A month ago, midway through my end of year exams and while surrounded by revision, I found solace in my favourite fictional world. After months of being unable to properly read for my own joy, I was struck by the unerring need to sink my teeth into a story. Something familiar and somehow comforting.
The first time I read the Harry Potter books, I was of the age they were originally aimed at; around the 7-9 age range. They sparked a lifelong love of books and started my admittedly modest but ever growing collection. In such tender youth, and the extra 400 pages leap between books three and four, it isn’t until now that I am actually reading the fourth book, the Goblet of Fire. Nor have I ever read from cover to cover the fifth book, the Order of the Phoenix. Shame on me, I know.
With the film franchise being one of the most successful in British history, both financially and in terms of remaining true to the books and casting decisions (with the exception of Lily’s eyes not matching Harry’s but I will not go down that road), Potter has become somewhat a national treasure; with spin offs in development now and wonderful casting decisions such as Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander it is sure to remain in our collective hearts in the future. It is certainly a personal treasure of my own.
The amazing thing about Harry Potter is although it was originally a children’s book, it tackles such adult themes (orphanage, death, torture, prejudice, discrimination and war to name a few) and is so loved across generations. The first book was published in 1994, and so the original readers are adults now. But they carry the story, morals and love within them, to learn from and pass on. I even recently came across research, which suggested that we take in traits of our favourite fictional characters much the same as we adopt traits and similarities of our close friends.
And so, with my bedraggled original copies accompanying me in my handbag most places these days, I can delve into the depths of the extraordinary Wizarding World and inherit some bravery, loyalty, wit and cunning wherever I am.
JK Rowling was right; “The stories we love best do live in us forever. So whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”