I am well aware that this is not what I usually write but this is something that needs to be said. Mild spoiler warning.
When most people inquire about my favourite book and I blurt out Harry Potter without a moment’s hesitation, the amount of people who look at me with contemptuous condescension is higher than I care to admit. Now let it be known that I have read everything from Twilight to Coelho and Archer and Larsson and Dan Brown. But those books have never struck me as hard as this heptology has. This is a post that every Potterhead (that is the colloquial term for die-hard Harry Potter fans nowadays) can relate to and a post that every Muggle (non-Potterhead) should read. If I even get ONE person to read this series, I will get the satisfaction of accomplishing something worthy in life as well as the eternal gratitude of that one person.
Now on to the actual appreciation. Although, Harry Potter is a novel that kids are encouraged to read, the meaning of the books matures as you yourself mature. Every time I reread the books, I understand something new in the books. Because in the span between the re-readings I’ve understood something else in life. These books aren’t for any specific age. They are universal. But the meaning each person derives from them depends on the person himself.
Literature is like a piece of cake. The more layers it has, the more delicious it is. -Anonymous
Now Harry Potter has more themes than I can count and more fascinating things about it I can begin to list. But the theme of the books, according to the authoress, is death. This is because these books were impacted greatly by the authoress’s own anguish at losing family and living in poverty and dependence. Whoever read the books and didn’t understand this point didn’t read the books at all: Harry Potter is not a tale of little kids waving around sticks and learning how to turn rabbits into hats and riding broom-stick. That is just one level to it. Harry Potter is an intricate tale revolving around the constant war between good and evil. It shows the importance of bravery, moral fibre, loyalty, wit, the allure of power and the strength of love and how purity is always stronger than evil. Each and every character represents something. Each death has a meaning. Each event has its purpose. And the characters are so intricate that it eludes belief. For example, how Snape went from being the most despised person to the most loved in the span of one chapter. It is practically unreal.
Now I could sit here and with examples, write down a really long critical appreciation, elaborating the metaphors and the symmetry. Like for example, Remus Lupin is a metaphor for HIV and how all those with it are shunned by society. And how Dumbledore was a representation of gay rights. Or I could shut up and let you experience the magic on your own.
Harry Potter is a story that brings you together. Like whenever I meet someone, the first question I ask them to ascertain their awesomeness is what they feel about Harry Potter. (Ironically, 2/3 of my best friends are Muggles) I’m not saying that being a Potterhead is a sole criterion to awesomeness, I’m saying it is a major contributor.
Harry Potter is a story that stays with you, characters that live with you and deaths that haunt you. Now I would honestly and with every core of my fibre request all Potterheads to add to this and send it on. Because this is a story that deserves to be read. And I request all non-Potterheads to read the stories.
And even when I’m wizened and old, I’ll be sitting somewhere with a HP book in hand, a cold sea breeze playing tantalizingly on my skin. And people will see the book and say: “After all this time?”
I will simply look at them, smile, and whisper.