I do not even remember when I read Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone for the first time. What I do remember is going to a dress-up party as Hermione when I was about six, reciting Ron’s howler with my friends and reassuring my mother that the books and movies weren’t too scary.
The one rule my mother tried to have, is that I had to read the books before seeing the movies. I remember reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when I was on holiday with my family when I was nine. After reading the first chapter, when Harry and Dudley get attacked by dementors, I ran up to my parents to say, “I can’t wait to see the movie!”
Every Potterhead has these kinds of memories, and now with the book and movie series concluded, we hold onto it all. Since the last movie came out in 2011 I’ve kept reading the books and watching the movies, I don’t think my obsession has weakened at all.
When I was younger, playing Harry Potter by pretending to have duels or quoting lines from the movies was almost the norm. As we all grew up, playing Harry Potter developed into discussing plot lines and character development. Though I’d be lying if I said a friend hadn’t bought us both wands so we could have duels at age 19.
Harry Potter has defined a generation. We sort ourselves, our friends, our families, even characters from other worlds into Hogwarts houses. Now we can even know our Illvermorny houses, what our patronus would be and which wand would choose us. (Hufflepuff, Pukwudgie, Tortoiseshell Cat and 12 1/4″ Pine wood with unicorn hair since you were wondering.)
In the past few years we’ve been blessed with new Harry Potter related things to obsess over. From the Illustrated versions of the first two books (so far!), the Cursed Child stage play and script, and of course Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. All of this gives all of us 20-something fans an excuse to continue a childhood obsession. However, it does make my parents question why their 20 year old daughter wanted an illustrated book for Christmas.
How we are fans has changed over the years, Harry Potter fans don’t just own the books, movies, maybe a t-shirt. Currently, I own the series in paperback, half also in hardback along with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages and Tales of Beedle the Bard. I also own the first two illustrated books, the Cursed Child script and the Fantastic Beasts screenplay. I even picked up a copy of Philosphers Stone in Spanish on my first overseas trip last year. I own all eight movies, over a dozen t-shirts, a jumper and a Hufflepuff beanie. There’s more but I think this list proves my point.
The Harry Potter series has sold over 450 billion copies worldwide, has been translated into almost 70 languages with fans of all ages. There have been so many studies proving that those who read this series are more tolerant and accepting of people from minority groups. Harry Potter has literally made a generation of people better, which I just think it’s amazing.
Harry Potter has been a very big part of my life, for my whole life. I literally cannot remember not knowing about this young boy who found out he was a wizard. I am so thankful and grateful for J.K. Rowling for so many reasons. This series has made be a better person, it’s how I fell in love with reading, it’s how I connected with most of my friends and will be the reason I continue to believe in magic throughout adulthood.