I grew up reading every day, my Grandma and parents encouraged me to love books. I regularly saw my Mum with her nose in a new Stephen King or Dean Koontz book and every other day my Grandma would be carting around a hefty new hard back that she would quickly devour while drinking copious amounts of coffee, which was almost as light as tea due to all the Coffee Mate she stirred in to make it extra creamy.
From Year 2 I was on free reading at my primary school, and that meant I could go to the big library at the other end of the school and choose any book I wanted to read.
I remember, more than likely in Year 5 (so around the age of 8 or 9), pulling Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban off the shelf, I loved the hardback with its dust jacket featuring an illustration of two people (Harry and Sirius of course) riding a Hippogriff, in front of a huge castle with a huge moon overlooking the scene. I signed it out and took it home.
My Grandma told me that it was part of a series and that Christmas I received the first three books, in a box set. I quickly got through them all. I loved everything about those books, from the weight of the hardback in my hands to the world of magic I was quickly immersed in. I soaked the stories up like a sponge.It was at this point that I had to start waiting for the next book in the series to come out and my Grandma would usually pre order me one, along with her own because she was also a big Harry Potter fan.
Writing about her today is hard, because it has been five years since her passing and on Wednesday it would have been her birthday. She would have been 88 and more than likely have got through a great deal of books in the time that has passed. I miss her.
I’ve just started to re read the Harry Potter series again, and I’m quickly getting through Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I wish there was a way you could forget things in order to enjoy them all over again. I could feel that same delight that I felt when I first read Hagrid telling Harry ‘yer a wizard’ or relish in the vivid descriptions of Diagon Alley and Hogwarts and experience Harry’s first encounter with both Ron and Hermione and not know that they were going to be such huge elements in his story. I wish I could go back and experience it all as if it were fresh and new again.
That’s not to say I’m not enjoying reading the series again, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if it could all be surprise. Although, then we would have to relive the Harry’s torment with the Dementors, the shock and horror of Cedric Diggory’s death and the even more upsetting demise of Sirius, swiftly followed by Dumbledore, the pure hatred you felt when Umbridge was involved and finally the battle of Hogwarts. But while the books are tainted with sad and terrifying moments there is so much light, love and hope and in the end it wins.If you are a Harry Potter fan you need to go back and re read the books, because they are where the true magic began and as a child they were my first ‘big girl’ books that I read by myself.
As J. K. Rowling once said; ‘Hogwarts will always be there, to welcome you home’ so it’s probably about time you turned those pages and were transported back.