Disclaimer: I’m a Harry Potter nerd. I absolutely love the books and everything J.K. Rowling, but this wasn’t always the case. Here’s a look inside my love affair with Hogwarts.
I’ll admit that when the Harry Potter series first started, I thought it was quite possibly the most immature attempt to make a novel, and quite frankly, it just annoyed me. Everywhere I looked, I’d see something Harry Potter-related; the lightning bolt logo on posters, pictures of owls and it seemed that every other commercial on TV had the theme song from the first film. They even advertised contests through Coca-Cola about how you could win a trip to see the actual Hogwarts castle. And I’d ask myself, “What is so great about this series? Why is everyone reading it?” My curiosity really soared when I saw adults reading the novels, since I thought the books were aimed at adolescents.
Then, when I was about to begin my sophomore year at MSU, on the day I moved in to 3 North Wonders Hall, my best friend Danielle was unpacking her things in the room next door, and out came all the then-released Harry Potter books and movie posters. I couldn’t believe she was reading it, too! She told me they were possibly the best books she’d ever read and I should read them as well. Of course I told her I had no desire whatsoever to read a children’s book, and she said one thing I’ll never forget: “Read the first book and if you don’t like it, fine, but I guarantee that you’ll want to read the second, and the ones that follow.” I couldn’t believe how right she was.
I was amazed because Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was a phenomenal book, introducing readers to this boy named Harry, describing his pain and innocence, revealing his secret identity as a wizard and showing how his life changed literally overnight. So, of course, I had to find out what happened next for our hero and I read, just like Danielle said, The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire. Once the much-anticipated fifth book, The Order of the Phoenix was released two summers ago, I was amazed at how accurately Rowling was able to portray the feelings of a 15-year-old, including his first crush, trying to understand girls, maturing as a wizard, training, learning new magic techniques and becoming a young man.
For me to think an author deserves some kind of credible standing, I really have to be able to get into a book and feel the emotions, sense where I am, picture everything that’s being written to me. Sure enough, Rowling can do just that. She has the unbelievable ability of painting the words on the page without using a single illustration and describing places, people and events, making you feel as if you’re right there experiencing the same things the characters are.
She also has created magic for children, making Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry a place any person would want to go for visits and studies. Who wouldn’t want to learn Charms, Potions, Transfiguration (the ability to change animals into objects or make them vanish) and Divination (sort of like studying how to unveil the future)? OK, OK, stop laughing at me. Call me a nerd, a geek or what you will, but I would much rather learn how to make potions that can cure someone’s ailments, or be taught how to turn a kitten into a tea cozy, than learning how to write a lede or integrate derivatives.
For me, reading Harry Potter lets me escape the reality of this world and enter a magical world the author has created. I’ve become a devoted fan and I think I might always be one because these books truly have inspired me to become a more creative writer. I think it’s done the same for many people, no matter their age. It’s made me closer to my roommate and best friend, Danielle, because we can talk for hours upon hours about what we think the last two books will hold, what will happen in the end, who will end up dying, the possible twists, etc., and it seems perfectly normal to us for Harry Potter to be part of our everyday lives.
Just how big a fan/nerd am I? Well, for starters, aside from having all the books currently released, I, too, have posters from the movies. Danielle even got me an exact replica of Ron Weasley’s wand from the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban movie, as well as an official Hogwarts track jacket. I even think I have a direct link to the books because there is a character named Parvati Patil, who just happens to be an Indian girl (like myself), and I just happen to have been named after Goddess Parvati in the Hindu religion. I’m sure you’re on the floor laughing your head off by now, but I am not even the slightest bit ashamed of loving this series, this wizard and all his friends, and even his enemies.
Call me what you will, but I believe Rowling has brought reading back into mainstream society. Children and adults alike enjoy her books, and it brings them together since parents can share them with their children at bedtime. We’re all anxiously awaiting the arrival of book six, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which comes out in July, because it’s one book closer to the end of the series.
In the words of J.K. Rowling herself, “I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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