As Shannon just mentioned in a recent post, the slubs are adults. Or at least attempting to put on the personas of adults. We are adult-ish. We pay bills, do laundry, clean, have our own place, have jobs, go to happy hour with colleagues, etc. And most days we are successful.
But this weekend I did something entirely childish. I was house-sitting/puppy-sitting for my parents when I became ill. Now really this means that I had a really stuffy nose, sore throat, and was a bit more tired than usual. This justified extreme laziness and napping, ignoring all cleaning and laundry that needed to get done. Proof positive that I am not ready to be an adult.
It also justified something else. Something so cliche and juvenile, that I am almost ashamed to admit it…if it weren’t so awesome. I delved deep into the world of Harry Potter, beginning with a screening Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows-Part Two. When this was altogether unsatisfying (I always expect it to portray HP much more book-accurately than it ever does), I began reading.
Now, when I read HP, I commit. Wherever I start in the series, I have to end with the last book published (now the final book). Thus, I have to carefully choose where to begin in the series based on the time I have to devote to the reading. This weekend I chose book 5, by far my least favorite of the books (for obvious reasons) and began a wonderful visit the the wizarding world of Harry Potter.
What about these books seems to help me feel better when I am sick, or moody, or going through transitions? This summer, amid the move to the house in Minneapolis and the release of the last movie, I re-read the entire series (and the last two books, twice). I don’t think I could have felt like my childhood was ending more than this summer. I had just graduated college, just moved into a house that wasn’t my parents for the first time, and was beginning my new job the next month. The Harry Potter series was officially coming to a close. A series that had been with me since elementary school. I read it though a move to Nebraska and a move to Pennsylvania. The seventh book came out the summer after my senior year of high school.
The last movie, like I mentioned, after senior year of college. To commemorate, Shannon, Anna, and I had a wonderful Harry Potter evening before the midnight premiere. The dining room was decorated with floating candles, the door to our apartment had the platform 9 3/4 sign, acceptance letters to Hogwarts hung from the door, there was an herbology and potions section in our dining room, and we finished our meal with pumpkin pasties. Slubs love Harry Potter.
But why do I love Harry Potter? Why do I continue to return to it, year after year?
Maybe I love HP so much because it has to do with anticipation. Waiting for the next book to come out. The anticipation that consumed 13 or 14 years of my life (if we include movie releases). Anticipation that was consumed with reading online spoilers (and possibly fanfiction…) with friends as we awaited the next book. The anticipation of standing in line 15 minutes before midnight. The anticipation to finish the new book as soon as I could to get to the end…to await the next installment. The anticipation to see what would happen to the wizarding world and all the friends I had made over the years with the characters in J.K. Rowling’s books.
Maybe I love it for its themes of friendship, good, and hope. Strikingly simple. I wanted friendships like Harry, Ron, and Hermione had. I love that good ultimately, if predictably, triumphs over evil. I like that the series is not only about hope for a better world, but action that makes that better world a reality. I like that the book is full of wholesome morals, about how rules are sometimes meant to be broken, and that love is the ultimate truth.
But in the end I find this all too philosophical. I like HP for one simple reason. It reminds me of my childhood imagination, or more accurately, it allows me to imagine like a child again. Too often we are caught up in our realities and planning for the futures. We are surrounded with data and facts; stress and worry. We forget to imagine, to think creatively. Sometimes, we just need to escape for a moment, imagine a different world where people meet their soulmates at the age of 11, decide on their careers at the age of 16, and defeat their ultimate enemies at 17. Where, with a flick of a wand, you can travel wherever you want, make objects fly across the room, and turn beetles into buttons.
We need that escape, if only for a moment, if only in our imaginations. Like Dumbledore says at the end of the seventh book, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 723).
So whenever I need to feel like a child again, when I want to feel the pure joy of imagining, I read Harry Potter. And I am transported. Out of my new adult world, out of worries and cares, bills and laundry. Out of a world of anxiety and stress. And into the wonderful, enchanting, bewitching world of Harry Potter.
Wishing you all the magic in the world,