This summer when I was in my third trimester with little M, I struggled a lot with having enough energy to get through the day. Between staying active with B and keeping up with my photography business in the evenings and on the weekends, I usually ended up laying in bed whenever my husband would get home from work. To keep myself occupied, I took up reading some of my favorite novels and ultimately ended up re-reading the whole Harry Potter series. It was, quite honestly, one of the most fun things I did this summer (besides having a baby in our bathroom, of course).
I am someone who really gets into the books that I am reading…like, really really. I get emotionally invested in whatever is happening to the main character(s) and it tends to affect my mood. In fact, just the other day I posted this meme on my Facebook page:
And I kid you not, it is so true. That’s why I try to power through Order of the Phoenix as quickly as possible because for however long it takes me to read it, I’m always super moody and down in the dumps for that period of time.
Anyway, you might chuckle and think it is silly that I got so emotional over a series that is technically considered a children’s series. I would argue; however, that re-reading the series ignited a light that I thought was long lost after years of “adulting” and being a parent.
Here’s the thing: While we spend the first 18 years of our lives wishing and waiting for the day that we would be considered adults (oh, just me?), there is actually a lot to adulthood that can get you down if you’re not careful. I’m sure a few things just popped in your head as you read that last sentence. If not, let me trigger your memory: Bills. Work. Taxes. Laundry. Oh yeah.
It is easy to get caught up in the grind and to lose appreciation for the small things that make life so wonderful. I know there are big things, too, but I’m thinking about those stretches of time when you don’t have anything major waiting in the wings. Personally, those stretches for me happen right now, in between the joy of Christmas and the reflective season of Lent. I found myself thinking the other day about what I could do to rediscover the magic during this time and then it hit me, MAGIC.
And so, my friends, I’d like to present to you my four reasons why you should re-read (or read for the first time) the Harry Potter series.
It forces your brain to focus. When I started the Sorcerer’s Stone over the summer, I remember being taken aback by the level of detail with which J.K. Rowling uses for literally everything. This was definitely something I did not appreciate when I was younger and plowing through the newest book so I could be up to speed in conversations with my friends (or, let’s be real, my sisters). Realizing this early on, I made a point to be intentional with my re-reading of the series. If you take it slower than your usual pace and absorb all the little details, it makes your experience 1000x richer. Honestly, I found that focusing on the details in the books also taught me to re-focus my attention in real life as well. I have the tendency to speed through life, to check off things on my to-do list. If I remember to stop and pay attention to the small things, I find that I’m a lot more grateful.
Yes, you could watch the movies instead of reading the series and be able to keep up in conversation. If you do this, however, you’ll be missing out on the chance to exercise your mind and to witness the wizarding world in full (rather than just what the movies show you).
It requires your imagination. Having an active imagination as an adult is so important. I think it makes us more interesting humans, more compassionate towards others and more easily entertained. Now that B is a full-fledged toddler, I am becoming more and more aware of just how much my imagination has withered. I mean, yes, I imagine things but they’re mostly related to what I would do if I win the lottery. How original is that? Ha.
This point piggy backs off of the point above, I suppose. By focusing on the details, you can’t help but fuel your imagination to accompany the scenes described by Rowling. I would be very surprised to hear anyone say that they didn’t imagine themselves in Harry’s shoes at least once while reading the books. I mean, what would you do if some giant crashed into your house and exclaimed something to the effect of “YER A WIZARD HARRY!”
Yeah, I don’t know what I’d do either.
It emphasizes the value of true friendship. If you’re destined to save the wizarding world from the most evil being ever (looking at you, you-know-who), chances are you’re going to come across more than a few people that want to be friends with you…but aren’t really friends. Isn’t this true in real life, too? Out of all of your friends and acquaintances, how many would you consider to be true friends? Those who are not expecting any personal gain from the relationship? Those who truly and genuinely care about you? Chances are only a few pop into mind. Through all of his adventures, Harry has two friends that stick with him through thick and thin: Ron and Hermione. To put it mildly, they go through a lot of stuff together. Reading these books reminded me of just how important those few really true friends are in my life. No, I might not be fighting off evil every day or have a scar that burns on my forehead on a regular basis. I am navigating through the ‘adventures’ of parenting and being a creative and a business owner and a sort-of blogger though, and that in itself makes me a tad high-maintenance as a friend. For those reasons alone, I am a little more grateful for the few friends that stick by me no matter what.
Harry Potter isn’t Twilight. Or the Hunger Games. This is not really a dig at those two franchises. I’ve read the Hunger Games series a couple times and enjoy it (though reading Mockingjay puts me in a terrible mood for four or five days afterward). I tried to read Twilight, I really did. Those two series have their own pros and cons but I think they pale in comparison to the originality of Harry Potter. Additionally, the themes and life lessons in Harry Potter are far more dominant and meaningful than any major series that has been published since (in my humble opinion). Think I’m wrong? Re-read the Harry Potter series, then re-read both Hunger Games and Twilight and get back to me. I’m more than willing to hear you out. :)
One of the best parts of the Harry Potter series is that even when you have finished the very last book, the stories live on. J.K. Rowling created Pottermore, a site full of really interesting information and tidbits that add to the original seven books. In addition, there are countless fan pages dedicated to the world of Harry Potter. And speaking of, there’s THIS (which I plan to go to one day).
P.S. If you ever need a pick-me-up and are a fan of the books, just search for “Harry Potter” on Pinterest and enjoy.
The discussion around Harry Potter never gets old. In fact, just yesterday I read this blog post that suggests the Weasley family was probably Catholic. I chuckle because some of the thoughts are a bit of a stretch, but I can totally see where the author is coming from and a few of her points are actually pretty spot on. When I read the books again (which I’m planning on starting in the next week or so), I’ll have to pay a bit more attention to how the Weasley family is described.
I believe that, for most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. The same goes for reading Harry Potter. If you’re looking for a good story with some action, sports, a teeny tiny bit of love and a lot of magic, the series is perfect for you. If you’re looking for something a little bit more, like a stimulating read that stretches your brain and forces you to think about underlying themes like the battle between good and evil within an individual and on a much larger scale, I still think this series is right for you. :) Head on over to your local library, Amazon, or Half Price Books (a personal favorite) and get started. <3
Have you read the Harry Potter books recently? What are your favorite moments? I’d love to hear from you! Leave us a comment or shoot us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).