Anticipation–Then and Now

I grew up during the height of the Harry Potter phenomenon. When there was a new book or movie coming out every year, when you could try Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans in real life, and when everyone was trying to predict where Snape’s true loyalties lie.

To put it lightly, I’m a fan.

My odd assortment of Harry Potter books.

I remember devouring the books as soon as I could get my hands on them, analyzing the text for clues about whether or not Harry would die at the end, or if Mrs. Norris was really an Animagus. I even co-wrote an essay once for Mugglenet (a popular Harry Potter fan website). But the most fun were the midnight releases.

My friends and I would snag our place in line right after school and wait for hours. We’d be sporting our homemade t-shirts and a backpack chock-full of snacks (the best were S’more Ritz Crackers and Cool Mint Oreos, naturally). While we waited, we’d chat, maybe reread bits of the series, and just anticipate what we were about to experience.

Here’s the thing: I don’t necessarily remember the moments in the movie theater watching the film adaptations, or cracking open the books for the first time. What I recall most vividly are those hours waiting in line. All the laughter, and the fun we used to have.

These days, I don’t do midnight releases for books or movies. I can’t stay up that late, not even on New Year’s Eve. And, while I was very excited to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening weekend, for the most part I find that I anticipate different things now.

I anticipate getting a novel published someday, embarking on foreign adventures with my husband, tasting a really good meal I’ve worked hard to prepare, harvesting vegetables from my garden at the end of a long summer, or, heck, sometimes even just a relaxing weekend after a hard workweek.

Do you find that you anticipate different things now from when you were young? What do you anticipate?


Author: Kate Lansing

I write mysteries, YA novels, and short fiction. I also read A LOT, travel as much as possible, and take way too many pictures of my cat.

22 thoughts on “Anticipation–Then and Now”

  1. Not with quite the same enthusiasm but each new John Sandford or Lee Child novel found its way to my reading “pile.” The trick was to find all the previous ones in the used book stores. A bit of a quest that often resulted in an Ed McBain or a W.E.B. Griffin instead.

  2. Great post, Kate. I was fortunate enough to get the first four Potter books from a friend, but after that…yes, I waited eagerly for the next volume, discussing the text with friends, dissecting it, re-reading to find hidden clues. And then the next book would show up (it’s one of the few I remembered to pre-order) and I’d swear I wouldn’t read it in a day. And of course I did, which only set me off on another agonizing, yet exhilarating, round of anticipation (where’s she going with this next?). And although I didn’t wait in line for movies, I put the release date of each on my calendar as an Event to look forward to.

    And like you, these days I anticipate different things – getting that novel published, that short story. The end of the “day job,” seeing my kids graduate high school. The start of another chapter in my very own book of life.

  3. Mike, I love it when book quests lead to new discoveries! And I definitely have a Lee Child novel in my reading pile, too 🙂

  4. Mary, I did that too! I’d promise myself I’d take my time and savor each book but without a doubt, usually less than 24 hours later, I’d be done. Deathly Hallows was actually my now-husband’s first introduction to my reading habits, lol! And what wonderful things you anticipate. Love it!

  5. I started reading HP when the first movie came out — I was in grad school. My friend and I devoured Books 1-4 and then I preordered the books, anxiously waiting for Amazon to deliver them to my doorstep. My friend, who lives in the UK, would be finished with the book before mine was even delivered. I can’t imagine another book series with that same level of excitement and anticipation.

  6. Oh man, this brings me back! I didn’t wait in line for Harry Potter, but my husband did (just because I had to work that night). He’d read the book first because he was faster and I would wait and wait until it was my turn. So. GOOD. I also feel I’m too old now to wait in line or do midnight showings or whatever. I just don’t have to be first more. Or maybe I just don’t want to pay a sitter:)

  7. Anticipation, now that I’m firmly in middle age (unless I start planning to live to be 140), is indeed quite different than in my youth. Back then I’d look forward to going out on the town all dressed up in my funkiness and would be devastated if plans fell through; today I’m sad if plans fall through, but secretly enjoy an unexpected evening at home wearing slippers instead of stilettos. Shh. Don’t tell.

  8. When I read the first Harry Potter, it reminded me of all the wonderful excitement I used to feel as a child. These days, I anticipate spending time with my grandchildren and seeing that same sense of wonder on their faces.

  9. Delightful post! Right now I’m focusing on the Agatha banquet dessert (Malice Domestic in early May). Last year it was a bone china-thin chocolate tea cup filled with chocolate mousse and topped with a little chocolate bar with a skull painted on it. It’s the little things.

  10. Got me thinking here. Seems in a younger day I anticipated things, events. The Beatles coming to Shea Stadium, summer break from school. Now, I anticipate emotional things, the comfort of long term friendships and relationships the knowledge of understanding.

  11. Absolutely, Kimberly, it’s truly amazing how this series sparked excitement around the world! I happened to be in London when Half-Blood Prince came out and was way happier than I care to admit having received my copy 7 hours earlier than I would have at home! 🙂

  12. Sarah, I know, right?! They are so good! I’m impressed you managed to share a copy! And well said, I don’t have to be first anymore either. It’s enough to know I’ll eventually get to read/see/experience something.

  13. Hahaha! Becky, I’m the exact same way. It’s fun to go out and see friends, but at the same time, I so appreciate an evening in. Sometimes I feel like a hermit in the making 😉

  14. Sue, I love that! What a wonderful thing to anticipate! It makes me so happy to see the next generation of fandom, the magic in the eyes of young readers as they discover new worlds through books.

  15. Thanks, Keenan! Oh my, that dessert sounds *amazing* and so fun! And I agree, sometimes it’s the little things. I hope you’ll take a picture of this year’s dessert and share!

  16. Great post! I love Harry Potter. You sound like you were an adorable teenager.
    I’m currently anticipating writing The End on WIP and then taking giant nap after. 🙂

  17. That’s really insightful, Kait, and so true! These days the things I anticipate are more emotional based, or things that I’ve worked really hard for, not so much events. Well said! And also, how cool it would’ve been to see the Beatles live!

  18. Thanks, Sam! Lol, adorable or incredibly nerdy 😉 But hey, geek is chic, right? Reaching The End is HUGE. Congratulations! Enjoy that feeling right after you finish and, of course, your hard-earned nap!

  19. Anticipation doesn’t cease (at least I hope not) but it does shift. From the magic of Santa Claus to the first day of school to being asked out on a date… well, you all know this.

    Often, anticipation is better than the reality. Is it weird to anticipate anticipation?

  20. Hear, hear to anticipation never ceasing, Peg! And not weird at. In fact, I love that: anticipate the anticipation. Very meta!

  21. Loved reading about your HP anticipation! I can’t remember lining up that way for anything during high school except for when The Police came to town and my best friend and I went to the concert site the night before and wandered in (ok, climbed underneath a metal fence) so that we could touch the stage…

  22. Thanks, Cynthia! Wow, what a fun story! It would’ve been so cool to have seen The Police, let alone touch the stage. You and your friend were so brave! 🙂

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