The Magical Impact of 'Harry Potter' on my Life

From the moment I had a conscious perspective of the world around me, I loved books. I would sit in my mother's lap as she read storybooks out loud, mesmerized by the words. One thing that my mother often recounts with a smile is that I would always seem to be a page ahead; she would be reading one page aloud, but my focus would already be on the page beside it. Perhaps, this was just a child's natural curiosity, but as I grew older, books became a key part of my life. As I progressed from fuzzy ‘Touch and Feel' baby books, to chapter books such as the ‘Rainbow Magic' series, I quickly found myself feeling unsatisfied as I had always been a quick reader, well ahead of my peers in reading. At the age of eight, my life changed. Of course, at the time, I didn't realize it as this turning point came in the form of seven novels about a boy named Harry Potter. Prior to the series, I had never attempted books thicker than the width of my finger, and imagined my fear when I was presented with books that were, well, virtually all bigger in width than the aforementioned digit. I daresay that I would not have read the series for another year or so if it were not for my mother. She persuaded me to give it a try and thus, I delved into the world that has captured my attention to this very day. As I settled into the story, it seemed preposterous that I had lived eight years of my life already without knowledge of the Wizarding World! I was drawn to the series that spun a riveting tale of a magical world that I wanted to become a part of. In the end, my mother actually ended up regretting introducing me to the series, for I could not put the books down and finished the series in one week —I did nothing but wash, sleep, eat, and read until I was finished. Since then, I read the series annually and as I got older, I slowly discovered that there was more to it than just magic. Even though I had been an overachieving eight-year-old, there had been many things that I didn't grasp due a lack of experience and maturity. When I got older, I began to understand the books beyond what was written on the pages. I realized that there was something even more magical than Wizarding World itself — the messages that J.K. Rowling had woven so intricately into her tapestry of words. One day I wondered to myself… What makes a book so transfixing? Of course, the plot is very important, but I found that beyond the compelling storyline, it was the truthfulness in which J.K. Rowling portrayed human nature — as if she captured the very essence of it and poured it into each character -- that sealed the deal for me. The realism of the characters with their own individuality and complexity, the way the characters all contribute something significant to the story, the authenticity of the interactions between them… these are the aspects that really make the difference between a children's story and a timeless work of literature for all ages. Ironically, replicating nature in its simple and truest state is the hardest thing to do, however, J.K. Rowling has done so with flying colours. When the context of magic is stripped away, Harry Potter accurately mirrors human nature, our society, and the world that we live in, flaws included. Harry Potter has taught me many valuable lessons and these ideas have been ingrained into the core of my very being. For one, compassion. Everyone is different in both nature and nurture and to fairly assess ourselves or another, we must seek to understand instead of criticize. Another major theme is complexity — nothing is black and white, no one is solely good or evil. Everyone has done both favourable and immoral things, but it is your choices that show who you are. No matter what sins you have committed in the past, if you feel sincere repentance and make better choices, redemption is possible. Last but not least is the true power of love. I think that J.K. Rowling has done an extraordinary job in making this the foundation of her story, because often times, there is a thin line between a prominent message and a cliché. However, in a exemplary display of 'show-don't-tell', she communicates that regardless of the kind of love, the underlying essence is the same: a pure and selfless emotion that is power in itself. Overall, Harry Potter has been an indispensable part of my life, though it has caused me sadness due to certain character deaths and despair when I did not receive my Hogwarts letter at age eleven. However, I still like to think that it is not fiction but some sort of biography. Since I have been immersing my heart and soul in the Wizarding World for so long, I thereby consider myself a real witch and not a mere Muggle. Though it may just be a sad attempt to convince myself that this world is indeed out there, must I be denied the right to my imagination? After all, like Dumbledore says, perhaps it is happening inside your head, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?

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