7 Things I Realised When I Read Harry Potter as an Adult

Let’s talk about reading Harry Potter as an adult today.

After one particularly rough day, during the lockdown, I decided to cope with this unprecedented situation the way I have coped with many things: by reading the Harry Potter series. This has been one of my big personal projects during this time, apart from the work and school and all: rereading the entire Harry Potter series. (That is the 7 books J.K. Rowling wrote, I do not count the Cursed Child, there are fanfictions far better than that travesty.)

I last read the Harry Potter series in 2013 when I was 7 years younger and deep in the throes of my teenage rebellion. Now, in 2020, I’m a young adult, I have grown out of my rebellion and have realised that there is a lot about the world that I do not know. I also already knew the story and all the plot twists and was not going to get any big plot surprises through this read. What I did get was a lot of emotions, rediscovery of the ability to be sucked in a book that I thought I lost to my teens and a lot of realisations. These realisations are what I present to you today and so without further ado, here are 7 things I realised when I read Harry Potter as an adult.

  1. Just how tragic James and Lily Potter’s deaths and their whole situation was.

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As a kid,21 seemed to be a very grown-up and very far away age. Hence, James and Lily dying at 21, leaving behind their 1-year-old son seemed sad to me but the weight of the tragedy didn’t quite hit me. I am 21 now. 21 is way too early and to go the way they did? It is awful. Add to that the fact that Sirius Black, who was innocent and had just lost his best friends, got blamed for the whole thing by the man responsible for it, framed for another crime he didn’t commit and thrown in prison for 12 years, also at 21. That is such a terrible situation to be in so young and so incredibly tragic. (Also one of the reasons I stand by my belief that we deserve Marauders Era books and movies; they will be tragic but they will be so interesting and these people deserved to be remembered in more ways than the tragic tales they became)

2. Just how great a family the Weasleys were.

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The Weasleys were a great representation of being poor, but as a family, absolute gold. The way Molly Weasley immediately sent Harry a Christmas present when Ron realised he probably won’t get one, the way they always took Harry in and provided him with the best of what they could, always checked on him, cared for him, and how they all considered him family and became one when they didn’t have to, was amazing. Be it Molly Weasley’s protectiveness of Harry, the Weasley twins providing him with the Marauders map, Ginny, of course, being his future wife and Ron his best friend through it all and many more such instances, Harry had always had the Weasleys behind him at the moments he needed support. The Weasleys, Hermoine and Hagrid were with him, always and were his family and I did not give them enough credit for this as a child.

3. Just how wonderful a person Harry James Potter was.

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Harry Potter had a very tragic life. His parents were murdered, he lived in an abusive household and narrowly escaped death multiple times and lived through a war and lost many close to him. As a kid for me and I suspect many others, Harry suffered from what I call the Protagonist’s Curse. No one said their favourite character was Harry himself, mine was Hermione and people chose any character really, as minor as they could be but not Harry. This is stupid because Harry Potter was an absolute gem of a person. To have gone through what he did, to live through the abuse the Durselys put him through, to be the Chosen One, to lose your few loved ones to the cause and to still be brave and just inherently good when he was so young it absolutely wasn’t fair, is amazing. He was a deeply selfless and wonderful person and this time around I got very affectionate and attached to the kid and I think he deserves a lot more credit than he gets. I didn’t realise how he was just a child living through absolute hell.17 seemed old when I was a kid.

4. Just how wasteful all the deaths felt and, where and how much they (still) hurt. 

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All the deaths, right from Cedric Diggory to Remus Lupin, were impactful yet felt so wasteful. Cedric was a great guy and a good person, and he died so suddenly, so young. Sirius Black, who had lived a tragic fate he didn’t deserve, had finally built a relationship with his godson, just happened to get Stunned in the wrong place. Dumbledore, who is, admittedly a character with shades of grey, deserved a better death, not the one where he was disarmed and weak already. Mad-eye Moody too, as a brave Auror, deserved a better way to go. Dobby, and Hedwig, were too innocent and too pure to have gone out the way they did. Severus Snape, a very grey character, didn’t quite deserve that gruesome death. Fred Weasley, jokester and happy guy, did not deserve to die young. Remus and Tonks, who had just had a new baby boy, shouldn’t have died leaving him an orphan as an echo of the deaths that started this all, James and Lily Potter’s. All these deaths had a far-reaching impact and just really really hurt but were true to the fact that in war, the young, the innocent, the old and the seasoned die all the same. (Also dead: my heart after reading about all deaths these again)

5. Just how well-developed and well-written the Magical world was

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As a child, I knew the books were good because I loved them but as an adult, who has read a lot more books, I have come to realize just what a great piece of writing they are.  I can only hope and dream that one day I can write something half as good as these books. The world and its nuances are so well developed and so rare, J.K Rowling really made magic, in the most literal sense with these books. They are something special, something that only happens, once in a while. Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic, places like Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade etc. are just testaments to a world well developed. In fact, it is so well developed that many people(Myself included) would rather reside in this fictional world than our real one and that is saying something.

6. Just how much better the books were than the movies.

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Don’t get me wrong. the movies are great by themselves, I love them and will watch them if they’re on for nostalgia reasons. However, when stacked against the books, the books win by a wiiiide margin. With the books the places your imagination can go, the movies can not. So much is better in the books; Ron’s entire character, Ginny’s entire character(Travesties these two are in the movies really), Hermione is well, human, the entire battle of Hogwarts(And most duel scenes or fighting really) At the end of the day, the books are the OG’s and the movies simply can’t compare.

7.Just how much I love Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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When I was young, if you asked me my favourite Harry Potter book, it would, without a shadow of a doubt, be Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was the most complex, it answered all the questions, it added depth to characters like Dumbledore, it revealed the huge plot twist that was Severus Snape, all in all, it was the perfect culmination to the series. My favourite movie, however, has always been Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, as it is the truest to the book. This time, I enjoyed reading the Prisoner of Azkaban book and realised that it is my favourite Harry Potter book now. It introduces many new concepts like Azkaban and beloved characters like Sirius and Lupin, Hogwarts has great teachers for once so the education is fun to read about, the Marauders come into the picture and most importantly to me, it is the last happy book. With Voldemort coming back in the next one and the war starting, there is a very obvious tone shift and for me, the happiness in this book and in Harry, who as I mentioned I grew very attached to mattered a lot.

THIS POST’S QUESTION: What have you realised about the Harry Potter books as you have grown up? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

An Open Letter To J.K. Rowling.

Lets talk about growing up with the Harry Potter series through an open letter to its author,J.K Rowling today.
Dear J.K. Rowling,

I write this letter pretty late,in the larger scheme of things. I’ve loved your brainchild for nearly a decade now and decided ,for obvious reasons that something this life defining for  me must be appreciated. Hence,I write an open letter,which is about the only way I could ever hope to reach you.

I encountered the first book in the series when my primary school librarian specially picked it out and offered it to me as she felt that it was something I would love.I was an innocent,book loving child who had no idea that she was being given something that was going to define so much of the person I would be and would matter to me so much.

I didn’t quite realise,but I’d just opened the door to becoming a more voracious reader,a more open-minded person,learning to love words and languages ,many interesting conversations and so many friendships.I learnt to value what I have, for some people do not have even that.I learnt to be loyal,steadfast and brave.To always have courage and do the right thing even if no one stands by you.To value family and love the people I have in my life,instead of thinking about those that I don’t. To be a better friend and to be who I am,instead of conforming to someone else’s definition of what is ‘cool’ and what is ‘weird’.It taught me,most importantly to believe that magic ,in some form or the other is lurking just around the corner and that all we have to do is,look.

I wanted to tell you how proud I am of how far you’ve come. We’ve all read the stories of when you were writing the book,going through life’s worst situations but I feel like you haven’t been appreciated enough for being the strong,brave,courageous woman you are.The way you didn’t lose hope even when you faced rejection,inspires me,the writer, to not lose hope and believe in myself.Even though I didn’t actually grow up with the books,I was much too young to read them while they actually came out,I want to tell you that I did end up growing up with them.So many of us did.

The book series was in bookstores from 1997 to 2007.The Harry Potter movies ran in theatres from 2001 to 2011. Harry Potter and The Cursed Child,the ‘eighth’ story was staged in London on 7th June 2016 and continues to be staged.The first movie in the new Harry Potter spin-off series,Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them hits theatres on the 18th of November 2016.A spin off series,a whole second world you created within the world that you already had, with new words,new people and a whole new century is happening and taking us all home again.Because that what you’ve given us,or me,at least in that apparently fictitious world of yours.I can always find the warmth and coziness of home waiting for me a book ,play or movie away.I still,re-read the book series and learn something new or get a better perspective on the things I’m dealing with in life.So,even though its nowhere near enough and would probably never suffice or do justice to what this world of yours has been and continues to be for me,thank you.

I’m thankful that all was well, even though it kept me yearning for more.Most of all,I’m thankful that Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number 4,Privet Drive, were proud that they were perfectly normal,thank you very much.

Yours,

A Potterhead.

THIS POST’S QUESTION: Have you read/watched the Harry Potter Series? If yes,what have you personally,learnt from it? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!