Why Harry Potter is a good thing

Lucky for me, I plan ahead. With post-Olympic “what the hell am I going to watch now?” –shaped clouds forming on the horizon, I took the liberty of furnishing myself with a box set. And not just any old box set….The Harry Potter DVD Box set! Oh yes.

I totally, unashamedly, flipping love Harry Potter. This is in fact the first summer in years, probably since the books first came on the scene, that I haven’t read at least one of them. I was tempted to thank The Deathly Hallows in my thesis acknowledgements last year, for giving me some much-needed escapism from counting clauses. I’ve been banging on about going to the Harry Potter Studio Tour (or, as I call it, Harrypotterworld) for, well, months, though so far my long-suffering boyfriend refuses to take me on grounds that I would “get way too excited”.

Probably true, in his defence. People may have pointed and laughed at me on their way out of the final film… I didn’t realise, I was a little emotional at the time, and when asked if I wanted to go for a drink replied with the immortal words, “I don’t know, I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FEEL.”

Ugh, I don’t even care. Even if you don’t like the story, you have to appreciate its impact. It went from a little children’s book about a boy and his magical friends to… a world. It’s part of our national consciousness. It’s part of British culture. Voldemort was in the Opening Ceremony! What other book series has had that kind of impact? It got kids to read. It got everyone to read. It’s so clever, and rich, and well-written. Don’t even get me started on Twilight, which is none of those things. Bella teaches you that when a guy leaves you, cry, fall asleep for a few months, and then change yourself. Hermione teaches you to work hard and not take any bull sh*t from anyone. And especially not 50 Shades of Grey, as I remain genuinely saddened that “mummy porn” outstripped genuine literary contribution as the best-selling book in British history.

Ahem. As you can see, I am rather outspoken on the subject. It’s just so closely tied to my generation – it punctuated my childhood. I can remember where I was, how I was, reading each book. The first, I was in primary school. The third may well have been the first book I ever bought for myself. I clearly remember Dad taking me to WHSmith’s in the car to get my gloriously purple-covered copy. I tried to brazen out I’d already finished the fifth to a girl in school, who then ruined it for me by telling me Sirius died. I just genuinely believe Rowling has brought something good into the world.

That was cheesey, I’ll admit. But come on, it’s kind of true, isn’t it? Let yourself like it. Be your 10 year old you again.

We’re on film 4 at the moment, Goblet of Fire. This is the book that I most clearly remember the my three brothers and I getting. The third was definitely just mine –Goblet of Fire kicked off the pre-ordering, we’re-getting-one-copy-kids-and-you’re-going-to-learn-to-share days in our house. I’m pretty sure I got my hands on it first. And GOF was the first time the books got BIG. A big, fat, dragon-emblazoned chunk of a book – the excitement! All those pages – so much must happen! I remember sitting curled up in a towel at the beach hut, sand in my hair, reading it, sitting up in my bed, reading it, spotting our lone copy unattended in my brother’s bedroom and spiriting it away to my room again… My generation has pretty much grown up with Harry Potter. The characters childhoods are inextricably woven into my own.

I haven’t seen the last film since I saw it in the cinema, so I’m expecting it to be emotional! But I’m loving watching them all the way through, you notice so much more. I don’t think it’s a series I’ll ever get tired of revisiting. Hogwarts is always there to welcome you home 🙂



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