Do you still remember the first time you held a Harry Potter book in your hands? Do you remember the magic that came with that moment? It may not have been real magic per se, but you have to admit that you felt something magical as you flipped through each page and transported your mind into the unforgettable Wizarding World of J.K. Rowling.
I still remember the first time I held a Harry Potter book in my hands. I was of the same age as Harry Potter was in the books at the time, and I really felt like the book was meant for me. I grew up alongside Harry Potter and although I was a little older than Harry when the first movie came out, I made myself feel like a child again as I immersed myself in film after film, just as I did book after book.
This month commemorates the 21st anniversary of the ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, as well as Harry Potter’s birthday, and I felt the need to explore why Harry Potter still means the world to us after all this time. Here’s what I came up with.
There is something for everyone.
When you first read Harry Potter, you could probably relate to some of the aspects in Harry’s world, be it the bullying, the difficult classes, one of the sad family situations, the from-afar crushes, or the inspirational teachers. As you got older, though, you might have found more joy in seeing the hidden morals of each story and noticing the quotes in the book that are suddenly so applicable to your life. There is a lot for everyone to relate to in the Harry Potter series, especially since it is set in a very real life setting. It isn’t hard to imagine Potterly things happening in our world because the world that they live in is very similar to ours – just with wizards and witches in them.
It gave us something to dream about.
This might sound corny, but on my worst days growing up, I liked to lose myself in my daydreams and imagine that I was sent to Hogwarts. Hogwarts seemed like the perfect place to get away from all of my troubles. It seemed like the perfect place to start fresh and to make new friends. How many times did I lie in bed, looking around my room, and wishing that the paintings and photos on my walls would start moving? How many times did I dream of talking cats and delivery owls? How many spells did I memorize?
How many books did I read? Harry Potter is probably the biggest fandom of my life and one of the most important ones because of how many emotions it made me feel growing up.
It reminded us that everyone has a story we don’t know about.
Probably my earliest realizations that there are more to people than it seems is because of Harry Potter. It’s easy to judge people based on what we know about them, but a lot of the time, we hardly think about their lives before that or behind the scenes. Harry Potter was one of the biggest eye openers for this for me. After the revelation of the back stories of James Potter, Severus Snape, Lily Evans, Sirius Black, and Albus Dumbledore (to name a few); I found myself being more empathic and more sensitive towards other people because: who knows what they might be going through?
The community behind it is amazing.
I think another reason why Harry Potter ‘never dies’ is because of the community of Potterheads behind it. Potterheads aren’t just fans of the books or the movies; they live like they lived in them. One mention of Hedwig or Snape can send a Potterhead into tears. Try calling someone a Muggle or *gasp* a Mudblood in public, and watch how many heads turn. Potterheads were so immersed in these books and movies that they became a way of life and everything lives on up until this very day.