‘Hogwarts will always be here to welcome you home’
It’s no secret that I love books, I put release dates in my diary, I stay up way later than I should and always have a stack of books that are on my to be read pile. I’ve queued up for signings, met some of my favourite authors and collected like crazy, now I order subscription boxes too. BUT I have never been to a midnight release, you see very few books warrant it but this isn’t just some book, this is Harry Potter, someone who means as much to me as some real people.
I grew up reading these books, although back in 2001 I was a little late to the game because I was told Harry Potter was ‘for boys’ at some point (what rubbish) but it didn’t take long before I read the books and was hooked. By the time Order of the Phoenix came out when I was nine I begged my Mum to take me to get the book the morning it was released and then again with Half Blood Prince and finally with Deathly Hallows. I was only 11 when the final book was released (10 years ago!!) so I’d never gone to the midnight releases, but got there super early the next day.
There’s something about Harry that brings people together, that gave me comfort every summer when I read the books over and over, when I watched the films and felt the magic in front of my eyes and have a collection that spans more than 10 years now. I was lucky enough to visit The Wizarding World in Orlando when it first opened and then, later the Studio Tour in the UK. This is more than a set of books, this is the first fan obsession I found on my own and fell in love with.
People have asked me why I would stay up until midnight just to pick up a book, but it’s more than that. There is a whole community of Potterheads who, from my experience, are the most loyal, kind and intelligent people I have ever spoken to. We talk, we debate and we welcome people from all walks of life. Hermione taught girls like me that we’re allowed to be smart and that it’s cool to be who we are instead of being like everyone else. Lupin hiding that he is a werewolf is linked to attitudes towards AIDs in the 1980s. The treatment of Muggle Borns by Voldemort and his followers is reminiscent of the treatment of Jews in world war two. There’s endless links to myths and legends as well as brilliant plot. Is it perfect? No, no book is but it meant something to so many people, and it still does. We’re seeing a day we thought would never come and although I’m slightly nervous about the plot, we get to see Harry 19 years later.
And that is just the start of why I’m queuing at midnight tonight.