On New Year’s Eve 2000, I was 11-years-old, and driving back home on a road trip with my parents and siblings. My older sister had been pushing a book on me for the last few days that I just didn’t want to read. But trapped in a car with nothing else to do, I took the book and started reading.
“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
And with those words, my life was changed. I entered the world of Harry Potter.
Over the next few years, as each book was released, I had to patiently wait for my older sister to finish reading the book so I could then enjoy it! Luckily, she reads quite fast, so I usually had the book within a day! When the first movie came out, I begged my mother to make me a cape to wear to the cinemas. We raced home from school the day that the movie was released, quickly got changed into my fabulous homemade cape and rushed to our local cinema. I didn’t want to miss out on a good seat! We were first in line, three hours before the movie started. This is, of course, in the days before mobile phones, so waiting time was spent reading Harry and discussing Harry. And the wait was worth it – the first movie exceeded all my expectations.
Since then, my love of Harry Potter has not diminished. For years I was gifted Harry Potter posters and games each Christmas and birthday. I went to trivia activities (until I realised my competitive self couldn’t stand the anxiety that went along with it). I made sure that I saw the movies on their opening days. I grew up with these characters and they were a part of me. I was positive I was a Gryffindor, just like Harry. I aspired to be clever and always have an answer, just like Hermione. I wanted my house and family to be as open and welcoming as Ron’s (which they are). The Harry Potter fandom helped me become comfortable with who I was as a person – a wonderful, geeky nerd!
I went to Universal Studios in Florida in 2014, solely to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and I can assure you that butterbeer is truly the most magnificent drink in the world. I lived in London for just over a year, and went to not only the Warner Brothers Studio Tour twice, but also the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play twice! (I also have tickets for it in Melbourne in 2020) After living in London, I took my very own trip to Hogwarts. I left London from Kings Cross station as I moved houses up to Scotland, reliving the journey of the Hogwarts Express – although technically, I think I left from Platform 4. Early in 2019, I went to Universal Studios in Los Angeles, to take my younger sister to see Hogwarts there. I will never forget how much joy there was on her face as she witnessed the magic of the Wizarding World. (And again, I will never forget how delicious butterbeer is!)
So while I have grown older since I read the first book as an 11 year old, I am still as much a fan now as I was then. I’m definitely not the biggest fan in the world. I know there are more people out there who are way more involved than I am. But I’m still proud to be a Harry Potter fandom member. I’ve since found out I’m actually a Slytherin – thanks Pottermore – and I’ve spent way too much money on merchandise – who doesn’t need a baby Niffler plush toy? – and I now fall asleep to the sound of Stephen Fry narrating the books to me, but just like J.K. Rowling said, “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home”. And for me, Hogwarts – and any connection to Harry Potter – is home.
Bec is an avid YA fantasy and science fiction reader. Occasionally she branches out into YA contemporaries, or even – heaven forbid – regular adult titles! She’s been reading since before she could walk and always has a book with her, whether in a physical copy, an e-book or an audiobook! The Harry Potter series cemented her love of reading when she was just 11 years old. PrincessBecReads is where she shares her bookish thoughts and reviews of books, and you can also catch her fangirling almost every day on her bookstagram account @princessbecreads