Elegy for Potter

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Fellow Hogwartians, these are dark times.

You know why, of course. Harry Potter’s story – the story of the Boy Who Lived – is over. Done. Finished. Finite Incantatem. And that’s sad.

When I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I was ten years old: a mishmash of frumpy clothes, social ineptitude, and baby fat. I did not want to read a book about a boy wizard. I also did not want to refuse the friends who insisted I read that book.
But most of all, I did not want to grow up.
One day, a frustrated friend slammed Harry Potter on my desk in a very convincing manner, and I gave in. After all, it was a book. Any book was potentially good in my eyes.
And I read. And I loved it.
I loved it. For the first time in my life, it was as though the places I read about were real and solid and all around me, and it was as though the people I met there had virtues and flaws and conflicts and love and hate all in equal measure. Harry was real. Hogwarts was real.
Magic was real.
I learned things through the books – not just spells and potions and such, but other things, vastly important things that changed the way I looked at life.
I learned three of these.
The first thing that Harry Potter taught me was not to be afraid of growing up. To be frightened of that, I realized, was to be frightened of life. And you couldn’t be frightened of life – there was so much in it: romance and drama and vanquishing evil. But to do all that, you had to grow up first. Growing up, I learned, was an adventure in itself.
The second thing was that the world is more complicated than it seems. It was not Harry who taught me this so much as it was the villains. At first, I hated those awful Slytherins – Snape and Malfoy – and I relished that hatred. They, I thought, must be pure evil. Their souls were black with shadow, and I despised them.
But then there was Lily, and the silver doe, and Snape’s promise to keep Harry safe. There was Draco’s fear, and his love for his family, and the way I saw him cry. Voldemort was pure evil in that he could not love, for he had dispensed with his human soul. But every human soul, Harry told me, has both light and dark in it, and the world is not black and white but shades of grey. Even the people we hate can love.
The third and final thing that Harry taught me was one simple, abiding truth; nothing grandiose or moral, but one thing that made me confident in myself.
I am a complete nerd.
It sounds stupid, of course, and it probably is. But reading Harry Potter showed me who I was: I was both good and evil, I was an aspiring writer, I was a slightly mad Ravenclaw who wasn’t afraid of life. And I was a nerd, and I was proud of that. Hogwarts was my home, and if you’ve read this far I bet it’s yours, too.
So now, as the story of the Boy Who Lived fades to memory, we Hogwartians must raise our cheaply made plastic wands to the stars and light them the only way we know how. We must look at the world for what it is and feel safe in the knowledge that heroes can die, but magic is real, and magic lives on.
Sure, lots of people would call Harry Potter a commercialized franchise and say that the only “magic” is utterly corny and perpetuated by delusional teenagers. And maybe they’re right.
But frankly, who cares?
Magic is real, or at least the kind Harry Potter taught me. Magic lives on.
That, if nothing else, is worth remembering.
Lumos Maxima.





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This article has 23 comments. Post your own now!

NoOneOfConsequence said...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 10:57 am
Yes. Just yes. This is amazing and embodies everything I feel. But I never could have said it so eloquently. Wonderful job.
 
thesilentgirljackie said...
Sept. 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm
This is so well written, and I completely agree! It made me smile :)
 
StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm
Thank you. ^-^
 
forgottenpenname This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 28, 2011 at 12:10 pm
This is gorgeous. :) I find it funny that it's often those of us who rejected Potter early on who are the biggest HP nerds now.
 
StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm
Haha, very true. :) (Conversely, I rejected Twilight early on as well, and then read it and hated it and now reject it again. P:)
 
forgottenpenname This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 28, 2011 at 8:07 pm
Haha, I agree. But Twilight deserved rejection. ;)
 
Luan4Ever replied...
Dec. 7, 2013 at 9:54 pm
That's completely true. When I was in 3rd grade, I had a guy friend who was in 5th grade. He had told me to read the Harry Potter series, knowing that I was an advanced reader and I loved adventure stories. I read a paragraph from a random page in Half-Blood Prince, (now I know it was one of the memories from Tom Riddle's life) and since I didn't understand a thing, I rejected it. In 5th grade, I decided to give it another try. Maybe with maturity, I thought, I would love it. ... (more »)
 
RainyWriter This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 27, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Ooooh! Just when I was getting over the loss of HP...

This was great. It made me smile out of nostalgia. Admittedly, HP is not some grand masterpiece that historians will ramble about centuries from now, but there is a sort of magic about that will turn it into a classic, I believe. A magic that makes the characters feel real and the places seem like you were standing there with Harry.

 
StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 27, 2011 at 9:01 pm
Quite agreed! :) Sure, it may not be the next Odyssey or anything, but give it a hundred years and it'll be right up there with The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. I'm really glad you liked this. ^-^
 
ErisRose said...
Aug. 24, 2011 at 9:46 am
I loved this. Thank you for writing this. It made me smile.
 
StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 24, 2011 at 6:06 pm
Yay! It was meant to. ^-^
 
MissFaber said...
Aug. 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Thank you for writing this.

That is all.

 
StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm
You're welcome! :D
 
AcousticGirl said...
Aug. 14, 2011 at 3:50 am
Haha love it! Exactly how I feel - and I think it's commercialisation is a good thing...it means that more people can enjoy Harry Potter :)) I like the tone of this article too :))
 
StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 14, 2011 at 11:20 am
Thank you! :)
 
Princess Momo said...
Aug. 10, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I should say so much more, about how much I agree, and about how much I love and miss this place, Hogwarts, and its inhabitants, and about how you stole the exact emotions STRAIGHT FROM MY BRAIN. But, instead I must correct you...

I think you mean "baby PHAT." 

*Whips out excessively cool pen with Harry Potter on it*

 
StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 11, 2011 at 11:16 am
haha :) Well, Momo, I suppose I was babishly cool. Not really, though. :P Nice imaginary pen! :D
 
Princess Momo replied...
Aug. 11, 2011 at 6:20 pm
lolz :) great work again!
 
Emiloo said...
Aug. 9, 2011 at 6:45 pm
but still amazing as usual
 
Emiloo said...
Aug. 9, 2011 at 6:44 pm
frustrated friend?;)
 
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