Yesterday marked 20 years since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling and almost 20 years since I started reading these books. I remember the moment my Dad picked up books one and two and insisted that Sister and I try reading something different. I remember him then reading the books to us every night and how both Sister and I had to finish them faster than bedtime stories would allow.
Since then I have reread the books so many times and gone from crushing on Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy to Hermione Granger. Because that woman is my hero and both Harry and Draco have nothing on her. I remember listening to Stephen Fry’s incredible narration of all seven books and falling in love with the universe all over again. If you haven’t listened to them then drop everything and do that first. I love audio books and Stephen Fry has to be one of the best narrators I have ever had the pleasure of listening to.
I have been to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Elstree, bought a Hogwarts letter for myself, and even thought about getting a Harry Potter tattoo. Visiting the Wizarding World in California is on my bucket list but not really pressing since the magic of the books is all I need. With the book queues don’t exist. I have seen the movies but most of them only once because the books.
I was fully invested in the hype surrounding the launch of Pottermore even if now I couldn’t care less with what’s on there. However thanks to them I know that my house is Slytherin and that my Patronus is a silver fox. I don’t care of JK Rowling keeps adding to her universe – it’s her universe and she can do what she likes. I am happy to read / watch some of it and ignore the rest. I have been to see Cursed Child in the theatre and read the screenplay but have very little interest in Fantastic Beasts. After they cast Johnny Depp my interest died even more.
For nearly twenty years I have lived with these characters and this world of witchcraft and wizardry. I love and hate that what happens in the books is mirrored in real life – let’s hope that tyranny here can be defeated as tyranny was in there. Here are some of the other things I have learnt and noticed and remembered:
- There is nothing like friendship;
- I can choose my future. It isn’t in the hands of fate or anything like that – it’s up to me;
- Unpopular opinion – Snape isn’t a character I like. Even with the plot twist and his undying, unrequited love, I have never liked him. He reads to me like a stalker and is a very abusive teacher;
- I also don’t really like Dobby and when – spoiler alert – he died I felt very little;
- Fred and George’s inventions especially U-No-Po: The Constipation sensation Gripping the Nation. As a runner obsessed with when I poo and how often I poo I say this quite regularly;
- Anyone I meet called Dolores is a baddie;
- There are many, many forms of bravery – thank you Neville Longbottom for that nugget of wisdom;
- Love is incredibly powerful;
- The Weasleys are a bit like my extended family except they more or less get along.
I don’t know what is planned next for Harry Potter and I don’t know how much attention I will pay to it or how invested I will be. What I do know is that the seven Harry Potter books are some of my favourites. I can re-read them or re-listen to them over and over again and not get bored.
So happy birthday Harry Potter! Here’s to another 20 years!