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Happy Birthday, Harry Potter!

By Corey Atad | Miscellaneous | July 31, 2014 | Comments ()


Harry-Potter-Birthday-Cake.jpg

It’s July 31st, which only means one thing: it’s Harry Potter’s birthday!

On this day in 1980, little Harry Potter was born to Lily and James. Eleven years later, on July 31st, 1991, Hagrid burst through the door of a dank hut and said, “Yer a wizard, Harry.”

Today, he is 34.

Harry Potter has been massively important in my life. I first picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1999 at the age of 10. Like so many other children and adults around the world, I was immediately hooked. I burned through the next two books, pre-ordered the next books in the series as they were released, went to see all the movies, sometimes multiples times. When the Deathly Hallows came out in 2007, it felt like a chapter was closing on my life.

Truthfully, though, that chapter never fully closed. I still think about Harry Potter and his friends regularly. So often I encounter problems in my own life and think back to the lessons I’ve taken from those books. The series has informed the way I think about friendship, family, love and how to be a decent human being.

I still re-read the books occasionally, discovering new depths of emotion and wisdom every time I do. It’s a singular series, really. The stories are aimed at children, but with no condescension. They are simple in some ways, following the typical hero’s journey template. At the same time, the Harry Potter books are wonderfully complex, forcing the characters to face the darker sides of life and the world, and asking them to decide the kinds of people they want to be.

Having those books in my life as I was growing up made some of those decisions easier for me when I had to face them. They also gave me another world to escape to and immerse myself in. They were a respite from life that nevertheless confronted me with the truths of life. For that I am ever thankful.

July 31st isn’t just Harry Potter’s birthday, though. It’s also his creator’s.

J.K. Rowling is 49 years old today. Her impact on so many others and myself cannot be overstated, and for that I wish her all the happiness in the world.

Happy Birthday, J.K. Rowling! And many more!

PS, Can somebody please explain Pottermore to me?

pottermore emails.jpg

Thanks.


Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Rebecca Hachmyer

    Wait, why 1991? I'm missing something.

  • Emily Smith

    Pottermore is awesome for a few things: getting "officially" Sorted, and finding out new backstories that Rowling's coming up with (my favourite was that Elizabeth I never married because she spurned the first Lucius Malfoy so he kept jinxing all her other suitors), and there are some cute mini games and puzzles. Just don't try making potions.

  • stella

    Happy Birthday Ms Rowling. Thank you http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=e...

  • ViciousTrollop

    I started reading Harry Potter for the first time this year. I also watched the movies for the first time as well.

    I'm so happy to finally know what a muggle is or how to play Quidditch. The books and films are truly a joy, even when you're experiencing them for the first time at age 29.

  • BWeaves

    I was introduced to Harry Potter right before the 4th book came out. I was taking a weaving workshop and all the ladies and gents in it were raving about how much they loved the books, and would read them with their grandchildren.

    I bought the first book for my nephew. He'd only read short books that you could finish in 1/2 hour before. I told him to read it and let me know if it was any good. Then lend it to me so I could read it. If he liked it, I'd buy him the next one.

    Well, he didn't read it and he didn't read it, and finally my sister yelled at him to sit down and read it for 1/2 hour, because Aunt B was waiting for it. Two hours later, he's still reading it. He was hooked. I ended up buying him all 4 books that summer. He read over 1000 pages. He asked for the 5th book and I told him he'd have to wait because it wasn't written yet. The look on his face!

    I ended up buying him all the books eventually, and his brother his own set, and me and darling husband our own set.

    Hogwarts reminds me of the school I went to in England when I was little, except without the magic, although I was convinced we had faeries living in the wood in front of the school. My school wasn't a castle but a big old Victorian house. We had 4 houses and prefects and uniforms, the whole shebang. I loved that school.

    What I really like about the Potter books is the humor and the way Rowling introduces things that get used later in the books. I gave up on Narnia because stuff would be introduced and then never came up again, and that annoyed me.

  • I never put together that you're BWeaves because you weave. Perfect. I think weaving is edging out spinning as the next fiber craft that I would like to take on.

  • BWeaves

    I've been knitting since age 5. They taught us in school in England. Another reason I loved that school. Art wasn't crayons and construction paper. It was knitting, and embroidery, and oil painting, etc. etc. t taught myself to spin at age 29, and was introduced to weaving a year later. I still do all these, but weaving has so much to it that I'll never get to all the things that can be done.

  • Congratulations, youngsters. You're officially getting old!

    ETA: YOU GUYS! I've got a great idea!

    Ms. Rowling needs to release a new Harry Potter midlife crisis series.

    Harry Potter and the Hemorrhoid Cushion of Diagon Alley
    Harry Potter and the Shiny New Thunderbolt
    Harry Potter and the Magical Implants

  • kbenton

    Harry Potter and the Search for The Best Kindergarten
    Harry Potter and the Refinancing of the Mortgage
    Harry Potter and the Neighbor's Encroaching Hedge

  • Berry

    As Harry's fellow 34 year old, for this year I would suggest.

    Harry Potter and The Ministry Job That's Not Terrible But Not Great Either

  • If there's more to Pottermore than signing up simply to get officially sorted by the Sorting Hat, I don't need to know. Hufflepuff represent!

  • JustOP

    Don't know about yourself, but when I think of Harry Potter (read all the books/seen all the movies/got me into reading yadda yadda), I often think back to the early Philosphers Stone Playstation One game.

    Exploring Hogwarts, collecting those every-flavour-beans, trading cards, playing Quidditch. Probably nostalgia speaking, but I have fond memories of that game.

    What I find most interesting is that the Potter stories and etc became this cultural phenomenon, yet it's still such a positive thing. Look at the Star Wars, Twilights, 50 Shades of Grey's, they're all these massive things, but they're also marred with negativity and problems.

    I really hope that doesn't change.

  • Guest

    "All was well."

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