Growing Up Without Harry Potter
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Growing Up Without Harry Potter

Privet Drive was just another street name.

Growing Up Without Harry Potter
Harry Potter Wikia

It seems like nowadays it’s impossible to bring up Harry Potter in a conversation without someone saying “Harry Potter was my childhood.” Rowling’s books, as well as the subsequent movies, have become an irreplaceable part of today’s culture simply because this generation grew up alongside the beloved Harry.

But what about those of us who did not grow up with Harry Potter?

Allow me to provide a bit of background: when the Harry Potter books came out, with their witchcraft and wizardry, they were immediately viewed as something that would encourage negative behaviors in Christian children. For that reason, my parents refused to let us kids read them – and we had no idea what we were missing.

Instead of reading Harry Potter books as they were released, or listening to the audiobooks, or standing in line at the first few movie premiers, I was living a different childhood than the kids I would one day be in school with. Instead, I was reading Nancy Drew books and watching “Beauty and the Beast.” I was following the Pevensies through Narnia and falling head-over-heels for Edward Cullen (yes, my past was dark, but didn’t every middle school girl read those books when they first came out?).

In short, my childhood was full, and I had never heard of The Boy Who Lived or stairs with cupboards underneath them.

But then, Robert Pattinson happened. I will forever be grateful to Robert Pattinson for allowing me to be a part of something that has pervaded our culture over the years.

You see, Robert Pattinson was the mysterious Edward Cullen in the “Twilight” films, but before that he was Cedric Diggory in “Goblet of Fire.” Because of this role, when I was in middle school, my parents finally watched their first-ever Harry Potter film and realized it wasn’t so evil or dastardly after all.

As soon as they came to this conclusion, I was ripping through the novels. “Deathly Hallows” had just come out, and I read them all in something like a week. We went to every Harry Potter movie premier after that. We bought all the movies, re-bought all the books, and even signed up early for Pottermore. I was proud to be a Hufflepuff and glad to be a part of the Harry Potter fandom.

Then something strange started happening: people, my friends, began telling stories of how Harry shaped their early lives. They had memories of reading the books, seeing the movies, wishing against all hope that they would get their Hogwarts letter as they began to turn eleven. I didn’t have any of that.

I could tell you all about the first time a book made my heart flutter, how I checked every closet for Narnia and practiced my sleuthing in my free time. I can even give you the link to my first-ever fanfiction, based on “Twilight.”

I can also tell you that Harry was simply someone I encountered along the way, and while his story has a special place in my heart, I would still be the same person I am today without him.

So no, I didn’t grow up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. My childhood didn’t consist of scars or Hogwarts or Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. And as much as that keeps me from relating to my peers now, my childhood was still full of magic and wonder.

I guess I have The Boy Who Lived to thank for showing me that.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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