I’m sorry. It’s been kind of a Harry Potter leaning couple of weeks. I dunno what it is; maybe I’m super psyched for the new movie, or maybe I’d just forgotten how much I love the books. But either way, it wouldn’t seem right to have a whole week about books that changed my life and not include J.K Rowlings’ masterpieces.
Harry Potter taught me to believe in magic. Of course, I know that magic isn’t real, but wand-waving magic isn’t really what I’m talking about. Those books opened up a whole new world to me, in literature and in real life. There is magic in everything if you look closely enough.
In that magic, I also found eons of writing inspiration. What aspiring author doesn’t want to be the next J.K. Rowling? I once watched a documentary about her where she revealed sending the Harry Potter books out and getting rejected constantly. That determination and perseverance is something that, as a writer, I can respect and look up to. She believed in herself and the magic of those books, and eventually, the world was set right.
Harry Potter also taught me a lot about friendship. Harry really only had two real friends, Ron and Hermione, with a lot of acquaintances. It took me a while to apply this strategy to my own life, but once I did, I can’t even describe how much happier I was. Harry taught me that you don’t need a ton of friends to be happy; you just need a few people who will stick up for you no matter what.
Speaking of Hermione, she is obviously the character I relate to the most. Before reading the Harry Potter series, I was doubtful about my future. I was the quiet but bossy nerd with the funny hair and glasses. I even had headgear for a while. But when Ron and Harry finally let Hermione into their circle of friends, I felt like there was finally some hope for me. If Hermione Granger can make such amazing friends, why couldn’t I?
Finally, there was the incident with Neville Longbottom towards the end of the first book. Neville, against all odds, stands up to Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and ends up gaining ten points to Gryffindor because of his bravery in the face of his friends. This particular situation strikes a couple of cords with me.
I wish I had channeled Neville sooner; maybe middle and high school wouldn’t have been so bad. But that’s all over now, and it leaves me thinking. I would have been so much happier if I’d pulled a Neville long ago, and wasn’t afraid to stand up to people I know. I pride myself in being strong and opinionated, but not in the face of the people I call friends. And maybe that’s my problem; I let people walk all over me because I’m afraid of the retaliation. But Neville wasn’t afraid. Sure, Hermione put the full body-bind hex on him, but they didn’t hold it against him. They respected him for standing up to them.
I don’t care what anyone says; Harry Potter is, and will always be, my favorite series of books in the entire world. Nothing can top them, and I hope someday they’ll be labeled as “classics” and taught in school. They really are that incredible.
(And don’t lie… those of you who read Harry Potter growing up, I know you hoped a little for your letter to Hogwarts on your eleventh birthday)