On Thursday I went to the movies to see “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” on its 20th anniversary. That made me realize that, wow, I have loved Harry Potter and his world for more than half of my life. I still remember discovering the books. It was the summer of 1999 when I sometimes took the bus to the big city of Rostock (also the only city in the whole state that I’m from) and walked through the university bookstore. At the time that was the only bookstore I knew selling books in English. Back then I hadn’t yet heard of Amazon and I had learned that you needed to know the specific ISBN number of a book when you wanted to order it in the local store. I even was the student who got on my English teachers’ nerves and asked them to provide me with some novels to read. Some of them didn’t have more to offer than one book …
But that one bookstore in Rostock had a whole big shelf filled with only English novels. Simply amazing! After much contemplating (I didn’t have much money then), I bought “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”. And, man, did I enjoy reading it! It was the first novel in English I ever read that grabbed me from beginning to ending. I had to look up quite a few words in the dictionary (I remember ‘owl’ and ‘duvet’), but I loved loved loved the magic world with Harry, his friends and his foes. The following week I returned to said bookstore and bought the next two volumes. Ever since I have been a giant Harry Potter fan.
I always pre-ordered the books 4 to 6. When “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” was finally published in summer 2007, I took a bike from the language school I was working at and cycled several kilometers from that school to the little Irish town Nenagh to purchase my copy. It was early in the morning and I arrived just when the store was opening. On my way back the bike chain became loose and I had to push the bike for quite a while. But I had my copy of the last Harry Potter book.
While over time I had to give away quite a few of my books, due to my international moves mostly, I still have my first copies of the Harry Potter books. I have re-read them and watched the movies countless times. I own a good amount of clothes and accessories. Two years ago I even dressed up as Hermione for Halloween. I wished profoundly to visit Harry Potter World, but Covid interfered. Instead, I dragged Rich to the new Harry Potter store here in New York City, as soon as we could get in line a few weeks after it had opened this summer.
Why I love Harry Potter and his world? Because in 1999 that kind of fantasy was absolutely news to me. I love that everything is thought through to the tiniest detail. That the books take me into a world that is ours and isn’t ours at the same time. That every element from the first few books plays an important role still at the end. That after hard struggles good prevails over evil. Now I hope that our child will be as much of a Harry Potter fan as I am. I’d be so sad if that weren’t the case (esp. since the magic world is totally lost on my own parents).
Now that I have re-watched “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (for at least the third time in the cinema), I am even more reminded how much I love the wizard world. I wouldn’t mind a few more accessories for our apartment, myself and esp. for our baby:
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