Harry Potter has changed my life so fully, that it’s difficult to distinguish which parts are from Harry Potter, and which is just me. Harry Potter was published on the 26 June 1997 by Bloomsbury in London. So I had only just turned five years old, and it is no exaggeration to say that has been one of the most continuous, stable relationships I’ve had in my life. The only people who have known me longer are my family. But lots of books were published in the same year, why is this special connection on Harry Potter?
To start with, Harry Potter taught me how to read. Seriously. I was about 5 when the first Harry Potter came out and prior to that point, I had been told repeatedly by teachers and ‘friends’ that I should understand how clocks work, I’m stupid for not being to do mental arithmetic and that there was no point trying to teach me how to read, because I’ll never get it.
You have to love supportive people right? My parents never agreed with them, but I believed the majority. Hey, I was only 5, who else was I meant to believe?
Then one day, my mother, who was sick of me asking for her to read out menu’s and signs, bought Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, borrowed the tapes narrated by Stephen Fry and told me to follow the words with my finger.
There, two love’s blossomed. One, for Stephen Fry, who in my opinion is the coolest person of my generation and is a true national treasure. Second, of course, Harry Potter. Harry Potter allowed me into a world where magical powers exist, a community of people joined by a singular fact and take certain traditions and virtues, like duty and loyalty, as inescapable facts. Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule, and we can all name a few trouble makers who don’t really accept this lesson- but as a whole, a whole civilisation believed that love and belief in others is the most important lesson we could learn.
From there, reading became an obsession of mine, I’d read with little prejudice and wherever I could. But, I was still doing it alone, as most of my friends didn’t really understand the pure awesomeness that is Harry Potter.
Then in year 3, aged 7-8, I was sat in the cloakroom of my classroom reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and trying to avoid having to play football, when I looked up and saw a pretty redhead from my class on the other side of cloakroom, also reading Harry Potter. We caught each other’s eye and starting talking, a conversation which ended in us saying ‘But he couldn’t die again!’ in unison. From there, we became instant best friends, who made friendship bracelets, played make-believe Harry Potter games and called each other’s parents by their first names.
From there, my life changed forever. I gained a whole new group of friends, my confidence boomed and my grades improved dramatically.
For those of you who care, I now can definitely figure out how clocks work, I’ve just finished a A Level in English Literature, and I can do common mental arithmetic. So boo sucks to you teachers!
For me, Harry Potter just opened my eyes to the number of people who could be as enthusiastic about something as I could be. Although I had never been bullied, I was incredibly shy for a large portion of my life. But thanks to Harry Potter, suddenly reading was cool! Buying Harry Potter related merchandise was a must have, and there was a fail safe topic of conversation.
I am now about to start University to do Psychology and am a little terrified to tell you truth. There is going to be so much change and I can’t tell what the future will hold. But I know that there will be seven books on my book case, full of characters I know and morals I believe in. It is your actions that define who you are, not your abilities. And sure, Harry Potter may have given me the confidence to believe a little more in my abilities, but I want to use them to help other people- something I’ve wanted to do my entire life.
So for me, Harry Potter can never truly leave. It is too involved in my life, has brought too many joys and friends. But mostly, it is too loved. And that is the denominator to all Harry Potter fans. If Harry Potter made you realise your dream to write, to sing, helped you make friends, make things, accept parenthood, learn to read or even if you just really like the book. It has joined us all by love.
“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”