Growing up Potter

Updated: 2011-08-19 08:26

By Zheng Jinran (China Daily)

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Growing up Potter

Lin Pin, a 23-year-old graduate student at Peking University who has been a devoted follower of Harry Potter, showcases his Harry Potter costume in his dormitory on Thursday. [Provided to China Daily]

BEIJING - Harry Potter's fans have grown up with the boy wizard over the past decade.

But his final battle on big screen this summer is not the end for his fans.

"I will read Harry Potter books to my children and watch the movies with them in the future. Wonderful, isn't it?" said Lin Pin, an ardent Harry Potter fan, with a big smile.

With a pair of black-framed glasses and a fair complexion, Lin, a 23-year-old graduate student from the department of Chinese language and literature of Peking University, looks just like Harry Potter.

"Students at my school might not have known my name, but they all knew there was a Harry Potter fan who looked just like Harry Potter," said Lin, from Fuding, Fujian province.

Lin began his journey with Harry Potter in early 2001. By then, the first three books had been published in China.

"I was obsessed by the fantasy wizardry books after one of my classmates told me the stories," Lin recalled.

Since then, he has kept collecting the books, in Chinese and English, along with other books such as the biography of the author, J. K. Rowling. He also has a wizard's robe, pointed hat and even a ward.

"I have a limited edition of the last book. You know, there are only 8,000 copies in the world. It has a hard cover and every page has a golden edge, like a Bible to me, " Lin said excitedly.

Lin read the fourth book in Chinese, which was published about one year after the original. The wait nearly killed him.

So he bought the fifth and sixth books in English online when they were released and lined up in Beijing for eight hours to buy the final book.

"I was the third person to get it in China," Lin recalled.

Though he was passionate to read it, it was not easy for a senior high school student to understand all of it in English. It took him one month to finish the fifth book with the help of a dictionary.

"I know it's crazy, but you have to understand that the Harry Potter books are not only interesting stories to me," Lin said seriously. "He is my friend, we share a similar painful experience."

Potter lost his parents when he was an infant, and Lin lost his father when he was 13 years old, the same year he began to know Potter.

"When I read the books again after my father's death, I have different feelings," Lin recalled. He mentioned a clip from the first book that when Harry looked into the magic Mirror of Erised, which can reflect someone's desire, he saw his dead parents.

"I know his feelings from my deep heart. I feel his sadness," Lin said.

The unfortunate loss of his father gave him deeper emotion toward the books, which makes him seem weird in the eyes of some students.

He once wrote a poem about Harry Potter's godfather, and read it in a reading competition with tears.

"Someone didn't understand why I had such deep feelings toward a fictional person, calling me mad. But I don't care. I had the similar heartbreaking feelings when he died (in the story)," Lin said.

Zhu Fang, Lin's high school classmate, said Lin is a strong-minded person with great passion and his love of the Harry Potter books is "infectious". "Sometimes you might think he is a living Harry Potter," Zhu said.

By the time Lin became a literature major at Peking University in 2006, Harry Porter had become more than a hobby.

At that time fans across the world were waiting for the release of the final book. Lin spent two months writing reviews on the previous Harry Potter books and made his guess on the end of the story. The review was published and sold more than 13,000 copies.

In 2009, he finished an essay about the books, discussing the theme of death. This essay got the highest score in his department that year.

"I majored in literature, and would like to connect the professional knowledge learned from class with hot topics in society. So I chose the topic as my essay's theme," said the ardent Potter fan.

His love of the books has brought him friends who share the same interest.

Tai Nan, a sophomore from Lin's university, describes him as "a witty talker".

"He is about four years older than me. But he always talks as a friend who shares things rather than a big brother who tells me what to do," Tai said.

Lin said his like-minded friends talk about the wizard world.

"We all love Quidditch and imagined how amazing it would be to fly in the sky to play," said Lin, who in real life plays football and basketball, but claims to love the magical sport the most.

"If I were able to travel back to 10 years ago, I would like to tell the younger me, 'follow your heart, Harry Potter will be with you.," he said.