Most people can recall a significant moment or two in their lives when everything changed. Maybe it seemed like their world was turning upside down, but maybe it was the minute they realized everything would be okay.
For you, it might be graduating college, getting a job, or figuring out what you want to do in the future. But for me, reading the Harry Potter books changed my life in a way I could’ve never imagined.
I remember when I got my first Harry Potter book — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — like it was yesterday. I was probably around 7 years old. My mom, sister and I were walking to the register after an exhausting shopping trip at Burlington Coat Factory. That was when I saw a metal bin bigger than my body overflowing with books.
After reading the excerpt on the back, I immediately begged my mom to get it for me. She was hesitant at first; probably because it seemed too advanced for my age or because she didn’t think I would like fantasy books.
Of course, she got it for me, because who could resist an adorable, 7-year-old me refusing to leave the store without a book?
I went home that night, sat at my old-school wooden desk, and opened the book. There were words that I didn’t know and concepts that I couldn't fully understand yet, but I kept reading until I turned the last page.
This day marked the beginning of my life changing forever.
Eventually, I went on to get the next books in the series. I was already hooked; I didn’t want to read anything else. I remember having to wait for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth book, to be released.
I even attended midnight release parties (escorted by my parents, of course) for the last two books dressed up as Hermione Granger. There’s something so special about midnight releases. The excitement in the air from hundreds of people waiting for the clock to hit 12 and then finally having the book in your hands as soon as it gets taken out of the box make you feel like you're on top of the world.
When we got home well after midnight, I snuck a flashlight in my room so I could start reading that night. I couldn’t even wait until the morning. But when I finished reading the last page of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, there was brief moment of panic. I was worried that without another Harry Potter book to look forward to, I would feel lost.
I felt that way for a while, but I later realized that the magic of Harry Potter is not over. It will stay with us long after the books and movies have come to an end.
I like to think that these books saved my life in more ways than just one. They were a distraction from everything negative — from the bullies to the overbearing sadness that took over my mind for so many years. When I was reading Harry Potter, I was able to escape into another world.
The series also sparked my love for reading and writing. I grew into a person who would rather read a book than watch a movie. Writing came so naturally to me that, at first, I thought I was terrible at it.
I am a firm believer that you need to be passionate about something in order to live a fulfilling life. I’ve realized that passion is something people admire in others. Now, I’m passionate about so many things and ideas that I'm proud of, but the Harry Potter books were the first to own my heart.
The last words in the series, “All was well,” have gotten me through some really tough times. After all those years of Harry fighting, everything was okay in the end.
Here we are, about 20 years after the first book and 10 years after the seventh book was published. I’d say the magic of Harry Potter is still growing, considering Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released last summer.
Without these books, I would not be the person that I am today. So thank you, J.K. Rowling, for the magic you've created with Harry Potter.