I’m honestly not sure what happened, but for some reason, I’m super into Harry Potter. Again. In 2022.
This weird resurgence of love for my favourite childhood series has been adequately timed with the release of Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts (2022) on Crave. So, I thought I’d talk about them both—you know, two birds, one stone.
I don’t think there’s anything more nostalgic for me than Harry Potter. I don’t have a lot of strong memories from my childhood, but the ones I do have are incredibly vivid, and many of them surround the world of Harry Potter.
I remember in fourth grade—the year I first found the books—highly anticipating library time, because I knew it meant I’d get to sink my teeth into a few more pages of the series. I can remember sitting there, in a wooden chair at a table in the middle of the library, surrounded by five of my friends, clutching one of the library’s copies of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was the classic American edition, worn pages and scratched cover encapsulated in plastic wrap. I remember remarking to my friends that the opening of this particular installment was quite dull—who’s this stupid old man, anyway?
In December, some eleven years after fourth grade, I rewatched all the movies with my boyfriend on the couch in my living room in Kingston. We put on The Philosopher’s Stone (2001) because it is the best Christmas movie out there, and we just didn’t stop.
When I went home for Christmas, instead of picking up one of the many books I’d bought throughout the semester, my fingers went to Harry Potter—to the Scholastic set with the fun illustrated covers that I had proudly purchased one by one when I was eleven and twelve. I concluded 2021 with The Chamber of Secrets and opened 2022 with The Prisoner of Azkaban. I finished The Deathly Hallows not long after, on the plane to England for my exchange term.
Still, eleven years later, I’m marking time with Harry Potter.
Before I left, my boyfriend and I watched the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts (2022) reunion special on Crave. I don’t have much to say about it, really, except that it was really good. Perhaps you could say that it was overly nostalgic and sentimental–rather quite like this article–but there’s something wonderful about watching a group of actors return to the studio they grew up in and bask in their mutual love for a series that captured an entire world.
It was also wonderful watching this reunion with my boyfriend, and celebrating this series we both love so much. I first read these books when I was in fourth grade, and I first watched the movies before that with my mom, and now I’ve returned to them with someone I didn’t know then, but is incredibly important to me now. It’s telling of the series’ prevalence that Harry Potter was there when I was a little kid and is still here now. I can’t really say that about a lot of things—at least to this extent.
Returning to something that shaped your childhood is really very amazing. Rereading the books when I’m twenty, I noticed things I hadn’t noticed before, and picked up on little things that I didn’t realize affected me so much when I was a kid, but definitely did. Honestly, I don’t know what my personality would look like if I had never met Hermione.
There’s just something so comforting about rereading or rewatching Harry Potter. It’s a cliché, but it’s true—it’s like being a kid again. It can be difficult to return to things you loved as a kid so many years later, when both you and the world are so different. I do struggle to continue to accept these stories when I know what I do about J.K. Rowling, for example, but Harry Potter as a world in itself gave me so much, and I don’t think that can really change.
I’d encourage you to pick up a childhood favourite. I think it’s instructive, and interesting, and just plain comforting. And who doesn’t need a little comfort? A little magic, if I may?
I really don’t know what it is about Harry Potter that’s made it affect me so much. Maybe it’s the characters, the world, or the ease of seeing yourself in those characters and in that world. Maybe it’s just really, really good marketing. But, as a person who likes books a lot, it’s incredible to see a work of fiction catch the imagination of so many people. It’s unified the world in mutual love, and I think that’s rather amazing.
Harry Potter isn’t real, but also it is, isn’t it? I’m still writing about it, eleven years after fourth grade. That counts for something.
HEADER IMAGE ILLUSTRATOR: Eileen Raisbeck (@soupwitcch)