The Harry Potter novels have been a constant since I was a teenager.
I was aware of their presence – and their popularity – for a long time before I read them. Almost two decades, in fact.
When the first book was released, I was too old for it. I was always an advanced reader, choosing adult books over those for kids from about the age of eight. So I sneered at this book about wizards, determined it was for children.
And as the rest of the series appeared over the years, my feelings never wavered. I picked up a friend’s copy of The Order of the Phoenix during a girls’ holiday to Gran Canaria, not long after it came out, but I wasn’t impressed.
So many people raved about the books over the years and told me to read them, but I wasn’t interested.
I saw the earlier films when they came out and still I wasn’t converted.
It was only after I read J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike detective novels that my interest was piqued. I enjoyed her writing and my mind began to turn towards Harry Potter, but it was never quite the right time to commit to such a long series.
And then last year I found myself with time on my hands.
And I loved it.
It might have been almost two decades since the first book came out, but it was the right time for me to discover Hogwarts. At a difficult time in my life, when my mental health and my self-esteem were wavering, I found something special. Against the backdrop of a shift in global politics and the rise of the far right, I read what turned out to be a powerful and intelligent story about good vs evil, about sacrifice, about friendship and destiny.
Even as a thirty-something, Harry Potter was a significant read, allowing me to immerse myself in another reality. I can only imagine what it means to the children who grew up with it, investing so utterly in Rowling’s wizarding world.
Harry Potter might be twenty years old, but its message is timeless and will no doubt appeal to many more generations of children, as they seek some magic in the world.