When I was four years old, the neighbour’s dog, Cody, smacked me in the mouth with a long stick. I think he thought we were playing fetch. One of my teeth fell out, there was a lot of blood (in my mind at least), and I had a fat lip. Of course, as I am who I am (and I was young), my mom cleaned me up and put me into bed. Just like the beginning of this memory, I remember the next part as clearly as if it had been yesterday. I remember trying to write a note to the “tooth fairy” that I deserved more money for my trauma. I also remember my brother walking into my room holding the first Harry Potter novel. He read some of it to me, I do not remember how much, and during the next year I worked so that I would be able to read it on my own—I was successful.
I do not remember any of the books that I read before Harry Potter. Not on my own at least. It is like how I have seen home videos from when I was very young (two or three), so I know that these things happened, but I have no independent knowledge of them. I do not remember because I remember them, I remember because I have seen the video. But this memory about the stick, fat lip, and Harry Potter is on no video tape. The only skepticism I hear from others is how old I was at the time, but I maintain that I was four.
In my second year of university, I took a course called Writing for Young Readers. In that course, the professor asked us to bring in our favourite book as a child for a discussion. However, the professor did not allow me to choose Harry Potter because we would study it later on (which it really was not, to be frank). I had to bring in a book that my parents told me I enjoyed, but I really do not have any memory of.
Harry Potter has always been around for me. This series was the one that hooked me on reading. I also remember once I was reading the first book over and over so many times that my dad took it away from me, gave me a copy of Bible Stories for Children, and told me that I had to read that before I could have Harry Potter back. I did, by the way, in one (or two) afternoons. The fifth book was my reward for good grades the year that it was released. The last novel dropped during the summer before high school, and the last movie just as I graduated. Really, Harry Potter was there for all of the big moments.
In recent years, however, I have pulled away from Harry Potter. Not because I love it any less, despite one claim I made at one point, but because, I think, I was self-conscious. Some of the people I met did not really get it, and so I toned it down to a point where I started to believe I loved it less. I did it, in some form, to fit in. But I cannot do that anymore. I cannot “tone it down.”
Over this past weekend, I attended my very first convention, and I met James and Oliver Phelps, who played Fred and George Weasley, respectively, in the films. But while I was standing in line (for all of one minute because luck was on my side) I could see Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) and Rupert Grint (Ronald Weasley) at the tables on either side of James and Oliver. I was shaking. I was nervous. Really, the only way I can accurately describe how I felt in that moment is with one word: overwhelmed. In that moment, I knew one thing. I love Harry Potter just as much as the day I first fell in love with it.
This brings me to what I have decided I need to do. Starting next week, I will be re-reading each of the Harry Potter books and writing about how they are from my perspective at this juncture of my life. For those who are unaware, I graduated university back in April, moved to a new city, and have a full-time job that uses my degree. In short, I am really into adult life. I mean, you are an adult in university, but in an academic setting, you do not really get the whole impact of it. Once you graduate and are working full-time—you will.
Bringing Harry Potter back now, given that it has always been around at key moments, will be a good and intriguing thing. Looking back, I am one hundred percent positive that I was always happier when it surrounded me. So I’m going for it—and I hope that you join me.
I know that I am never going to experience the same magic as when I first opened the books, but as I said, the love is still there. This time around, there will still be magic—just another kind. Overall, I do not know exactly what is going to happen as I read these books again. However, I do know one thing for certain:
Hogwarts will be there to welcome me home.