s Harry Potter or else!).
I went to college still without reading any of the books until I got my very first copy accidentally. I got it in the book warehouse in Cavite two years ago and I am so ‘OH MY GOD, A HARRY POTTER BOOK’ and it felt like it’s my destiny to have it in my hands. I bought it and hid it from my mom. But unfortunately, mom saw it. hehe she didn’t got angry. you know why? I said, it’s better to read this than to read TWILIGHT. And oh, she let me read the book without nagging me! Isn’t it a miracle? Isn’t? I can finally read this awesome series after a series of attempt! I am destined to be a potterhead!
I’m not watching the movie too. I need to finish all the books before watching it all.
And we were green with envy over Ruby‘s UK Harry Potter Tour:
kay, my happiest Potter memories:
– Way back in university, I asked a friend of mine who was living in NZ to get me a copy of Book 4 since there were no paperback books available at the time! And she did, UK format too! Wheee!
– When I was on my first year at work, my mentor gave me book 7 as a gift when he was leaving to go to Singapore. Sooo yeah, lots of memories with that book.
– When I was in the UK, my friends and I did a little Potter tour. One day after work, we went off to Leadenhall Market to take our pictures where they shot the Diagon Alley scenes in the Philosopher’s Stone movie. Never expected that market to be close to our office, but it was gorgeous!! After that, we boarded the tube and went to Kings Cross/St Pancras station for a photo with platform 9 3/4! While there was a car parked near the platform, that didn’t stop us from getting an awesome photo holding the trolley as we go through the wall.
Then the weekend after, we boarded a train to Oxford so we could go to Christ Church college and spent half a day there! From running around the hallway, imagining that we were late for class, going up and down the stairs leading to the great hall trying to get that perfect photo, and eventually going to the Great Hall to get awesome shots with the cutlery, the staff table, and the paintings. I wanted a photo seated at one of the tables but sadly, it was not to be — there were velvet ropes lining the seats. Mind you, I couldn’t imagine hoe much the cutlery would cost if I accidentally broke one of them. Though the Great Hall in Christ Church is smaller than what I would expect it to be, it was one excellent Potter week!
The big winner is Zarah G, because the magic of Harry Potter is really in sharing it with other readers:
Win or lose here are my HP Moments:
HP Moment #1 – It was 2001 when I was at the height of my Potter obsession. I was pregnant with our youngest when I finished reading HP 4. In between 2001-2002, I bought Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages to while away the time waiting for Book 5. That school year, I was moderator of the Book Club. I had fifteen grade 5-6 boys combined. Not all of them were readers. They could read, but they’re very selective at what to read. Thick chapter books with very few illustrations are a no-no.
Nonetheless, I urged them to read any of the HP series in preparation for Battle of the Books. They did and some even went as far as researching online. I had prepared my own set of activities to monitor their reading speed and space. On Battle of the Books day, we had FUN! As a wrap up activity, I had a write-the-author activity.
Yep. We dared write to JK Rowling!
I placed all of their letters in one big envelope and included mine as cover letter. I mailed it by snail to Scholastic New York. This was around Nov. or early Dec. of 2001.
On February 2002, Scholastic sent us sixteen letters and photos with JK Rowling’s autograph!
I know it came from the publicist, or some marketing-PR person in Scholastic New York, but the important thing is, they answered back! My boys and I were on cloud nine. A good number of them became HP fans to this day.
HP Moment #2 – On the day HP 7 was released, I bought my copy at the Scholastic warehouse in Pasig City. I bought two copies actually – one for me and one for my friend, Mona Dy. It was my payback to her for something I owed. She claimed to have no memory at all on the debt.
HP Moment #3 – In the summer of 2008, my son has turned twelve and by the time school started in June, he has finished reading HP 3 – my favorite book in the series.
Looking back at the years when I was crazy over Harry made me realize that my HP moments extend beyond acquiring the books. It made me share reading magic to my students, my friend and my son. It made JK Rowling real to me as her publisher sent a letter recognizing our love for her writing and the books she created. There is love and wonder during those years that spanned age differences and geographic location. Books can do that. And if it is not magic, tell me what is?
As the grand winner, Ms. Zarah gets a keychain of her choice (snitch or sorting hat — please confirm which one you want) and two exquisite Harry Potter tasseled bookmarks:
Anne, Iya, Tricia and Ruby get a Snitch keychain each (unless Ms. Zarah opts for a Snitch keychain then the first one among you to claim the Sorting Hat keychain gets it).
Congratulations to the winners, will get in touch with you so I can send the goodies before Christmas!
Thank you to all who joined the HP giveaway. Will have an end-of-year giveaway (not HP though), so stay tuned! :)
P.S. Thank you to Scholastic for digging up these ancient photos. This was before I owned a digicam!