The Burrow: The Boy Who Taught Me a Life Long Lesson

by Rach

“Please, I wouldn’’t be caught dead reading those books. What’s so special about a boy wizard and his stupid magic school?”

Yes, you read correctly. I spent most of my time throughout Junior High reciting those exact words everyday. Every time anyone even suggested or mentioned at how great the Harry Potter books were, I would simply give them the same response along with an expression of disgust. I just couldn’’t come to terms with the whole idea about a kid who was a wizard and had adventures at the school he attended. And what’s more, it baffled me even more to see how the kids my age (and even the older ones) were going completely crazy in love with these books. And being the kind of person I was, I refused to join along the ‘Harry Potter bandwagon.’ In other words, I avoided the books like they carried some sort of plague. There was no way I was letting myself become another fan of the books.

I am, and always will be, an avid reader. Growing up, I mainly read classics by Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oscar Wilde, and many others. So as I grew older, I guess you can say I carried a mature attitude unlike many 13-year-olds in that time, mainly as a result of the books I tended to read. I guess this is where my bias towards children, fantasy, and fairy-tale books was created. I simply didn’t believe that those kinds of books would be nearly as interesting and full of insight as the kind of books I had come to read and love. Harry Potter was just another reason for me to think otherwise, so I refused to give the books a chance.

Upon entering high school, my refusal to affiliate myself to Harry was still intact and surprisingly stronger than ever. Sorcerer’s Stone was being released in theaters that year, which just caused the Harry Potter hype to grow even more. Moving to a new school where I knew no one, I was brought to find friends and comfort in this new atmosphere. The friends that I quickly made were great people; they were funny, nice, caring, and overall great people. But there was something they had clearly forgotten to mention – they were BIG Harry Potter fans. Everyday I would be caught in the middle of a debate on some theory/discussion based on the Harry Potter books, and every time I would give a sarcastic remark and leave them to argue on their own. My friends respected my decision for not reading the books, but it didn’’t stop them from trying to persuade me. Whenever Harry Potter was the subject of discussion at lunch (which was quite often), my friends found every opportunity to persuade and convince me that the Harry Potter books were worth the read. “Rachel! You need to read the books; they are so much more than fantasy books. They are brilliant!” my friends would usually tell me. But being the stubborn person I was, I would keep them content with a “Okay, I’ll think about it” response, even though I never did. I continued to stick my nose in the literature that I had always read. That is, until the end of sophomore year when I finally fell victim.

As sophomore year winded down, I was looking forward to the upcoming year because of many events. I had been elected student representative for my junior class, I had joined many clubs/extracurriculars, and ideas were already cooking inside that head of mine as to how I was going to run for student body president. My summer was definitely going to be one busy one, I thought. And as a result of that, my usual routine of reading had been cut down to a minimal amount. I take reading very seriously, and since I realized my time would be scarce to enjoy the lighter things in life, I felt disappointed that my favorite pastime would get cut as a result of my school plans. I remember complaining to my friend one day about how I wanted to read some great new book or even a series before the summer would officially begin. All I can say is: That is what triggered it. By saying those few simple words, my friend saw it as an opportunity to get me to read the Harry Potter books. The next day, she brought in her Sorcerer’s Stone copy and slammed it onto my desk in homeroom that morning. “You’ll love it,” she said, “Trust me.” I stared blankly at the cover of the book and thought, “I can’t believe I’m considering this.” After about five minutes of staring, I looked up to see my friend still hovering over me with a sort of gleam in her eyes. I was inches away from putting up a fight, but seeing the joyous look that my friend had just made it harder for me to deny the book. After all, the book wasn’’t too fat and it would definitely shut all my friends up. After all the years of avoidance, I was finally going to give the book a chance. They say it rained that day. I’m not entirely sure.

Ah, where to begin. I remember Friday coming to a close and me having absolutely nothing to do for the weekend. I was tempted to watch movies all night and eat popcorn, but I was already doing that every Friday. And then I thought, ‘I could read!’ But the real problem came down to picking which book. I then remembered the copy of Sorcerer’s Stone in my backpack. I hesitated for a bit, but I knew that I would get hounded if I returned to school that Monday only to tell my friends that I hadn’’t read. I reached for the book, plopped myself on the couch, and began to read.

I read that book a total of 6 times that weekend. It was like love at first sight. I was amazed and in complete awe at how such a book could sweep me off my feet and transport me into a world that would take my imagination to another level. I was amazed at how this story about this orphaned kid, who lost his parents to an evil wizard, and made to grow up in an unloving environment, could have such a grasp on me. It was beautiful to see this boy attend Hogwarts, make friends, and learn about love. I was left with no words and a craving to read more. That week I ended up reading all 4 books in record time. I was an official Harry Potter fan, and the funny thing was, I was glad I was. I was also disappointed in myself because I realized it had taken me 4 years to actually give the books a chance. I knew what I had to do next. I went to my friends and apologized for being so biased on the books and I admitted the error of my ways. Never had I seen my friends so confident in themselves (with their ‘I told you so’ look). And let me tell you, lunch time couldn’’t have gotten any better from that day on.

It’s amazing how a single book can completely change your life –let alone a book about a boy wizard. But it did, Harry Potter opened new windows of insight for me. I no longer carry this bias towards certain kinds of books. I give any book that’s recommended to me a chance. The beauty of Harry Potter is the interesting characters and their struggle to survive, the power to love, to trust, and to fight. Even though I can’t say I’m EXACTLY like Harry Potter, I do know that I can relate to him in so many aspects. That’s the beauty that is Harry Potter and I am ever so grateful that Harry Potter is, and always will be, a part of me. Harry Potter has made me into the lively, obsessed, and rambunctious individual who now loves fantasy books as much as my classic literatures. And what’s so ironic in the end is that I would literally make fun of my friends for being too obsessive. Well, here I am, working for MuggleNet, one of the most famous HP fan sites in the WORLD. I guess the jokes on me, you guys.

And one thing before I conclude this, I just wanted to thank Harry Potter for not only being the ‘Boy Who Lived’ but the ‘Boy Who Taught Me a Life Long Lesson’.