I recently splurged and spent $3 in order to go see the continuation of the Harry Potter World. Newt Scamander offered a wonderful break from school and for a moment I felt like a child. When the logo appeared and the music started to play I hit Claire a huge smile crept up onto my face. It was a genuine smile, one of pure excitement and that happens very rarely at school. The movie continued and everyone else continued to be unfazed by my pure, childish excitement.
Granted it didn’t take much for me to be infatuated with the wizarding world again. It was, in a cliché way, similar to coming home. Wizards have quite a history and I, like many of my classmates, went on all the adventures with Harry, Hermione, and Ron. I wanted to defeat Voldemort, knew the spells and were heartbroken with every death that we witnessed. Rowling created a cult following for the kids that didn’t quite fit in in school. One of my clearest memories of my childhood is toting around the later years of Potter’s adventures in my backpack. I believe I was working through the fifth one at the time. We had free time during class and I was never a talker, never one for tempting authority, so I pulled out my book and propped it on my desk. It must have looked mighty comical as I sat there, feet dangling from my chair lugging around a book that weighed as much as I did. The girls across from me looked me up and down and asked why I wasn’t talking. I shrugged and told them that I just wanted to read. They laughed, said it was stupid and continued their conversations. I took refuge in my books, but for a while, I took refuge in Harry Potter and the idea of going to a place where everyone is a little quirky.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them reaffirmed J.K. Rowling’s theme of acceptance. The story is centered around not only finding the fantastic beasts but also finding a child that harbors deep dark magic. The movie talks about how when there were witch hunts way back when some wizards would suppress who they were so much that they simply turn into something called an Obscurus. The Obscurus is a dark unstable mass that can do a lot of damage in a lot of time. What was interesting about this to me is the basis of an Obscuris is the suppression of who someone inherently is. Even now, after decades of the first Harry Potter came out, Rowling still finds a way to tell a very important message.
If you suppress who you are, you become something you are not. This message struck home with me because of personal reasons. There are a lot of kids who are lost because they “aren’t allowed” to be gay, trans, bi, or part of the LGBTQ+ community. They get bullied and taunted for things they cannot control. This is not limited to my own experience, though, in our current political climate a call to be unapologetically yourself is one that must be answered. People shouldn’t ever feel like they can’t express who they are, that there is something inherently wrong with their existence because that makes them suppress something vital to life. Part of living is having a feeling of freedom, released from the pressures of what you should be rather than what you are.
As the movie came to a close I was filled with the same feeling I left every Harry Potter movie with and that was just a simple feeling of acceptance. With every book that comes out, every movie that is released, Rowling continues to spread a message of love and tolerance to a younger generation. As the great Albus Dumbledore once said, “Do not pity the living, Harry, pity the dead, and above all pity those who live without love.”