Harry, Ron, Harmione, Malfoy, Dumbledore, Snape and Voldemort, aren’t just any names but these are the names which brought a sense of inexplicable comfort and joy in my teens. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that this book was a big part of my life when I was growing up. I can safely say that I grew with the Potter series. The definition of fantasy was changed when J.K.Rowling conceived HP. Till then, the concept of fantasy included prince, princesses, super heroes, who were ‘good' while devils, witches were the ‘baddies’, who were eventually defeated by the good guys. With HP, wizards were not the ‘bad’ guys, but a magical race of people living in a secret world, with good and bad amongst them. HP series came with a bang, broke all possible records and took the world by storm and was worth every ounce of the hype. Once again, reading was ‘cool’.
My affair with HP started on one summer afternoon. When the bad picture quality and abridged version of the rented DVD left me confused about the entire concept, I decided to pick up the book, which I finished in two days flat (which, then, was a big feat for the 13 year old me :P ). I was bewitched, to say the least. Not a single day was spent without wishing that I wasn’t just a mere muggle. HP wasn’t just another story. It was a perfect amalgamation of reality and fantasy. It had the figments of magic and strokes of harsh realities of life.
Every book in the series outlined one topic in particular. ‘Good vs. Evil’. It wasn’t just the usual ‘hero vs.villian’ stuff. It emphasized on how to face and handle the good and bad in self, in friends, in different situations and emotions. It's portrayed very dramatically that the ‘good’ sometimes has to fight a lot to rise above the ‘bad’ but it eventually wins. This has been an age old lesson but the HP series took it to a different level. The concept of courage, trust, friendship, compassion,faith and hope has been brilliantly essayed. Whether it was a Quidditch match or fight against Voldemort, I always found my heart racing. Every character is sketched with utmost care and detail throughout the series, which isn’t a mean feat. Everyone, for sure, will relate themselves and their friends with some character in the book. I surely did. My emotions ran wild whenever I read these books. There were a lot of humorous moments (Weasley twins’ antics, Ron’s wrong spells) , many nail-biting instances (esp.Quidditch matches,) many gasping moments (Hermione almost turning into a cat, her punching Malfoy, the big chess game in the 1st book), happy moments ( Harry meeting everyone after the vacations, win after a game, their achievements, and Ron and Hermione FINALLY getting together) and painful parts which made sure of misting my eyes (Harry’s constant yearning for his parents, the fights and misunderstanding between him and Ron, kept me in the sad mode for hours) But the death of Sirius, Dumbledore, Weasley twin was totally unexpected, unrequired and devastating. I was thankful that I was alone when I weeping over their demises. It was a crazy roller-coaster ride. I would laugh, gasp, and cry all at once. It was too difficult a task of juggling all the different emotions within short intervals. All this for fictitious characters!
HP series personally helped and inspired so many people in so many unimaginable ways. Innumerable stories from around the world are a proof of that. The magical part was sheer delight. It left everyone wishing that the magical part in the books was a reality instead. I can say with utmost confidence that all the readers, at some point or the other, wanted to get a invitation letter from the wizard world, wanted to keep owl as a pet, wanted to ride the broom, held a stick or pencil and uttered different spells, gazed up in the sky hoping to see flying brooms, wished they had the invisibility cloak, wished they could eat the funny chocolates, had the urge to run through a pillar in a railway station, looked at a person and wondered if he/she was a wizard/witch. Just about everything about HP series felt so cool. Many a times it was like an ice-breaker for me when it came to making new friends. That time, school kids were not segregated as popular and nerds but as HP fans and non-HP fans. It was accompanied by a weird sense of belonging when you automatically were a part of the huge, ever-growing Potter family. Who would have thought that time, that a book would make such a gigantic difference in any way possible.
There were times when I was sure that Rowling had a secret wand and she just waved the wand to come up with all the amazing stories. The moment a new book came in the market, the wait for the next one started. And the wait was always excruciating (not exaggerating again). I was just in awe of her story telling. What seemed insignificant and irrelevant in one book became an important part in another book. Every book had some loose ends which were finally tied down in the last book. This just shows the brilliance of Rowling's story-telling. It's just weird to think how all the books and the entire storyline was planned way before she started writing. Reading the last book was the most difficult and bittersweet experience. I wanted to read it as fast as possible just to know what happens next but at the same time I didn’t want read it fast as it was the last of HP series. The book got better and exciting with every turning page and when the last page came I couldn’t believe it was finally over. (Yea, another bout of sadness). It was surreal. But even there were movies still being made and that was comforting. Now when the last movie was released, I couldn’t help but wonder if this, indeed, was the end of an era. But, I realised that it was just a hypothetical end as the HP series has left behind a legacy. An unforgettable, eternal legacy. I remember fairy tales always starting with a ‘once upon a time’ and ending with a ‘happily ever after’. This series had a start and end which almost meant the same but it's zillion notches above what you call a fairy tale or any other tale. Many stories have been inspired among the same lines but they will never attain what HP has. I’m sure HP will still be popular many generations down the line. Harry started his journey on the steps outside his aunt’s door and completed his journey inside everyone’s heart.
For me, HP series kept me enchanted for a long time. It will always be special and memorable for me in many ways. Daniel Radcliff said that he’s the only person in the world who doesn’t want an eighth book. Undoubtedly, he’s true about that. Rest of us muggles will be over-the-top if Rowling picks up her magic wand and create another masterpiece. Till then, fingers crossed. And hoping to receive the letter from Hogwards ;)