Fun fact: I have been experiencing a Harry Potter revival in my life recently. I started re-reading the series this past October (I’m currently on book 7 for the second time!), Eric started re-reading them again shortly after I started (he finished re-reading the entire series over a month ago. Ugh.), my Mom started reading the series for the first time (she is on book 5!), and some good friends of ours just finished listening to all seven books via audio with reader Jim Dale (he is amazing).
It has been so much fun discussing the books all over again with friends and family. I have a renewed appreciation for the series after our many talks about the deeper meanings in the books, and J.K. Rowling’s overall brilliance in creating the series.
Interesting fact: I didn’t read Harry Potter for the first time until I was an adult. It was my senior year of college and a trustworthy friend of mine convinced me to read the series, and loaned me the first book. She told me I would read it in a day. I think I read it in two.
I didn’t do a lot of pleasure reading in college, but when I did, it was such a refreshing escape, and reading the Harry Potter series was especially delightful in that way. I would get up early before my first morning class, make a cup of tea, and sit on the fluffy red couch next to the big window. I imagined I was sitting in the Gryffindor common room, naturally. My two sisters quickly got on board, and soon we were all glued to the series.
I realize most Harry Potter fans around my age read the books as they came out, as children, but if you are like me and were late coming to the game, here are a few reasons I think you shouldn’t put off reading Harry Potter any longer.
5 reasons to read Harry Potter as an adult
1. You read too much nonfiction
This may or may not be true for you. But I know that for me, being an adult has meant lots and lots of nonfiction gets thrown into my reading stack. Learning things is fun! But nonfiction lacks in a few areas where only fiction can excel: namely, fiction evokes more emotion. And I have this theory that feeling compassion for all sorts of fictional characters is good practice for real life–and Harry Potter is full of all sorts of fictional characters.
2. You haven’t built a fort in your living room in a long time
That is to say, your imagination isn’t stimulated enough these days. As adults, we don’t often get to return to our childlike ways of thinking. In some ways, that is great as we have hopefully matured into wiser ways. However, seeing the world from your former perspective can be a refreshing delight. Harry Potter is far from childlike, but I bet it is more imaginative than your day-to-day thought life.
3. You need to be able to assign a Harry Potter character to each of your friends and family
Life is dull when you can’t say for sure who a certain person in your life would be if they were a Harry Potter character. My youngest sister, Sally, says that if we were evil, she would be Bellatrix LeStrange and I would be Narcissa Malfoy (which is scarily true). If we were good, she would be Professor Trelawney and I would be Hermione Granger. A friend of mine who shall remain nameless, swears she has a relative who is the exact replica of Dolores Umbridge. Naturally, she is in our prayers.
You have a better understanding of the world you live in if you can ascribe Harry Potter characters to the people you know. Trust me on this one.
4. You need a legal addictive stimulant in your life
Addiction can be a horrible thing–but only when it harms your body and your relationships with other people. Harry Potter is an addiction that will not only improve your personal life, but will also improve your relationship to just about everyone around you. Why? Because if you haven’t read Harry Potter by now, you are in the minority. If you can discuss Harry Potter with the children and adults in your life, you are already that much more interesting and relatable. And I don’t know who wouldn’t want that.
5. You need to understand how truly idiotic this statement is “A culture that simplifies its entertainment down to fairy tales is doomed to simplify the world down to good and evil.”
Yes, a real person said that*. Do you know what another real person said?
“If you happen to read fairy tales, you will observe that one idea runs from one end of them to the other–the idea that peace and happiness can only exist on some condition. This idea, which is the core of ethics, is the core of the nursery-tales.”
“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
If you guessed my opinion of fairy tales falls more in the Chesterton camp, you are correct. Fairy Tales are healthy for both adults and children, and maybe more so for adults as children are naturally inclined to embrace fairy tales. As adults, there is so much we have forgotten about the world. Fairy tales, in many ways, remind us of what is real.
*It was Joel Stein in this mind-numbing article.
And there you have it: five (very good) reasons to read Harry Potter as an adult. What are your thoughts? Are you an adult who has not yet experienced the wonders of Harry Potter? Are you a Harry Potter fan who can add more reasons to this list? I would love to hear!