The magic is real. Wielding a pen as her wand, JK Rowling cast a spell over millions of people of all ages, transporting us to a world of wonder where good triumphs over evil via chams, incantations, and potions. Harry Potter is destined to become a classic of children’s literature – categorized alongside the magic of Winnie-the-Pooh and the Chronicles of Narnia.
I was a freshman in college when I discovered I was a mere muggle. Beeeca and I had the flu; I’d spent the morning blocking the door so she couldn’t force her way off to class with a 103-degree fever. I was sitting in bed, whimpering to myself about my maladies, and Beeeca was finally passed out on her bed. I saw a couple library books.
I’d heard about Harry Potter, apparently he was quite popular. I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone; it was book one. Within the hour, I was hooked. With the cold or flu still making me miserable, I commiserated with Harry’s outcast status on Privet Drive. By the time we arrived at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry nothing was bringing me back. It was though I was there alongside the fellow first-years, getting sorted into Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. It was magic.
That fateful day I devoured the first two books in the series, Sorcerers Stone and Chamber of Secrets. I dreamed about his world that night. The next morning I dragged my foggy head to the library in search of book three. It was checked out. I was not surprised – those books are that good. This was no concern. I needed to own those books.
Book four: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out three days before I crossed the pond for a summer in England. Sans car, I walked myself to the mall to pick up a pre-reserved copy. What I would have given for a Nimbus 2000. Those next days were torture. I stared at the green covering that blocked my way to the 600+ pages of adventure. I boarded my Virgin Atlantic flight book in hand, curled up in my seat and read. By the time my plane taxied to the gate at Heathrow, I was eagerly awaiting book five and ready to spend the next three months searching for any trace of magical blood within me (and Diagon Alley – I really want a wand.)
At 11:30 p.m. on July 20, 2007, I was in line at Barnes and Noble. It was amazing to take part in the historical hubbub surrounding the release of a book. (I admit, Jon and I arrived shortly after taking in Transformers – nerds are cool.) By the time the clock struck midnight on July 21, Harry had finished his journey.
Over the next years, I’ve re-read all seven books. I’ve listened to all seven sagas on tape as I commented to and from work, and I’ve watched each movie multiple times. (I own them all – books and movies.)
Last night, Jon and I had a rare evening out away from the muppets. (Where we could be alone – and talk about the muppets.) I stuffed my purse full of napkins to prepare for the emotional conclusion and we settled down to watch the final film.
This is a world many children have grown up in. Harry Potter made it cool to read again. It turns out I’m just a muggle after all. But should I have been sorted, I fancy to think I may have found myself in blue and silver as a Ravenclaw.
“Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind.”
– Sorting Hat
To Ms. Rowling, thank you for such an incredible journey. Perhaps we all have a bit more magic within us. As someone who fancies myself a writer, I take Professor Dumbledore’s words to heart, “Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”
As Mr. Ollivander, the proprietor of Ollivanders Wand Shop in Diagon Alley, says, “The wand chooses the wizard.” Coincidence that I never leave home without a silver pen of blue ink?
Pick up a book. You never know where you may find yourself…