My favorite smell in the world is the scent of a freshly printed book. It holds the possibility of an untried adventure, a new world of enchantment; language to make you dare and hope and dream… In essence, the smell of a new book holds promise. The book that infatuated me with literature was, as cliché as it sounds, Harry Potter.
A Harry Potter book is every elementary school child’s arm candy. As a second grader I appreciated it for the wizardry, thrill, and intricate storytelling but nothing beyond that. I read them again in seventh grade. I whizzed through the series, and I understood so much more. The words made more sense, I could appreciate the romantic relationships, and the magic – after all that time – still enveloped me.
After I reread them in seventh grade, I made a promise to myself that I would reread them every two years. This summer, I stuck to that promise and picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Two months later, I was sobbing over the death of Dobby in the final book in the installment.
Harry’s adventures were some of the highlights of my summer. I learned how to sing “Harry Potter in 99 Seconds” with my best friends, spread the love by encouraging others to read the series, and altogether lost myself in the world of Hogwarts. Most of all, I learned so much more from the series my third time reading them. This time, I was able to draw lessons from the moral themes.
“There once was a boy named Harry, who constantly conquered death.” From what I could interpret, Harry was never afraid of Death. Just like his ancestor Ignotus Peverell (one of the Three Brothers, and original owner of the Cloak of Invisibility), he respected Death, and Death regarded him in the same light. Harry could have given up, he could have scampered away from his role as “the Chosen One”, but instead he fought a battle that he believed was worth fighting. Harry reminded me that fighting for what you believe in is one of the most important things a human can do.
Harry never lost his ability to love, despite the horrendous things happening in the world around him. He reminded me that despite all my petty issues, remaining happy and loving are some of the most critical human qualities.
Hermione Granger was the girl that originally taught me that being smart and heroic and stoic and feminist was perfectly okay. Hermione is one of my biggest role models in life, because she showed me that being smart was equivalent to being cool.
Tom Riddle/Voldemort and Harry were raised in similar situations. The former ended up becoming the most evil wizards of all time, and the latter became one of the most morally admired characters literature has ever seen. Voldemort chose his own dark and treacherous path. Harry chose his own bright and loving path, one that would have such an amazing impact on the world around him. From this, I drew that J.K. Rowling had a message for all of us: no matter where you come from, you can always choose where you’re going. It is so important to choose the right path.
He is a friend when I am lonely.
He is a moral compass when I forget myself.
He and his friends provide an escape for when I most need one.
My renewed love for Harry Potter triggered a renewed love of reading. Reading is like dreaming and flying and everything good in the world. There is nothing better than a great book. The author, J.K. Rowling, is one of the few people that I can think of that deserves every single cent of the money that she has. The light and happiness that she has given to so many people is incomprehensible. That is magic on it’s own, but it’s the type that does not require a wand. It is purely the type that requires imagination.