How Harry Potter changed my life.
This is old. Real old. But to honor this, the day of Harry Potter’s birthday (plus the grand release of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” I thought it fitting that I should publish it, as it is one of the hundreds of writings that have never been read.
When J.K. Rowling’s world of Harry Potter collided with the world’s great bookshops, a surge of children raced out to buy the book.
And in that moment, the world was quiet. The TV’s, Nintendo’s, and computers gathered dust. Children no longer played in their back yards. They were all too busy learning the proper way to enunciate Wingardium Leviosa in their own magical minds.
Little did those aspiring wizards of the suburbs know that late at night, when they dreamed of gigantic spiders and patronuses, the parents of the world stole away into the closet…to dive into the magical world as well.
That’s right. I love Harry Potter. And I know I’m not the only grown-up to fall in love with the book series. Harry Potter found its way into many grown-up purses. At my daughter’s playgroup, the mothers would pass around the different books, squealing with excitement each time a new book would arrive.
Every time a new Harry Potter book came out, it seemed as though the world stopped. Time stood still. The real world seemed to fade away. At least for me.
“Mom! I’m really hungry!”
Apparently, my non-reading toddler thought otherwise.
“Ten more pages, sweetie. Ten more pages.”
Harry and I walked through Hogwarts for the first time, hand-in-hand, awestruck by the new fantastical world of magic that surrounded us. I wanted to say that I hated Malfoy first, but I think we came to the conclusion at the same time.
There I was, a twenty-something when I read the first book, having a pack of eleven-year olds as my best friends. I relied on Ron to tell me the ways of magic. I tasted a “bogey-flavored” Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean. I was vicariously living the greatest pre-adolescence ever.
Throughout reading the first few books, I lived each day looking forward to my daughter’s naptime, when my Harry Potter book would come out. I would soak every page up, loving each experience Harry, Ron and Hermione would go through.
When my daughter would wake up, the book went away, but the images still flitted in my mind. If I needed a diaper I mumble, acio diaper to no avail. I’d giggle at my silly spell, and think, “Oh, I must have said it wrong.”
I suppose it was when I began casting spells on my husband that I realized that I might have had a problem.
“Muffliato!” I’d shout, staring ominously at the television.
“What?” my baffled and non-plussed husband would ask.
Hmmm, wrong inflection, I’d think.
“Muf-flee-a-toe!” I’d shout again. My husband would groan.
“When you finish up that Harry Potter book, will you ask me to turn down the TV like a normal person?” He snorted.
I turned my gaze toward him, and focused. “Muffliato!”
It worked. Maybe Howarts does exist, I thought.
Everytime I ended a book, I cried. Not because of the book, mind you, but for the loss of a friend. I’d feel lost, and separate from the world around me. It was the bleak acceptance of reality that was the hardest to realize.
The truth is, I hadn’t been a reader until Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone had found its way on to my lap and into my mind. I had forgotten the complete joy and exhilaration I experienced when I took the first steps into a new book, and into a new world. I had forgotten how easy it was to become immersed within a story.
After my emotional recovery from a lack of new Harry Potter books, I began to dive into other worlds. I was part of a Leprechaun hostage scandal in Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series, I traveled to strange and obscure American landmarks in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and the experiences continue to this day.
My daughter, now 9 years-old has begun to read chapter books. The first “big kid” books I brought to her nightstand were Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. At night, just before I tuck her in, we take turns reading.
There is something completely wonderful about sharing this world with her. With every page, she giggles with anticipation. With every page I giggle with anticipation for her. Now I have been given a whole new experience in seeing my daughter learn to love reading. Now I’m no longer concerned with living vicariously through the characters, but I’m more involved with living vicariously through my daughter’s experience. Her first gasp at he-who-shall-not-be-named, her first loud burst of laughter at the Weasley twins. It feels like I’m reading an entirely different book.
Yes, Harry, Ron and Hermione have found a new buddy. I’m sure my daughter would fit in to Hogwarts quite well.