“After all this time?” “Always.” The lasting appeal of Harry Potter

I have just finished The Chamber of Secrets and so I thought I would write a few words down on the Harry Potter legacy.

One of my fondest childhood memories is being read The Philosopher’s Stone in primary school. I remember my teacher and her Hagrid voice. The book was published in the UK in 1997, so I would have been ten years old or so. Interestingly, I have always been a bookworm but didn’t get into these books when I was young. Looking back I’m trying to figure out why, but nothing comes.

Anyway, my second encounter with Harry Potter was again with The Philosopher’s Stone, this time in secondary school.  The films followed quickly from 2001 onwards and I remember being very keen about the films.

Similarly to what I imagine fans feel about the books, I feel like I grew up to a background of Harry Potter films. I remember going to the cinema with friends now long out of my life, meeting my first proper boyfriend at The Prisoner of Azkaban and watching The Half Blood Prince with the man who would end up as my husband!

So what exactly is the lasting appeal of the boy wizard?

The principles of the stories
Not too dissimilar to my thoughts on The Hunger Games, the basics of the stories are ones everyone can relate to, or at least would like to relate to; friendship, loyalty, bravery and magic. The passion and the unwavering division between good and evil has endless appeal. We all envisage ourselves acting in the ‘right way’ if challenged, if faced with an impossible choice, and this we can live out through the lives of those at Hogwarts.

More than this though, the individuals are hugely personable. Who hasn’t at one time or another felt like they were different, lost or fighting against the current? We all have, as have the characters in the books and films, from orphaned Harry to the unrequited love of Snape.

Humour
I admit, there were lines in The Chamber of Secrets that actually made me chuckle out loud. And with the films, who doesn’t love Rupert Grint’s fantastic expressions? Even Snape wearing Neville’s grandmother’s clothes is hilarious. I think all of us, especially us adults, need a little silliness every now and again and Harry Potter is always my go to for that.

A time turner
Focussing on the films here, I do enjoy watching some amazing skills from actors who are unfortunately no longer with us, like Richard Harris, Richard Griffiths and Alan Rickman. Even at the time, when he was alive, I was absolutely astounded by the portrayal of Snape’s death by Alan Rickman. It’s one of those scenes which pretty much guarantees tears from me. Re-watching after his death, it is even more poignant, even more moving. Although Rickman had so many acting achievements, this is one way I’m pleased he is immortalised. These films can help us go back in time and remember these talents.

Endless material
Like the Tolkein universe, the Harry Potter universe is vast. The fantastic exhibition in Watford in London is an absolute treasure trove for any Harry Potter fan. Here are some of my photos, including one of me and my sister in law on the Knight Bus!

And with the new Cursed Child projects and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them there is no shortage of enjoyment for new and old fans alike.

Plus, with many emotional and inspirational revelations in easy to quote form, Harry Potter is a source of endless, delightful titbits. Head to Pinterest for your next Harry Potter fix!

Book reading challenge?
To spread them out and give myself an opportunity to enjoy other books, I am reading a book or two in between each Harry Potter, starting last December. It would be fantastic to read them all in a space of a year, but given the sheer size of some of the books (I’m looking at you The Goblet of Fire) I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it! But we’ll see. For now, I’m just enjoying each book as it comes.

I know many of my friends and family are Harry Potter fans, let me know in the comments what some of your favourites scenes/passages are.

Until next time, I’ll leave you with a quote from Dumbledore:

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

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