Hogwarts Will Always Be Here To Welcome Us Home

2:29 PM Amanda Prahl 0 Comments

I didn't plan on posting anything today. But I just got back from my local Barnes & Noble, running a quick afternoon errand to pick up a CD (yes, I buy CDs, leave this old lady alone) and suddenly I'm feeling unexpectedly emotional. Why? Two words: Midnight Madness.

As soon as I walked into the store, there were two strings of Hogwarts acceptance letters draped above either side of the doors, in tidy little faux-parchment envelopes with a Hogwarts seal. When I made my way down the main aisle towards the music section in the back, I looked up to see cardboard-and-tissue-paper candles and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, an adorably low-rent representation of the Great Hall. On either side of the store were House banners with the colors, mascots, and traits of the houses emblazoned on them. And for me, it was like stepping into the past, and I'll be honest: I was a little bit overcome.

I grew up with Harry Potter, from the very beginning til the very end. When the first book was published, a family friend in publishing sent us a copy, insisting it was going to be the next big thing and that my parents should read it with me (I was a little too young still to read a full novel on my own). From then on, it became part of my life. Every few years, we'd go and pick up the books as soon as possible. Once I was a little older, I developed a system for reading them: I'd tear through them as quickly as possible the first time, then go back a second time to savor all the details I might have missed in my eagerness to find out what happened next. I came of age alongside the characters; the stories grew more mature as I did too. It was a magic of the purest sort.

Once I was a little older, I started getting more into the fan side of things. I'd stop by the Midnight Madness parties, read and debate theories with my friends, visit fan theory sites in the interminable waits between books (who here remembers dumbledoreisnotdead.com?). I'd go see the movies on their opening weekends and relish the excitement of experiencing these stories all over again, and the joyful camaraderie that developed between a couple hundred strangers feeling all these things together. And I'd learn the lessons about life and loss and humanity; that our choices make us who we are, that those we love never truly leave, that home is where you find your belonging, that no one ever has to be alone, and that love is the most powerful magic of all.


And when the end came, I could hardly believe it. I vividly remember reading my copy of Deathly Hallows and having to turn my head away so I didn't cry on the pages, because every few chapters, something would happen and I wouldn't be able to help myself. I think I cried the hardest at the chapter in the forest.

But when I finally reached the last page and realized there was no more, it was okay, just a little bit, because there were still four years of movies to go! And then the day came when I sat in a theater and wasn't ashamed to be sobbing because the entire theater was crying too. I had graduated high school only two months earlier, and perhaps it sounds foolish to say, but when I walked out of that theater that day in July, I felt like my childhood was truly ended now. I know many of my generation feel the same way; indeed, one of the questions to which most people my age have always known the answer is "What house?" I'm a Ravenclaw, if you care to know.

I am a fully grown adult woman now, with degrees and jobs and all those adult things. And yet today, when I walked into that store this afternoon, I was eleven years old again, swept into this world I grew up in, of Houses and Quidditch and Horcruxes, of brave, self-conscious Ron, of clever, sharp Hermione, of strong, quiet Neville, of Luna and Ginny and Fred and George and Harry, Harry, the boy who taught a generation about love and sacrifice, who showed that it's okay for a hero to break down or not be strong at times, who taught that one's greatest strength isn't in being strong alone but in being able to rely on one's friends.


So I am ready to greet Cursed Child's release with a great deal of excitement and some emotional nostalgia. Because it means we get to revisit the world created by one brilliantly imaginative single mother that has come to define an entire generation. Because it means we get to feel again the truth of one sentence:
GIF via MalfoyGranger, Quotev