Curator’s note: Please join me in welcoming new co-curator, Jess Glass. Jess is a student at DePaul University, and she’s been invaluable in seeking out meta to get the Reader back up and running, beginning with today’s piece on the GenX fandom of Harry Potter.
So technically speaking, I was one of the last Generation X babies.
(Hint: born when the actual first Star Wars came out.)
While I can’t speak for the Millennials, this HP meta post that has been going around has prompted me to add some more thoughts:
The Harry Potter ending is not my ending. Harry Potter was a kid who was technically three or four years younger than me. He’s about my brother’s age. That’s not a huge age gap.
When the book ended, with marriage and kids, I honestly felt it was so off. Because my generation was marrying a lot later. This wasn’t even an end goal for us. The generation after me – at least as far as I observed with my brother and peers – they weren’t doing the same thing.
We were still and still are in the process of living.
Settling down was an utterly foreign and alien concept. Hell, I’m still not what you would consider “settled down.” I’m just getting by.
The other thing was that I was given this idea that Harry and friends were merely an improvement over their parents’ generation. That Harry was a Better Version of James Potter™. That Hermione and Ron were simply The Weasleys v. 2.0. That Ginny was Lily Evans 2.0. That Draco was Snape 2.0.
It was an improvement. But things hadn’t changed. Because Albus Severus Potter was still afraid of being sorted into Slytherin.
We had heroes who just went through this entire war, this generation touched so solidly by war and prejudice and death, an event that called out for major, serious changes and in the decades that came after…. was there still no change? No revolution, nothing to galvanize the Wizarding World and make them better?
Did we still need Harry to tell his son, “It’s okay. Not all Slytherins are evil. Look, I named you after a Slytherin and he was the bravest man I knew.”
I understand that J.K. Rowling (bless her) wanted to aim for the fairy tale ending. But the ironic thing is, we – her audience – we already knew that happily ever after wasn’t as easy or as simple as it looked.
So this is not our ending. I refuse to believe in this ending.
Take a moment to imagine Ron, Hermione and Harry in their flat. They’re getting by. They have PTSD and nightmares and they’re healing and they’re working to make things better and they’re continuing the process of growing up.
They’re living. That is not an ending.
And maybe, just maybe, when we’re all older, when we do have our children and our families and we are “settled” and we’re sending them off to Hogwarts, then the dialogue would be something like this instead:
“You’re a wizard, kiddo. Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff or Slytherin – be the best wizard that you can be, the best person that you can become. I am proud of you.”
“thoughts of a gen x-er potterhead” ©darthstitch, originally posted on 17 July 2015
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