Appreciation post for the boy who lived.
You’re turning thirty-eight this year, twenty-seven years after Hagrid knocked down the front door and told you you were a wizard; twenty-one years after the battle of Hogwarts; ten years after you’ve been with me.
I know you’ve probably know this or have heard fans telling you about how you’ve changed their lives, but here’s another soppy letter just because I revisited Hogwarts these days, and the good old emotions just came gushing back.
If I were to ever get a tattoo, I think I’d like to get a little golden snitch right above my ankle, reminding me of the magic. Reminding me that it opens at the close. Reminding me of you and Ron and Hermione.
I remember clearly the first time I heard about you; it was in the most peculiar place, the least likely you’d expect to find magic. Now, as I look back, it seems like exactly the right place for me to have found you.
My dad and I were on a crowded bus, and it was a long time ago, since I was only tall enough to hold on to the seats. It was pouring that day, and outside the window night had fallen. Crammed between bodies, my dad started telling me about you, a boy named Harry Potter, with a lightning-shaped scar across his forehead. He traced your scar across the fogged-up window, and I vaguely remember actual lightning in the distance. It adds quite a bit of a dramatic flare, but whether there was actual lightning is debatable.
I remember before I fully knew you being afraid of Hermione. I had watched Chamber of Secrets in the theaters with my parents, and the only thing I remember was Hermione with her face full of fur, two ears, and a tail. A bathroom with dimly lit lights? The nightmares were endless.
But somehow and somewhen, I decided to give you a chance. I listened to Stephen Fry recount your adventures, and from the very beginning, I was enraptured.
I used to be never able to pick a favorite out of you, Ron, and Hermione, when other books and series I did with great ease. I tried to figure out why that was. I thought about it and thought about it and finally came up with somewhat of a response.
You guys were special. It’s that easy. I’ve kept count of how many times I’ve listened to the audio books, and it’s approximately 50 times for each book. Everyday before I came to the States, I would wake up and reach for my MP3. Everyday, you, Ron, and Hermione accompanied me more than anyone else, except maybe my parents. It’s not wrong to say that I practically lived in your world, daydreaming about myself at Hogwarts, being friends with you three. It goes without saying that I was extremely disappointed on my eleventh birthday.
The reason I couldn’t pick a favorite out of you three before was because I grew up with you. It’s a similar logic when someone (insensitive) asks me whether I love my mom or dad more. I ate at the Great Hall with you, made friends with you, went through potions hating Snape with you, cried when Sirius died with you, fought Voldemort with you.
And now I am almost an adult, the same age when you had fought Voldemort, and I am shocked at how different our two seventeens feel to me. When I was younger, I thought seventeen was the oldest age ever. And now, I don’t really see a change in myself starting fifteen.
Of course, my parents have told me that I’ve changed multiple times, and I believe them, I do. But I never stop wondering about how you took on Voldemort at eleven and walked into your death bed at seventeen.
You’re thirty-eight this year, and I can’t help but think about the seven years worth of adventures that you took on. I call them adventures tentatively, because quite frankly, they didn’t sound like too much fun to live inside. I am here thinking about Big Topics like Whatever the Hell is Life Anyway and Who is God Really and Will I Get Into College when you looked pure evil in the face and said Fuck You.
It’s unnerving to compare my life with the lives in books, especially yours. I’m thinking about values and are these values even worth it and maybe Voldemort right all along when he told you in your first year that there was no good or evil, but only power. Only power.
It’s a rather depressing thought really, but even when maybe there really is no good or evil, there is still this: There are power in words and the transfer of words (or, a conversation). Power dynamic shifts constantly throughout everyday interactions, through small things like body language and words. I think you took all the power in this relationship, when the words completely entranced me.
Harry, you’re thirty eight today, and I wanted to wish you the best of birthdays.