The 10 Best Ways To Cope With "Harry Potter" Withdrawal


Friday, July 15, 2011—it’s a day that millions of J.K. Rowling-loving fans have been dreading for a long time, yet there’s no getting around it. That’s right, this weekend, the eighth and final installment of the Harry Potter film franchise, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, will premiere in theaters nationwide, bringing the seemingly never-ending fantasy series to an action-packed, and most likely teary, conclusion. And since author Rowling hasn’t announced any plans for a new, eighth novel, this last big screen hoorah is also the last time Potter heads will be able to immerse themselves in a never-before-seen, nor read, tale.

For people who don’t know Quidditch from Yiddish, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 will just be another big-budgeted summer blockbuster; for everyone else, though, it’s sure to be a bittersweet hit that allows them say goodbye to beloved stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson after a decade’s worth of cinematic wonderment, however begrudgingly.

Some Potter junkies have been prepping for this somber day for years, and, once the final credits roll, they’ll go on with their lives. But then there are the fanatical ones, the Pot-heads who’ll refuse to leave the theater even after the ushers start picking up candy bar wrappers and the venue’s owner attempts to push them out with brute force.

The sorrow doesn’t have to last, however; your fam at Complex is here to make the transition into a Potter-less world much easier. Stop wishing you could reverse time to see 2001’s opening act Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone for the first time again and take notes as we run down the 10 Best Ways To Cope With Harry Potter Withdrawal.

10. Shake up the Potter fan fiction circuit.

Now that J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter saga is a wrap, the window is wide open for readers to construct their own unique scenarios for the now-grown-up characters. There’s already a vibrant network of Potter fan fiction writers in effect, but who outside of the MuggleNet message boards knows a damn thing about any of those stories? No one at all.

Clearly, the fan fiction world has yet to meet its very own J.K. Rowling, a laptop scribe well-versed in Hogwarts lore who possesses an untouchable imagination and the ability to delicately weave a rich, compelling narrative. Why can’t that person be you, grieving Potter lover?

The key, though, is to conceive a storyline that’s both controversial and true to the franchise’s existing spirit. Here’s an idea: The oddly sexy villain Bellatrix Lestrange (played by Helena Bonham Carter in the films) uses her witch powers to create an evil army of feminine drones clad in Hogwarts schoolgirl uniforms and ordered to lure a smitten Harry into Lord Voldemort’s grasp. We even have a title: Harry Potter And The Poon Platoon. That’d shut the message boards down!

9. Invite your equally obsessed friends over for some Potter drinking games.

If done responsibly, chugging away one’s problems isn’t the worst thing in the world to do—OK, it’s pretty lousy, yes. But doing so in the presence of other intoxicated demons, better known as your best pals, is called “social drinking,” not “AA fodder.” And, in the case of post-Potter depression, it could actually liven one’s mood tremendously.

You and your buds have already seen all of the Harry Potter movies while sober, right? Now it’s time to check them out with the help of Sir Jack Daniels…scratch that, the assistance of Bud (too much Jack could leave you bagging a hog with warts at the local tavern).

Invite the friends over, stuff an icy cooler full of brew, pop in any random Potter DVD and relive the franchise’s one-of-a-kind magic by taking swigs of beer every time Ron Weasley makes a goofy face, or Harry talks about Sirius Black, or Draco Malfoy does something douche-like. You might never see a new Harry Potter movie again, but this will at least put the existing ones into a whole new, distorted, beer-clogged light.

8. Start listening to grime rap music.

If the hip-hop gods are listening, and still give a shit about the music, they’ll never let this happen; hell, it could just be a harmless joke on actor Tom Felton’s part, a sort of “You media jackasses will believe anything us stars say,” Joaquin Phoenix-like prank. Until that’s either proven correct or painfully wrong, though, we’re stuck with the news that Felton, who plays the antagonistic Draco Malfoy in the Potter flicks, wants to become a rapper. Yes, dude pictured above has microphone dreams, and not of the boy band or Justin Bieber kind. The rap gods must be crazy. Or asleep.

To be fair, though, Felton doesn't want to be the next Eminem, or even Asher Roth’s evil twin; rather, he hopes to make waves within the United Kingdom’s “grime rap” scene, popularized by the likes of Dizzee Rascal. “I’m going to change my image,” he’s been quoted as saying, by The Sun. “Backward caps, the lot.” Which, if you ask us, sounds like a National Enquirer-esque ruse, but stranger things have happened.

Since Felton’s run as Malfoy is now caput, it seems logical that his Potter-minded fans will keep tabs on his musical pursuits, and that’s for the better. If his raps are as corny as we expect, it won’t take much effort for Pot-heads to completely separate themselves from MC T-Felt, thus speeding up the no-more-Harry healing process.

7. Move on to a more adult fantasy series: Game Of Thrones.

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise has become such a cultural institution that it’s acceptable for readers and moviegoers of all ages to obsess over each and every book/movie. But let’s be real: It’s child’s play. Even at its darkest, the Potter world is a soft PG-13, the kind of fictional material that most grown men publicly cop to enjoying with shame and trepidation.

Yet, there’s nothing wrong with liking the fantasy genre, but it’s about time you transitioned through fanboy puberty and spent hours on end inside an R-rated fantasy world. The obvious choice: George R.R. Martin’s long-running Game Of Thrones series, an ongoing five-part narrative complete with dragons, witches, brutish swordsmen, graphic dismemberment, and rampant tits-and-ass.

Initially a string of immense novels, Game Of Thrones is now a kick-ass HBO series, one that plays like The Lord Of The Rings as remixed by Russ Meyer and Herschell Gordon Lewis. But, again, it has dragons and other types of fantastical creations, making it an easy shift away from the family friendly world of Hogwarts and into hardcore adulthood. Even better, Game Of Thrones, not unlike Harry Potter, is rooted in its younger characters, teenagers who ascend to kings’ chairs and military leadership. Just imagine that it’s Potter’s similarly coiffed Draco Malfoy, and not Thrones’ Joffrey, getting slapped the fuck up in the above clip.

6. Schedule Mystery Science Theater 3000-themed group viewings of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Since the premiere of 2001’s Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, Hollywood has tried its best to mimic the wizardry appeal of Daniel Radcliffe’s gargantuan film series, with hardly any success. The most blatant of attempts was last year’s marginally entertaining Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, a planned franchise-starter that didn’t exactly set Toys ‘R’ Us ablaze with its merchandise, even though it’s actually a tolerable fantasy diversion.

On the total opposite end of the spectrum is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, also released last year, when it promptly earned its place amongst Nicolas Cage’s biggest cinematic follies. Aside from Cage’s ridiculous hairdo, Disney’s stillborn expansion of a celebrated Fantasia segment runs through a checklist of bad summer blockbuster components: overused special effects, forced humor, and an in-over-his-head leading man (Jay Baruchel). Worst of all, however, is Cage’s artificially campy performance; even when his character is at his most manic, the star just looks bored.

Having seen all of the Potter films, which are uniformly excellent, Harry’s biggest fans know what makes for a good movie, and should be able to sarcastically rip The Sorcerer’s Apprentice to shreds, a la the great, long-gone B-movie slaughterhouse known as Mystery Science Theater 3000. By crapping all over one of the lamest Harry Potter rip-offs ever, one should be find it much easier to appreciate the Rowling-inspired movies and feel at peace with the fact that no one has done it better than Deathly Hallows director David Yates.

5. Take the etiquette courses necessary to impress a sophisticated (and now over-21!) cutie like Emma Watson.

April 15 of this year was a special day for male Harry Potter fans—that’s when Emma “Hermione” Watson officially turned 21 years of age. No longer did mature fellas have to feel creepy about finding the youthful English actress to be highly attractive; now, she’s fair game.

Though, she also seems far more urbane than the women we all know in real life. Maybe it’s her refined English accent, or how she carries herself with so much class in interviews without coming across as pretentious in any way. Simply put, Watson is the exact kind of girl we’d all love to bring home to mom some day, and, now that we’re done seeing her as the perpetually prepubescent Hermione, Watson is officially an adult dream-girl.

Use this post-Potter time to get to know Watson outside of her character, through reading magazine profiles and watching her on-camera interviews. While doing so, try to figure out what makes a girl like her tick, and then use your newfound knowledge to master an etiquette course or two that’ll prepare you for a hot date with a woman who’ll pay attention to whether you eat salad with the proper fork or not.

Truthfully, J.K. Rowling herself strikes us as the kind of lady who’d care about such trivial things, and she’s a first-class MILF, no? Of course she is.

4. Make bets with your cynical Potter-loving friends on each of the young star’s inevitable tabloid mishaps.

As squeaky clean as Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint seem to be, the undeniable truth is that each of them is a famous twenty-something who’s now free from the constrictions of filming back-to-back Harry Potter movies. And, with Radcliffe and Watson both at the ripe partying age of 21 and Grint at a ready-to-rock 23, they’re in their public intoxication/leaked scandalous photos/possibly hooking up with Lindsay Lohan (that goes for Watson, too, of course) primes.

We’re rooting for the trio to defy the odds and maintain dignity as they trek out into the dangerous world of Hollywood, but the chips are certainly stacked against them. Less than two weeks ago, in fact, word spread from GQ U.K. that Radcliffe had admitted to a recent drinking problem. Yes, the tabloid floodgates have officially opened.

What better way to get over the end of the actors’ respective characters than by turning one’s focus on the real-life players themselves? Start a pool with your chums, placing monetary bets on who’ll slip up next, and how. “One-hundred bucks if Rupert Grint has an illegitimate kid”; “Two-hundred smackers if Watson hooks up with Orlando Bloom”; “Five-hundred if Radcliffe falls off the wagon.” Hopefully, no such things happen, but a smart gambling man would bet on at least one tabloid mishap from the stars, post-Potter.

3. Spice up the bedroom with some Potter role-playing.

Over the course of seven books, and now eight films, Harry Potter fans have become attached to Rowling’s beloved characters, particularly the female hero Hermione (played by Emma Watson in the movies). Letting go is never easy, especially when there’s fourteen years’ worth of character development at play.

Some might say that it’s best to just re-read the books again and again in order to remain close to Hermione and her lot, but we’ve got a more productive idea: Order one of those sexy Halloween costumes (you know, the ones that give female Potter heads the license to slut it up on October 31st), give it to your girl as an impromptu gift, show her the Lord Voldemort outfit you bought for yourself, and pitch a nighttime un-dress rehearsal of sorts.

That way, you’ll be able to keep in touch (ahem) with your favorite character and you’ll inject some much-needed spunk into your love life. And just think, natural anatomy already gave you a magic wand free of charge.

2. Waste hours of brainpower trying to explain the Potter mythology to your dumbass, skeptical friends.

It’s a common occurrence for Harry Potter aficionados: While hanging out with your peeps, a close-minded one starts insulting J.K. Rowling’s universe, calling it all kinds of slurs that are synonymous with “geek shit.” Well, now that the series is over, it’s the perfect time to convert any and all non-believers; all of the books and movies are available, so there’s no way a hater can use the excuse of, “There’s too much to catch up on,” because he or she has all of the time in the world to get from book/movie one to book/movie two. The end exists; the Harry Potter saga is no longer akin to Lost circa 2005.

Your suddenly curious friend might ask, “But what’s it all about?” And that’s your cue to nerd the fuck out without having to worry about his or her responsive disses. Yet, terms such as “Mudblood,” Muggles, and Dumbledore sound like jibberish to untrained ears, which is why it’s your job to school new potential fans. Grab a Snickers bar, however, because, thanks to Rowling’s love of multi-layered back-stories, fully developed imaginary universes, and nonsensical names like Argus Filch, it’s going to be one long and verbose lesson. But, hey, that’s less time spent crying over Harry Potter’s end.

1. Spend sleepless nights trying to figure out what’s in store for J.K. Rowling’s new website.

Yes, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is the last film, and there aren’t any new novel installments planned, but that doesn’t mean that fans’ worlds are bound to be empty forever. On the contrary, J.K. Rowling recently announced a new website, PotterMore.

Set to go live in October, PotterMore will be a free site for Potter die-hards to read “extensive new material about the characters, places, and objects in the much-loved stories.” In other words, cyber catnip for readers who’ve refused to buy a new book of any kind since the July 2007 release of Rowling’s seventh, and final, Potter novel.

October is still three long, grueling months away, though; what’s a stan to do? Handle the withdrawal like any weak-willed junkie would: by thinking about his or her fix nonstop without being able to sample the goods. Until PotterMore launches, consider us your sponsors, and the previous coping methods as your rehabilitation program. Stay strong, nerds.

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