As most of you know 20 years ago today a very special book was released. On the 16th June 1997 Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone was released and little did I know it would change my life forever. Now, I have to make a confession. While I am a huge Potterhead now with a huge collection and love for everything Potter related, I wasn’t in the first wave in 1997, you see I was born in 1994 and couldn’t quite read at the age of 3. It wasn’t until after the films came out I got interested. I was too scared to see the film (the clip of Fluffy terrified me) and thought that only boys liked it (oh how wrong I was), instead, I started reading the books. From that point on it never stopped.
For me this was more than a book. This was something I loved so, so deeply. I remember my first pre-order, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in 2003. I needed that book but as a 9 year old I asked my Mum if we could go and get it as soon as it opened and so I went to WHSmiths handed them my piece of paper and was given my new book with release day goodies. They were so precious to me that I never used them, they currently live at my Mum’s house. For a 9-year-old little girl that was a BIG book, but I got through, I just kept reading and reading. I did the same for Half-Blood Prince and again for Deathly Hallows.
I always loved Hermione, because I felt like I was reading about myself. She was smart, a little bossy and a little annoying but with a good heart. She had messy brown hair and big teeth, I could see Hermione as a friend. I loved Harry and Ron and later Ginny became a firm favourite too. With each film, I would eagerly await what would happen, even though I knew just to see the magic again. I was lucky enough to go to America to see the theme park not long after opening and to go to London for the studio tour a few years later.
These books, these words spoke to me. They were a place I could fall into, books I could read over and over again and just be transported. I wasn’t bullied, I was a witch as smart as Hermione, as brave as Harry, as lovely as Ron. They were like good friends to me. Even now I hear the theme music and get goosebumps because it means so much to me. I’m even getting emotional as I write this. Everyone who knows and loves me knows there are few things in life I love more than Potter, hell even my first car was called Harry! And even though Pottermore doesn’t agree I always have and always will be a Gryffindor.
As I get older I’ll continue reading, listening, watching. Any extra books or information I’ll greedily take because I care so much about that world, the world that Jo has created for us to enjoy. I’ll make my wand collection even bigger, continue collecting until I don’t have the room and continue to live the lessons that Harry and his world taught me. This was so much more than a set of books for me, it was a childhood, a love, a lifeline and happiness.
Here’s to another 20 years of magic.