Everything about Harry Potter: what I love about it and why I keep returning to the series (a much needed more lighthearted post)2
April 13, 2020 by Cláudia
WARNING: This post contains spoilers of the entire Harry Potter series (duh!)
The beginning of this year was tough, even before it was getting tough for everyone else. The deadline for my dissertation was approaching at a vertiginous pace and I was unemployed and terrified about my professional future. I could not fall asleep at night. I did meditation, I drank chamomile teas, I tried sleep hypnosis and self-affirmations. Nothing was working. So I eventually decided to do something I hadn’t done in several years – read the whole Harry Potter series.
And it was a life-saver. I got transported into a magical world and managed to escape my own, temporarily forgetting all about deadlines, employment and the climate crisis. And while in general, I try to be present, it was a moment in which it was crucial to be able to escape. To be in a different world. Not this world. Not this reality.
And that’s number one of what I love the most about the Harry Potter world: complete immersion. The world-building in the series is remarkable. From page one, we are pulled into the story and it has an addicting effect.
I read every single night and it was the only thing that could calm me down. In less than 3 months, I read every single book. And it all came back to me. All the feelings, all the emotions, all the magic.
And while I understand that it is not high-quality literature, and J. K. Rowling has seriously disappointed me with her transphobic claims, I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of my Harry Potter phase. It’s just a safe place where I know I’ll always feel the magic.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve felt the need to escape into the Harry Potter world again and I think the world might need the same, now for reasons that transcend my personal life. I believe in being present and doing the best we can to change our world for the better. But I also believe in self-care and taking breaks. And this post will be a slight break from my more serious posts.
So let’s get into it!
Why do I keep reading the Harry Potter series, even though I’m a 24 years-old grown-up?
The first thing that I love about Harry Potter is how detailed the world is. You are not just told that it is a magical world, you immerse yourself in it. When they enter Honeydukes and describe the different candies, we can almost taste them. When they are in class, the reader learns about magic alongside them. It’s an incredibly immersive experience and J. K. Rowling proves to be excellent at world-building.
Also, even if it is technically a children’s/young adult series, there are very deep topics that are touched upon. We follow Harry and deal with his traumas by his side, the abandonment issues, the self-doubt, coming of age and unwanted responsibilities. We also deal with prejudice against Hermione who, not being a “pure-blood”, has her abilities constantly questioned despite being extremely competent and talented. And with Ron… we can empathize with the fear of mediocrity, having 6 siblings with bigger achievements and being friends with famous Harry Potter. And this is just the main trio. Most characters will bring their own complex backstory and make Harry Potter into a deep dive into human experience.
At last, the books can get quite serious and stressful, you know, with the whole saving the world thing. But they can also make you laugh out loud. Harry, Ron and Hermione can all be extremely funny and witty at times, as can Fred and George (obviously) and Ginny.
From Fred and George antagonizing Percy,
[Percy] “I shudder to think what the state of my in-tray would be in if I was away from work for five days.”
“Yeah, someone might slip dragon dung in it again, eh, Perce?” said Fred.
“That was a sample of fertiliser from Norway!” said Percy, going very red in the face. “It was nothing personal!”
“It was,” Fred whispered to Harry as they got up from the table. “We sent it.”
to Ginny being a sarcastic queen,
“And Ginny, don’t call Ron a prat, you’re not the Captain of this team”
“Well, you seemed too busy to call him a prat and I thought someone should”
Ron having his moments,
Harry took a deep breath and continued calmly, though his insides were boiling, “Yeah, ghosts are transparent, but Inferi are dead bodies, aren’t they? So they’d be solid —”
“A five-year-old could have told us as much,” sneered Snape. “The Inferius is a corpse that has been reanimated by a Dark wizard’s spells. It is not alive, it is merely used like a puppet to do the wizard’s bidding. A ghost, as I trust that you are all aware by now, is the imprint of a departed soul left upon the earth . . . and of course, as Potter so wisely tells us, transparent.”
“Well, what Harry said is the most useful if we’re trying to tell them apart!” said Ron. “When we come face-to-face with one down a dark alley, we’re going to be having a shufti to see if it’s solid, aren’t we, we’re not going to be asking, ‘Excuse me, are you the imprint of a departed soul?’ ”
and McGonagall being always on point,
“Why didn’t you send us a letter by owl? I believe you have an owl?” Professor McGonagall said coldly to Harry.
Harry gaped at her. Now she’d said it, that seemed the obvious thing to have done.
“I – I didn’t think -”
“That,” said Professor McGonagall, “is obvious.”
the series made me laugh out loud multiple times.
There it is, this was a fun post to write and I hope it was fun to read. I’d love to keep writing about Harry Potter (intermittently). I thought about writing about what grinds my gears about the series and also about the deeper underlying issues such as racism and the rise of totalitarian dictators so let me know if that’s something you’d enjoy reading.
And before I sign off, let’s have some fun! I’ll write some HP questions for you to answer in the comments and I’ll answer any HP questions you have for me.
1: Who’s your favourite non-main character?
2: What HP character would you like to have a spin-off about?
3: What non-canonical pairing would you most like to happen?
4: Who’s the best Weasley and why?
Stay safe, stay kind and wizard on! (#potterless)