Harry Potter Magic

Yesterday evening, my sister and I went to the theater and saw the last installment of the Harry Potter series (loooved) and the experience sparked an idea for a blog post.

I first met Harry while in college. The fourth book (Goblet of Fire) had been published and everywhere around me, people buzzed about the series. I remember thinking something disparaging, something about the Harry Potter craze being silly and blown out of proportion. Besides, the books were written for kids, right?

A sucker to peer pressure (in some things, at least), I decided to read the first book, just to see what all the hullabaloo was about.

I have never looked back. J.K. Rowling mesmerized me with her story-telling. In fact, I am indebted to her. Before Harry, I was a reluctant reader. Heavy doses of academic writing, made infinitely worse by grade pressures, had made me allergic to books. Reading – rather than being a treat – was a chore. 

Come to think of it, my decision to pursue writing most likely stems at least partially from my experience with the HP books. 

So, why do I love the series (and the movies) so much? I can’t really put my finger on it. 

It could be:

The Hero. Harry, by no means flawless, is the Chosen One for a reason. And it has less to do with his defeating Voldemort than the fact that he doesn’t keep the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand in history, after doing so.
-The Others. Harry and Voldemort aside, the books have plenty of interesting characters spread along the spectrum of good and evil that make me examine myself and my own motives. And the character transformations throughout the books? Think Neville Longbottom (go, Neville!!).  
The Details. The Marauder’s Map. The food magically served at the tables at Hogwarts. The varying properties of wands. Hermione’s passionate fight for the house elves and Dobby the Free Elf (yes, I totally bawled in Hallows, part 1) 
-The Names. Luna Lovegood. Pius Thicknesse. Kingsley Shacklebolt. The Nimbus 2000. Diagon Alley. Hogwarts. 
The Themes. Greed. Friendship. Sacrifice. Compassion. Prejudice. Selfishness. Forgiveness. Community. Heroism. Hope. This is the stuff the HP series, and life, is made of. 

Or could it be Rowling’s use of magic as a literary device? Or her exploration of the power and allure of evil, and characters’ reasons for choosing it (consider Bellatrix and her obsession with the Dark Lord, Wormtail and his desire for the protection by those stronger than him, Lucius Malfoy and his opportunism). Or perhaps it’s because J.K. makes us feel right at home in her world.

Or maybe it’s just magic.  

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