What started as a stream of thought on a broken-down train has escalated into a phenomenon with a series of books, movies, theme parks, museums, merchandise, and more. Thirteen years of books and movies have fulfilled every child’s fantasy of a world beyond their own that is filled with magic, adventure, and friendship. And although the final book was released in 2007, and the final movie released in 2011, the impact of this series continues, and will continue for the rest of time. Many people (and English teachers) may consider it pop culture with no literary merit, but I completely disagree. The books have universal themes throughout the series, the same themes that are in novels by Charles Dickens, or plays by Shakespeare. In fact, J.K. Rowling drew inspiration from those writers. The story may be fantasy, but the themes within the fantasy are completely realistic. Good vs. Evil, love, abandonment by family, the hero, coming of age, tragedy, etc. All the great novels in history have those themes. But I will not make this post into a defense against what non-HP fans think of the series. This post is solely about the Harry Potter fans. Because they are the only ones that matter.
Harry Potter has changed our lives in many different ways. I don’t know anyone’s stories, but I know that there are plenty of heartfelt ones out there. If you are reading this post and would like to share how Harry Potter has changed your life, please write it below in a comment.
As for me, I have said how it has changed my life. Harry Potter is what inspired me to begin writing my own stories, and is the inspiration behind me wanting to be an author. At age seven I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I still haven’t changed my mind. Yes, I am going to school to get a teaching certificate, BUT I will never give up on the one thing I want to be. Harry Potter has changed my life even further just by being part of my childhood. I never had an imaginary friend, because the Harry Potter books were there for me throughout my adolescent years. I grew up with the books, the movies… I’ve witnessed how Harry Potter has changed the entertainment industry, both film and literature. I have this emotional connection, just like many others, with the series, due to the fact of me growing up while the characters grew up alongside me. Harry Potter is extremely important to me. I don’t care how many people tell me (including my own sisters) that it’s stupid how I’m still so “obsessed” with Harry Potter and that it makes me “weird” to be so. I don’t care that they tell me to let go and move on, because it was “just a book.” It was “just a movie.” “No one’s going to care about it in a few years.”
My response? YOU DON’T KNOW. You don’t know what it’s like to be part of a community, home to millions of people. You don’t know what it’s like for people from all over the world, who speak different languages, who come from different parts of society, to feel like ONE; to bond over something like Harry Potter. You don’t know what it’s like to be part of the Harry Potter Generation. You simply just do not know, and I pity you for that.
Harry Potter will live on, and I hope to one day pass on my extreme love for Harry Potter to my own children. I hope to teach them what Harry Potter taught me. Before I start crying, I better wrap this up. Thank you Harry Potter, for teaching me the value of friendship. Thank you, Harry Potter, for teaching me that being smart is cool. Thank you, Harry Potter, for making me cry, laugh, and feel so many other emotions. Thank you, Harry Potter, for creating a world that every day, I wish I could be in. Thank you, Harry Potter, for bringing people of all sorts together as one family. Thank you, Harry Potter, for giving people a sense of purpose. Thank you, Harry Potter, for giving people comfort and support. Thank you, Harry Potter, for helping us through rough times. But most of all, thank you, JK Rowling. You are our God, and we all couldn’t be more proud to be your family.
“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and, therefore, the foundation of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and relevetory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.”
J.K. Rowling, Harvard Commencement Address, 2008