I was seven years old when I first cracked open a Harry Potter book. I was not the most enthusiastic reader at the time. In fact, I was probably the slowest in my class. I spent what felt like eons cursing Poppleton the pig. It was difficult, and I was by no means interested in mastering the trade. I knew stories, I had every Madeline book ever written memorized word for word, why on earth would i need to read? There were trees, and hammocks, and all sorts of delightful things in the real world, I felt no need for anything new. For Christmas, imagine my horror at receiving one of these detestable items. It was from my uncle whom I’d always idolized and adored. The title, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. My uncle must have seen the disappointment written clearly over my wee face because he said to me, “You’ll like it Soli, really. There’s a magical world, and unicorns, and even dragons!”. And because I knew he was smart, I almost believed him. He spoke Greek, Latin, Gaelic, German, English, French, and about one thousand other languages. Heck, he could read hieroglyphics! And so I began to read. I read and read, my nose caught between the pages in a flurry to keep up. In two days, I had finished it, my breath caught in the magical world of Harry and his friends. The next day I read the second, then the third, and then the fourth! My grubby little hands reached greedily for another taste of where I had been. The winsomeness of Hogwarts is not only its twisting corridors and fantastic beasts, it’s not even Quidditch! It’s the impact that it has had on the lives of millions. Harry, Hermione, Ginny, Ron, Fred, George, Luna, Dobby, Winky, Snape, Dumbledore, and even Collin Creevy shaped me into the person that I am today. As they grew up, so did I. Mrs. Weasley was a second mother to me. I knew that whenever I was upset she could look up at her clock and know I was coming, then she’d cradle me in her arms and comfort me. My first real love was Cedric. And I am not alone in this. My friend and I called each other sobbing hysterically on our eleventh birthdays when we failed to get a letter in the mail and Hagrid did not show up with a half squished birthday cake. Today we have the beloved Youtube phenomena “A Very Potter Musical” and sequel (to which I have all songs on my ipod), a Quidditch team in our high school, and over half my school was there at midnight, November 19, even though we had an AP Euro test the next day. And so here I sit, on Ronald Bilius Weasley’s 31st birthday, in Algebra, with nothing but Potter on my mind. To our generation it is more than a story, it is a lifestyle choice. And I, for one, am glad to know that the eye-candy of Diagon Alley will be indefinitely waiting for me.
My Mirror of Erised
March 13, 2011