Last night, I took my little sister to the midnight showing of the very last Harry Potter film. As far as midnight showings go, it was pretty tame, but as it was the younger sibling’s first one, she enjoyed it and we had a good time. We enjoyed the young man making shadow puppets on the big screen with his overly-bright cell phone light, especially when he made his creatures eat the shadows of people passing in front of the screen.

As we were leaving the theater, we heard one young man remark, “Well, now my childhood has officially ended.” Within the last few days, I’ve read many blog posts with the same sentiment and it’s got me to thinking…

See, even though I’m in the same age bracket as a lot of these kids, I didn’t start reading Harry Potter til I was 14 years old. So, while I’ve enjoyed the books and the movies, I don’t see myself as having been influenced by Harry Potter, at least, not in the same way that a lot of people my age mean.

So, I’ve been pondering: what (if any) series affected my childhood in the same way that Harry Potter has affected so many of my peers?

I’d have to give that particular honor to Brian Jacques and his Redwall series. Man, did I love those books! They inspired me to write my own riddles, to talk in funny accents, and to try my mom’s spiced nuts (a treat I usually avoided until I read about the candied nuts used to bribe the young ones in the abbey). After reading one particular passage, I made my own “ink” out of water and crushed grass, and I even attempted weaving because of the descriptions of the Tapestry of Martin the Warrior.

It was a sad day when I realized that I had outgrown this childhood staple. After reading the newest book (at the time, I believe it was High Rhulain) and not being overly impressed, I remember feeling distinct sense of loss as I figured out that I was growing up and my tastes had changed.  That, in my mind at least, marked the beginning of the end of being “a kid”.

Just this year, Brian Jacques passed away, and I felt an echo of that melancholy as that chapter of my childhood “officially ended”. I think, next year, on the anniversary of his death, I’ll sip some strawberry cordial (if I can find any) and make a vegetable pasty in honor of this wonderful writer who inspired so much of my imagination growing up.

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