Thursday, October 9, 2014

Looking Back at Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

  Every time my dad travels out of the country, I ask him for one souvenir: I want a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (or Sorcerer's Stone, if you're American) in whatever language that country speaks. After about three trips or so, and very generous friends sending me copies of the book from their home country, I now own about thirty copies of the first Harry Potter book.
  Of course I'll never read them. They're way too precious to me. In fact, the copies I read, and the copies my mom read to me when I was five years old are too precious as well. They're first edition hard covers--there is no way I could even think about bringing those out in public and risk losing them, dropping Tandoori Chicken on them, or getting caught in a thunderstorm. (I would then have to stick them under my shirt and run frantically to my car).
  I need a set of the series to bend, crease, stroke when I read nerve-wracking scenes, get tears on when my favorite characters die all over again, get tears on when I read a happy scene, get tears on when something remotely emotional happens, and to love and abuse.
  I need paperbacks.
  When I knew I was going to reread my favorite series in the entire world every October starting this year, I knew I would need a set I could read annually and only take out when the leaves started to change color and Halloween decorations were put out on Walmart's shelves.
  I found a set that suited my reread perfectly (that my dad still doesn't realize is missing from his bedroom), and I set them up on my bookshelves, in order, and awaited October 1st.
  I was ready.
  Well, I was ready up until October 1st. On September 30th, like a bride with cold feet the night before her wedding, I became extremely nervous. Was I prepared to get back into Harry's story? Was I okay with rereading my favorite characters' death scenes AGAIN, even after I'd suffered so much already? Was I fully ready to commit myself to this kind of relationship again? Was I ready to laugh, cry, bang my fists against a table, sob into a pillow, scream out in rage, and be completely and entirely overwhelmed with the happiness of being back home?
  Of course I was.
  Just like that bride with cold feet the night before her wedding, I knew it would be worth it.
  On October 1st, I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and was welcomed home.
  For only about a paragraph or two. Before I could fully be sucked into the story again, I started crying. Hard. All of the emotions from the book releases, movie releases, final book and movie releases, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening, the music, and the previous reads of the story came rushing back to me like a giant tidal wave sucking me under.
  The second try was a bit more successful. I think I read about two more paragraphs that time. Then the tears came back again, and I had to take a break.
  Thankfully my third try was the most successful because as I type this, I am on book four, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I've only cried six times throughout the four books, so this is progress!
  It's difficult to explain the importance of Harry Potter. I guess when you grow up with Harry, like I did, you can't imagine your life without him. Harry taught me love, friendship, loyalty, strength, and that good conquers evil, always. But what magic does Harry hold over adults who come across him later in life and fall in love? It just goes to show that the Harry Potter series is not just a children's series. The books are not just for children. They teach people of all ages the importance of life.
  You don't need to be a witch or a wizard to fall in love with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, because the Harry Potter series proves that magic is found everywhere, and can be cast by anyone.
  Reading is pure magic, and so is Harry Potter. Put them together, and you'll have the most epic reading experience of your life.
  I've come to a lot (A LOT) or realizations during my reread. Over the past few years, I've only been able to watch and rewatch the Harry Potter movies over and over and over again. I've become so used to Dan, Emma, and Rupert's Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the music, the filmography, insignificant details (or details I thought were insignificant), and Harrypottadidyouputyournameinthegobletoffiya?! I've forgotten everything that made me fall in love with Harry Potter in the first place.
  I've fallen in love with Quidditch again. I've fallen in love with Dumbledore again. I sympathize with Hermione. I despise Draco all over again. I want to grab Snape by his greasy head and shout in his face, "WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SUCH A JERK FACE, BUT I KIND OF UNDERSTAND YOUR PAIN!" I want to knock Peeves out of the air with a Quidditch club every time he tattles on Harry. I want to press my mouth against my book's pages and scream a warning to the characters every time I know something bad is going to happen. I do a double take every time something bad happens that I don't remember happening. I grit my teeth in anger when Volde-...You-Know-Who- does something disgustingly menacing. And most of all, I live Harry's pain.
  The one thing I've realized the most during my reread is how strong Harry truly is. The pain he goes through (emotionally, mentally, and physically) is excruciating, and J.K. Rowling ensures that you feel just as sad and hurt as Harry does. Believe me, she is really good at making her readers feel emotions.
  This reread is bringing out so many new feelings in me. The one that trumps all is euphoria. The extreme happiness and giddiness of being back with Harry. Of being back home.
  I never reread books. Ever. I yearn to read new stories and develop new opinions on authors and books. Rereading the Harry Potter series isn't just a reread, though. It's returning back to Hogwarts on September 1st (or in my case, one month later in October). It's visiting old friends. Returning to Harry is returning home.
  So! I look forward to what new revelations the rest of my reread brings. This first annual reread has done me good, so I know my experiment was a success. Sorry everyone, from now on, my Octobers will be booked with Harry.

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