Dear Mr. Harry Potter
You changed my life. My mom started reading Harry Potter to me when I was 8 years old. At the time I struggled to stay awake and listen to this magnificent story; obviously I had no idea the impact that it would have on my life.
My fan experience doesn’t look like everyone else’s because it is my experience and we all have unique experiences with fandom. Since the age of 8, I have fallen in love with the Harry Potter books. I was 10 when the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released in theatre’s; I dreamed about how cool it would be to find out I was a witch and get to go to Hogwarts too (the fact I am not British, like all the other students there was not an important detail apparently).
Today, I have read all of the Harry Potter books and then reread then and then them read again (and again… and again…). I have read them many times that a the last 4 of the books books have needed to have their covers taped back on or will need this soon. All seven of the books are showing signs of being well read. At one point, I bought a beautiful set of books that Harry, Ron, and Hermione read in the books (seen on the right in the second image below), which includes Tales of the Beatle and the Bard, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Quidditch Through the Ages.
For some reason, fans have become associated with costumes, conventions, and screaming fan girls. I have never dressed up in costumes, nor have I gone to a convention. And, even though I love Harry Potter and writing, I was never interested in writing (or reading) fanfiction, which is a huge section of the overall fandom community. My love for Harry Potter comes alive in rereading the books, reading the text books I mentioned above and actively participating on Pottermore*. My fandom also came alive when I joined the Harry Potter Alliance as a public relations executive. The Harry Potter Alliance was a life changing experience for me; for the first time in my life, I had a group of friends who were interested in actively participating in the Harry Potter fandom with me, and for the first time I was doing more than reading the books. I love social activism and I have always had a passion for social justice, social work, social marketing, and international development; it was unbelievable that, finally, I could combine social activism with the series that I love so much.
I am a Ravenclaw, which is the Howart’s house known for wit, intelligence and wisdom; students who belong to this house behold such traits. I take pride in being a Ravenclaw and it has a special meaning in my life for a variety of reasons. Most notably, school wasn’t always a good time for me, despite the fact that I love learning and research, and I had to learn to believe in my intelligence on my own.
Hermione was the character that I admired and looked up to the most in Harry Potter. I own a replica of her wand (shown above). Hermione touched my life because she was very bookish, and I think she was probably bullied a bit before coming to Hogwarts (and she was picked on at Hogwarts sometimes too!). I admired how hard she worked and what a loyal friend she was. She was amazing at social activism (she started S.P.E.W. to defend the rights of house elves) and believed strongly in social change. As a result, I found Hermione the most relatable. When I was younger, a series like Harry Potter showed me not to let bullies disturb me, to believe in myself and stick up for what’s right. As I got older, Hermione still stood out as an impactful character. I know some people find fandom and fangirls weird (we must all be socially awkward nerds right? Well, that’s not me at all), but relating to characters can help fans build confidence in themselves and that’s what characters like Hermione did for me.
For those of you who do not know, there is a such thing as The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook; it is honestly my favourite, and not just because it is Harry Potter themed, the recipes are incredible. I make cinnamon buns sometimes from that cookbook and they’re a hit.
Someday, I will probably be reading Harry Potter to my own children because the story will never end for fans such as myself. One of the things I love about Harry Potter is how diverse the opportunities are for those of us who want to participate in the fandom, even after the movies and books have all been finished. The impression that Harry Potter has made in the hearts of fans will allow the series to carry on forever…
So, thank you J.K. Rowling for bringing Harry Potter to the world.
Until the very end…