When somebody asked me what my favourite book of all time was, only one thought sprang to my head; but this thought was in a way childish, and so I began to scan through my mental list of the classics, to find something appropriate to reply to this question with. In the end however, my search through my own head was fruitless; it was Harry Potter.
Being eight years old at the time it came out, I was fascinated by the idea of witches, wizards, and an entire underworld existing that I, a muggle, couldn’t be a part of. Unless… and wasn’t it an obvious solution… I’d simply become a witch!
And there it was; I spent two years reciting spells such as “expelliarmus!” and waving around sparkly pencils, and trying to make inanimate objects move. And by the time I was eleven, I was completely ready for an invitation to study at Hogwarts. And when eventually the expected letter was not marked with the infamous red wax seal, and instead came from secondary school and had an ugly green stag on it, the first wave of realisation occurred: I am not magic. The disappointment was extraordinary. This was possibly my first experience of real disappointment.
The camaraderie of the books was what enticed me the most; at primary school (until about the age of 16), I was a tiny, skinny thing, with curly ash blonde hair that never quite looked right, and had braces and glasses. I was quiet, despised reading aloud, and therefore, people tended to ignore me completely, or make up inventive and original nicknames. I found lunchtime in the library the highlight of my day, especially when I could go and explore the decadent, grandiose world of witches and wizards. The imagery and the ideas were beyond my comprehension, and for a long time, I simply refused to believe it wasn’t real. And when the first film was released, and my parents took me to go and see it, this only compounded my unshakeable belief that magic is real. I found it so realistic in fact, that I told my parents everything that was going to happen in the film before it did.
Nevertheless, I persevere in believing in Harry Potter, even though now I’ve developed a slightly wider world view and study English at university. The magic, and the hold it has on children is almost incomprehensible, and I think that to some children at least, it sparks their first interest in reading, and the world of books. I certainly owe my interest in literature to J.K Rowling.
I’d like to continue to believe in the magic of Hogwarts, because it was magical when I was little. And in the same way as I refuse blindly to consider the possibility of Father Christmas not being real, I will blindly refuse to believe that I’m not a witch, because, well… why ever not?