TWENTY years ago today, J.K. Rowling released her debut novel and found “a world that <she> had lived in alone was suddenly open to others”.
Just three short years ago, I couldn’t have told you a thing about Harry Potter other than he was a wizard boy with a popular series Mandy and I had no interest in. But after listening to a friend gush about her time reading the books with her daughters, we reconsidered. As fate would have it, a week or so later I stumbled upon 5 of the 7 hardcover books in excellent condition for $1/each at Goodwill. And so it began.
Every night we’d gather in Maddie’s bed and read a chapter aloud. And every night we’d fall a little deeper in love with this magical time together as a family. Harry, Ron and Hermione captured our imagination for those thirty minutes every day, but we didn’t realize or expect how much they’d shape our future.
It took us nearly 2 years to get through all 7 books and 8 movies. Two years of discussions about what might happen next, who would play who in the movie, what chocolate frogs might taste like and whether or not we were pronouncing new names and spells correctly (we almost never were). Two years of a common interest that united us in a way nothing else ever has. How silly we were to think we were JUST reading. We watched the bed shrink as Maddie grew up alongside our new storybook friends. “The boy who lived” wasn’t just a character, he was …IS… a part of our family.
It’s been a year and a half since we put down the last book, but the adventures continue, taking us regularly from places like our own library and symphony to the Wizarding World at Universal Orlando and, eventually, Broadway and (God willing) London! And rarely does a month go by that this house doesn’t see at least one (if not three) Potter films.
To an outsider, we could easily be viewed as childish fanatics, but what we’re really fanatics for is our family. Time flies faster than a golden snitch so I will hold onto this fandom and keep making memories for as long as Maddie will let me.
I’ll probably never get the opportunity to meet J.K., but if I did, I’d only have two words to say. Thank you!