The first time I heard about Harry Potter I wasn’t that gaga over it.
It all started during a random chat with one of my high school classmates on our vacant period. She first spotted me reading a Choose Your Own Adventure book with a “What will you do when a comet hits the Earth” plotline sitting on the bleacher. She sat beside me and asked, “Besides that, what else would like to read?” I’m the kind of kid with a low attention span then, so her question was a welcome distraction as I can’t make my mind yet whether if I’ll ride a car to escape the torrential downpour of flaming stones (please turn to page 70) or go with the proceeding military evacuation (please turn to page 114). In response, without any thought at all, as if my mouth blurted the words out of its own accord, I said, “Harry Potter,” having watched earlier in the morning a news feature in Channel 2’s Magandang Umaga Bayan that this Harry Potter book breaks records by being the fastest selling book in history (In hindsight, that news source might be the reason why the name stuck in my mind for a while during that day).
“Great,” she said, “I have the first book. Would like to borrow it?”
And for the love of God, finishing the book was my baptism of fire in the genre of fantasy (as I would later know), which I didn’t get the hang of after reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. To tell you honestly the only thing that stood out for me was this sport thingy in flying broomstick with players chasing after balls soaring through the air. At that age I admit I ain’t that imaginative of a reader… yet; I still like my book peppered with illustrations or two just to see in my mind’s eye what’s currently happening in the book I’m reading. Pretty enough my classmate somehow sensed how lukewarm my appreciation was for her favorite book, that’s why she didn’t even bothered me whether or not I would like to borrow the second book. In my young mind then, I said to myself, “I’m over and done with you Mr. Harry Potter.”
Now, let’s fast forward to the time when the first movie adaptation in the series was released, and right there and then I’d seen the error of my way.
To patch things up, and to refresh my memory as well, I quickly borrowed the book in the library. This time I may say that I have become a seasoned reader — of sorts — having read and enjoyed J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and rereading the first book in the Harry Potter series was like giving a second glance to a beautiful lady you pass by the street; that aside from the pretty face, you can’t just help but whistle at her svelte figure.
Kept me looking back and whistle — no, I think it’s more like whooping — J.K. Rowling did to me after each intense reading of her books, which in no words I can describe, is an incomparable experience. Like Middleearth, Hogwarts and the wizarding world are places in my imaginative mind that I truly embraced.
J.K. Rowling is indeed a conjurer of magic for no other author made me care more of her characters; I cried, suffered with them through trials and heartbreaks and jump with them in moments of triumph. Like other kids then, how I wish that somebody would carry me away from my dull existence; that a day would come when an owl swoops down with a letter inviting in this exclusive school for wizards or that I had powerful aunts and uncles (since it was preposterous to assume that I’m an orphan) living far away who’s also a part of this secret world.
Such was the infectious fantasy world that J.K. Rowling created through the eyes of Harry Potter that I couldn’t say no to its charms once I entered college for I’m still at it, and I was quite lucky to even have our World Literature subject class discuss the fourth book and you bet it that when the exams came I easily aced it! (Talk about totting your own horn! Ahaha! )
Even after finishing college and finding a job the series still have a hold on me, you can’t forget Harry just as easily (even with a wave of a wand) for his journey is the same as yours. You will not read until he completely vanquishes Lord Voldemort and in the book’s concluding pages find his destiny.
Indeed, J.K. Rowling cast a spell, a magic that will truly never diminish in the hearts of readers young and old alike.
Like a powerful Patronus Charm it glows all the more brighter, dispelling the Dementors that haunt us; its warm light a comforting embrace, and with it an elating feeling of belonging.
The world is all the richer for writers like J.K. Rowling, and nothing more is truthful when she aptly said that “Hogwarts will always welcome you home” for, indeed, countless children across the world it is their home way from home.
Happy birthday Joanne Kathleen Rowling!