The day after I returned home from my trip to Israel, the book “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” was released. In my extremely weak state (I caught some kind of flu on my last day in Jerusalem, and yes, flying the 11 hours back to the U.S. — puking my guts out — was wonderful), I still pulled myself out of bed and made it to my local Barnes & Noble for the midnight release. I had waited 10 years for this moment, and nothing was going to hold me back. I was elated, I was pumped, I was shaking with anticipation. Like millions of other diehard fans, I was finally going to figure out how this beloved epic would to end.

Seven hundred and fifty-nine pages later, I was furious. I remember sitting on my bed, screaming at the text “NO! Do not end this way! Stop being lame!” as my parents rushed into my room, worried that I was suffering from flu-related hysteria. I wouldn’t listen to my parents’ soothing words that it “was just a book” and that everything would be OK. They didn’t understand, and not in the typical 16-year-old “my parents don’t understand me” way. That book had broken my heart: I had hated it.

That’s right, I said it. I hated the seventh and final book of the Harry Potter series. It was long, drawn-out and boring. I hated the camping trip. I hated that Hedwig died. I hated that Harry lived. I hated, hated the epilogue. I hated the book so much that I wrote a scathing review and sent it to The Cincinnati Enquirer (I’m still waiting for that to be published). For weeks, I was as angsty and pissy as Harry was in the fifth book. It was a dark time.

As I’m sure most fans can understand, the “Harry Potter” series is much more than a collection of books. It was the dream of our youth. Everyone wanted to go to Hogwarts — I remember convincing myself that I would get my acceptance letter “any day now.” I wanted to be sorted, learn about magic, play Quidditch and fawn over the sexiest man alive: Severus Snape (who would, of course, be Alan Rickman in real life, obviously, don’t even say otherwise).

I would like to say that I’ve grown out of this phase. But that would be a lie. It’s borderline embarrassing how many times “Harry Potter” crops up in my daily conversations. My friends and I made it our mission to attend the world premiere of “Harry Potter: The Exhibition” at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago when we trekked to the Windy City for Pitchfork Music Festival ’09. I think we out-ogled the 10-year-olds when we came into contact with movie props like the fake Horcrux and a reproduction of Hagrid’s cabin. It was magical.

Though the “Harry Potter” series can hardly be considered high-brow literature, I feel like no other books have connected me to such a wide community for such a long time. Case in point: There have been signs everywhere in South Quad for the past week advertising a week-long Harry Potter-themed extravaganza in celebration of the release of part one of the seventh movie. I’m still meeting people in college who share the same obsession. How many books have that kind of following? (And “Twilight” doesn’t count because it is awful).

But I digress. Eventually, I made my peace with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.” It took me two years to make this peace, but still. I re-read the series before the release of the sixth movie, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” and came to appreciate that, while the seventh book wasn’t my favorite, it still had merit. I liked learning the truth about Dumbledore. I liked that we finally got to visit Godric’s Hollow. I liked that Snape somehow became sexier when we learned the complexities of his dual allegiance.

But then I saw the trailer for the seventh movie. And as the music swelled while Voldemort yelled “Avada Kedavra” at Harry in the Forbidden Forest, I started laughing. And I didn’t stop laughing until the trailer ended. It was just too ridiculously over-the-top dramatic. Yes, I am going to see the seventh movie on Friday and yes I am very excited. But, I’m not expecting much. The movies have never been consistently good and I’m holding no hope that such a mediocre portion of the story can turn into a stellar film. Plus, I’ve been burned before by “Harry Potter.”

However, I know that, no matter how stinky the seventh movie turns out to be, I will still love the “Harry Potter” series. My insane obsession with those books is pretty much an unbreakable bond. So to all the “Harry Potter” fans out there: enjoy the movie, but don’t despair if it’s awful. You can always curl up under the covers and flip to page one of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” After all, the books are much better than the movies.

Also, you are all invited to mine and Alan Rickman’s wedding.

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