It was August 1998, my sister’s and my eleventh birthday. That year my grandfather Bob would give us a gift that would change our lives on an almost daily basis.
Bob would always send gifts in the form of books, the novelty of being sent books about a boy with our last name was quite exciting. We hadn’t really met many other people with the surname Potter at that point in our lives. We received the first two Harry Potter books as a combined gift (note to friends of twins: don’t do that). They sat on the shelf for a few weeks until my sister Britt decided to read the first book and from here we were hooked. Fast forward a few months to January 1999, we returned to school and it seemed every kid in class had received Harry Potter books for Christmas!
Cue the Harry Potter jokes…on repeat…for decades to come!
Now don’t get me wrong, I dig the Harry Potter series as much as the next gal. They’re fantastic books BUT two decades on surely something has gotta give!?
To put my experience into perspective I was the same age as Harry when the books came out – 10 years old. My sister and I are twins and were already referred to as “The Potters” (see ya later identity). We had dark hair and the Potter side of our family lived in the UK and Europe. To add a little extra to the cauldron of Potter life our mum was a bit of a goth in our country town, she had the sharpest black bob haircut you’ll see around and loved pointy shoes, very witchy indeed to our school friends!
As we moved into high school the Harry Potter books became movies. Every “end-of-year activity” for our classes became a trip to the cinema to see the latest film. This meant roll call before leaving school & upon leaving the cinema. When my name was read out infront of 50 to 60 kids, they would then start calling out “Potter”, ” Filthy Mudblood” and “Muggle” amongst other names in their worst English accents. Great fun.
I’m about to give you the rundown on Potter Pokes. If you’re a Potter get ready to eye roll. If you’re not a Potter get ready to hang your head in shame if you’ve ever said any of the following to us…
“Yer A Wizard Alex!”
No. I mean technically I’d be a witch, but..just no!
Hey, How’s Harry?
And who can forget that old familiar call from across a crowded room “AAARRRRrrryyyyyy POttteeeRRRRR” followed by the cackling of people who think they’re so original.
This was always so much fun in public places.
Or the HILARIOUS Draco Malfoy impressions.
Can you tell us what’s going to happen in the next book?
Hang on, let me call an imaginary wizard & ask…
Yes, well done..
What house are you in? I bet it’s Gryffindor!
To which you reply “I’d probably prefer to be in Slytherin” only to be told you’re a disappointment to your imaginary wizard family.
As an almost 30 year old woman I still DREAD handing my ID over at the bank, bars, checking in at hotels or for flights. I still get asked if that’s my real name or if I’m just a huge Harry Potter fan. They always end with “That’s so cool, I wish I had your name!”
Speaking of huge Harry Potter fans, you know the ones – they all have the deathly hallows symbol tattooed on their body somewhere…usually where you can see it.
A word of caution: DO NOT TELL THEM YOUR NAME!
I have had mixed reactions from these people, some are totally normal, some get possessive & some get straight up competitive – How dare you be allowed to have that name when you’re not a “true fan”?!
It’s a strange phenomenon.
As much as I complain these people do often give me a good giggle. Recently I received a few messages from people I know from social circles to advise me that with the recent changes to facebook I might need to start using my real name or I’ll get kicked off. After politely thanking them for their concern & letting them know it IS MY REAL NAME they were sheepish to say the least! ha!
If you’re not a “Natural Born Potter” you won’t truly understand the effort of a good eye roll. I’ve learnt over the years how to perfect my eye roll with a real look of disdain at the end. I can thank J.K.Rowling for that one talent of mine!