EXPeriencing Harry Potter Escapism as an Adult

“You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him.” —Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

As I wrote in my last blog post, the Harry Potter series was with me through the entirety of my adolescence, a decidedly tough time in my life. I could escape into the world of witchcraft and wizardry and forget about my problems, even while Dumbledore spoke truths that helped me combat those problems in the real world.

I started re-reading Harry Potter last month out of frustration because I couldn’t find the book I had already started and my e-reader was dead so I couldn’t pick up any of the books I had downloaded there. I was actually kind of hesitant to re-read the series—what if it wasn’t quite as great as I remembered? What if the movies had overridden how I viewed Hogwarts in my head 15 years ago?

After the past few weeks I’ve had, I couldn’t have picked a better time to re-read this series. Between the stresses of being an adult, owning a house, working full-time, and trying to keep up a regular running schedule while maintaining a clean house and grocery shopping and cooking dinner is enough adulting as it is. But when you add in the personal and family issues I’ve been struggling with recently (that I just don’t have the stamina or heart to get into right now), that’s about all the life one person can take and still pretend to function as a normal human being.

(Oh, and the answers to my worries: it’s exactly as great as I remembered, and while I do picture a lot of the cast and locations from the movies, it only enhances the preexisting images I conjured up myself.)

Just as Harry Potter helped me as a teenager when I was hormonal and crazy and thought the world revolved around high school band competitions, it’s helping me again. When it all feels like too much and I can’t breathe, visiting Hogwarts helps calm my mind, slow my heart rate, and fall into an adventure much more dangerous and fascinating than real life. So what if J.K. Rowling uses verb-adverb combos too much (the phrase “floating weirdly” was definitely a struggle for me), so what if these books were “technically” written for children? They speak universal truths and they create a world so rich and full that it’s impossible not to escape right into the pages the moment you find yourself back in Harry’s room on Privet Drive during his summer holidays.

Thanks to Harry Potter, I didn’t just exist through life until now, I lived. And thanks to Harry Potter (and J.K. Rowling, of course) once more, I think I’ll be able to get through this rough patch of adulting just a little happier than I would have without Harry, Hermione, Ron, and all the rest of the wizarding world.

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