This may shock, excite, enrage, confuse, nauseate, befuddle, and just straight up piss off some people, but I have never read the Harry Potter book series and I write for Bookstr. Do you count the first three or so chapters of The Sorcerer’s Stone? Either way, Harry Potter fans (and I do include myself to an extent) may still be shocked about that admission.
Hear me out, folks.
I wasn’t deprived as a kid; I read lots of books and stuck with regular literary fiction. I wasn’t dropped on my head. I sketched a lot, played sports, and especially loved animals and insects. So I felt extra cool in middle school when we were assigned a book to analyze and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was bestowed upon me. However, by then, I had already heard pretty much everything about it.
Growing up, one of my older sisters, a bookworm to the core, had blazed through every newly released Harry Potter book like it was nobody’s business. It was actually frightening yet quite impressive. Especially when she’d wake up after a night of no sleep and non-stop reading. I heard the rage about it, witnessed the crowds, gawked at the lines, and, yet, when my teacher assigned it to my class, I struggled. What the hell, right?
Nothing about it was too hard and I’m open-minded to all genres. But the insane hype and imagery was already ingrained deep inside my mind. At that time I had seen all the movies there were to see. Instagram wasn’t a thing, so it was all about MySpace then. So I’d hear about it from my sister’s friends and then some. All bookworms would agree with the number one rule: read the books before you see the movies. And I would’ve! I really would’ve, but I was already into the movies before I could even go back. I had Potter overload and it was a lot to handle.
So naturally, when I began Sorcerer’s Stone, I just couldn’t get the films out of my head. Some moments were different from the movie and the book was so rich with detail that I couldn’t build from the ground up. And I don’t mean that it was too much detail in a bad way. I simply couldn’t allow myself to imagine my own version of the wizarding world free from that which the movie franchise gave us.
I don’t know how I got through that group assignment without finishing the book. I probably referred to the movie, which you obviously can’t compare. Now, I’ve seen all but four of the movies (including Deathly Hallows Part 2) and I’ve even seen Fantastic Beasts! I have a basic knowledge of certain plot points and characters. But still no books.
I have my sister to go to for all my Harry Potter-related questions. I usually get an are-you-kidding-me look before I get my answer, but I always get a good answer that a super Potter fan would give. Notice how I say ‘super’ instead of ‘true’. This is because I do consider myself a Harry Potter fan.
I think the Harry Potter fandom is a powerful thing. It’s actually incredible that people of all different backgrounds can join together for the common love of something. Every time news is released or merchandise is designed for the Potter franchise, I’m mesmerized by how thrilled the fans are. I love how people find an escape into a magical world that welcomes real-life lessons of friendship and acceptance. J. K. Rowling’s success story will forever inspire me and the guts and smarts Hermione has I could only wish for. So am I a super fan with copious amounts of knowledge of every book? No. Have I re-read the series five times in a row? No. But that still doesn’t mean I’m not a fan.
People still look at me shocked when I tell them that I haven’t read what is easily the biggest book franchise since I don’t know when. Will I ever read them? I think it all boils down to personal preference about how someone reads. I think my imagination has been oversaturated with the discussion of plots and scenes and imagery. And yes, I know the book is different and better, but I personally can’t break free from it. Not at this point and not right now, but maybe in the future.
To all the bookworms who can’t exactly get where I’m coming from, that’s fine. To all the bookworms who know exactly where I’m coming from, well that’s bloody fantastic! As for the magical Potter book series, perhaps they’ll Slytherin to my TBR list some day.
Feature Image Via Warner Bros.