Unusually for a bookworm, until very recently I had never read the Harry Potter books.
Yes, you read that correctly. I had never taken the time to enjoy one of the most popular series of novels ever written.
And I have my reasons. I even wrote a blog post about them.
When the first books in the series came out, I was too old for them. When the release of each new book became an event, I sneered and had no interest in reading a children’s book. I didn’t feel that they were aimed at me. In my teens and early twenties, my reading was much more ambitious than it is now and I often avoided anything too populist, because I didn’t want to go along with the crowd.
As I got older, I heard so many positive things about Harry Potter, about how the stories had influenced people’s lives and inspired them to become the person they wanted to be. But still I wasn’t really interested.
It has only been the last couple of years when I’ve started to consider reading the books. The feeling grew slowly, after I began Rowling’s Cormoran Strike detective novels and enjoyed her writing immensely.
Eventually, I had to admit to myself that I did want to read the Harry Potter books; I was just waiting for the right time.
And that time came over the last month, as I had some time off work and decided it would be ideal to get caught up in a new series.
I finished the last book on Saturday, and I’m so glad that I decided to get to know Harry Potter and his wizarding world.
There isn’t much point in writing a review of the novels, as I’m probably one of the few people who was still to read them. But they did have an effect on me, and reading them felt important. There’s no denying that Harry Potter has become a phenomenon, and is meaningful to so many people around the world.
It’s a story that celebrates the outsider, or the person who has always been different. I understand why so many people wish they could visit Hogwarts, and experience some of the magical things that the students there enjoy.
Harry Potter was fun and clever and dark and always full of adventure. The love that went into creating these characters is obvious, and it’s no wonder so many readers have responded to them with the same depth of feeling.
I’m glad I got over my own aversion to this series; sometimes things are just worth the hype.
That said, if I’d tried to read these books 10 or 15 years ago, I don’t think I would have enjoyed them as much. Being able to immerse myself in the whole series was brilliant, rather than reading the stories one by one and waiting for the next book to be published.
But most of all, it felt like this was the right time, when I could appreciate the books in a way I wouldn’t have done when I was younger.