“About our world, I mean. Your world. My world. Yer parents’ world.” –Hagrid, Chapter 4: The Keeper of the Keys
When I first read the Harry Potter books, at least this first one, those words did not stick with me the same way as they did during my re-read this week. When I first read the words, I did not know the impact that Harry Potter would have (still has) on my life.
But when I read them this time…this story really is our world. It’s your world. It’s my world.
I know that this story brings so much belief to people. I think that part of the reason for this is that Hogwarts and the entire wizarding world is simply a pocket inside the overall world on Earth. It’s there, just below the surface.
Someone could assume, in my opinion, that the hidden nature of the wizarding world could represent a number of things. I can’t say what specifically, because I think that it will differ depending on who reads it. Sure J.K. Rowling could have an intention behind it, as she does with some other elements in later novels, but I do believe that individual readers will still get something different out of this series. There could be similarities, sure, but everyone is unique in some way, thus the impact will be as well.
Honestly, even what I get out of it could change on any given day. As well, I have discovered something new on each re-read. For instance, most days I feel like Harry when he tells Hagrid that he is “just Harry.” Harry means, I think, that he is simply ordinary and how is it possible that he could be special? That feeling is all too real sometimes. But that’s not the only thing I’ve gotten out of them this time around.
There is something I felt this time that I couldn’t have the first times I read these novels. Or rather, not in the same way at least. I am sure that everyone who reads the books will try to figure out which house they would be in, whether it’s a fleeting thought or they go in depth about it.
I’m the latter. I managed to snag a Beta account for Pottermore on the second day of the seven-day process. I was actually incredibly lucky—that particular night I could not sleep, so during the few minutes I was awake I went on my computer and managed to find and solve the clue, gaining access to the website before the limited number of accounts were gone. In my first days on the website, even beyond the additional information that the website released at the time, my driving force was the Sorting Hat test. Before then, I’d always wanted to know what house I would be in. For my Beta account, I was sorted into Ravenclaw. Part of the additional welcome message said:
“Another cool thing about Ravenclaw is that our people are the most individual – some might even call them eccentrics. But geniuses are often out of step with ordinary folk, and unlike some other houses we could mention, we think you’ve got the right to wear what you like, believe what you want, and say what you feel. We aren’t put off by people who march to a different tune; on the contrary, we value them! “
But then, simply out of curiosity, when the site opened to the public I created additional accounts—three more. Each time, I got a different house.
From Slytherin: “You’ve been chosen by this house because you’ve got the potential to be great, in the true sense of the word. All right, you might see a couple of people hanging around the common room whom you might not think are destined for anything special. Well, keep that to yourself. If the Sorting Hat put them in here, there’s something great about them, and don’t you forget it.”
From Hufflepuff: “Like badgers, we know exactly how to lie low – and how to defend ourselves…And once again: congratulations on becoming a member of the friendliest, most decent and most tenacious house of them all.”
There isn’t much I could gain from Gryffindor—the message there does not have much information as the books focus on that house. Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out exactly how each of those pieces that I picked out apply to me. Where exactly do I belong in this world?
Maybe I will find out by the end…