Solidarity of the Scar

July 15, 2009 by Jen

If you read the title and instantly knew what I was talking about, you’re well on your way to sharing in the fascinating and complex solidarity of the scar.

a.k.a. Harry Potter fandom.
Official announcement: I am a geek. I am a literary geek most of all. And so, with some inbred sense of sheepishness, I joined the crowds flocking to the theater last night to watch the 12:01 premiere of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
There were a lot of high schoolers there. And middle schoolers. Not a lot of college grads or adults. But oh, the dynamics were fascinating.
I think everyone in the long lines waiting to enter the theater took a turn pointing to the few, the proud, the unashamed who were wearing Harry’s signature round eyeglasses, a maroon-and-yellow Gryffindor scarf, or a full-length Hogwarts robe. The more subtle fashionistas had opted for the temporary tattoo of a lightning shaped scar on their foreheads.
And I think every uncostumed individual in those long lines was secretly envious that they had lacked the courage to dive in 100% and would therefore be sorted into the disappointing-by-comparison Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff if their turn ever came.
I know I was. Especially when the news cameras were right next to me in line.
When we marched into the theaters at 12:14, no one waited for the big screen to tell them to turn off their cell phones. As soon as the lights went down, little blue lights winked out all across the room, like an aerial view of a gradual power outage in New York City. The chirping noises of various phone models never fail to amuse me.
There was some whispering during the previews, a little last-minute plot-catching-up of friends who *gasp* hadn’t read the book. Some final wagers on the merits of Tom Felton, a few parting shots about the robes vs. casual clothes debate. But the funny thing was, unlike the usual movie theater commentary, in which TMI is a standby, here, everyone knew. Everyone cared. Everyone had an opinion. We all had the decoder. We spoke the same language.
That’s why people unashamedly showed off their Kleenex packs in the way back from the bathroom.
(That’s also why I accidentally went into the wrong theater when I came back from the bathroom. All the marquees spoke the same language too…a two word-language: Harry. Potter.)
That’s why no one minded the spontaneous, “When I say Harry, you say Potter: Harry – Potter – Harry – Potter,” and many, in fact, joined in. That’s why there was a theater-wide cheer when John Williams’ music crept out of the speakers and wrought iron-looking letters began to form in a swirl of dark clouds.
That’s probably why I felt like I should issue a public apology letter when I rattled my box of Mike ‘n’ Ikes in the middle of one of Dumbledore’s conversations with Harry.
It was 3:15 a.m. when we left the theaters. I’m pretty sure that what was I thinking? was on many a mind, especially of those of us who had to work this morning. But I’m also pretty sure that I’ll never do this again was not. Because I, at least, know I’ll more than likely be doing the exact same thing for Deathly Hallows. Except with Kleenex.
Now that’s what I call solidarity.

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