The world of Harry Potter has contributed a great deal of happiness to many people. It has created a community that welcomes anyone. With the creation of Fantastic Beasts, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Harry Potter is the idea that we can all carry our imagination firmly into adulthood. That the thoughts we had as children are never too childish to abandon, and I think that’s powerful. Powerful because our world lacks the amount of imagination and creativity that it needs. I say with certainty, that when people explore a love for Harry Potter it ultimately makes the world a better place.
Now the character of Harry was one that I had very little in common with. I lacked the physical appearance (although I greatly resembled that of Draco Malfoy), had both of my parents living, and did not live in Little Whinging, a fictitious town in Surrey just south of London. We did however share the uncertainty of a new world and aching for it’s true purpose. Harry encounters many situations that each one of us do in life: the death of family, being different from the status quo, and living up to people’s expectations. That’s something I adore about the character, he is just as human as we are. He isn’t rich, doesn’t have super powers, isn’t the most popular person in school, and doesn’t always get things right the first time. All of these I can admit to sharing.
During my childhood I had a strong imagination, and I used that imagination to establish worlds that I found in my favorite children’s books. Lucky enough for me, I was raised on a farm that had lots of land to play. This land gave me the space to do whatever I wanted. It was during this period of time when Harry Potter entered my life. I quickly learned to love the books. Even going a step further to reenact scenes from the story in my backyard. I was convinced that these stories were written for me. I remember having friends over and dressing up as our favorite characters, mine was always Harry. I had his house robes, his replica wand, and even a can of black hair paint so that I could look like him. Those were the best of times. Thankfully, my parents were very supportive in this period of time.
The films first entered my life at the age of five. My sister and cousin were headed off to the premier of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and although I was absent from the screening, my sister gave a detailed review. At that moment I hadn’t realized how much of an impact it would ultimately have in my life. Sorcerer’s Stone would be the only movie from that point forward that I missed. I went to the premiere of all the following movies (often seeing it multiple times). Stretching ten spectacular years, I grew up with the films. I matured with the films and entered adulthood when the series concluded just as the actors had. It was sad to see the final film, as I knew something truly special had ended, but I was grateful that I could have been a part of the phenomenon from the very start.
Something I value greatly about this franchise, are the themes that J.K. Rowling incorporated. Friendship, love, and sacrifice to name a few. The friendship between Harry, Ron, and Hermione taught me that friendship is the strongest bond that any person can make with another. Friendship was something to trust, and something to value close to your heart. The theme of love in the story was done in a way where sacrifice became necessary. It was after all Lily’s love for Harry that saved him from He Who Must Not Be Named. It was love that made the story of Harry Potter possible. Love is an element that all humans look to find. Love is something worth sacrificing over. I did not understand just how important love was to the world around us until Harry Potter taught that to me.
The question I’ve received the most times from other fans has always been what my favorite book in the series is and without a doubt it’s book three. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban hit me at a rough patch in my life. I was the age of nine, and started to become more aware of the world around me. My innocent idea of the world was slowly being muddied away. I started to experience fear for the first time and realized that eventually I’d have to grow up and face those fears. Just like Harry does in the story. Another part about book three that ranks it number one is the message about depression. Rowling has expressed that the idea of the dementors came from her constant depression and although I didn’t understand the concept at that age, I could feel the darkness enter my life. Depression is something everyone struggles with at some period of their life, and the story shows us that it isn’t something to lose hope over. It is something to fight and push forward against. Albus Dumbledore said in the screen adaptation, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Although book three is quite darker than some of the other books, I believe it to be the best.
When I entered adulthood I, without knowing, was slowly abandoning my imagination. I forgot about Harry Potter, the childhood that I created, and the person I truly was. It was not until years later when I reread the first book that I realized I was missing something important in my life. It was at this point that I reread the series, rewatched the movies, and entered the community once more. It was also at this moment where I would finally determine who I wanted to be for the rest of my life; A writer. From that point on I’ve welcomed back my true self, and wiped away the person that society wanted me to be. Each day writing gives me a nostalgic feeling from my painted black hair and robe wearing days. I can smile knowing that Harry Potter was at the nucleus of it all.
In closing, Harry Potter is just as brilliant as the mind behind it and her mind is brilliant. I think it’s one of the reason I can connect to it so much. J.K. was at a point in her life when she made a decision, took a risk, and showed the world her dreams. I think that if anyone is to take anything from this it would be this statement. J.K. Rowling will leave this world better than when she entered it. Don’t we all want to leave the world better than it was before us? Whether it’s with literature, music, or perhaps just some honest kindness. The world has truly benefited from Harry Potter, I know that I have and I am truly thankful for her story telling.