L ately I've been thinking a lot about Harry Potter and how, even years after the series ended, we've all found ways to keep the story alive. I polled my Facebook friends to see how they keep the fantasy series present in their lives and found some pretty good responses.
The most obvious option, of course, is to re-read the books and re-watch the movies.
Before the first "Deathly Hallows" movie came out, I re-read the entire series, which made me so uncontrollably excited that I may have screamed when the Warner Bros. logo showed up on screen.
One of my friends pointed out the movie marathons that conveniently run nearly every weekend on ABC Family as a good way to avoid doing homework.
Since we're all adults now, another way to honor The Boy Who Lived is through a toast -- using Harry Potter-themed cocktails, like adult butterbeer and the "goblet of fire," of course. Baking treats like treacle tart and pumpkin pasties is also a fun pastime for many Harry Potter fans.
We also choose to adorn ourselves in honor of the wizarding world, buying Deathly Hallows earrings or Ravenclaw ties. Never a Halloween goes by where someone isn't dressed like a character from the books -- hyper-sexualized or not.
Speaking of getting sexy, a friend sent me a photo of some House-themed panties and awesome T-shirt designs, like the "House Brawl," can be found on Threadless.com.
And since it seems every single person in my life is getting married, House-themed bridesmaids dresses are slowly becoming all the rage.
Some of my friends have even taken to traveling places in order to live like a wizard. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando (sort of) tries to replicate the Hogwarts experience, including a mini-Hogsmeade. There's also the annual Harry Potter convention, LeakyCon, which has drawn many important people in the world of the fandom, like Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in the films.
One of my friends, who is probably the biggest Harry Potter fan I know, is planning a trip to Europe this summer to visit the different places where the movies were filmed.
Of course, this wouldn't be a column of mine without mentioning social media -- some of my friends are active on Pottermore, and some have even met their significant others through Harry Potter chat rooms. Tumblr and Pinterest are full of post-Potter creativity, including posts about the aforementioned bridesmaid dresses.
But my all-time favorite way people have been keeping the dream alive is through spinoffs. From an entire genre of music -- featuring bands like Harry and the Potters to A Very Potter Musical (starring nerdy dreamboat Darren Criss) -- people have been using their talents to celebrate Harry Potter and make something of their own from passion for the story.
Harry Potter is all about finding and sharing the good in the world to help fight the bad; recreating the story in new ways helps keep Harry alive.
Jessica Ryan is a senior media studies major at CU. She writes about nerdy things once a week for the Colorado Daily. On Twitter: @JessicaLRyan.