Today is a much hallowed day to fans of the Harry Potter franchise. Today, September 1st, 2015 at 11am GMT, James Sirius Potter boarded the Hogwarts Express from Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station for his first day at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Hello, my name is Trisha, and I’m a Potterholic.
Ok, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me tell you a little bit about how I came to find myself to be happily victim to this particular affliction. At 11 years old (a significant age to those who are well associated with the potter-verse,) I picked up my first copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone purely on whim and out of an insatiable ache for something new to read. From that moment on, I went full-steam ahead into my fandom and never looked back. I have dressed up for movies, gone to midnight book releases in full Moaning Myrtle garb, and have managed to acquire 1st edition hardback copies of all seven books. My friends and I, at the ripe old age of 20, even dressed up for the midnight premier of Half-Blood Prince and crept around my neighborhood, pretending it was the Hogwarts grounds, and made our trek to the “Black Lake” by way of the “Forbidden Forest.”
Harry Potter has a fandom that spans all generations, genders and cultures. From the very young, to the very young at heart, the fan base that this franchise has generated rivals that of LOTR, Star Trek, and more recently My Little Pony (I don’t quite get this one.) This, in no small way, is due to J.K. Rowling, the author and mastermind behind Harry Potter, Hogwarts, and the characters and stories that we continue to know and love. Not only did she conceptualize and subsequently write our favorite world into existence, but, unlike many authors, she continues to live in that world with us.
I pray that I’m not alone in the sense of loss and profound grief I feel upon turning the last page of a beloved book or series. This feeling has never been more heart-wrenching as when I turned the last page of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a mere 11 hours after the beautiful and pristine tome graced my grubby little hands. Luckily, my grief was somewhat subdued by the fact that I was still granted access to the world of Harry Potter by the films that had yet to be released and through the grace of Ms. Rowling. From writing the first pages of Harry Potter on napkins on a train to becoming one of the most celebrated authors of all time, she has never neglected her fans and continues to grow the world of Harry Potter.
From her ingenious and interactive site, Pottermore, where users can experience Hogwarts through being sorted, attending classes, and competing for the house cup, all while learning new tidbits of information about the world and characters we’ve all grown to know and love (or in some cases loathe,) to her unequivocal and consistent “winning of the internet” through her witty and often Potter-related Twitter repartee, she gives hope, teaches lessons, and enmeshes herself and potterheads such as myself into a universe that we were once sad to leave, and are subsequently elated to learn that for the time being, we don’t have to. For many of us, this is a world that is as real as the one we live, breathe, sleep, and eat in; but rather than suffer through the dredges of our 9-5 existence as we do in our everyday lives, we get to ride dragons, eat at Honeydukes, and visit with Hagrid. I’m not crazy (I promise.) I know Hogwarts is a place that exists in my head, but,does that truly mean it isn’t real?
This is clearly a preferable life, even if we do have to battle the occasional troll in the girls bathroom. So, thank you, Jo Rowling, for introducing us and guiding us through this world. Our lives would not be the same without you. Cheers!