Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This Year's for You, Harry Potter

I still can't believe that Harry Potter is ending. In just about 24 hours, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 will be released, ending an amazing era that changed children's book publishing forever. I began reading those books in high school, and I can't help but reflect upon the time I've dedicated to Harry and his pals. But there are 8640 hours in a year--there's no possible way I've spent an entire year dedicated to Harry Potter. Or have I?
  • 233 Hours of Reading: I've read the first book seven times (1610 pages), the second book six times (2112 pages), five for the third (2240 pages), four for the fourth (3008 pages), three for the fifth (2610 pages), two for the sixth (1304 pages) and only once for the seventh (784 pages). And then there's the supplement books (320 pages). Averaging about a minute per page--and let's be honest, I can't read that fast--that adds up to a lot of minutes
  • 144 Hours of Listening: Jim Dale is one of the most amazing audiobook narrators of all time, and so you can bet I've listened to all the audiobooks at least once. But I've also listened to the second and sixth books twice because they're my favorites. And having driven from coast to coast multiple times, I can assure the folks at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that you can indeed listen to the audibooks while circling the contiguous United States.
  • 109 Hours of Viewing: I honestly don't remember how many times I've seen each of the movies, so I'm just guessing here. I've seen the first movie at least a dozen times (1824 minutes), but I've only seen HP7.1 once (146 minutes). So let's say I've seen the second movie 10 times (1610 minutes), the third eight (1128 minutes), the fourth six (942 minutes), the fifth four (552 minutes), the sixth twice (306 minutes). I've also added a half hour for all the previews I've watched. It's a wonder my vision isn't worse than it is.
  • 200 Hours of Web Surfing: Mugglenet, YouTube, J.K. Rowling's site, Warner Brothers...I've visited them all. Back in college, I could spend hours at a time perusing the chat rooms and trolling for movie stills and hunting for spoilers. I found all the secret treasures on Rowling's desk and watched more tribute videos than I care to admit. In fact, the 200 hours is probably a modest estimate.
  • 24 Hours of Line Standing: Every movie and book release came with waiting in line. Granted, most of these lines were more like parties than actual lines, but I still remember going to the book store at 9 p.m. and not getting my 4th book until 1 p.m.--I was so tired the next day I couldn't even finish reading the book.
  • 24 Hours of Costume Making: While my favorite HP character to play is Rita Skeeter, I've also donned several generic Ravenclaw and Gryffindor uniforms, played a Death Eater and fancied myself as Luna Lovegood.
  • 100 Hours of Event Planning: Midnight Muggle Magic at the Salt Lake City Public Library was a HP event to the max. I ran the charms class and made more than 200 trick wands with wooden dowels, feathers and fishing line, researched Latin so kids could make up their own spells, distributed copies of HP7 after midnight, and then there was the set-up and clean-up for the event. But it was also one of the most memorable nights of my life.
  • 50 hours of Layout and Designing: I did two in-depth design projects for design classes, including a Hogwarts brochure and a magazine layout about the movies. There was also the year that I saved every image from a HP desk calendar and made a collage poster after cutting them all out and fitting them together with lamination paper. Oh year, and all the art projects, homemade cards, scrapbook pages and trinkets I've made for friends who love Harry just as much as I do.
  • 400 Hours of Extras: Television shows (5 hours), movie extras (10 hours), music concerts (5 hours), book clubs (10 hours), webposts (5 hours), shopping (10 hours), gaming (25 hours), discussing (100 hours), magazine articles (100 hours), critical books (5 hours), reviews (25 hours), interviews (100 hours)... All of that, and I wouldn't even call myself a hard-core fan like the ones who design websites, write fan-fiction and know all of the spells in every book by heart.
  • 156 Forgotten Hours: Let's be honest, I'm sure I've had more dreams, told more jokes, worked more references into every-day conversations and thought more about Harry Potter than just about any other franchise out there. And because this isn't exactly a scientific analysis, I'll give myself some nice, round numbers to work with.
Okay, so that only totals 1440 hours, or about two months, of my life dedicated to the boy wizard, but I've still got another good 60 years in me. Give me the rest of my life, and I'm sure I'll be able to tell St. Peter that I lived a full year thinking about Harry.

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