Books are more than stamped words on a page


Ashley Tanner

The boy who lived. To the average, unsuspecting muggle, the boy who lived wouldn’t mean much, but to a devoted reader who has spent hours and hours reading about Harry’s tragic life, it means the world.
I didn’t grow up reading the books or waiting excitedly in line to see the movies. Even though the excitement behind Harry Potter wasn’t a part of my childhood, I still get to experience a J.K. Rowling book release. Her next publication will come out on Harry’s birthday, July 31. It is the script for the London play, The Cursed Child, centered around Potter’s youngest son, Albus Severus. It is a special opportunity to be able to have just finished reading the books, and continue to see their lives play out in the new release.
The first time I opened a Harry Potter book was in early April 2015. I decided to read it after continually hearing references in my creative writing class, so during reading time in class one day I went to the library and checked out Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s 309 pages long, but I read it in a matter of hours. I couldn’t put it down until I had read the last word, yearning for more.
The next day, I marched into the library and searched the bindings of each book to find number two. The Chamber of Secrets was even more thrilling than the first. After meeting Voldemort for the second time at the wee age of 12, Harry’s bravery baffled me. He stood up to the person who killed both of his parents with courage, not knowing whether he would live or die. His actions made me wonder if I would have the same courage to put my life on the line to protect loved ones, or if I would be a coward and hide.
Order of the Phoenix had the biggest impact on my life. Harry had to grow up now more than he ever had to before. As a high school student, life is increasingly difficult. There are hard-to-overcome obstacles, perhaps not as dire as the ones Harry and his friends endure, but nonetheless difficult.
Not long after I began reading Harry Potter, my stepdad died in a car accident. I had been reading Harry Potter when I heard the sirens that were on their way to him, but I didn’t know it then. For a long time, Harry Potter was a reminder of who I had lost. It took me months to be able to pick up one of the books and read it again. When I was finally able to, Harry Potter soon became much more meaningful to me.
And now that I have, Harry Potter has been a get-away for me. Whenever I am feeling sad, I open the world of Hogwarts and the tears become a faint memory, replaced by magical tales of bravery. The series means so much more to me than just an excellent example of literature about the boy who lived. It’s a story about two brothers who made a dream come true. And an excellent example of girls with both brains and brawn. The books taught me that not all family has to be blood related and not to be so quick to judge someone; sometimes, people get put in impossible situations and end up making bad decisions, but they can be redeemed. Most importantly, Harry Potter taught me I have no better strength than myself.
Rowling taught me through Harry Potter that books are so much more than just pages. They are feelings that can’t be expressed vocally, images trapped in the mind typed onto paper. They are a way to forget about the world and feel whole, even if only for a moment. Books provide knowledge, solace and inspiration. Harry Potter gave me hope when I had none, and the series means so much more to me than just an incredible story about the boy who lived. It’s a series about a boy who survived, and I know I will, too.
Is there a book in your life that has a lot of meaning to you? Leave your comments and questions below.