I am so grateful to J.K. Rowling for dreaming up the magical world of Harry Potter whilst on a train journey between London and Manchester. It goes without saying, the storylines provide a form of escapism that encourages you to think outside of the box and truly embrace the fact that eventually good will triumph over evil (something that J.K. Rowling does on a daily basis against Twitter trolls). But there is more to it than an eclectic mix of characters and fancy spells.
I grew up with Harry Potter and it shaped my life, memories and relationships.
This post could honestly be the same length as my undergraduate dissertation (but I won’t put you through that!) Instead, here are key memories I have thanks to Harry Potter:
My brothers arguing over who got to read our copy of the book first. After Chamber of Secrets, my mum wised up and made the sensible decision of buying individual copies.
Following this, it led to a reading race in which my brothers would race each other to finish the book first. Heaven forbid any arguments happened mid-read because that would lead to spoilers galore! I’ve always been a bookworm but J.K. Rowling encouraged even the most disinterested child to pick up a book and immerse themselves in the fantasy world.
We spent endless Sunday afternoons together as a family watching the films. Specifically, I know the first three films off by heart due to my eldest brother having them on 24/7.
I remember seeing the first couple of films with my brother and my mum. I don’t know why but I always remember at the end of the Philospher’s Stone my mum turning to my brother and asking, “does Harry get on better with the Dursley’s when he gets home?” She sounded genuinely concerned for the wellbeing of the fictional wizard!
As I got a bit older, I began to go to see the films with my friends instead of my family. I’ll never forget being absolutely covered in goosebumps at the beginning of The Deathly Hallows. I’m not sure why but the 2 year wait for the film genuinely felt like a lifetime!
I remember watching the Order of the Phoenix at the first ever sleepover I had with a boy – we were both huge Harry Potter fans so it was the perfect evening! Fast forward 7 years and we ended up visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Japan together. I can’t describe the butterflies in my tummy I had whilst walking into my fictional paradise. We also binge watched all 8 films on the flight to Japan, best in-flight entertainment ever.
For my 19th birthday, my best friend and a different boyfriend surprised me with tickets to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. This was an incredible day out! Seeing the set design and the props in real life was absolutely fascinating. I even got to ride a broom! I’m going back next week for my 23rd birthday and cannot wait.
I know these memories don’t mean much to anyone else. I find it absolutely fascinating that a book and movie franchise could have such an impact on growing up. From being young enough to not be able to go to the cinema by myself to see the first movie, to being old enough to travel to Japan without my parents and experience the magic – Harry Potter has been a consistent presence in my life. I can’t quite articulate how special it is to me.
Thank you J.K. Rowling for playing a crucial role in the last 20 years of my life.