because it’s his birthday.
As a kid, I wasn’t allowed to read Harry Potter. I was 10 years old when they first came out (yes, i’m super old to be running a fan blog, but whatever), but my parents didn’t let me read them because “witch craft is evil” and bullshit like that. (to this day, i really regret missing out on everything. it makes me really sad.)
So, fast forward to high school and through college when I probably could have read the books in secret. I just never got around to it. I struggled with depression and really low self-esteem all through these years. I had a lot of pent-up anger and self-hatred. It came out in pretty self-destructive ways.
Now, fast forward to a few years after college. I’m now working as a music therapist with people with serious trauma in their lives and mental health issues. My friend living in Chicago told me that he was re-reading the books through audio book, and that it made his commutes so much better. As I had just started a job with an hour-long commute each way, I stopped by my local library, and the rest is history.
I work with kids who are maltreated by the very people responsible for caring for them and showing them love. It often makes me hate people, because I see so much ugliness in other human beings. But then, I read Harry Potter, and here is this protagonist who has witnessed and experienced so much pain in his life. And the story is filled with other characters who have also experienced so much. Who have lived through a war. Who have suffered and lost.
But there is so much love in this story. There is so much hope, no matter what. And there is the message that it’s okay to be angry about life, because life is fucking hard sometimes. And it’s okay to be bitter about what happens to you, and it’s okay to speak out against injustice, and it’s okay to be smart, and it’s okay to be weird, and it’s okay to be scared, and it’s okay to cry, and it’s okay to not cry, and it’s okay to miss your friends, and it’s okay to question authority, and it’s okay to be poor, and it’s okay to be in love even if there’s a war going on, and it’s okay to not be perfect on the surface, and it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s okay to have regrets, and it’s okay to not be happy all the time, and it’s okay to be alone, and it’s okay to be who you are.
And that gives me hope. because i never got those messages growing up, and even as an adult, i needed to hear those messages so badly.
one last thing, and i’ll stop being so emotional. last year, I worked with this little boy who’s father abused him. and the courts kept ruling in the father’s favor, even though the mother was trying everything to get full custody. and the kid was just stuck in this abusive situation, and it broke my heart because there was nothing short of kidnapping him that i could do. but this kid loved harry potter. and harry potter gave him hope that even if it takes a really long time, that there’s good people in this world that are trying to protect him. and he identified me as his hagrid because he came to my office every week to talk to me and he knew i cared about him, and honest to god, whenever i think that i can’t handle being a therapist anymore, i remember that moment. and it gives me hope.
and that’s why i’m part of this fandom, and that’s why i have this blog, and that’s why i’ll always be so grateful for harry potter.