I didn’t read Harry Potter until I was a junior in high school. Most of my peers had known Harry Potter for years, had reread them a million times. I wasn’t really interested. As a little fourth grader, I was more interested in horse books and historical fiction. Magic and wizards and fantasy weren’t at the top of my to-be-read list. But as my younger sister read the books and watched the movies, I started to see the draw of this amazing series.
From the first book, I was immersed in a world of magic and wonder, where anything was possible. Since then, I have been a total Potterhead and I’ve loved rereading the books and rewatching the movies and finding more and more things that jump out to me as I get older. So I thought I’d put together some reasons people love Harry Potter. Reasons I love Harry Potter.
I think this is kind of obvious, but in a world of magic, anything seems possible. In the real world, we feel very limited. We feel confined to laws of nature and often that we’re at the mercy of other people. But in the world of Harry Potter, magic helps people to overcome evil and trials. And reading about heroes vanquishing foes gives us the confidence to vanquish our foes.
A major theme in Harry Potter is love. And not just romantic love, although there’s plenty of fuzzy butterfly teenage love in there too. But love between friends, between teachers and students, between found families, and between blood families. We get to read a story about a boy who…has a lot of crap happen to him. But even when he’s alone or feels like he has to do something on his own, he has people surrounding him and holding him up. And he succeeds. He wins. Love conquers all.
Of course this one is a big one. There aren’t too many books I read as a child that showed true healthy friendships - at least not all aspects of them. Communication. Disagreement. Apologizing. Harry, Ron, and Hermione go through a lot together over the course of seven books and it’s not all sunshine and roses. Sometimes they fight, they don’t speak, they offend each other. But they own up and they come back even stronger.
Going along with friendship, people find belonging in Harry Potter. I know I did. We read a story about a boy who feels utterly alone and so different no one will accept him. Don’t we all feel like that? Wouldn’t it be amazing if one day a giant knocked down our door and said “Hey, ya know how you feel special and different and strange? Well, that’s because you don’t belong in this world. You belong in mine. Let me show you”? That’s the fantasy, right? And reading and loving Harry Potter gives you a world, a group of people as obsessed as you are. And suddenly you start feeling less alone.
5. Safe space
And it gives us an escape! It gives us a space to be ourselves. When I’m reading Harry Potter, I don’t have to worry about anything else. I can process things. I can see things in a different light. I can understand things in ways I never have before. And that is powerful.
6. Complicated topics
Last but not least (and honestly something that I think encapsulates everything I’ve written so far), Harry Potter tackles difficult topics. Mental health, abuse, relationships, death, grief, governments, evil, prejudice…the list goes on and on. I remember when I found out that there are “Harry Potter Scholars” who write papers about the themes and content of Harry Potter. And I just thought…wow. What a testament to the reach this series has and the conversations it’s started.
Those are just some of my thoughts. There a million reason I adore Harry Potter, but those are just the *chef’s kiss* of what these books have meant to me. What does Harry Potter mean to you?
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