It's Thursday already! Time for my Favorites Spotlight! And this week it's my all-time favorite series:
I belong to the generation that grew up with this series. The first time I read this book, I was 11 years old and the third book had already come out. I didn’t know much about the series, except that everyone in my school seemed to be reading these books, and the book covers looked really cool. So I asked my mom if I could have a copy of The Sorcerer’s Stone to read.
I was in love with this series from the very first page. I was so entranced by the magic in the book, that I remember wishing forlornly that I would perhaps receive a letter from Hogwarts just like Harry did. The world that Rowling created was complete in every way, down to the smallest detail. It is a small wonder that I, along with many other children, fervently wished that this wondrous place was real. Even as an adult, I sometimes daydream of visiting Diagon Alley and entering Hogwarts with a trunk full of books and a wand in my hand.
For my 12th birthday, I received the next two books in the series. Suffice it to say that I zipped right through the two of them. The book plots were so exciting, that I even cheered aloud. I felt like I was right there with Harry crying “Expecto Patronum!” The books ended too quickly however, and I, along with the rest of the world, had to wait anxiously for the next book to come out.
Waiting for the next installment became a ritual for me. When the books became available for pre-order, I would go to Borders (back when they still existed) or Barnes & Noble with my mom and order my own copy. In the weeks leading up to the highly anticipated release date, I would re-read the other books, sometimes more than once. And as soon as the new book came out, I would go straight to the bookstore, pick up my copy, and eagerly race through its pages. I never went to a midnight-release party, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t a Harry Potter fanatic. Not a year has gone by where I haven’t read the series more than once. They were, and continue to be, my go-to books when I’m bored; they were, and are, my comfort reads when I’m sad or stressed.
When the final book came out, I read through the whole series yet again, finishing the sixth book at 10 p.m. at night, a few days after the release of the seventh book. I then immediately proceeded to read the seventh and final book, which I finished in just under 12 hours. Then I read the whole series one more time, because I just couldn’t get enough.
It’s been 15 years since I first read The Sorcerer’s Stone, and I still truly love these books. I never get tired of them, and I can still say with absolute certainty that Harry Potter is my all-time favorite series. I’ve continued my tradition of re-reading the books once a year, sometimes more if I really need them.
Harry Potter has been, and continues to be, a much-beloved series by adults and children alike, and for good reason. J.K. Rowling has created an amazing, beautiful, and magical world, with an incredible amount of depth and detail, from the remarkable Hogwarts School, to the seemingly insignificant cost of beetle eyes at the apothecary (5 Knuts a scoop, in case you were wondering). This world is so complete that people can almost believe it exists, to the point where they ask dozens of questions in order to know more. This subtle, yet imaginative ability to construct new worlds requires a creative talent that only a very few fantasy authors truly possess (J.R.R. Tolkien being one of them), and I’m happy to say Rowling definitely possesses it.
And it’s not just the magic, or the exciting plots, or even the humor that makes these books so amazing; it’s the message they give to its readers. This series promotes kindness, friendship, and open-mindedness with every page. One cannot deny that Harry Potter has influenced the way children perceive the world around them, showing them not only the magic that already exists, but also the benefits of compassion and equality towards everyone, especially towards those who are very different from you. A story that can successfully send such a positive message certainly deserves plenty of praise.
This series is on its way to becoming a timeless classic, and anyone who, like me, has grown up with these books, will agree with me when I say that these are books that everyone should read. I recommend this series with all my heart, and I hope you, or your children, will enjoy them as much as I did.
Harry—I mean, uh, happy—reading everyone!