A day late and a dollar short, that should be my motto in life. Always thinking of a great idea nearly two weeks too late. Or my favorite, thinking up questions to ask for a job interview after the interview is over, that one is always helpful. I’m thinking that’s something I should work on but I’m not sure what that would fall under…inventiveness maybe? Or it could just be to get over that frog in my throat and spit it out. But c’est la vie, I’m hear now and that’s what matters right?
If you’re a book nerd like me I’m sure you know that last week, the famous Harry Potter series celebrated it’s 20th anniversary. 20 years, seven books, eight movies, a youtube puppet show, a cult parody play, and millions of lives changed. I am proud to say that I am one of those million of lives. In fact it’s hard to believe where I would be now with out that daring, bespectacled boy. It’s certainly a world I don’t want to live in.
I was first introduced to Harry Potter when I was in second grade. It was a challenging time for me then, I was just placed into my school’s special education program to address my learning disability. Of course I didn’t know what that meant then, all I knew was that I had to go to a different classroom with all new people for a little bit every day. But that first day, it’s burned into my mind.
When I walked into the classroom, or rather the trailer the class was held in, everyone was sitting on the floor around the teacher. She was reading them a book. I didn’t know what it was called but I did remember her reading about a prison, one in which you can never escape, and I thought to myself how horrible that must have been. I learned later that day that she was reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and she was talking about Sirius Black.
I also vividly remember the part when Harry was at Diagon Alley eating ice cream. Don’t ask me why this particular part is so ingrained in my memories, I don’t have the answer for you. Maybe it’s the way J. K. Rowling described everything, the world she created with a few strokes of her pen, how it turned my own imagination into overdrive. What I do know is after that fateful day, I fell in love. I started writing more, something that was always a challenge for me, and to this day, I haven’t stopped. I even got a college degree for it. I let my imagination wander, putting myself into the shoes of Harry and taking daring adventures right along with him.
I carried Harry with me all the way through middle school, a very tumultuous time in anyone’s life. My elementary school friends were no longer my friends and I didn’t always fit in with my middle school friends. But I always had Harry. Harry was there for me when no one else was. He was my safety net, the one person I could turn to when I was scared or angry or sad, Hogwarts was always there to welcome me home.
To me, the Harry Potter series is more than just a book series. It’s my childhood, my best friend, my home away from home. These books, these characters, they changed my life. They shaped who I am today. I learned how to be brave like Neville, persistent in my chase for knowledge like Herminone, loyal and kind like Ron, unique and self-assured like Luna, fun and carefree like the Weasley twins, and daring like Harry.
I owe so much of who I am today to these books. They helped pave the way for my own creativeness and a plethora of other characters and stories that have influenced my life. It’s safe to say that I would have never started writing if it wasn’t for these books. I would have never introduced myself to things like Star Wars or Marvel comic books if Harry Potter didn’t instill in me this love for fantasy.
So thank you Harry. Thank you for changing my life for the better. Thank you for teaching me how to be brave, for teaching me that it’s okay to make mistakes, for teaching me to love, for teaching me that happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light, and most importantly for teaching me that in the end, all will be well.
Happy 20th Harry!