A 24 Year Old Reads Harry Potter for the First Time

Being a 90s baby, I grew up in the shadow of one of the most famous wizards of them all- Harry Potter. As I grew up, I was in the perfect age range to read the books and watch the movies as they came out, but alas- I did not. In elementary school I read the first two novels, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and while I thought they were interesting, I did not follow through with the rest of the series. Call my pre-teen self juvenile or, possibly, an elitist believing that fantasy books should remain in the hands of Tolkien, but I went through the rest of my years not thinking I was missing too much.

Then everything changed when the fire nation attacked. And by fire nation, I mean my older brother. He decided that he was going to begin reading the books again, so naturally I became curious. I soon picked up the first book again, thinking I would have the same thoughts I did when I was younger. About six weeks later, I finished the series for the first time. This happened for a few reasons…

  1. It turned into a competition. My brother was already four books ahead so I needed to see if I could catch up before he finished (I ended up finishing the series before him).
  2. I legitimately became interested in all of the side plots that were not present in the movies (for example: Hermione’s S.P.E.W. storyline that lasts for several books.)
  3. I began making tiktoks to hold me accountable to continue reading. In each tiktok I would layout a formula where upon completion of a book I would state: favorite character, least favorite character, favorite professor, character I relate to, favorite moment, and ultimate rating (out of ten). For those of you curious, here is that list (if you don’t care what I think, what are you doing reading this???)

Book: Sorcerer’s Stone

Favorite Character: Lee Jordan

Least Favorite Character: Hagrid

Character I relate to: Ron

Favorite Professor: McGonnagall

Favorite Moment: When the Weasleys and Harry discuss their Christmas sweaters

Rating: 8/10

Book: Chamber of Secrets

Favorite Character: Hermione

Least Favorite Character: Dobby

Character I relate to: Ron

Favorite Professor: McGonnagall

Favorite Moment: Parseltongue discovery

Rating: 9/10

Book: Prisoner of Azkaban

Favorite Character: Sirius Black

Least Favorite Character: Aunt Marge

Character I relate to: George Weasley

Favorite Professor: Remus

Favorite Moment: Marauders/Snape drama

Rating: 7/10

Book: Goblet of Fire

Favorite Character: Fred

Least Favorite Character: Winky

Character I relate to: ???

Favorite Professor: Dumbledore

Favorite Moment: Abolitionist Hermione

Rating: 6/10

Book: Order of the Phoenix

Favorite Character: The Twins and/or Neville

Least Favorite Character: Centaurs (other than Firenze)

Character I relate to: Ginny

Favorite Professor: McGonnagall

Favorite Moment: Oof, there’s a lot

Rating: 9/10

Book: Half Blood Prince

Favorite Character: Ginny

Least Favorite Character: Percy

Character I relate to: Harry

Favorite Professor: They all are kinda eh in this one

Favorite Moment: Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione; hanging out after they start dating

Rating: 10/10

Book: Deathly Hallows

Favorite Character: Neville

Least Favorite Character: James (father)

Character I relate to: Aberforth

Favorite Professor: McGonnagall

Favorite Moment: Ron taking his shoes off for Dobby

Rating: 8/10

Overall Series

Favorite Book: Half Blood Prince

Favorite Character: Ginny

Least Favorite Character: Dumbledore

Character I relate to: Aberforth

Favorite Professor: McGonnagall

Favorite Moment: Too many

Rating: 8/10

The final reason I was able to breeze right through the seven-part story, besides the fact that it is simply written well, is the fact that the fandom was comforting and felt innocent. If you would allow me to digress for a moment… Star Wars was my first fandom. The first obsession. The first love. This is the case for so many people across the globe. And while I used to enjoy talking about this mythical universe with others that also found interest in it, the fandom has since become overwhelmingly toxic. So much so, that it would

take an entire second article to fully detail the issues with Star Wars fans.

To keep it brief, I will say that everyone sees the Star Wars universe in their own light, and everyone believes that their viewpoint is correct- enough to terrorize others that feel as strongly about the story as themselves. I would say there would be a Star Wars civil war, however there are not even two clear sides to the issue. Everyone is drawing their own lines as far as what is good and bad about Star Wars. Now, part of this is because it has been around for almost fifty years, and within those years it has changed hands of owners and directors and writers, all with their own visions. This causes a break in fans to choose what they prefer.

Why this digression? Because reading the Harry Potter books was like a breath of fresh air. It was escapism at it’s finest. Even among the fans that I began interacting with an innocence remained. We all enjoyed the books and that was that. So after all of this, let me just say- the Harry Potter books were quite wonderful and fans of every fandom have to chill out a bit to give everyone a chance to enjoy the same thing. Amen.

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