Growing Up with Harry Potter

I remember very clearly how my Potter obsession got started. I was six years old, and it was the day after my little brother’s birthday party. I had recently finished the first Harry Potter book. Back then, I actually liked waking up early, so while my parents were still in bed, my brother and I were playing with the leftover balloons from the party.

Over the course of the night, these balloons had picked up quite a bit of static electricity. When I threw one of them up, it stuck to the wall. At that age, I didn’t know about static electricity, so my immediate conclusion was that this was accidental magic. I freaked out and started screaming excitedly about how I was a witch, I had magic, I was going to Hogwarts!

 

 

This was the scene my dad walked in on: his daughter screaming about magic and his son crying because he couldn’t make a balloon stick to the wall. He was crying because despite not having any idea what I was talking about, I was his big sister, and back then, my brother wanted to be just like me.

This is the moment I will forever love my dad for; instead of telling me that it wasn’t actually magic, he went the opposite route. He told us that this was elemental magic, that we were making the balloons stick using the magic of air, and that to ensure none of the other elements were interfering, we should rub the balloons on our shirts. What we were actually doing was increasing the amount of static electricity, ensuring our balloons would stick, but back then, my brother and I were just thrilled to be doing magic.

 

 

This set the tone for the rest of my childhood, full of excitement and wonder as my dad used his amateur magician skills to make me believe I could actually do magic. He  even arranged for a Hogwarts letter that looked like something straight out of the movies to arrive on my 11th birthday. My mom was the one who brought me to all the midnight book releases, movie premieres, and listened patiently as I rambled on and on about Harry Potter for hours. Luckily, my parents love the series as much as I do. Otherwise, they might have gotten rather sick of it.

I think the best part of my magical, Harry Potter-filled childhood wasn’t all the incredible experiences my parents gave me, but the time I got to give that same feeling of wonder to someone else.

My dad was contacted to help with a little girl’s birthday party for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She had asked for a Harry Potter-themed birthday party. She was turning six and had glioblastoma, although it was thankfully in remission at that time. My dad was bringing the same magic tricks he had used for my siblings and me, as well as the girl’s very own Hogwarts letter. I was going as his assistant and also to play the part of Hermione.

This birthday party took place exactly ten years to the day from when I had first thrown that balloon into the air and learned to believe in magic. So at 16 I had the chance to give another Harry Potter-loving little girl the same thrill and amazement I had felt.

This is why I will never stop loving Harry Potter. It’s so much more than a book series, it’s my childhood, it’s other people’s childhoods. It’s wonder and joy and a six-year-old’s belief that they could do anything and be anything, even a witch. So I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Harry Potter has shaped my entire life, and I look forward to seeing where my love of it takes me next.

 

 

Mikaela Renshaw

I picked up a Harry Potter book for the first time when I was six years old and promptly fell in love. However, it didn’t take long for my love of literature to go beyond just Harry Potter and I am now working towards my PhD in English. Outside literature, I love Irish-dancing, D and D, going to the beach, attending Comic-Con, and playing with my dog.