All Aboard the Hogwarts Express

September 1 is perhaps the most magical date in the Potter universe. It may even be our favorite day. It’s the day when young witches and wizards cross through platforms nine and ten to board the Hogwarts Express. The Sorting Hat will sing its song, and students will head off to bed with full stomachs, awaiting their first day of classes. Among them is James Sirius Potter, Harry and Ginny’s first child, since this September 1 is his first day at Hogwarts. Young James will feel the Sorting Hat seep into his mind and call out “Gryffindor!” He will experience his first boat ride across the Black Lake, first Hogwarts feast, and spend his first night in the Gryffindor common room. 

Indeed, this week is big for many. Students everywhere are returning to another school year where a percentage of them will fall in love with the tales of our favorite boy wizard. Today is the 17th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone being published in the US.

Harry’s tale is one for the ages – an orphan whisked away to a magical school, a bad guy who threatens his way of life, and an old bearded man as his source of guidance. It practically sells itself, which is why it remains a story that will continue on for generations. Millions have relished in Harry’s journey as he battled evil, embraced friendship, and found a family.

The lessons taught throughout the Potter series range from dealing with loss to forgiving someone’s past. One underlying message is the concept that everyone deserves a home full of love. For Harry, he grew up in an environment fueled by anger and later found his place among the Weasleys. While Harry never dealt with extreme poverty, since the Dursleys had enough sense to feed the boy and provide some sort of bed, the mind behind Harry has.

It’s no secret that J.K. Rowling comes from a lifetime of poverty and struggle. Potter turned Rowling’s life upside down, but that doesn’t mean she has forgotten where she started. In result, Rowling launched Lumos in 2005. Her charity focuses around the eight million disadvantaged children around the world. These are children living in institutions that deprive them of love and care, with only 20% being orphans, the rest abandoned by their families. In 2007, many will remember Rowling auctioning off a copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, raising 1.95 million pounds (a little under 3 million in US dollars) for the organization. Lumos remains in full force, and now, as announced earlier today, we want to give back in our own way.

This may be the most magical September 1 yet; alongside hundreds of witches and wizards going off to Hogwarts, the Muggle world is gearing up for new beginnings. Every day we continue to learn more about the upcoming Fantastic Beasts trilogy and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and now we are challenging Rowling herself to an AMA (Ask Me Anything). Together, we are boarding the Hogwarts Express for our next adventure as members of the Potter fandom. We have many stops to make along the way, with deadlines and release dates, but what’s beautiful about our fandom is that we can always count on the Hogwarts Express to leave King’s Cross station at 11 o’clock on September 1.

Welcome to a new year of Potter. Hope you didn’t forget these must-have items in your trunk!

P.S. – Join us tonight for our Back to Hogwarts Movie Chat!