Friends and loved ones are some of the most influential people in our lives in many ways, particularly when it comes to pop culture. Whether it’s your buddy who introduced you to the joys of Led Zeppelin in high school or your wife who got you to finally watch Buffy, we can all look back on some key part of our pop culture experience with gratitude towards those who gave us the introduction.
My introduction to the Harry Potter universe came via my first serious girlfriend in college. Back when The Sorceror’s Stone movie adaptation hit theaters and she told me she wanted to see “Harry Potter”, I had never even heard of him or knew even what it was (I initially asked her what type of music he played). When she told me what it was about, I started questioning why she wanted to see what sounded like a kids’ movie. That said, for the sake of our relationship (and because I knew that I’d get, ahem, “rewarded” for taking her), we went for a matinee show the day it came out (which happened to be a holiday).
I came out of it loving the movie and immediately borrowed the first book from her. And the second. And the third. And the fourth. I loved the way the world was built and how each book seemed to get more complex, as if it was growing with both the characters and the intended readers. I typically saw the movies within the first few weeks of release, and would get the books the day they hit the shelves, then stay up until all hours of the night reading them. (Sidenote: The one time I didn’t was when I lived in Taiwan and didn’t get Half-Blood Prince until a few days after its release. In spite of my best efforts to avoid spoilers, a commenter on completely unrelated Deadspin post revealed Dumbledore’s fate.) A friend and I once spent an entire ride to a football game discussing our own fan theories about how things would turn out.
I’m not as much of a fan of Potter now as I was then (in part thanks to J.K. Rowling and the Revisionist History), and the girl and I broke up well before the series ended, but I will forever be indebted to her for introducing me to the wonderful world of Hogwarts.
Now it’s your turn to give thanks to those who have introduced you to the pop culture you love. What was it and how did they introduce you?