Oh my god, Harry Potter is 20 years old today. That is insane.
I first read this book when I was 14, and until recent years, I would reread the whole series every year, adding a new book as and when they were released. The Half-Blood Prince was my graduatuon present – I made my sister queue for it. I can still remember going to Waterstones at 5am on release day, to get the Deathly Hallows.
Coincidentally, I decided to read the series again for the first time in about 5 years, to see how I felt about as a legitimate grown up. I’m in my thirties now, I can’t pretend anymore… 😣
From the blurb:
Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard!
I’m going to assume you are familiar with the plot, and go straight to how this book made me feel.
It probably sounds trite, but it’s true. This book united bookworms everywhere, from the ages of 6 to 60. We had something that all the bullies, ignoramuses and chavs didn’t. We knew about this wonderful world before the films came out. Even when they came out, we still felt like we were in a secret club, because the world in the books was so much denser… characters and situations missing from the movies completely made the books real for us.
J.K. Rowling let us into a magical world, and gave us the perfect insult for people who did not get us…”muggles”.
Reading this book 20 years later still made me feel special. I also have an appreciation for things I didn’t understand before – for example, it is clear that the author was influenced by her children. The friendships and rivalries in the book perfectly capture the first year of “big school”. It brought back memories from year 7 that I had completely forgotten about.
It also has the best opening sentence:
“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
My biggest takeaway from the series is that it’s okay to be different. In fact, celebrate the things that make you odd. Something I appreciate more as an adult than I ever did as a teenager.
Let me know in the comments what #HarryPotter20 means to you!
Stephani (Ravenclaw) Xx