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Thursday, July 14, 2011

What Harry Gave Me

Tomorrow is a significant day for the world. It marks, though not the end, the great diminishing of one of the world's favorite stories, the most read novel of all time: Harry Potter.

Harry Potter came into my life at the age of six. I still remember the day that my cousin, twelve at the time, told me I should give the book a go. She showed me the first chapter, and that very next day I went out and bought my first Harry Potter book.

Over the next ten years I would come to read every single Harry Potter book more than once (on one notable occasion I reread all 800+ pages of Order of the Phoenix in less than five hours), see every movie, hoard every fact, and love every single page.

I read a great deal. I've read "great books" and the profound works of the philosophers and satarists. I've read the epic poems and the short stories that stand out in the world's conscience. But I cannot ignore the fact that no other book has touched me like Harry Potter did. J.K. Rowling wrote a profound story of love, magic, redemption, life, death, fear, sadness, joy... What began as a simple children's story ended as a great and beautiful piece of literature. Her characters are complex, her plot is titanic in its vision, her spirit is warm and her world is an immersive experience. I do not care if I sound like a child when I say this. It is the simple truth.

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on Harry Potter because those seven books did something for a small, six year old boy that nothing else could do: they gave him some magic to believe in. When I was younger, I wanted so desperately to be anything other than what I was, and, in Rowling's books, I found that ability. I've explored Hogwarts more times than I can count, felt the soaring victory of a Quidditch match well done, even the fear of facing down Lord Voldemort (and living to tell the tale). I made potions (Felix Felicis, the Draught of Living Death, Amortentia...), cast charms (Accio! Lumos! Wingardium Leviosa!), even performed delicate transfigurations and conjurations (Avis! Incendio! Tea-kettle-to-a-tortoise...).

So thank you, J.K. Rowling for making the painful process of growing up magical for so many children (and just as many adults) around the world. We are forever in your debt.

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus!

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.
-michael

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