When I first read Harry Potter, I was about seven years old. I loved the book right from the first page. My best friend and I both started reading it at the same time and then started a competition about who would finish the series first.
Because I got several new books for my birthday, reading all those other books first delayed me reading Harry Potter (I saved the best one for last), so in the end my best friend finished them before me. But I remained a true fan, even after she wasn’t so interested in them anymore.
So what exactly makes the Harry Potter books so special, that not only children, but also teens (like me) and adults love them?
When I start to read one of the Harry Potter books, I get a warm feeling like arriving home after a long, exhausting day – I really feel safe between those pages. It is like snuggling up in a warm, protective blanket.
You empathize in so many ways with Harry Potter, a boy with a thunderbolt scar on his forehead, a mark which he received as a baby from the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, who had killed Harry’s parents and had also tried to kill him, but failed and (supposedly) died instead. Now an orphan Harry has to live with his cruel uncle, aunt and cousin.
Of course Harry knows nothing about all this in the first book (and his fight with the dark side to come); his aunt and uncle had told him that his parents died in a car accident.
All those losses and the struggles Harry has to go through, all the people he encounters along his way of learning to be a wizard – I just love the characters (yes, even the baddies, except for Voldemort “he who must not be named”) and I feel for them, through all their challenges.
There are many aspects in the books that I often wished could turn into reality – like the invisibility cloak. Everyone should have one, right?!
Having owls as pets and being able to have them deliver your letters is a great idea, too. I have always loved owls – must be my English side, having spent many happy moments during summer holidays at falconries and owl sanctuaries with my English family.
And of course going to a school as impressive as Hogwarts is probably every Potterhead’s dream (the fans of Harry Potter call themselves “Potterheads” and – yes, I obviously am one!).
Those books have always kind of comforted me; when I was angry, upset or sad, I would walk straight to my bookshelf and grab one of them. Once I started reading, I felt better instantly (and it still works…).
I admit to being a hopeless bibliophile, one who ‘eats’ books and loves them dearly – but my Harry Potters are in another league, like friends, who are always there and with whom you never part ways, no matter what.
I also like Harry Potter, because he isn’t the perfect hero. He’s clever, but not as clever as his best friend Hermione. He’s funny, but not as funny as his other best friend, Ron. He gets angry sometimes (don’t we all?) and is a little jealous of Ron for having a large, loving family. And of course he’s embarrassed by the fact that he is always getting so much attention for being the first person to have survived the killing curse, ‘Avada Kedavra’.
Harry is such a vivid character, with so many facets – sometimes he can even be quite cheeky, like in this scene with strict Professor Snape (you’ll find it in Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince):
“Yes”, said Harry.
“You don’t need to call me ‘Sir’, Professor.”
What’s not to like about a sassy Harry?
What makes the books so special in my opinion is the truly magical atmosphere, which I have never found in any other books I’ve ever read – and I’ve read a lot!
I always have at least one Harry Potter book waiting for me on my bedside table….
Oh dear – I just realized that this has been one big love letter to HP
Even if you’re not a book person – you could watch the movies, as they are pretty true to the books. Normally I don’t like any movie adaptations of my favorite books, but these are really good.
And maybe they will then cast a spell on you and make you want to read the real thing….