Meeting Harry Potter Again (For the First Time)


My eyes aren’t glistening with the ghosts of my past! ~Harry, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

The Mirror of Erised
It seemed inevitable that my life, at some point, would connect with that of Harry Potter. An avid fantasy reader, I initially scoffed at the books, thinking them either too juvenile or yet another short-lived craze. As a bookseller, though, I soon felt the need to figure out what everyone else was talking about. Once I did, I was sorry I’d waited as long as I had. The world of Harry and friends was quirky and magical and reminded me of the very best of Tolkien, Lewis, and Dahl. J.K. Rowling was a master of puns, plays on words, and linguistics (anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a languages nerd.) Not to mention the stories themselves were Really Damn Good. Rowling’s own story is one any fledgling writer would hope to emulate: from a nobody to the world’s number-one seller.
 
Now that the series itself has concluded, and the last film adaptation is fading from theatres, I’ve decided to re-acquaint myself with The Boy Who Lived. From start to finish. It’s as if I’ve gone into some wonderful forgotten attic (perhaps the Room of Requirment) and started to pull out old treasures. I’m about done with The Sorcerer’s Stone and more than ready to dive into The Chamber of Secrets. Since it’s been perhaps five years since the height of Pottermania and the release of the final volume, the timing is just right.
 

And he also gets better MPG than a Mercedes

The novels themselves appeal to me on several different levels. For someone who grew up on a steady diet of Oz and Middle-earth, Narnia and Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, Hogwarts is the ultimate fantasy destination. Who wouldn’t want to be a Quidditch hero or wander through dark corridors under a cloak of invisibility? For those (like me) who were the objects of torment in school, how about a nice Leg-Locker curse or Bat-Bogey Hex for your enemies? The place is literally so crammed with secrets that even the 150-year-old Albus Dumbledore doesn’t know all of them. Just the kind of place for a slightly nerdy, curious fangirl to go. And there’s also Hogsmeade, the Forbidden Forest, the Ministry of Magic, Diagon Alley…I rest my case.
 
Then, as an adult, I get the classic themes central to many great works of literature. Good versus evil, which I’d argue is the main theme of the seven-book cycle. The importance of friendship, and the idea that friends can be made across cultural and socioeconomic lines. How power can turn a man (or woman) into a terrifying monster, and how there are different kinds of power in the world. Overcoming obstacles to achieve great things. To expound upon all the themes in Harry’s world might require an encyclopedic volume. Some have even argued that the books are an allegory for post-World War I Britain, and I wouldn’t agree. Rowling even manages to slip in subtle digs about slavery and indentured servitude (the plight of the house-elves) and Nazi-style racial superiority folly (the way most pure-blood wizards treat Muggle-borns.) For a so-called children’s book series, this is heavy material indeed, although many of the great children’s books, from Number the Stars  to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry aren’t short on controversy.
 

I *am* Sirius...and don't call me Shirley

 Maybe the strongest connection I feel to the Potterverse is a personal one. As an adoptee, I often wish I could have known my “real” parents. I still have fantasies that some unknown relative, like Harry’s godfather Sirius Black, would whisk me away from a mundance existence. I felt (and still do feel) that my own relatives don’t understand me, and that I have a deeper connection with friends and professors. I don’t think I’d like to be “the Chosen One,” but at the same time, I feel my destiny is yet to be fulfilled. Maybe it won’t be pulling a bejeweled sword out of a hat or outwitting a Hungarian Horntail, but it has to be something more than sitting behind a desk and slowly growing older.

So yes, I’m continuing on through Harry’s epic journey and enjoying all the laughs, the tears, the “oh yeah, so that’s what she meant!” moments. Since there’s so much more to come I’ll be sure to update after each successive book read. If I can’t live or work at Hogwarts it’s the next best thing. (For the record, I think I’d be in Slytherin…count me among the legion of fans who believe Severus Snape, not Harry, is the actual hero of the books.)

Riddikulus? Nope, just logical. That’ll be ten points from Gryffindor.

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on September 1, 2011.

5 Responses to “Meeting Harry Potter Again (For the First Time)”

  1. Haha I truly enjoyed the snapes on a plane picture. Made me laugh. Ah harry potter…bittersweet that it is over. Thanks for bringing me back to memory lane

  2. Welp, when you make it down here, you have to go to Universal to visit Hogwarts. 😀

  3. Snapes on the plane! HAHAHAH!

  4. Potter has had an everlasting effect on an entire generation of kids grew around the books,
    I was also one of them started reading potter in late teens, the writing style, storyline, imaginations and descriptions were so great that anyone feels connected to it and feels magical.
    I truly agree to your views and may go back and read philosopher stone again!

  5. I really like Harry Potter. I am just starting to read the first book. I don’t read very good yet. It is taking me a long time to read it but it is good. I have watched all the movies but I want to read the books now.

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