Katie's Corner: Friendships forged by Harry Potter magic
The Harry Potter book and movie series is the classic story of good and evil, growing up, and the real meaning of friendships — all bound up in a magical story.
It is no surprise why each movie premier causes frenzy at movie theaters. The sixth movie in the series, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," opened at theaters on July 15. On the night of July 14, crowds of Harry Potter fans flocked the movie theaters to be the first to see the premier at the midnight showing.
Fans dressed in Harry Potter attire, such as robes, glasses, scarves, and wizard hats. Among these fans is a group of friends: Allyson Ashmead of Portola Valley, Jillian Nielsen and Laura Sherrard of Woodside, and Maddie Scannell of Menlo Park. Jillian and Maddie are sophomores at Saint Ignatius High School in San Francisco and Laura and Allyson are sophomores at Saint Francis High School in Mountain View.
All four of these teen "muggles" (a person who doesn't possess magical abilities) have been friends since kindergarten and have bonded through their interest in Harry Potter.
When the first movie, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," opened in theaters back in 2001, these four friends started a tradition: They pledged to attend every Harry Potter movie premier together. Jillian's dad Charlie often was the one driving them to the midnight showing, with the other dads alternating throughout the years.
The teens started reading the books at a very young age. At the beginning, the girls had the books read to them by family members. Laura's older sister Amy began reading the books to her.
"I love how J.K. Rowling can turn a small idea into an entire world that engrosses the reader," says Laura Sherrard.
Jillian's dad, Charlie, read her the first four books. When the fifth book was released, she was one of the first to pick up a copy of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" during a midnight release. She was surprised to find she had purchased a misprinted edition, which repeats 41 pages.
Jillian read the entire book (870 pages) in 24 hours.
"J.K. Rowling has made up this whole world that draws people in and makes them use their imagination," Jillian says. "I really enjoyed growing up with the movies and the books."
So, on July 14, this group of excited muggles joined devoted fans and made their way to the Century 20 theater in downtown Redwood City to see "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." They waited in line for four hours. It was definitely worth the wait, they say.
"I really enjoyed the movie," Allyson says. "I'm glad that it was very similar to the book. I want to see it again."
For the next two movies, you can be sure that Jillian, Allyson, Maddie and Laura will be eagerly waiting at the midnight showings with wands in hand and a bag of the Jelly Slugs, Chocolate Frogs and Earwax flavored Bertie Bott's Beans.
Katie Blankenberg lives in Portola Valley and is a sophomore at Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton.