I was only three years old when "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was released in the United States. Although I was an early reader, I didn't have my first experience with "Harry Potter" until the summer after I turned five, when I went to the midnight release party for "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." My mom and older brother already read the first three books and had been anticipating the fourth for months. Not wanting to be left alone at home, I tagged along to the party with them, even though I had no idea what any of this "Harry Potter" stuff was about. The moment I walked through the bookstore doors, I knew I had stepped into something magical. People were dressed as wizards. Cauldrons were scattered about through the store. Displays were set up to show off broomsticks and wands. I knew right then that this was the world that I wanted to be a part of.
At that point, I still wasn't quite old enough to read, especially not a chapter book like "Harry Potter." It wasn't until I was in first grade that I decided to read "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" for myself. I wanted to read the book before the movie came out in November, so I picked it up off the bookshelf, found a bookmark, and started right away. I loved it. It was the most enchanting thing I had ever read. I couldn't put it down. That is until I did the book down...and I lost it. I don't know if I decided to hide the book for some reason and couldn't remember where I hid it or if I set it down in my mom's classroom and one of her students decided to take it for themselves. Whatever happened to it, the book seemed to have quite literally disappeared.
Losing the book didn't stop me from loving the wizarding world. I watched all of the movies, attended all of the book release parties, and even had a wand of my own. But as much as I enjoyed the movies, I didn't feel fully immersed in the "Harry Potter" experience. I knew there was something I was missing; I still hadn't read the books. I decided to fill that hole in my life when I was in sixth grade. The fifth movie and the seventh book were both coming out the next summer. This was going to be the year that I finally did it. I was finally going to read "Harry Potter."
Unlike the first time I read "Harry Potter," I actually followed through. I kept the book close by my side everywhere I went. I read at least one chapter every night before I went to bed. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph was like the gospel. With such attention to detail and compelling characters, I absolutely fell in love. I became a self-proclaimed member of the Hufflepuff house at Hogwarts and later took the Sorting Hat quiz on Pottermore to find out that I was right about my house placement. I bought wands, scarves, and various other Harry Potter clothing items. I finally did it; I finally became immersed in the world of "Harry Potter."
As I grew older, my love of "Harry Potter" never faded. I watched the movies when I was stuck in bed after my wisdom teeth surgery. I added "Go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter" to my bucket list. I even made plans to go to the midnight release party for "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child." Those plans fell through, but I made the plans nonetheless. As I've prepared myself to read the newest addition to the "Harry Potter" series, I've begun to wonder if I'll still be just as mystified by "Harry Potter" in the future, when I'm a parent or grandparent. But I know deep down inside that when I'm reading "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" to my grandchildren and they ask me if I still love "Harry Potter" after all this time, the only thing I'll say in return is, "Always."