Harry Potter. The Boy Who Lived. The Chosen One. He has many names, but to me, Harry is more than just a character from a book – he’s a friend I’ve grown up with and learnt with and laughed with. He’s a friend I’ve cried with and mourned with and fought alongside. I’ve been reading the Harry Potter series since I was eight years old and it’s been a huge part of my childhood. I remember the Christmas I got the boxset of books 1-4, and I remember reading each one, thinking to myself “this is the best series I’ve ever read”. I still think that. I remember going out at the crack of dawn to buy the new books the day they were released, and I remember reading them, non-stop until I was finished. I remember chatting about them with my friends the next day, with an excited gleam in my eye. I remember theorising what crazy things would happen next. I remember making a Harry Potter website in year 8 for my ICT project. I remember making a HP magazine too. I remember starting a Dumbledore’s Army club at school, and I remember getting sorted and passing my OWLs and playing Quidditch with a basketball and some hula-hoops. I remember eating cakes iced with snitches, and staying up ‘til 5am, watching movies 1-6 back-to-back. I remember discovering A Very Potter Musical and thinking “this is brilliant!”. I remember writing to J. K. Rowling and being so excited when I got a letter back in the post, even if it was just a generic one that got sent to everyone.I remember going on JKR’s website and discovering all the clues and tidbits she had on there. I remember taking my WOMBATs and getting two Es and an O. I remember convincing my parents to watch the movies with me, and I remember explaining all the things they didn’t understand. I remember telling my friend that if she read the Harry Potter series, I’d actually wear a dress for a day (she did it, and I wore it). I remember her telling me that she was an idiot for not reading the books sooner. I remember hearing on the news that there was going to be a Harry Potter theme park opening, and I remember completely freaking out. I remember my lessons at school, where my friends and I used pens for wands and disarmed each other with “Expelliarmus!”. I remember beating the girl on Junior Mastermind, whose specialist subject was Harry Potter (and I’m still proud of that). I remember crying when my favourite characters died, and I remember cursing JKR and then praising her. I remember asking my Latin teacher what “Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus” meant (never tickle a sleeping dragon, FYI). I remember laughing at Harry Potter chat up lines (is that a wand in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?) and I remember trying out some Harry Potter insults on unsuspecting friends (your mum’s so fat her Patronus is a cake!). I remember getting so frustrated when the email sign up on Pottermore wouldn’t work the first day. I remember telling my dad that we needed to buy a Ford Anglia (he laughed). I remember anxiously waiting for my letter from Hogwarts. I remember not getting it. I remember reading fanfiction, and buying a quill, just so I could say I had one. I remember it all.
I remember Harry Potter in every single aspect of my life. I’ve read the books dozens of times, and I have never gotten bored. I never will. I will always return to them, no matter how old and decrepit I get. In the words of Alan Rickman (EDIT: in the words of what internet people have pretended was Alan Rickman), “When I'm 80 years old, I'll be reading Harry Potter. My family will say, 'After all this time?' and I will say 'Always.'” It’s a series that has been with me for so long, that the thought of it being over actually makes me feel like I’m losing a best friend. But, as someone (whose name escapes me) said at the Harry Potter premiere, “I refuse to believe this is ‘the end of an era’. Rather, I see it as the beginning of a legend.” And I truly believe that.
All that’s left really is for me to thank to JKR, the genius behind everything. I can safely say that without her, and without Harry, my entire life would be so different. So I raise my glass to JKR, and to the boy who lived, and I smile, because whatever happens, I know that Hogwarts will always be there to welcome me home.