Why I Waited So Long To Get On The Hogwarts Express
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Why I Waited So Long To Get On The Hogwarts Express

Childhood is when you want to marry Daniel Radcliffe; adulthood is wishing you could transfer to Hogwarts.

Why I Waited So Long To Get On The Hogwarts Express

I have always been a realistic thinker. Fantasy was never a subject that held my interest when it came to reading, mostly because I knew the stories were impossible. I saw it as a complete waste of time. So, while everybody else was off reading the "Harry Potter" saga, I sought out books that covered topics like the Titanic and Helen Keller.

That is not to say I didn’t avoid the "Harry Potter" craze entirely, I just saw no apparent reason to read the books. Of course, I did see all of the movies when they came out. As a matter of fact, I can clearly remember that day when I was five years old and my mother took me to Showcase Cinemas to see "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone." Naturally I was far too young to start the books on my own, but my mother had read them feverishly. The trailers made it look cool, thus I begged my mom if we could go together.

Ready for a cliché childhood confession? Daniel Radcliffe was my first celebrity crush. I know I am not the only one around here who says they were starstruck when we saw Radcliffe open his piercing blue eyes and put his oval glasses on in that opening scene from "Sorcerer’s Stone." Not only that, but going to school in a castle is enough to grab the attention of any intellectual five-year-old (namely, me). I knew it would be some time before I got around to reading J.K. Rowling’s work, but in the meantime, I was plenty satisfied with the film adaptations.

When first grade rolled around, I was one of the lucky kids whose parents allowed them to watch "Harry Potter" with them. I had the VHS at the time, and I had all but worn it out when my father showed me a copy of the Boston Globe one day in November 2002. Harry Potter and one of his best friends, Ron Weasley, were on the front page. The picture showed the two of them driving a flying car(!) with Harry’s owl, Hedwig, in the center. The caption read, “Welcome Back, Potter.”

I had fallen in love all over again. I asked if I could bring it to school with me to show my class. After all, I had caught a glimpse of the books resting on my teacher’s bookshelf. She would just love it.

All the other students were in awe of the article, as was I. But when one of my older friends had asked me if I would like to start reading the books, I was hesitant. Would they be as good as the movies? I would have to give it a shot.

All throughout second and third grade, I had stopped and started the first "Harry Potter" book over and over again. For some reason or other, I just couldn’t get into it. The only possible explanation I can give is that I had broken the sacred rule: I saw the movie before reading the book. Hence, I forgot about the books and instead waited for the movies.

Horrible, isn’t it?

By the time I was in middle school, word had gotten out that J.K. Rowling’s final "Harry Potter" book was soon to be released. I was surprised, as were most of my friends. A legacy we had been following since day one was coming to a close. A lot of people were heard to say that their childhood was almost over.

I did not see how the fate of one’s childhood rested solely on a book, but I too was a little upset. No more "Harry Potter" meant no more Daniel Radcliffe!

But just because I was a bit of a Muggle as I had failed to read the books first, I knew I wanted to be a part of Harry’s last hurrah, so to speak. On the night the book was released, my mother and I went to our local Hallmark Gold Crown store for an evening of Wizard-themed games and treats. There was Potter trivia, make your own broomstick, and there was even a room where we could watch all of the movies as we counted down to midnight. I noticed a lot of people were dressed up as their favorite characters, something I had not bothered to do. Did that still make me a true member of the fandom?

The answer, I found out, was "yeah."

When you’re in a fandom, anything goes so long as you have a rough idea of the subject you’re fanning over.

I knew my love for "Harry Potter" was not as strong as others, but it was a love nonetheless. So you can imagine how emotional I was in July 2011 when "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two" was released.

I was there, in the exact same theater where I had seen "Sorcerer’s Stone" ten years ago, to join everyone as we watched Potter’s final flight. There was not an empty seat nor a dry eye in the audience that day. Right from the beginning, the crowd was a part of it all: We cheered when we saw Neville Longbottom had his moment of triumph, laughed and fist-pumped when Mrs. Weasley defeated Bellatrix, and cried with a passion as Harry sent off his own son to Hogwarts. It was an unforgettable experience, and I am forever grateful I was there when it happened.

As the years went by, my love for the "Harry Potter" saga started to dwindle. I was not falling out of love with it, I just was not as wild about it as I once was.

Going to college certainly played a big role in this. As always, I was reading books that were serious and boring. This time however, the books I were reading were not of my own free choosing. These books were assigned to me by my professors, and like them or not, I had to read them.

Things were starting to look pretty dull in my life. I tried to binge-watch some TV shows like "The Sopranos" and "American Horror Story," but no form of entertainment held my interest anymore. I needed something to really spark up my leisure.

But what?

This past summer, I saw an old friend of mine was coming back for a visit. When the trailer for "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" dropped on YouTube, I was overjoyed. At long last, the bewitching world J.K. Rowling had created so long ago was making a comeback in the best possible way. It would be entirely new characters and a new storyline, but Hogwarts was inevitably involved.

Additionally, "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" introduced readers to Harry’s son. Not that I had read it myself, but one trip to Tumblr filled me in.

With all of these exciting revelations to the fandom, I knew the time had come for me to do something I should have done a long time ago: I had to start reading those books.

As I had mentioned before, I had seen the movies before the books. I was determined to let nothing stop me this time around. Besides, now was as good a time as any to get back on the bandwagon. Or the Hogwarts Express, in this case.

After all, we lost Alan Rickman earlier this year. Professor Snape would be most disappointed if I was still behaving like a muggle.

In summary, I got back into the "Harry Potter" craze because I needed an escape. I was tired of reading about impractical measurements and fed up with tragic literature. After being an adult for so long, I wanted to go to a world where magic was real, cars could fly, and jelly beans came in all sorts of flavors (i.e. grass, boogers, toothpaste).

Something that I loved as a child has given me true comfort as an adult. As I said, most people consider "Harry Potter" a key part of their childhood. Me, I consider "Harry Potter" a key part of my life.

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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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