'Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.'- Angela Carter

Monday, 7 July 2014

HPM: Why the Harry Potter series means so much to me

Harry potter monthMan oh man. How do I put into words why the world of Harry Potter and J. K. Rowling are so important to me? I think this is something all Potterheads would struggle with. It's hard to state exactly what it is that really gets to me about Harry Potter. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that's gotten me so addicted to the series, so in awe of the author and as a complete slave to the fandom, the world, just everything about it really. I'm going to try my best though and see what comes out of my ramblings!

I had a bit of a bumpy start with Harry Potter. The very first book I picked up was a Welsh version of
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It was a book that I had to read for homework in primary school over the weekend, back when the teachers thought they had to force me to read books (oh lol). I read the first couple of pages (I don't think I even made the entire first chapter) and shut it in disgust. I wanted my Babysitter's Club books back. I'd heard about Potter but was entirely underwhelmed by the little that I'd read. Looking back on that, I must have been such a finicky and lazy child reader but thankfully that changed as I got older.

My relationship with Potter began with a trip to the cinema with my mother and little sister. My mam loves telling the story of how we both sat on the edge of our seats from the start of the film to the end, and nothing has changed now! I still sit and read the books or watch the films, completely captivated by the story that's unfolding in front of me. No one else exists when I'm in the world of Potter. It's just me and the famous trio on an adventure. Following the release of Philosopher's Stone I was hooked. I immediately got the third book and delved into the magical world and that was that. We make a beautiful couple, ha! This started the journey of preordering the books, devouring them in a day and mourning a book hangover for weeks afterwards. It's safe to say that Potter is the reason that I'm such a bookworm now. It started me off on a beautifully journey of literary discoveries and this is one of the reasons that this world is so important to me.

My lovely, lovely books *hugs*
Following my reading addiction, Potter became a massive part of who I was. Me and my friends made passing Potter references and even now I'm guaranteed to refer to Potter at least once a day in some way or other; whether that's quoting or just wishing to apparate. It's a lifelong addiction and isn't one that I want any help with whatsoever. Since the end of the series, I've done so many different things to keep the Potter dream alive. It's featured in many important parts of my life so far. I met J. K. Rowling with my boyfriend at Bath, my 21st birthday present was a trip to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour and I finished my literary education with my MA dissertation being an exploration of Harry Potter. 

I think the reason is that I truly felt like I made the best of friends with the characters in these books. They were the first characters that I truly cared about. I laughed, I cried and I got so angry with these characters. I wanted to shake Ron at times, to shut Hermione up and to make Harry get a grip but they are as much of a best friend to me as my actual mates. Harry Potter taught me so many life lessons; from the issues of race, to the importance of trust, the importance of family, of friends, of love. It taught me to have faith and to believe in myself. It also gave me a massive desire to you know, not be a Muggle. I'm adamant that some confused Hogwarts owl is still lost in the sky somewhere just trying to find me to deliver my letter. 

Not only that, but J. K. Rowling herself is such an inspirational woman. She is so strong and overcame a pretty tough time following the birth of her first child. Rowling built herself a career from nothing and she's created a world that means so much to so many people. Not only that, she is such an amazing and genuine person. I had the luck to meet her with my partner at Bath Literary Festival and she is s amazingly humble and genuine. Rowling doesn't take her wealth or luck for granted. The fact that she accepts that her other work will never be Potter is honest and that she says she 99.9% won't write anymore shows such strength and dedication to her series. That she won't try and milk Potter means so much to me. I mean, I long for more Potter as much as the next person, but I love and respect that she won't write any more at the same time. 

I could go on and on and on about what Potter means to me, but I'm going to end it on an educational note. The very last thing I did (that isn't my meme) was my final dissertation for my Masters. My reasoning for this was I wanted to end my literary education with the thing that first set me on that path in the first place. I loved researching my dissertation, talking about it with my lecturer, bonding of Potter moments and discovering how much of a feminist J. K. Rowling is. I was in my element and found myself wondering why there weren't more courses that studied children and teen books. I felt like writing that dissertation gave me a bit of closure on my university life, bringing things full circle. Starting with Potter and finishing with Potter. I'm not sure how to end this post because I could go on and on and on about why Harry Potter is so important to me so I'm just going to end it here. Thanks for reading all of my incoherent ramblings! 

Why is Harry Potter so important to you guys? 

7 comments:

  1. Love this post - I'm a massive Potter girl too, but I think you definitely take Gold for your dedication!! I love picking up these books or watching the movies, the ultimate nostalgia trip!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You met J.K. Rowling! That is amazing. Ah, I had a bumpy start with Harry Potter, too. I started reading for fun when I was 16 or so, so by then I'd seen most of the movies. But now I can't do without them! That magical world is without a doubt the best world to get lost in. It makes me feel happy and safe.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, I love this! And the fact that you did your thesis on Harry Potter is super impressive. I actually have a post about this going live tomorrow morning, so I won't respond to your question right here, but suffice to say that HP is one of the most important literary event that happened to me as a kid, too.
    P.S: Go Ravenclaw!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ah I'm so jealous that you met J.K. Rowling! Also, I think you've done a great job in explaining why Harry Potter means so much to you, though like you said it's so hard to explain! I think it's because there's so many elements we love, and for so many different reasons, it's hard to summarise it in a way that seems coherent (though you certainly managed it!).

    I so agree with Inge's comment about Harry's world making her feel happy and safe! Harry Potter - whether it's reading the books, watching the films, reading a fanfic or sharing our HP love like this - makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and happy (it's a bit like Christmas morning feeling...all year round!)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was a read my whole life. Mom read me before I could myself, took me to story time in library, and Harry Potter came as just another book to me. I got it as a gift and had no idea what is was about (it wasn't such a buzz here because it came rather hushed, got translated and published without much boom a few yrs after original's pub date). I read it because my mate raged about it (her cousin won a copy and wouldn't shut up about it). After that I was hooked, and after that it became big here as well. I eagerly awaited books and movies and have read the series over 10 times since then (at least PS), and saw the movies about as many times, too. I just cannot get enough, no matter that I am growing up as I do this. It never gets old.

    I was at Studio Tour as well, just a month after it opened, so it didn't even have everything in it, so I have to go again. Having merch also help my addiction, but having a BA or MA in this would be even more awesome.

    I am glad JKR (who's totally amazing) doesn't want to milk HP, it'd ruin it (imagine her going wild like Cassie Clare...). It's perfect as it is. :D

    Good post!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh wow...just reading about all the love you have for the Harry Potter series & JKR herself pretty much overwhelmed me with feels! ♥ I just all of this, I love the words you chose to express yourself, I love how you fell in love with the books (movies first, like I did!), I LOVE that you got to meet JKR herself (WOW!! I'm only like 60% jealous, I swear LOL), I love how you celebrated your 21st at Warner Brothers Studios and I love how you finished your MA dedicated to HP & JKR!! My favorite bit is how you described yoursel as a slave to the HP fandom. Perfection! I'd say that describes me 100% accurately too :D And honestly, I would go back to Uni in a heartbeat if I could study HP things, even a B.A. in Potterology sounds fantastic haha!

    And as overwhelmed as I get meeting favorite authors, I think I would pass out or make a complete idiot of myself if I met Queen JK. Quickly followed by delirium and giddiness! Anyways, you did an incredible job with this post Leah, words tend to fail me sometimes when what I'm writing about is just too damned important but man, you certainly did the fandom proud! xxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Such a great post! I watched the documentary about J.K. Rowling and just had to respect her even more for overcoming what she did and creating this world for us to enjoy. Harry Potter to me meant discovering exactly what types I books I love. I enjoyed reading but could never quite find the right books to suck me in. Harry Potter did that and more. Like you, I mention it at least once a day. One of the biggest things about this series is that it is just so FULL. She thought about every possible little detail in this world that she could...even if all those details didn't make it to the books. She could answer the fan questions about the smallest things like middle names and patronuses. I've found that I love reading about all things magical and supernatural. I've found that I have to have a deep connection with the characters and that I prefer series over one book. I would have been over the moon to meet Rowling. That's so wonderful! Great post :D Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

    ReplyDelete

Please leave a comment, I love reading each and every one of them :).
This blog is an award free zone. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and I appreciate them :).