I didn't know anything about Harry Potter (had not even heard of the character or the books actually) when a group of my college friends got together for opening night of the first movie, and invited me to come along. That first movie was magical, and I enjoyed it.
Some of my younger siblings' friends were reading the books, and my siblings wanted to as well, so my mother previewed them and said they were great books. Half of my family started reading them.
In the summer of 2003 (having seen movies 1 and 2), I read the first four books. In one week. And then five came out and my whole family spent a week swiping the book from each other--there were multiple bookmarks in it and we all were keeping track of who was how far into the book and which scenes we could discuss with whom.
I bought books six and seven on the days they were released. Six I had to wait around a bit for my husband to finish reading it before I could have it (I spent my time re-reading half of five). Seven came out on my birthday though, so I told him I got first dibs on it. I read faster anyway. I finished it in under a week.
My son, Wolf, has wanted to see the movies as all his friends have watched them. But our family's rule is that you have to read the books before you're allowed to see the movies. We figure that reading the book demonstrates sufficient maturity to deal with the content of the film...some kids are ready at 9, some not until 15. We have that same rule for Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and others.
Wolf started the first book when he was 9, but got bogged down. He listened to the audiobooks of one and two, but we told him that didn't count as reading, and that he'd have to actually read the books. At 10 1/2, he finally did. He read all seven books in about 4 months (which is quite impressive as he's not a very fast reader, and it is 3363 pages). Book by book, as he finished them, he got to see the movies, all except the last one, which Hubby and I had not seen either.
For Christmas, we found the box set of all 8 movies on sale, so we got it. On Christmas night we started a marathon...a movie a night (sometimes more). On New Year's Eve, we watched the final movie.
I enjoyed the books when I read them. I have generally liked the movies but after the first two was always frustrated by something in the adaptation. Watching them back to back though, I found the magic was rekindled. Now I want to read all the books again.
I leave you with a couple of youtube movies that I really enjoyed this week amidst our Pottermania.
"Marching On" by OneRepublic
Montage of the ongoing friendships, fairly warm and fuzzy in spite of the ups and downs
"This is War" by 30 Seconds to Mars
Montage of the ongoing battle...a little more intense