The Cultural Experience of Harry Potter | Teen Ink

The Cultural Experience of Harry Potter

October 8, 2013
By ThomasB9 BRONZE, Newton, Massachusetts
ThomasB9 BRONZE, Newton, Massachusetts
3 articles 0 photos 3 comments


Harry Potter is practically a way of life. It is a most certainly a cultural experience. When my family walked the final steps before entering Harry Potter World, my senses were tingling. I could not have been more apprehensive. After almost 12 years, basically my entire life, I might add, the ultimate Harry Potter experience had arrived, and I was getting to experience it, first hand.

And it was quite a sight. On this trip, when I wasn’t touring the shelves of Honey Dukes or flying behind Harry on a broomstick, one of my favorite things to do at Harry Potter World was to sit by the entrance with a cup of Butterbeer and watch people come and go. More often than not, they would burst into tears and it truly was an amazingly moving seen. To know that all their life they have been greedily awaiting the next premier of a book or movie and now they can actually be a part of it. Everybody there shared something, a love of all things Harry Potter. And because everybody knew that, everybody let loose. Adults pretended to have wand fights and kids shouted spells out, challenging one another’s Harry Potter trivia knowledge. The familiar sounds of different Harry Potter songs coursed through the air, enhanced the moment and drew me in, further immersing me in the world of Harry Potter. And as I swallowed the buttery, warm, golden-colored butterbeer in my cup, I felt the jubilance in the atmosphere. Even my sense of smell was being pushed to the limit. Not only did the butter beer provide a delectable fragrance but also the smell of sweet, sugary treats drifted over to me from “Honeydukes,” all the while being complemented by the rich smells of fresh breakfast at “The Three Broomsticks.”

“Wow, I had breakfast at The Three Broomsticks this morning, The Three Broomsticks!” The place where Harry, Ron, and Hermione go together, the protagonist of a book. Throughout my memorable meal I could not stop thinking about where I actually was. I imagined I was eating there, just another day as a student of Hogwarts, enjoying my English breakfast of eggs and porridge, a typical meal. I completed eating my food and sat there, soaking it all up, enjoying the moment.

I turned, looked out the window at the world around me , The World of Harry Potter. And that is when it really hit me for the first time. I always had known that Harry Potter was very influential and important in the hearts of almost all people but I had never really understood just how important the series was. Until now.

It was like a light switch that had been off all my life had finally turned on, and at the exact same moment when I looked upon the world that countless people had only dreamed about being part of, it all rushed at me, my eyes vacuums sucking it all in, and capturing the moment as a permanent image. And at that point in time I told myself, “This moment is going to be with me for the rest of my life. I am going to remember and look back upon this moment five, ten, 50 years from now.” And if this is what it is like for me, someone who only joined in the race half way through, I can only imagine what it must be like for someone who has stuck with it all the way, from the very first click of the deluminator on Privet Drive, to the very last screech of the Hogwarts express as “The last trace of steam evaporated in the autumn air.”

These people grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, aged 11 when the first book was released, 12 when the second came, all the way up to the seventh book. And that’s what I saw as I looked at the entrance, people overcome with a feeling of closure that they had sought throughout their entire time entwined within the world of Harry Potter.

The author's comments:
It was time to submit something.
It was time to submit something, so naturally of course, I went to the internet. My teacher had told me about Teen Ink and their ongoing contests. Upon seeing the options, it was clear that the best one for me was Travel and Culture. Earlier that year, my family had taken a trip to Florida and gone to Harry Potter World, the subject of this piece. As a passionate Harry Potter fan, the actual writing of my article was not so difficult. I had all these emotions about the books, movies, and the theme park built up inside me, so I simply let them spill onto the page. Defining Harry Potter as a culture was more difficult. The goal of my piece is to convince you that Harry Potter is not just a series, but a culture, a “way of life.”

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This article has 5 comments.

on Mar. 7 2014 at 7:36 pm
ThomasB9 BRONZE, Newton, Massachusetts
3 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Thanx, bigt

Cider said...
on Oct. 25 2013 at 3:19 pm
This article brought me right to the Harry Potter them park and in turn to the world of the books and movies.  I could smell the butter beer and hear the excited gasps of the visitors as they entered the gates.  Definitely made me want to return. 

Amy Cider said...
on Oct. 15 2013 at 10:50 pm
Reading this took me right to the Harry Potter Theme Park.  I could smell the butter beer and hear the gasps of excitement of the visitors.  It made me want to go for another visit. 

AmyCider said...
on Oct. 15 2013 at 9:14 am
Reading this transported me to the Harry Potter Theme Park, I could smell the butter beer and hear the visitors exclaim in wonder as they entered the gates - and I would love to return!  Thanks for the great article!

bigt said...
on Oct. 14 2013 at 11:22 am
nice article! good work, very well written.