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#HarryPotter20: An open letter to J.K. Rowling

Dear J.K. Rowing,

This week marks the twentieth anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I, and many, many others will be forever grateful for your imagination, your perseverance and your stories.

Harry Potter provided, and continues to provide, me with adventures that I can only hope to have, with friends when my own were low or depleting in numbers, but more than that all the books in this wonderful and entrancing series, have provided me with endless hours of immersive entertainment and escapism. Both of these words seem insufficient and overused but they are true, and, in all honesty, the best I can come up with. Maybe this is why I  – apart from one time, which we will not speak about –  relied on the 140 character limit on Twitter to express my feelings. I struggle to really pin down why something was so enjoyable, why a book was so incredible, or why something means so much; the character limit helps to disguise this. As such, I hope you will forgive me if my words are a little jumbled and my phrases repetitive.

As I am sure many would agree, your works of fiction helped to shape not just myself but the majority of my generation. Thousands flocked to pick up the next instalment, becoming very anti-social for the next few days as we sat on the edge of our seats during Harry’s battle with the Hungarian Horntail, shared Ron’s frustration with Lockhart, and cried, many a time, with the characters as they grew and encountered life at its fullest and most demanding. Indeed, I  can clearly remember a delightful camping trip where I spent two days, talking to no-one. Instead, I devoured the entirety of the Order of the Phoenix, ignoring my family, and the excitement of the hill-climb happening around me.

The seventh book was purchased in a haze of excitement and maybe a little bit of emotional giggling/ hysteria. However, when it came to beginning the story, of entering the wizarding world again, it was with hesitation. Hesitation not caused by ambiguity surrounding how well I’d enjoy it, but rather by the heavy realisation that this was it; the end of the series and the last time I would be entering the adventure with no idea what to expect. Oh, to be able to relive the experience of reading this series for the first time!

I am an almost 23-year-old, soon-to-be-graduate and I am proud to say that Harry and Potter and the Many Adventures he found himself in mean so much to me, more than I have the eloquence or the vocabulary to express even somewhat adequately. As you once said, –  ‘whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home – Hogwarts feels like home, the characters feel like friends, family, and yes, annoying siblings or even enemies, but all feel important and nostalgic. Even just holding the books, feeling the pages, reading one chapter of one book, feels comforting  – like coming home and sinking into the comfiest sofa or snuggling under the duvet. They, the books, the franchise, the characters and the fandom – which cannot go unmentioned, you, and your creation, have created one of the most passionate and loyal fandoms I have ever encountered. I am both honoured and grateful to be able to call myself a member – have helped me sleep, calm down, de-stress, find escapism from the sometime loneliness of university and the brain-block of assignments. They have, in with their colour and vividness, entertained, distracted and enthralled and entranced during the bad times and the good. Harry Potter remains my first choice when I want something fun, exciting and enthralling to read: it is always my go to.

So, I end this letter with two more words that seem insufficient: Thank you. Thank you for the characters who taught us so much, that it’s okay to be different, that it’s amazing to be unique, that whilst it may be complicated and hard, light and goodness will shine through and defeat the dark, and that incredible things can happen to anybody.


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