Once upon a time, I didn’t care about Harry Potter. It was just a children’s book. The main characters were 11 and 12 for goodness sake…why would I want to read about them? That was how I felt until the semester I did my student teaching.
In January of 2004, I student taught in a third grade class and a few of the students were reading Harry Potter. They kept telling me how much they loved the books. “You have to read them!” they told me over and over. “They are so good, you’ll love them!” I resisted as long as I could, until, to be quite honest, they wore me down.
I borrowed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone from the classroom library, thinking that I would read a few chapters over the weekend and tell my students that I had tried, but it just wasn’t for me. That was the plan...I sat down on Friday afternoon and was pretty much hooked by the time Hagrid shows up at the cabin to give Harry his letter. Saturday morning I went to the bookstore to buy Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban. Much to my students' delight, within a week, I had read all five of the books (at this point only books 1 through 5 had been published) and was eagerly waiting for Book 6.
So, what is it about Harry that made me change my mind and fall in love with the series? It was the whole world that J.K. Rowling created. That a magical world existed parallel to the ordinary one was just fascinating to me. I wanted to be able to travel to Diagon Alley and to visit the Burrow and have dinner with the Weasleys. To be wisked away from a horrible life, be told that you're a wizard and belong at a magical school...who wouldn't want that? Being a teacher, I also loved the idea of Hogwarts. I was too old to get an owl delivered letter but, part of me wished that they had made a mistake and that I could go too and maybe guest lecture. I think that I would have wanted to teach either Herbology (just like Professor Sprout) or History of Magic (hopefully, I would have been more interesting than Professor Binns).
The characters had a way of making me instantly care about them, even evil, whiney Draco Malfoy. I loved that Hermione was smarter than Harry, that Ron was so fiercely loyal, that Hagrid was really just a kid at heart, and that Dumbledore wasn't perfect. In Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius and Lupin became my two favorite characters. I loved them because they loved Harry for the simple fact that he's the son of two of their best friends. To them, he wassn't the "Boy Who Lived," he's simply James and Lily's son and then, eventually, he's just Harry.
I could babble on forever about the HP books, so I'll end here with a quick thank you to the third graders who made me read Harry...without them I would have never read this great series and found such awesome characters to love.
If you missed yesterday's Harry Potter Extravaganza post, visit Good Books and Good Wine. Come back here tomorrow for a special HP themed contest. And visit Good Books and Good Wine again on Sunday for more Harry Potter Extravaganza fun!