Are we all just muggles? The wonderful world of Harry Potter

I’m a little tardy with this post. That is to say last month – 26th June to be exact – marked twenty years since Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone was first published. Yes, twenty years since Harry’s first adventure.

If you’re not a fan or you’ve never read the books (really??) then that may not mean much. But if you are a fan then this anniversary is something quite personal. Because it conjures memories of the first time you read the books. Of how incredible it was to be introduced to Harry’s world and all the wonderful, weird and sometimes dangerous characters that inhabit it.

I was thrilled to see many of my fellow bloggers are also fans and have posted their own tributes to the incredible work of art by J. K. Rowling that is the Harry Potter series. And even though I’m a little late with my own post I simply couldn’t let this anniversary pass without sharing my experience.

It wasn’t until the fourth book had been released – which incidentally is my favourite – that the boy wizard came to my attention. Sadly I can’t remember exactly how it happened. I just know that I went and bought The Philosopher’s Stone and started reading it.

I was living and working in London at the time – very appropriate – and every morning I would wait impatiently on the train platform and run for a seat as soon as the doors opened so I could start reading.

Not for me the fancy covers designed for adults. Since when is there anything wrong with reading a children’s book? There are many wonderful books out there that may have been written for children but are just as enjoyable for adults. The Harry Potter series is a case in point. I was extremely proud to pull my Harry Potter book from my handbag each morning, its colourful cover instantly putting a smile on my face.

It was an incredible and special experience to become immersed in that magical world. I simply couldn’t put the books down and kept reading until I’d finished the fourth and then, like everyone ahead of me, had to wait patiently – or not so patiently – until the next book was published.

What J. K. Rowling achieved was something quite extraordinary. To introduce the reader to a world that is undeniably based in fantasy and yet make it seem so real that you almost believe it could really exist. I remember saying to my husband – who is also a fan – “surely there really is a magical world with wizards and witches and Hogwarts and we’re just all muggles.”

I think about The Chamber of Secrets when Harry and Ron make a mad dash in the flying car only to discover that the Invisibility Booster is faulty. Yes, there are flying cars, aren’t there? Of course there are. And Hagrid, the gentle giant. Yes, there are giants. They’re just kept well hidden from us.

I’ve read the books twice and with this anniversary can feel a third reading coming on. The photo above is my treasured collection – and yes, there is a book missing because I’ve loaned Prisoner of Azkaban to my nephew.

Then of course we come to the films. It’s always a risk going to a film when you’ve read the book. Everyone says it – the film is never as good as the book. I won’t say Harry Potter is an exception because nothing could ever equal the brilliance of the books. But there were many things about the films that I loved.

For one – the casting. In most cases it was absolutely spot on. Who could have played Snape better than Alan Rickman? Or Hagrid better than Robbie Coltrane? I did so love Richard Harris as Dumbledore and Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall. So very sad that some of these great actors are no longer with us.

But for me the person who captured the very essence of the magical world better than anyone was John Hurt. He played a relatively small role as Mr Ollivander, the wand maker. But it was a pitch perfect performance. He made you completely believe in the magical world.

I will end this post by sharing with you what I loved most about the films because it is the only time this has ever happened to me. You know what’s it like when you read a book and your imagination creates a picture of what the characters and places look like? I was completely flawed when I went to see the first film because Diagon Alley was exactly as I had imagined it when I read the books. A wonderful moment.

If you are a fan how about joining me and giving the books another outing? If you’ve never read the books then I can only say that I envy you greatly. Because you have it all to come. If I could go back and read them again for the first time that would be an experience well worth travelling back in time for.

And to J. K. Rowling – thank you!

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12 Comments

  1. Rini says:

    I can’t recall. Have you ever been to portugal, Tracey? There are many Harry Potter related sites there, like the library and the place she supposedly wrote her book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Piers Ross says:

    It was great seeing Daniel Radcliff evolve as an actor, and certainly when you see him on screen from the beginining in comparison to the final film his craftsmanship as an actor as has exceded expectation. !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Piers. Yes, I’d have to agree. I struggled with Daniel Radcliff in the beginning because I had such a clear image in my head of my Harry from the books. But he really grew into the role and was a completely different actor by the end of the series. Very impressive.

      Like

  3. marymtf says:

    Are you an Aussie or British, Tracey? It’s only that most people say ‘ovie’ these days. I was pretty floored myself when I saw that first film. If I’ve read the book the film often turns out to be a disappointment.

    Liked by 1 person

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