“Happy Birthday, Harry”
Every summer I open a book and board the Hogwarts Express, returning to the wizarding world. For a few short months I gain the ability to travel through the story of the boy who lived. Though I wish it would never stop, the train cannot go on forever, and I’m forced to exit the last page of the last chapter, closing the book for another year.
The muggle world struggles to understand the value of Harry’s story until we read and grasp the levels of sacrifice that created it. In the books we learn that the opposite of of love isn’t hatred; it’s fear. Love drives the entire story to its climax where Harry sacrifices himself for his friends and chooses to face Voldemort’s greatest fear–death. Voldemort’s fear erases his understanding of love and pushes him to mutilate his own soul to escape death’s inevitability. Both Harry and Voldemort must choose either love or fear.
Tom Riddle and Harry Potter start out life in similar circumstances–parentless but talented–however the choices they make determine the direction of their lives. Voldemort succumbs to fear and hatred, but from the beginning Harry choose Gryffindor over Slytherin, his friends over himself, and love over power.
Rowling’s theme of love emanates from every page, wrapping itself around her readers like a warm and comforting blanket. No matter what our lives are like, we can read Harry’s story and experience that feeling of love, like we’re finally coming home. (Originally Published July 31st, 2015) - K
“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.“ - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
I first read these lines while sitting on the floor of my university’s library in an attempt to escape studying for exams. I was in my early 20s and had never read Harry Potter before. For years I had heard about Snape, Hermione, Gryffindor, and something called butterbeer, but knew next to nothing about the plot. Over the next year, those characters, that world, would carry met through graduate school and wedding planning. The series was everything I wanted it to be and more than I expected. While a part of me is sad that I missed out on reading the books as they were released, I am thankful that I read them as an adult. At the end of very busy days and through long nights, Ron, Hermione, Harry, and Dumbledore were there to keep me company. - A