In 1997 the world was forever changed when a little boy named Harry received his letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. That very same year, I was turning eleven and sat very blindly in middle America not knowing in that moment only a few years later, my life would be changed forever when I began reading Harry Potter.
I decided to read Harry Potter because my older sister did and recommended that I do the same. I was reticent. At that age I hadn’t yet discovered my love for reading and a boy wizard tromping around a school didn’t exactly seem like something I would like. But, as many younger sisters do, I decided emulating my sister’s reading habits would be a good idea, so I dove into ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’.
At first, I was bored. Blah blah blah, ‘Yer a Wizard, Harry,’ yadda yadda… and then something shifted. I was hooked, enthralled by this intricately woven tapestry of personalities, worlds and language. A spark ignited inside me for reading and writing that I had never really felt before. I read the first three books in succession and then had to wait a few months for book four… agonizing.
I remember specifically when ‘The Half-Blood Prince’ was released, I had just graduated high school and spent my vacation on the beach, nose in a book. As it came to the scene of that dark fateful night when Dumbledore fell from the tower, murdered by a character you had loved and hated throughout the course of the novels. I felt as if someone I loved had died. I was wrecked, I sat there on the beach staring at the ocean contemplating my existence, its purpose and why the fuck that had to happen! That’s the power of imaginative and engaging writing. I was swept away into this world and I never looked back.
As a senior in high school we had to write a final term paper for A.P. English and of course I wrote mine on Harry Potter. Not just the story line and characters, I dove into the finer details that, if you’re as obsessed as I am, are things that have truly stuck. The details, my friends.
The twisted, depth of storytelling, history, and myth that J.K. Rowling wove is still haunting to this day. Minds that work like that have always fascinated me. The connections that were subtly made to moments in Greek, and Roman mythology as well as Christian stories, is something I have always admired about Harry Potter.
Harry Potter is not a mere ‘children’s book’ as many like to say. It’s a story of growing up, friendship, finding yourself, loving yourself, and learning what it is to be independent, honest, and trustworthy. These seven books have helped shape me into who I am. They inspired a love of reading that to this day burns inside of me.
J.K. Rowling also inspired me to start writing, to feel empowered to use my imagination and my voice to make a difference. If that difference is just for me, okay. If that difference allows me to inspire and help others find their passion or purpose, even better. Harry Potter is about human connections and empowerment, which is exactly what Obvi is about as well: storytelling to empower.