Happy Harry Potter Month Ya’ll! I’m late getting this up because life is crazy busy at the moment. But I want to get up a few posts this month celebrating all that is Harry Potter- books, movies, the fandom, all of it. So keep your eyes peeled as they pop up!
Today I want to start with why I love Harry Potter, and what it all means to me. Like most children of my generation, I read Harry Potter as a child. Some of my classmates started in third grade reading the books (which would have been like 1999??), and they loved it.
I sorta wasn’t allowed to read them, because of the whole “witchcraft is evil” thing, though my mom eventually gave in. Which lead me to actually getting the first HP book in fourth grade, but still didn’t read it. I wasn’t a strong reader compared to my classmates. In fact I couldn’t read until third grade, this was for a few reasons, one being I was a very smart little kid who memorized the easy books for reading tests so I wasn’t actually reading, and the second reason is because my class has 40 kids and one teacher. I “got left behind”, but to make up for the schools mistakes they graciously labeled me as having a learning disability and made me take “special” classes. Can you sense I have some issues with public schools? Well I was pretty rebellious, and refused to read, or learn during those classes, eventually my mom made them put me back in with my classmates. But that label stuck with me until I transferred to private school for grades 6th-8th.
By 2001 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone graced our sliver screens and I convinced my mom to take me to the opening show. We saw it in our only movie theater in the town at the time, it is called the White Side (there is now an indie theater across the street called the Dark Side). It was the most exciting night. Tons of people were lined up around the block hoping they would be able to buy a ticket. We got in and I remember sitting in the back, and the whole place was packed, which also lead me to the discovery of being claustrophobic and my first panic attack, it was great fun, but the movie took away a lot of the anxiety. Coming out of the movie I remember thinking “people always say the book is better. I’m gonna read that book.” So I did. It was really hard, not gonna lie, my reading level was way below where it should have been for a fifth grader.
My love of Harry Potter quickly became an obsession of sorts. Especially when I discovered there was more than just one book out. I spent the whole school year reading them on my breaks. During that time in school I was being bullied a lot, and not doing well in the classroom. Harry Potter became my best friend, his adventures were my adventures. He told me his secretes and shared his world with me, which was an escape from a lot of pain I didn’t know how to deal with as a child. Harry and his friends were my friends when no one in my class was.
My reading level also jumped an absurd amount by reading the Harry Potter books, which is great until the Liberian tells me I can’t read something because I’m not a good reader. Literally told me that (she also thought I would like books about horses-I was afraid of horses as a child). Big shock people suck. So rather than borrowing books, I bought them. And from Harry Potter I discovered Lord of the Rings, Eragon, Diana Wynne Jones’ books, and so many more.
I could have been very angry at that time in my life, between being picked on and not being understood by my teacher. Instead I discovered a love for reading, and writing, and how showing love and compassion are better than being angry about something. In a lot of ways the Harry Potter books put my life on a better track, I would hate to think about who I could have become with out those books.
When the seventh book released I was actually in Australia, so I have a true English copy and as well as an american copy. I remember reading as slowly as I could, because I didn’t want Harry’s adventure to be over. I came very close to crying while I was reading it, and did cry once I had finished. I hated that I wasn’t going to be seeing my friends anymore, or sharing in their lives. Because they had become real people, with hopes and dreams, and purpose. For a period of time it was like being in mourning.
J.K. Rowling once wrote “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” Which to me mean that world she created will always live on in our hearts, and we can always go back there when we need to to visit. I watch the Harry Potter movies every October, it’s become a tradition for me.
What does Harry Potter mean to you? Do you have any traditions involving Harry Potter? Let me know in the comments below!