It is no secret that I am a Harry Potter fan. I have been a part of this “fandom” since about 2001 when I decided to dust off the first two Harry books that my sister Bethany had gotten for Christmas the year before. I remember the first time I opened Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on a school break and became engrossed. I was a fourth grader who always felt a bit uncomfortable in my own skin and the books just opened up a world where anyone could be anything… I experienced magic.
And, no, I didn’t experience magic the way the characters in the book did with the waving of wands and the magical creatures and charms. But these books gave my ten-year-old self magic in a world where there didn’t seem to be much… And I was hooked from the beginning. They were my escape. My alone time. The characters felt like friends I had known all my life.
Harry Potter was not the most popular choice of book in that time. I seriously do not know why so many parents were concerned about a fictional book, but they were. I still remember being told by a friend’s mother that at her house books of witchcraft were not allowed so I must stop reading it or go home. I still look back and think her reaction was one of the most ludicrous reactions I have ever witnessed. After all, I’d like to think that if I am a mom one day and my child has a ten year old friend reading a five hundred page book, my first reaction will not be to discourage that..
Now, fast forward to a girl who is a week away from being 23 years old, is a graduate student who has moved back home and away from her friends and boyfriend, and is saddened by the sickness of a great friend’s husband. Is Harry Potter still relevant or is it a foolish child’s escape?
For me, Harry Potter still speaks.
These books speak to me and impact my outlook on current struggles. At some point, each character faced their own problems head on and were better for it. These books helped me to develop an innate sense of self that felt no fear for the future. They promote the ideals of knowledge and bravery and friendship. They tell me that no matter how hard things seem, how weak I feel, or how much I do not feel like dealing with what’s going on, I have to keep going. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly for such a time as this, these books, though written for children, tell me that those we love are never lost but live on in our hearts. I can think of no more truthful statement as this.
As a child, I used these books as a tool to escape my world. As an adult, I’m glad we live in a world with Harry Potter. I’m glad to be able to experience some type of magic in the crazy, busy life I live.