The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

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The Proper Way to Enter the Wizarding World


I speak for myself and many others when I say that the day I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, glanced at the cover of a boy on a broomstick, and read, “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much,” was the day I discovered magic. Every page was a new spell, conjuring a movie in my head with no limitations. At just 11 years old, Harry and I both had found a new world: the wizarding world. Nobody could tell me what to see or think. I was enchanted, not by a movie but by J.K. Rowling’s words and the stories they told. I’d waited all my life for my letter from Hogwarts inviting me into the wizarding world, and after reading the series 8 times over, here I am now: a Harry Potter expert. Who better than an expert to guide you on your journey towards becoming a wizard?

Let’s start with the basics. What, you might ask, is so special about these books?  Allow me to enchant you — no spoilers, of course! Harry Potter, an 11-year-old boy, receives a letter that invites him to attend Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry and piques his interest in his parents’ mysterious deaths. He becomes particularly curious about a fallen dark lord, He Who Shall Not Be Named. Harry enters Hogwarts as an innocent child with an abundance of magic and knowledge to uncover. 

So now that you have some basic knowledge of the world of Harry Potter, you are probably wondering how to properly enter the wizarding world — how do you attain such magic? How can you too experience what I once experienced — the bewilderment of an owl flying to your house to drop off a letter stamped with a mysterious H? Luckily, I can guide you.

Tip one: ALWAYS read before you watch the movies. This is the most important advice I could possibly give you. Read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone the book, then you may watch the movie. I repeat: this order is extremely important! You might ask, why books before movies? Why use your brain and imagination to read when you could just relax on your couch? My answer is this: some things are simple, but imagination is not. It is, however, powerful and rather unexplainable. The movie playing in your head is all yours. You are gifted with an imagination: an ability to visualize characters, settings, and a mood of your own. Actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint can never live up to the glorious trio you’ve created in your head. I’ll admit that movies are good, which is why I’m willing to make a compromise.  If you’ve already created your own costumes and casting, now you can relax with a slushie and some popcorn and see what the movie producers, actors, and directors put together. Your imagination is not questioned but rather highlighted as you compare and contrast the authentic movie in your head to the one on the screen in front of you.

Tip number two: ALWAYS read the series in order. You may think this is obvious and rather unnecessary of me to mention, but trust me when I tell you it needs to be said. The quality of your Harry Potter experience depends on the manner in which you read, the age you are when you read, and the order in which you read the books. Reading the books out of order is not only a crime against oneself, but certainly a crime against the wizarding world. The key to attaining a true, authentic experience is to understand that a reader grows up with Harry Potter, emotionally and physically. Harry begins the series as a curious 11-year-old and ends as a wise, powerful, and maybe even traumatized 17-year-old. Readers receive the unique experience of growing up with him. They are able to watch Harry Potter enter a new world and thus they enter one themselves. Hogwarts provides an escape from the world of muggles for both Harry and readers. 

I say all this to tell you that you too can experience what I experienced when I first picked up the dusty hardcover book from the back of my bookshelf. It is not too late to pick up a book and read, create your own story as you make your own discoveries. A truly beneficial reading experience is one that taps into yourself. It is one that is in some way relatable. I can’t actually summon a patronus or fly on a broomstick just because I’ve read Harry Potter. The kind of magic I learned was different. It is towards the end of the series, however present throughout, that it becomes clear Harry’s most powerful feats are his vulnerability and his ability to love. J.K. Rowling diligently creates a story that not only sparks one’s imagination through its fantasy but also speaks to the magic of childhood and vulnerability. That is, if you ask me, what makes this story so special. 

All that I ask is that you prioritize your imagination and value your vulnerability. Open your mind to its creative potential and enjoy the beauty of your own intuition. The power of books and creativity will never disappoint you. Read and you shall be enchanted. Read and you won’t regret it. Read the books, and then watch the movies. And, as J.K. Rowling wrote, “all will be well.”

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