My First Journey to Hogwarts

Growing up, I never read or watched Harry Potter. Some of my friends around me loved it and talked about it, but my family wasn’t a huge fan of it so I never had much of an interest in reading the series. My middle school self just stuck with the Hunger Games.

The summer after my freshman year of college, however, Shane insisted he share the magical world of Hogwarts with me. I really enjoyed the movies and the characters and the plot and just everything about it. When I lived in Orlando I even spent $100 to go to Islands of Adventure and visit Hogsmeade and try Butterbeer and take a trip through the Hogwarts castle.

But I still had never read the books.

I was such a reader in middle school, but once I got into high school I just kind of stopped. Especially in college, I was too busy to do much reading. I just never made the time for it.

Then came this past summer. When cleaning out Shane’s room together, I saw that he had the entire Heroes of Olympus series. Now, I read the Percy Jackson series in middle school and I loved it, but I never got around to reading this spin-off series, so I decided to give it a try! And holy cow, it made me fall in love with reading again. It took me a month to read the first book because I was in the middle of moving and getting married, but once life settled down after the honeymoon, if I wasn’t working I was reading. I finished all five books by the end of July and was so attached to the characters and the story, I didn’t know what to do with myself when it was over. I read everything I could get my hands on until we finally moved back to Joplin, where I had the MSSU library at my fingertips.

Because reading finally came back into my life, I decided to make it one of my semester goals to read the whole Harry Potter series by the end of the year. I anticipated that it would be difficult, because I had more time to read over the summer and there were more books and more pages in this series compared to The Heroes of Olympus. However, once I started the series, I quickly realized reading the seven books in a few months wasn’t going to be a problem at all. In fact, I had read them all by midterms.

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I read between classes, I read during meals, I read in my car when I got to work too early. I swooped up all the extra time I had when classes got out fifteen minutes early or I somehow finished my homework before bed. All available time I had, I was engrossed in one of these magical books.

So now that I’ve officially read the Harry Potter series, here are some thoughts:

1

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

  • My first trip to Hogwarts so magical and perfect and everything I expected but even better
  • Wow the Dursleys suck
  • Hagrid is a precious angel that must be protected at all costs
  • Quidditch is so cool???
2

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  • So even though I knew what was going to happen, I still couldn’t stop reading and wanted to keep going to find out what happens. Doesn’t make much sense, but oh well
  • Dobby makes me so nervous and anxious
  • I just really love the story in this one
HP- Prisoner of Askaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  • This book was very different from the movie and I’m living for it
  • I love Lupin with my whole heart
  • The scene with the boggort in class might be one of my favorites
  • Buckbeak and Hagrid are so precious, my heart
  • Ron’s obsession with Scabbers is scary

4

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

  • “Did you put your name into the goblet of fire?” he asked calmly.
  • This was honestly one of my favorites.
  • It’s so long compared to the movie and I love all the extra details that were so new and fun to read
  • I completely forgot about the whole Mad-Eye-Crouch thing and was really enjoying his character until Shane rudely reminded me of the truth
  • I’m glad Harry is actually finally showing that he has what it takes to be a real, strong wizard rather than just getting lucky
  • The whole plan of bringing Voldemort back was so clever, I gotta admit
  • My heart hurts for poor little Winky
  • My favorite quote from the series is in this book and I have Hagrid to thank for that
HP- Order of the Phoenix (1)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  • I know this is a lot of peoples’ least favorite book but I think it might be favorite?? Or at least tied for #1
  • Angsty Harry can get annoying, yes, but like, I wouldn’t expect him to act any differently after everything that’s happened and continues to happen??
  • I love the introduction to the Order and the characters that come with it
  • Dumbledore’s Army! Just! Yes!!
  • Umbridge. Just. No. (Okay but I do like her character in reference to what it does to the storyline and making the book interesting)
  • Sirius breaks my heart. He isn’t usually seen as a “tragic character” but the fact that he has to live in the place he had been running from his whole life, alone with no way to help the Order or his only connection to his best friend, it’s just really sad.
  • MoGonagall is BA, I would not want to cross her
  • I love Fred and George and their escape from Hogwarts is legendary. So much better than the movie.
  • I’m just really glad this book was over 800 pages
HP- Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  • I love seeing Dumbledore and Harry finally work together!
  • Learning about Voldemort’s past is so interesting
  • I’ve been waiting for Harry and Ginny to get together since Chamber of Secrets so let’s just say YAS
  • This book made me feel things. I don’t know how to explain that, but it just did.
  • I cried during Dumbledore’s funeral, okay? There, I said it.
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

  • Wow, here we are.. We’ve reached the end.
  • Learning about the Horcruxes and the Hallows and everything was so intriguing.
  • I know I said Dobby annoyed me in Chamber of Secrets but that little guy has grown on me, RIP
  • Things are kind of boring without Ron
  • Minerva and Molly my HEROES
  • Fred, my HEART (I hate how his death didn’t get much time, same with Lupin and Tonks, but wow it shows how real war is.. people die but things just keep happening, you have to keep fighting, there’s no time to dwell on sadness)
  • The Battle of Hogwarts. Just, wow.
  • HAGRID
  • I love how even after people thought Harry was dead, they just kept fighting. They didn’t give up, they fought even harder.

I absolutely loved every single one of these books and I know they’re going to hold a special place in my heart forever. I can’t wait to return to them and read them again sometime in the future. Hagrid is still my favorite and anyone who hurts him is dead to me, I’m proud to be a Gryffindor, and I hope Ginny and Harry stay together forever and ever.

But really, this isn’t just a story about wizards and witches and magic. It’s a story about friendship and loyalty, and how love is stronger than literally anything else that has ever existed. It’s magical in a different way than just with spells and wands- it touched my heart and my mind and I’ve learned so much about myself by reading these books. I wish I had read them sooner, but I honestly read them at just the right time in my life. I’m thankful for JK Rowling and Harry Potter and the complete wonder of reading.

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