The concept of The Great American (or Irish, or Canadian, or…) Novel is misleading. For a book to mean anything to one person or demographic, it must inevitably leave another cold. This is why you’re a thousand times more likely to find a book that encapsulates a breathless moment, an event, or possibly, a generation. Even the term ‘Generation X’ was first used as the title of a 1991 Douglas Copeland novel. For Millennials, it’s even more blindingly obvious. We’re the Harry Potter Generation, and Friday was a significant date for all of us.
“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”
(J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)
September the first stands out in every Harry Potter book — it’s time to go #BackToHogwarts, where everything is magicooool, on the Hogwarts Express. This year, however, 1 September was Epilogue Day, or Nineteen Years Later: the day of Albus Severus Potter’s first ride on that magical train. J.K. Rowling noted the occasion on Twitter, and the West End cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child remarked on the pleasure and pride of performing the sequel show on such a significant date. Potter fans, dressed in their house colours, descended upon King’s Cross Station in London for a cheering countdown to 11am, the departure time of the train. King’s Cross has been a fan-favourite location since the release of the books, moreso since 2012 when the station cannily added a Harry Potter shop and the famous luggage-trolley and sign that launched a thousand Instagrams.
Love it or loathe it, until the recent theatrical adventures (which many fans disregard from the canon – because, seriously, JK?), the epilogue was the final bow, the last hurrah of these characters who meant so much to so many… but now we’ve come to the point where the future Rowling envisaged for her characters has become the past. Our boy wizard’s scar hasn’t, at this point, pained him in nineteen years, but in spite of that, the fandom is going strong, after all this time.