“There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.”
[J. K. Rowling]
Finally, here we are, at my Harry Potter blog week! Do you know how hard it has been to not write every single post on this blog about Harry Potter!? Well, with Harry’s birthday approaching I thought this would be a great week to dedicate my fingers to typing up some posts about a book series that rocked my generation!
Let’s set the stage:
Entering on stage right is a ten-year-old girl with frizzy-thick honey-blonde locks. She loved to read. She has gobbled up every book in her bedroom library. She has read all of the American Girl books, made it through kindergarten with Junie B Jones, solved mysteries using a photographic memory alongside Cam Jansen. She has fallen through countless worlds with the Magic Tree House kids, made up new words after reading Frindle, and of course ate ice cream in the summer with Frog and Toad. But something was indeed missing.
What’s that? Mum said it was okay to read this new book series everyone is talking about? Well, who can say no to a new series! And with that, a fantasy-lover was born!
There are books that hold memories. Books from my childhood become time-turners to the past. I can picture where I was when I first opened up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Sitting on the couch in my childhood living room around the eve of summer, waiting for the rest of the family to get ready for a day out.
“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive,
were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
[J. K. Rowling]
There are books that can snatch a reader in with the initial sentence. This would be one of them. I sat on the couch and read that first sentence over and over. I laughed, I imagined, and I let the book take me. The book was like nothing I had ever read before. The characters were so intriguing, the world so novel. The writing assembled lifelike creatures that transformed into reality right before my eyes.
I couldn’t put it down. A book about magic indeed, I was certainly beguiled. I carried it around the rest of the day, and even read it in the car. –For those who don’t know me, I am notorious for getting motion sickness. But this book was important, much more so than my ten-year-old self’s stomach!
Rowling’s words had me hooked! I can recall reading about Hagrid charming dense Dudley with swine features and wished I could do the same to my sisters when they bothered me (If you are reading this girls, I love you.) I enthusiastically read about Professor McGonagall studying a newspaper as a cat and immediately began staring down every stray feline that wandered past my house hoping to catch it doing the same. I read about three-headed dogs, pictures that could move and talk, escaping-amphibian-candy, dining halls with endless food, floating pumpkins, unicorns, dragons, enchanted keys, talking hats, nearly-headless ghosts, and of course the magic and strength that comes from friendship and love.
I completed the book and was desperate to start the second one immediately! I practically ran to my neighbor’s house to beg to borrow his copy in the middle of the night! And so it went for seven books.
There are books that changed people. This series is one of them. When I began this blog post I had to actually dig through my mind to even recall my world before Harry Potter. The books became a part of my family. And the characters: my friends, my teachers, my mentors. I think of the Harry Potter books as one of the constants of my adolescence. When I was having hard times with friends at school, I knew that Harry Potter would be there. That sounds so silly, but it is true. I grew up with Harry. I made jokes with Fred and George. I struggled with self confidence alongside Neville, read books accompanied by Hermione, and learned how to deal with having a large family with Ron. Essentially, these books taught me how to live in the world and how to become a person who fights for what it right, accepts others no matter what and defends love to the death.
I know I am not alone in feeling this way! When I was gathering my quotes for this post I came across the one that is posted at the beginning of this entry. “There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other…” And I believe one of those things, beside taking on a mountain troll, is reading Harry Potter.
I have been speaking to many people about these books recently (actually, who am I kidding, I am always talking about these books with people!) I was talking about how these books lay the foundation to allow children to read so many other books. Basically these books are the gateway drug to reading. If your child tells you that they don’t like reading or they don’t want to read, pull out Harry Potter from your enchanted handbag and read the first chapter with them. Trust me, they will be just as charmed as I was, without fail! It just takes one book to create a reader. I believe that this series is the one!
I will be writing about Harry Potter all of this week for my blog! I have to much to say about Rowling’s grand opus. Until then, I would love to read about your first memory about discovering Harry Potter. Please feel free to share in the comments!
You can also follow me on my instagram page @rose_on_reading for more Harry Potter and book loving!
And I just can’t help myself: reading Harry Potter left a mark on my life, or a scar if you will. And I wear this scar with pride!
For now, may these words keep you as cheerful as a patronus charm:
“Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee
that is a perfect map of the London Underground.”
Your Potter Pal,