Harry Potter changed my life.
I’m sure some of you have heard me say that at some point, and it may sound a bit childish, maybe even ridiculous but I am deeply sincere. On this, JK Rowling’s and Harry Potter’s birthday, I would like to take some time to remember the boy who lived and how I came to know him.
I read through the first 3 books during the spring of my sophomore year of high school. Most of my friend group were already devoted Potterheads and I struggled to keep up with the conversations. I distinctly remember an argument regarding the Ron/Hermione romance that was budding at the time. My timid suggestion of a Harry/Hermione pairing was met with jeers and exclamations of horror. I learned quickly.
That summer I spent most lazy afternoons in the backyard hammock breezing through the fourth and fifth book. It was a joy and an adventure. After each book, I caressed the hardcover and sent a grateful thought toward JK Rowling, wherever she might be. It was such a privilege from start to finish and I will never forget those months I spent in a different world. It was as if JK Rowling had given birth to the sixth book and I can remember buying it for my brother for Christmas but reading it first. How was I supposed to resist it?
And then the last book. I hated it and I loved it and you know why. A piece of my soul was both lost and restored when I closed that book for the last time at 3am. It all began to unravel inside of me, and then I understood the key phrase JK used in that book. I open at the close.
Things I learned from Harry Potter; a short list.
1. Rationality vs Faith isn’t a real thing. No, really. They balance each other.
2. You can make your own family. Super important to remember when your own family is nonexistent or abusive.
3. Manipulation can be found even in the greatest of people. People can be jerks, even the good ones. Know when to call it out and when to just let it go.
4. Being yourself doesn’t always get you what you want- and that’s okay. Don’t be genuine just to get brownie points toward something you want.
5. Sometimes you have a monster in your chest. That doesn’t mean you have to listen to it and snog the person standing nearest you at the time.
6. Not all villains are evil. Just because they have a snake tattoo and wear a black cloak doesn’t mean they will ruin your life. They might just save it. (insert tears here)
7. Self sacrifice is messy. Dress accordingly. Preferably in a light blue shirt with jeans and a track jacket. Or, if you’re a certain dead headmaster, nothing at all.
8. Being the protagonist can sometimes mean being a big jerk. Maybe don’t yell at your bff for not tuning in to your very heavy, very real emotions that seem to change every few days. Just talk it out and hug it out.
9. Other people will kill The Snake. Breathe, it will be okay. You are the protagonist of your own story, not theirs. They will do great things and you must, must, celebrate that.
10. Use your words, not just your wand.
11. Use your wand, not just your words.
12. Always remember. Always.
Here are a few links to things around the internet that bring back the magic, if only for a little while. Check them out!
CallMeIshmael Voicemail recordings about Harry Potter
Hank Green’s song Book Eight
Erin Mallory Long’s 5 Ways Harry Potter Ruined My Life
And of course, Pottermore, the official online game/community for Potterheads like me!