I’ve been tidying up my writing folders and found this post I wrote absolutely yonks ago for a blog promoting my friend’s Harry Potter conference. I’d probably approach this differently today, but I can’t help but look back on this piece fondly and wanted to preserve it somewhere.
Dear Mr. Potter,
When I turned fifteen, I received a book of fantasy artwork from my mother. Engrossed as I was in the beautiful illustrations, it was some time before I noticed the inscription she had written on the inside cover — “Never stop believing in magic”. All these years later, her advice has never left me.
My love affair with all things magical did not start with you, Harry, by any means. By the time I was thrust into the world of Hogwarts at the age of ten I was already well acquainted with wizards and hobbits, fauns and magical faraway trees. But as I turned the first few pages of The Philosopher’s Stone, something inside of me just lit up and instinctively I knew that I had happened across something very special. Your story reached out and touched me Harry, and as your tale unfolded I realised that I felt closer to a character in a book than I had ever thought possible.
For some of our journey, you were slightly older than me — a hero for me to look up to. Then, for a short period of time, we were of an age and I would spend my days flicking through the pages of your books and imagine meeting you and becoming your friend. I can’t tell you how many times I would lie in bed wishing that there had been a terrible mistake and my Hogwarts letter had merely been mislaid (sometimes I still wish this). When I eventually overtook you in age (I was already nineteen when you turned seventeen) I came to view you as I would a younger brother — I worried for your safety (as well as for your choice in girlfriends!).
I don’t think you will ever really know what you have meant to me and to so many others Harry. You introduced countless young people to the world of books and imagination and, in a world where more and more children have given up on reading, that alone makes you worthy of praise. For millions of adults too you have reminded them of what it is to dream and your story has proven beyond a doubt that there is a part of all of us that still clings to that childhood belief in magic.
As I think back on our time together, I remember the advice of my mother and I know that, as long as there are stories like yours out there to discover, I will always, always believe in magic.
Alex, age 23 and most definitely a Ravenclaw*!
*Note from present-day Alex — weird side-effect of getting older: your Hogwarts house changes. These days I’m feeling much more Hufflepuffy. Perhaps I grow soft in my later years…