Potential Spoilers – If you’re not one of the millions who have already read the books . . . .
How can you describe years of memories with someone? Especially when that someone does not technically exist – though he exists alongside millions of his friends.
I cannot really remember what made me actually read Harry Potter. I know that I had heard some friends discussing dementors in the schoolyard one day (making me feel now very much like Petunia Dursley). I know that my mom had been urging me to read the books with her. But I can’t for the life of me remember when I actually picked them up. I believe it was before Goblet of Fire was released, certainly before Order of the Phoenix. I cannot claim that I was with Harry from the beginning, literally, but I certainly feel like I was.
I remember arguing with my roommate about the literary aspects of Harry Potter, and whether or not he was worthy of study. I still am waffling on that – undoubtedly sentimentalism of the end of the movies makes me say “Yes!”. There are certainly flaws in Rowling’s writing style, a few abnormalities and characters that drive fans crazy. Heck, just a couple weeks ago, Entertainment Weekly had an article and attached forum to complain about said flaws (even though it was all devoted fans). But fans are so devoted that we go crazy over the new website Pottermore.com because it promises to give us just a little bit more.
However, I can say with conviction that no other book has made me feel so connected with its characters. And that makes Potter worthy of note, and of all the devotion that the books have received over the years. I have read the books countless times, and yet I still cry each and every time – when Sirius dies, when Dumbledore dies, when Dobby dies, and even when Kreacher leads the other house elves into battle. Just thinking about losing Fred Weasley, Lupin, and Tonks makes me tear up, because Rowling has fashioned them into real people. She took a very plot-centric series and turned it into a character-driven drama. While the books and all of its intricate pieces would be interesting, without the depth given to the characters that populate the world we would be less likely to go to book and movie openings at midnight. At least I know I would.
So what makes this book so different from others? Why should you read Harry Potter, or urge friends to read it? I honestly can’t put my finger on it. I never have been able to, other than to say, “It’s really good!” or “Just read it!” I would say that at the very least, you’re able to escape completely into Harry’s world. How many children have waited longingly for their own Hogwarts letters? Heck, I still wonder how to get one, and I am an adult with a Masters degree in Literature. I know when something is fantasy and when it is a reality, but Rowling effectively pulls you into her created world so well that sometimes you just might forget you’re reading a book.
Maybe that is the real reason I adore Harry Potter so much. I have always preferred to live in fiction than in my own reality, because in books there are often happy endings, resolution, and the good guy usually triumphs. Some people might argue for a book because of how realistic it is, and while I do find that an admirable quality, I often like to escape into novels where things are wholly unreal. The imagination and opportunities that come within the world of fiction expand our own ideas of what is achievable. Harry Potter has done that for so many children and adults alike.
So now, with the books written and published, and the last of the movies done, there are many of us who will feel a hole in their lives. So I, along with millions of others, will eagerly wait for Pottermore, because maybe it will provide a small window back into that world. And while I wait, I’ll just have to settle for reading the books again for the twentieth time.