Recently the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone passed. Most Facebook users noticed that if you typed Harry Potter or any of the house names into your status, you could then click it in-app and a wand would appear along with some magical sparks. My Facebook was inundated with such posts. All of the posts brought back memories.
It has been eighteen years since I first followed Harry Potter into Diagon Alley. I had picked up a paperback copy sometime the year prior during a Scholastic fair. For some unfathomable reason, I didn’t read it until that Summer. I was ten; I would be eleven before September, and by the time I finished my first read through I was convinced I would get my letter. It never came.
That was one of the worst years of my life, not because I didn’t get my letter, but because of the suicide of my best friend. I escaped into the magical world of Harry Potter that Summer. I survived that Summer because of J.K. Rowling. This experience got me thinking, how many other people that were obsessed with Harry Potter used it as a coping mechanism? To find out I posed the question “What does Harry Potter mean to you,” on my Facebook. I was surprised at how few responses I got considering how many of my friends had been, the day before, posting about which house they belonged to. Interestingly enough all three responses were people who had used Harry Potter as a sort of coping mechanism.
“I discovered Harry Potter when I was in my first year at University. I was too poor to have a TV, only got a soft rock radio station on my alarm clock, my roommate was…well let’s just say it ended with me getting a restraining order. After all that I needed an escape from the daily grind of two jobs and 18 units. The first time I opened the book I read it straight through in one night. It was a way to bond with my friends, get in touch with my imagination and navigate through a really dark year.” – Virgina (Gryffindor)
“Honestly the very first chapter ever put me to sleep. But reading through bits of the other Harry Potter books and seeing the movies made me feel safe in my imagination and I discovered I wasn’t alone in dreaming what I dreamt. Sure, the wizarding world isn’t our world but that’s why it’s fun to delve into it. If only for a short moment, I’m free. I was bullied a lot growing up by kids and adults alike, my imagination was my only safe haven, it still is.” -Christina (Hufflepuff)
“Harry Potter is my childhood. I remember when I was gifted a box set of the first four books in third or fourth grade. I grew up with the books and dove right into the magical world Rowling wrote about. I still read them periodically today, whenever I want to forget about the difficulties of adulthood and remember a simpler time.”
Jenn P. is a new writer to the G33k-HQ family, be sure to follow her on twitter to see more of her writing!