2017 marks the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter! As a person who loves all things Harry Potter this is a big year. But this has not always been the case.
When the books were first released my dad bought them in the hope that they would get my younger sister interested in reading. She has never been a reader and he had heard that this was something that was getting kids to read more. But try as he might he never got her to pick one up. He read the first four in quick succession. I can remember listening to him laugh while he read the scene where Mad-Eye Moody turned Malfoy into a ferret and bounced him around the halls of Hogwarts.
I was not very interested in the stories of a young wizard because I preferred historical fiction. They seemed silly to me until the day that one of my friends started reading them. She started telling me how much she liked them and I decided to break down and try them out. I was hooked from the first page. I was a sophomore in high school when I started Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the first movie was coming out in November. In a month I had read books 1-4 and then the wait began for book 5 (in which I cried my eyes out at the end). Then 6. Then 7. But the wait was worth it.
Ever since I picked up that first book I have been a devoted fan. I have pre-ordered all the books, went to the theaters for all the movies and visited the theme parks in Orlando. When I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter I was instantly transported into the books. The shops, actors and rides were breathtaking. I spent Thanksgiving morning eating an English breakfast at The Three Broomsticks. I downed multiple glasses of butter beer outside the Hog’s Head Inn. I rode the Hogwarts Express. I battled dragons, escaped from Gringotts and flew on a broom through the grounds at Hogwarts. I even got myself a wand. This is every Harry Potter reader’s dream!
I thank my dad (and my friend) every day for introducing me to the world of Harry Potter. I found something that made me even more passionate about reading and expanded my world. I love that still today I have kids come into the library looking for the books I read and love. They are experiencing them for the first time and I envy them. I re-read/re-listen to the books regularly and each time find something I missed before.
And now I have to go to London to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour and see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on stage at the Palace Theater.