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"Addicted to Magic"
by: Saraf Ahmed
What is a star without light?
What is music without melody?
What is a cookie without dough?
One may as well ask - and indeed, there are many who do - what is Saraf Ahmed without Harry Potter?
For me, Harry's adventures and unshakeable camaraderie with Ron and Hermione are not merely the antics of a distant celebrity or Homeric heroes, but the daily life of close friends that happen to live between dog-eared, water-stained, excessively-loved yellowing pages. They are real.
Even before I had heard of Harry Potter, I was an avid reader. But my literary scope, and consequently my imagination, remained limited to chapter books and illustrated stories derived from PBS shows I watched every weekday afternoon. Seeing my second-grade classmates reading Harry Potter books compelled me to beg my father to buy the first installment, Sorcerer's Stone, and I was hopelessly sucked in by the intricate, beautifully complex tale.
There was no turning back.
As the years passed, the same friends who introduced me to Harry waned in their interest, just as my love for his world increased exponentially each day. Hogwarts was my first taste of English culture and served as the foundation for my fascination with Europe. In fact, my passion for British and ultimately European people - stemming from Rowling's delightful yet honest portrayal of English landscapes and lifestyles, especially in the series finale Deathly Hallows - greatly affected my academic life as well. Despite an overwhelmingly AP and Advanced Honors-class-loaded schedule for my high school junior year, I added AP European History to my courseload via an online class to cultivate my knowledge of European (and British) civilization and society.
My adoration for Rowling's gifted storytelling inspired me to start writing at the tender age of seven. In the decade since, I've churned out short stories, poems, even a children's horse-story trilogy; I am now a featured teen columnist in two regional north Louisiana newspapers. My love of writing led to my completing a full-length novel, which is in talks to be published later this fall. Rowling's deliberate wit, eloquence and attention to detail (hopefully) bleed through in every sentence I write, whether a school paper or personal essay. My every written word, every creative flash, is a tribute to her genius and the world she immersed me in.
In my naive preteen years, Harry Potter was how I determined whether a new acquaintance was worthy of being a friend; in fact, my two best friends now are girls with whom a shared Potter obsession was the initial stepping-stone towards developing further mutual interests and our now rock-solid, sisterly relationships. Though of course I am now a seventeen-year old girl mature enough to love and accept those to whom Rowling's fantastic world does not appeal, nothing quite beats the special excitement, the vibrant energy of connecting with someone new who shares my passion, my shameless addiction.
An addiction to innocence, truth, magic.
To guiltlessly loving the exhilerating, electrifying Wizarding world much more than the one we truly inhabit.
Read the other Finalists here: Finalist 2 | Finalist 3 | Finalist 4 | Finalist 5
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