When Harry Potter goes wrong

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Currently there’s a sign on my door which reads “I’m reading Harry Potter.  If you need me, come back next week.”  Although I wasn’t allowed to read Harry Potter for the first 16 or 17 years of my life, I have now starting reading the books for the second time, have seen all the movies, would like to go to Hogwarts in Orlando someday, and have considered buying a Hufflepuff house scarf, although I’ve heard they smell weird.  So even though I have a healthy appreciation for Harry Potter, many people still insist upon pointing out to me that they love the books and movies more, which I don’t try to argue with.  For the most part, it seems that Harry Potter is a love it or hate it thing.  People either yell “Literally, that was my childhood! (like, literally.)”  or they look totally horrified when they hear that I like the books, and try to tell me that Harry Potter is a pack of lies.  Personally, I don’t feel that Harry Potter in and of itself is inherently wrong.  Although I’m glad that my parents didn’t let me read them as a child, because there’s some bad language and I might not have understood that everything wasn’t true, I’m also glad that I’ve read them now.  Because now I can understand that they’re just fiction, and I think that’s where much of the world is getting a bit confused.  You see, I think that the problem with Harry Potter isn’t the content, so much as the importance we give it.  I think it’s fine to enjoy reading the books and watching the movies every couple of years, or even every year, if you really love it.  But the problem comes in when you start developing an unnatural dependence on it, to the point where you don’t talk about anything else, or can’t go to sleep without listening to the fourth book on tape every night.  To me, Hogwarts is a good place in which to hunker down when you’re feeling scared or upset, but it’s only a temporary refuge, not someplace you’re meant to hide in forever.  The whole point of Hogwarts is to equip students to face whatever’s out there, and that should go for us muggles too.  We shouldn’t spend our whole lives limping in the shadow of some fantasy story, cool as it might be.  As Dumbledore would say “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live” (J.K. Rowling, 157).  Go out and have some adventures of your own.  Make Harry proud.  Don’t worry, Hogwarts will still be waiting for you when you get back.

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8 thoughts on “When Harry Potter goes wrong

    • I know! But I don’t try to argue with them. After all, to many of the people who say that, Harry Potter represents their childhood, as they were introduced to the books at a young age, and grew up alongside the characters. Even though I like the series now, I can’t compete with that kind of nostalgic affection, so that’s probably why I can look at the whole situation objectively, even though I’m technically of the “Harry Potter Generation”.

  1. I came to the series in the middle of the hype, before the sixth book was published, while I was in high school. Like you, my parents didn’t want me reading it, so I didn’t. My first exposure to the books were for a class reading, and I realized they were “evil” like they’d been painted.

    People who “grew up with Harry” identify with the series differently than I do, and that’s totally fine! I like the series, would also like to go to Hogwarts in Orlando, but it’s not part of my identity in the same way. I always wonder if they are so adamant about it because they had to prove to other people that Harry Potter wasn’t evil or teaching witchcraft to children, but focused on more universal themes like friendship, family, and courage.

    • Thanks for commenting! I agree that there are both good and bad things about Harry Potter. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that H.P. really does encourage goodness, bravery, friendship, kindness, selflessness, and tons of other things that all parents should want their kids to learn. Although I still think I’ll have my future kids wait untill high school, I think it’s silly to think that kids will believe everything in H.P. is true, and that they will pay more attention to dark magic than to the good lessons J. K. Rowling weaves into the story. Thanks again for stopping by!

  2. Well, I think it’s healthy to absolutely love the series because first of all, it’s wonderfully created and written, and secondly it’s really what got me hooked on reading in the first place. I own my love of reading to Rowling. btw I have seriously considered buying a gryfindor scarf (that’s what I am on pottermore) and a “hogwarts alumni” sweatshirt AND I might join the quidditch team…

    • Oh I didn’t know you were a Gryfindor. Sometimes I wish I was one too, because I like their housing situation more than Hufflepuff, and Hufflepuffs are only usually mentioned to say that they were beaten in a Quidditch match or came in last place for the house cup but I still like my house.

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