Chapter 4 – On being a Harry Potter fan…

Let’s just say that labeling me a “fan” can be a bit of a euphemism.

Jo still flirts with her fans who not only continue to be immersed in her world (Pottermore, anyone? I haven’t logged on in ages, but i’m RiverRook29, Gryffindor), but now are bringing in the next generation to Hogwarts.

I’m privileged to count myself amongst the many that can declare — Harry Potter changed my life.

I was not always a reader.

But one day, when I was 11? 12?, Dad brought The Prisoner of Azkaban and the Goblet of Fire and said “Read this!” And from then on, I was hooked. I had to know what Quidditch was. I had to know the origin of the Boy Who Lived, and why on earth was this Voldemort evil wizard dude after him, so I picked up The Sorcerer’s Stone and started the series all over again. I waited in midnight premieres for books, for movies, cut work to attend the soft AND grand opening of Universal’s The World of Harry Potter, visited the original set of Diagon Alley in London, climbed the very same tree that Tom Felton climbed in Goblet of Fire, took a rather risque photo at the Platform 9 & 3/4 wall in King’s Cross, and was utterly fascinated by the set of the “Great Hall” in Oxford Unviersity…. as compared to be fascinated with the university itself (… I was a teen, then… no judging).

The love of Harry brought me not only the love of reading (fantasy is still my favorite genre), but friends, adventures, and a deeper understanding of the world.

I disliked Malfoy, for his continued bullying … for his cowardice. I detested Umbridge for being witch-supremacist (and the most disgusting embodiment of racism and prejudice, and again, cowardice)…. I felt empowered by Hermione, who sought the answers to everything and was brilliant and tried her damnedest in everything, I felt understood by quirky Luna,…. and then I also learned that love is the greatest power in the world. That love can sometimes be the only way to combat the negativity in the world. I grew up with Harry, and tackled the world with him.

I learned that words and ideas can change the world.

And even quoted Albus to a bunch of 3rd graders at a dictionary giveaway during a library outreach –

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