Yes – I’m 40………(Fine, 41 now) but there’s something addictively alluring about the magical world of Harry Potter. I don’t want to grow out of it and I think it will always be a part of my life. I’m not a superfan but I love them!
It all started when I was on a short-term teaching practise and was asked to read a story at the end of the day. This was well before the films and when there were only 2 books in existence. I had never heard of the books and, starting from a mid-way point, I had no idea what I was reading about. But, I was hooked! That weekend I went out and bought the first 3 books. I devoured them. Got lost in the magic of Hogwarts, the fear of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, and the lives of the main characters. I couldn’t put the books down.
From then on, I was desperately waiting for the next one to be released. I read Order of the Phoenix on a bench in Barcelona while my not-yet husband was working. The Deathly Hallows was released at midnight on the day I got married and my poor (then) future husband was queuing for it hours before needing to get up so that I could have it immediately. If I’d have gotten away with it, I’d probably have sat reading it at my wedding reception.
How could anyone not get wrapped up in the characters and plot? Yes Harry is the central character but it’s the people and world around him that bring the books to life. I laughed with joy at the Weasley Twin’s antics, I cried at the deaths of Dobby, Dumbledore and Snape and I sobbed the most when Hermione wiped her parents’ minds to keep them safe. I was so desperate for Harry to find a home with Sirius that I felt cheated when that was cruelly taken away. I was hoping Lupin would step up to the occasion but alas, also taken away.
Beyond the main storytelling there are other questions and underlying storylines to ponder; The continuous theme of true friendship, the character of Hermione; bookworm, intelligent but fiercely brave and loyal – in my opinion, an excellent role model for young girls (and boys). She’s often the hero and she’s never compromised her beliefs and morals, especially when it came to S.P.E.W. She stood up for house elves and their treatment as slaves – I’m sure you can see a link to our society in there. Additionally, there’s the theme of prejudice between different ‘wizard breeds’ and the stories highlight an important lesson for readers to understand regarding race, culture etc. And then there’s poor old Malfoy. Born into a life he didn’t chose and forced to stay there, forced to follow the family ways even though at times he knew it wasn’t right. This provides some in-depth and serious discussion about responsibility and nature vs nurture (even in parallel to extremists and how much choice they truly have).
As a teacher there are some strong moral messages to be gained from these books and furthermore, some very good discussion starters that link to modern day, current issues. I’m wondering now how many adults can actually see these within the books yet struggle to apply when thinking about real life scenarios.
All I know is that one day, a broken woman and her children took a train, and she began to write. She wrote stories that captured the minds and hearts of several generations, all age groups and all nationalities. She continued to stand up for rights and use her newfound public voice to speak out again injustice – I wonder which character she may have based on herself a little..
My piece seems to have digressed from a post about why I love Harry Potter to more serious themes within the book but I’m leaving it as it is as they are my ramblings.
Thanks for reading.