Harry Potter and How it All Started

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, and it started before I even reached my teenage years. I think I was 10 the first time I attempted to read the Philosopher’s Stone (and I’m using the British English title here not only because it’s the original but because there is a significant semantic difference between a philosopher and a sorcerer dammit) – attempted, and failed. There were too many difficult words in the first chapter, and too many things that my head couldn’t understand – the cat with the map, and names such as McGonagall and Dumbledore. But then I was visiting a friend who had the movie on VHS, and I watched the end of it (she and some others had started the night before). I convinced my parents to get it for me (I no longer remember whether they bought it for me or if we borrowed it from the library) and my dad and I watched it together. It was a little bit scary, so it was good to have him there, but I ended up loving the magic. And then I read the book, and had no trouble getting through the difficult names from that day on.

I remember reading the first four books, borrowing them from the library over and over again. Goblet of Fire came with me on summer vacation one year, and I remember laughing in the car a lot because of all the funny moments and my brother asking me “what?!” and I would always tell him he’d have to wait until he reached that book too. That’s what I think about, every time I reread  the series and I finish Prisoner of Azkaban and dread starting Goblet of Fire because of how little I enjoyed the film by comparison – I think about that moment in the car and I know that I will enjoy it a lot more than I initially think every  single time, because of that moment that summer in the car.

When I heard that The Order of the Phoenix was out in English I ran down to the library to put my name on the waiting list for the Norwegian translation to be sure I got it first (it was still two months away and the librarian thought me weird and said it wasn’t necessary but I insisted and he did put me on the list). The hardback book was so heavy that the shelf above my bed actually bent a little when I put the book on it. I kept reading one through four, one through four, five, one through five, one through five, one through six – and when the Deathly Hallows was about to be released in Norwegian I somehow managed to talk my mom into pre-ordering the series for me and my brother after seeing an ad on the back of a book club magazine. I wasn’t a very fast reader, but I would not put the book down until I had read all of the pages and finished the series.

At this point, I have two complete sets of books – Norwegian hardback books, and American English pocket books. I also have PS and CoS illustrated, in British English (presents from my boyfriend, and I hope he keeps it up, because I want all of them and I want them in British English). And I have the audio books, read by Stephen Fry, although I only have them in downloaded form, thanks to a friend of mine. I would love to have a set of the books where the spines all put together make up Hogwars, that would look so pretty in a bookshelf… And have you guys seen the black leather bound ones with the book marks on the front cover that you can take out and use in the book? So beautiful! I want those as well. It’s actually kind of sad that both complete sets that I have look the same, because there are so many different and beautiful versions out there…

I’m listening to Order of the Phoenix right now. Last year, I started the audiobooks three times – I finished PS on the 5th of January, and DH on the 24th of May. By the 6th of June I’d finished PS for the second time, and completed DH on the 2nd of November. On the 6th of November I finished PS for the third time, and by the 6th of February this year I had finished the series three times. I told myself I was going to take a break, but I lasted barely a month, because by the 17th of March I’d finished PS again. And now, on the 21st of April I’m working my way through OotP. It’s kind of like a compulsion, and it’s probably not healthy. But if I can’t sleep because something is bothering me or I can’t relax, I put on Harry Potter, resuming from wherever I left off. I listen when I go to town, when I’m on my way to and from uni… I can’t stop. I tried to, but I couldn’t.

I love the Harry Potter series, and I love J. K. Rowling for creating this magical universe that I feel that I get to be a part of, no matter how old I get. Harry Potter got me into reading books on my own. Harry Potter encouraged me to continue reading. Hell, I even had my first fictional crush on the character! In many ways, Harry Potter saved me. And therefore I would like to start a series on my blog where I talk about things related to Harry Potter. The books, the movies, the sequel, prequels, fanfiction, AUs, fan merch… Really just everything. So if anyone has anything they want to read me talking about, please leave it in the comment section down below!

~ Julie

From Gryffindor to Ravenclaw but really about Change

When I joined Pottermore a few years ago, I was very excited to join my Hogwarts house. All the tests I’d taken online had been so predictable, and all the answers to all the questions were written in a way so that you could easily see which statement belonged to which house, and you could really just pick and get the house you wanted regardless of your true answer to the question. But on Pottermore it was different. I was torn between wanting Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, having always seen myself as a clever person and a sort of Hermione myself, whom the sorting hat had seriously considered putting in Ravenclaw. I was happy when I got Gryffindor, feeling like it confirmed my feelings of being Hermione-like.

A friend of mine from Twitter is a Slytherin, and we have often talked about how Slytherins have been stereotyped as mean and bad people. I assure you, that is not the case. She is one of the sweetest people I know. But trust me – she will stand up for herself. And her house. When I purchased a necklace of Ravenclaw’s diadem late last year, she told me she always thought of me as a Ravenclaw, even though I was sorted into Gryffindor. I had only gotten the necklace because I found it beautiful, and I already had the time turner, deathly hallows, and wands.

The other day when I was in university one of my friends went on Pottermore and got resorted. Like me, she had been a Gryffindor from the start. Now, however, she was sorted into Ravenclaw. Being a person who is a lot like me, she was happy with this. We both value wisdom and knowledge and cleverness.

This made me curious. Would I still be a Gryffindor if I were to be resorted now? Or would I be something else? I feel like I have changed a lot over the past few years. Naturally, as I’ve gone from being a girl in her late teens to a woman in her mid twenties, I’ve grown. I’m a different person now. I’ve changed.

And this got me thinking. If I’ve changed in a few years, what’s to stop people from changing in many years? Just because someone was sorted into a house when they were 11, who’s to say they wouldn’t be sorted into a different house if they were to be resorted at 20, or 30, or even later in life? Everyone in the Harry Potter universe seem very true to the personality traits of the houses they were sorted into as kids, but is it not possible to change completely in a few or many years? Personally, I may not have changed that much. Perhaps I was always close to being a Ravenclaw. Much like Hermione. Perhaps I’ve just developed, rather than drastically changed. But there are people who do change drastically, over shorter or longer time, and I was just wondering… What about them?