Harry Potter is basically my life.
Eight years have passed since then and life had changed.
Everyone has a coping mechanism, and I cope by a strangely well-developed capacity of mythopoeia.
The world of magic came to represent to me what Egypt and Babylon and America had before: a world of infinite possibilities, infinite things to know- that I only had to step out and explore.
I no longer see the world that way.
You see, Harry Potter took my ability to imagine to a new high- one that I hadn’t reached before and certainly haven’t since.
I built the Harry Potter universe I live in, in my head, and that, to a enormous extent, made me the constantly imagining, constantly creating-for-the-mere-pleasure-of-it being that I was and want to be again. If Sukumar Ray taught me to live stories, to find stories everywhere, Harry Potter taught me to build them.
So recently, when I tried to find the old, eleven year old me within myself again- because the newly-formed me misses that sense of wonder that was so vital to my existence, that way of seeing the world not as cynical and filled with hate, but as something exciting, enigmatic, unknown but waiting to be explored, something to automatically love- I turned back to Harry Potter. And through it, I could see the world as I saw it then- as I’m learning to, now, once more. It is only by visiting that familiar space again that I can find my way back to myself. And you know what the best part is? As soon as I stepped in, it was as if I’d never been away.
In some ways, I think it’s fair to say that I grew up at Hogwarts, along with the hundreds of thousands of others around the world who entered this world through the years.
It’s not just a part of my childhood- I have a distinct feeling that when I’m old and wrinkly and eighty, I will still be reading terrifying books in the Restricted Section of the vast, dusty, silent library; when I’m having an existential crisis at forty, I’ll still be sitting by the sunshine-warmed Lake; and right now, as I struggle to do all the things adults are supposed to, one part of my mind is wandering through the quiet corridors, leading up to that one secret place opposite which Barnabas the Barmy is teaching the trolls ballet…
Voldemort and Harry and Snape- the abandoned boys- weren’t the only ones who found home in that castle.
Hogwarts remains my happy place- that one place of warmth and shelter and hope where the trials of life can’t touch me. Even after all this time. I don’t know what I expected when I dusted the cobwebs of memories from my mind and slowly peered in, but I’m astounded and heartbroken and grateful and hysterically happy to have found that Hogwarts was there. It was waiting.
And it did, indeed…. welcome me home.