At 33 years old, I had never read Harry Potter. In a world full of Muggles and Witches and Wizards, and tens of thousands of memes dedicated to all things Potter, I was unknowing. Oh, I followed Voldemort on Twitter and giggled at some of the things he said….but I didn’t get it. You don’t truly get it until you’ve read the books, even in a world saturated with Potterisms. I didn’t know about dragons, or three-headed dogs that could be sung to sleep, or potions and spells, or Quidditch and the Snitch, or Gryffindor, or invisible cloaks, or Platform 9 ¾. I didn’t know the Hogwarts school song, and I hadn’t met the Weasley Twins yet…or Professor Snape and Dumbledore. I may just have been one of the last people on Earth to begin waiting on my own letter (which, I suspect my postman may have stolen…).\r\nYes, at 33, I was a Harry Potter Virgin. These are my confessions of a Harry Potter virgin.
\r\n\r\nHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling
Series: Harry Potter #1
Published by Scholastic Press on 6/30/1997
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in ten years.
But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him... if Harry can survive the encounter.
Considering that everyone has pretty much read Harry Potter, I’m not going to try to keep these from being spoilery. If you haven’t read them yet, well….shame on you! And…I understand. I was there recently once myself.\r\nLet me preface this by saying I never meant to NOT read Harry Potter. It just sort of happened. I was 18 when the first book came out in the US, and I was interested in the books, but I just never got around to reading them. The next thing I knew, the last book had been finished and the movie was coming out and there I was, a world away from other bibliophiles. It got easier and easier to not read them, as other great books entered our world, but it also shamed me. Here I am, someone who blogs about books, and reads incessantly, and I’ve never read Harry Potter?! I felt guilty, and I admit, I stressed a bit when I decided to read them, because several people have been waiting and waiting…and waiting for me to enter the Potter world for the first time. I didn’t want to let anyone down by not liking them. What if I didn’t like them at all or thought they were mediocre at best?\r\nCracking the pages, I was immediately transported to Rowling’s world. Her writing, regardless whether it’s for middle-grade or not, makes it so easy to become engrossed in Harry’s story. It was magical and fantastic, and yes, as Hagrid and Harry walked the streets of the market buying supplies for Hogwarts, I was right there with them.\r\nI was there when Harry, Hermione and Ron were chosen for Gryffindor, and I was there when Harry learned to fly on a broom. (Sidenote: Harry Potter is so much a part of our culture, my computer just spell-checked “Gryffindor” for me…apparently I had spelled it incorrectly!) I ran the halls with Harry and Ron when they tried to find Hermione and protect her from the troll…before inadvertently locking it in the bathroom with her.\r\nRowling’s imagination knows no bounds…when Harry, Ron and Hermione were trying to get to the stone, everything from the keys flying through the air, to the living chess pieces, to the 7 potions and the Devil’s Snare – they were all alive for me. I can’t wait to see the movies!\r\nMy questions: Snape! Is he bad? Good? It’s so hard to tell, but I think I know now. Is Voldemort redeemable? Dumbledore explained that Quirrell couldn’t touch Harry because the mark of his parents’ love was on him; is love so powerful it becomes a residue of some sort? Is Malfoy someone I will eventually like or am I going to want to punch him in the nose every time he shows up? Is Hagrid hiding secrets?\r\nI think the biggest thing I took away from The Sorcerer’s Stone was courage. Harry and his friends came to Hogwarts as First-Years with very little sense of self or courage. Harry was raised by his Aunt and Uncle who detested him and their responsibility to him. Ron was well-loved, but lived in the shadow of the other Weasley boys, including his lovable, but trouble-making twin brothers and his perfect, I mean prefect, brother Percy. Hermione has two Muggle dentist parents….she might have to prove more than anyone, something that shows in her ingratiating efforts to get noticed and be perfect.\r\nThey were all very different children when they went home for the summer. As am I.\r\nAnd the adventure continues.