To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and the beginning of The Best Series of Books Ever TM, I thought a Potter themed post would be appropriate. To distract you all from feeling A. Old and b. Emotional (or maybe the second one is just me…), here are 20 reasons you should thank J.K. Rowling for creating Harry Potter, or reasons to read the series if you’ve been stuck under a rock these past two decades and haven’t already read it 20+ times (no joke!) like me…
1. Luna Lovegood
For as long as I can remember, Luna has always been my favourite Potter character. Whilst I love the ‘Golden trio’ of Harry, Ron and Hermione, they simply didn’t entertain me in the same way as she did. I think it’s because I’ve always been a little odd myself (although I’m not quite on Luna level!), and she taught me the important lesson that it’s ok to embrace our eccentricities. I just love the way she’s so unapologetic and prepared to defend her beliefs, regardless of how bizarre they might be, and as an added bonus I’m a big fan of Evanna Lynch, the actress who portrayed her in the films.
2. Hermione made it cool to love books
….Which is an important truth everyone needs to acknowledge, end of.
3. It brings out everyone’s inner political activist
Not everyone realises that the Potter series is definitely a case of art imitating life! Next time you’re reading the books, think about the fact that Rowling has said the treatment of Remus Lupin’s condition is said to mirror the hostility faced by people suffering from HIV and AIDs, or the fact that Voldemort’s obsession with ‘pure blood’ status could be seen as similar to the views of racists. Reading with that in mind, I guarantee you’ll feel inspired to try and end such prejudices faced by some in real life, and feel more sympathetic towards opressed groups. Plus, round of applause to Rowling for inspiring the rather fab sign pictured above!
4. It inspired a generation of children to get reading
In a world filled with technology and TV, nothing pleases me more than to see a child choosing to read a book rather than stare at a screen. Rowling was able to inspire a generation of children to read- an amazing feat in a world where there are so many alternatives. I firmly believe reading makes us smarter, and is a truly amazing skill, yet I can honestly say I’d have spent much less time reading over the last few years if the Harry Potter series hadn’t been around to help me discover my love of literature in the first place.
Because who hasn’t dreamed of waking up to find a Hogwarts letter waiting for them?! (I shall neither confirm nor deny whether such hopes still linger now I’m 17…)
6. It’s amazing to meet fellow fans
I’ve had several Harry Potter fan accounts over the years, and one thing I’ve always loved is talking to other fans from all over the globe. Whether we’re debating over new fan theories or simply freaking out over our Harry Potter obsession together, I’ve always loved having someone I can talk Potter with. And don’t get me started on how excited I am when I spot someone wearing a Potter t-shirt or Hogwarts scarf in real life…
7. It’s just beautifully written
So. Many. Relatable. Quotes.
8. Harry Potter tattoos
I’m a tattoo fan. I’m a Harry Potter fan. You can see where this is going! For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted a permanent reminder of the series that inspired me to read on my skin. There’s just something wonderful about displaying my love in a unique, creative way. Needless to say, I’m super excited to turn 18, and make this dream a reality, come November. I may not go for something as bold as the design above, but watch this space! (Hint hint… I did say I like a Potter quote or two!)
9. Childhood memories
I have two wonderful Potter-related childhood memories. The first is finishing the series for the first time, aged 8. I just remember staring into space, wondering what I’d do with my life now I was done, having spent the last several days tearing through them. But, I also knew that I was hooked, and that I’d never again read a book that had interested me so much. at 17, finishing one of my (two…) annual rereads gives me that same thrill, and I still feel the same way.
The second memory I cherish is when, aged 9, I dressed as Ron Weasley for my best friend’s birthday. It was a terrible costume- red hair and a hand-me-down cardigan had to suffice!- but I loved every minute. Without Rowling’s inventiveness, these memories just wouldn’t be there, and neither would that glorious sense of nostalgia I feel every time I open one of her wonderful books.
10. The wit and wisdom of Albus Dumbledore
He’s like your Grandpa, Uncle, Dad and brother rolled into one then put on steroids in the advice giving stakes, and I challenge anyone not to wish he was the Head of your secondary school. As an added bonus, he’s incredibly quotable too!
11. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Magical. Totally and utterly magical. I can’t even describe how awestruck I felt when I walked into Diagon Alley for the first time, so have a photo of me and Mum enjoying our Florean Fortescue icecream there instead!
12. The Leavesden Studio Tour
Tere’s just something so amazing about going ‘behind the scenes’ to see how all that movie magic was created. I visited in 2015, and would love to visit again (preferably at Christmas- those decorations!). Beats auctioning off old props as a way of disposing of them, that’s for sure!
13. Playing location spotting around England!
It’s often said that Harry Potter basically is Britain, with its traditional boarding school and pop culture references, including to all kinds of scrumptious British foods. This is definitely reinforced by the fact Rowling has confessed to basing many places in the book on famous British locations, like Diagon Alley being inspired by The Shambles in York, and the fact the movies have been filmed in so many places around the country. Visiting said film locations is always fun! Personally, the fact Durham Cathedral is right on my doorstep means it’s always been a favourite of mine (you can see its cloisters in the still above), although I’d recommend checking out ‘Platform 9 3/4’ at King’s Cross train station too!
14. Severus Snape
Looking for the single most moving line in the entirety of literature? No matter how many times I read the books, nothing moves me more than Snape’s plight. (And just to put it out there, no, I DON’T think of him as a villain…)
15. Collecting beautiful editions of the Harry Potter books
Let’s just say I’ve ended up with over 30 copies of the various books in the series over the years. And yes, I am planning to buy the 20th Anniversary special editions, and no, I don’t think I have a problem…
16. Harry Potter merch
Because your wardrobe can never have too much Potter. Case in point: I own four Harry Potter jumpers and over ten shirts… But I was still delighted when these little beauties arrived in the mail today!
17. The lessons the books taught us
No matter how many times you’ve read them, there’s always something new to learn from these books, from various different characters. Whether Harry himself is teaching us the importance of love and loyalty, Hermione is showing us why we should value intelligence, or Luna is telling us to be ourselves regardless of what others think, it’s all positive. Paired with the inspirational quotes, said lessons show just why Potter is a great series for helping shape a generation of kids’ morals.
18. Her Twitter sassiness
Whether she’s owning Donald Trump or calling out the likes of Katie Hopkins for their abhorrent views, JKR is undeniably the Queen of Twitter! Her online sass never fails to make me laugh, in the same way that her actual writing is undeniably witty. Yet, just think, if it weren’t for Harry Potter, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be following her. And then who would we rely on to put Trump in his place, or voice reason in the midst of every crisis?! Even if you’re not actually a Potter fan, you can’t deny that something as magical as anything in her books occurs when Rowling unleashes her wit on the world via Twitter.
19. It’s constantly evolving
Unlike other series, the nation’s devotion to all things Potter has never really waned. A big reason for this is the fact it’s constantly evolving, as Rowling is one industrious writer! Fans of the books have already been delighted by the ‘Hogwarts Library’ trio, and now movie and theatre goers are excited by the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies. As long as Rowling keeps on writing, I’ll keep on reading, and nothing excites me more than seeing further additions to the already magical (excuse the pun…) wizarding world. I’m already awaiting the next of her adventures!
20. It makes me happy!
The biggest reason for my Potter obsession. At the end of the day, I can honesty say that no series of books has ever made me happier, or made me so passionate about reading. There are many reasons why I love the series, most of which I’ve covered in this post, but, ultimately, the best thing about it is that wonderful hit of nostalgia I receive every time I open a Potter book. If you haven’t read the series, and this post hasn’t convinced you to take the plunge yet, I’ll give you one more reason to do so: fun. Because sure, you can praise the series’ positive messages and inspiring characters… But what Potter fan can honesty say their obsession didn’t begin when, as a small child, they began to hope an owl was on its way, bearing that very special envelope?
I’d like to finish with a very famous quote: ‘It’s real for us’. Because the love, excitement and regard I have for Harry Potter is just that. If you’re already a fan, I hope I’ve helped explain why you love the series. If you’re not, I hope I’ve at least inspired you to give it a chance. After all, you never know… this post could be by you on Harry’s 30th anniversary!
Lastly… To sum up the point of this post, I’d just like to say:
THANKYOU J.K. Rowling! For the childhood memories, my love of reading, and on behalf of all of the generation of children you encouraged to read, I can’t express my gratitude, but I hope this post comes close.
(For the record, I wasn’t old enough for Hogwarts the first time I read the books… now I’d be a Slytherin nearing the end of my sixth year!)