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As a proud Ravenclaw, I have always gotten a thrill from escaping to Hogwarts, a joy that is indescribable when reading about Diagon Alley, a feeling of elation when discovering all of the incredible creatures. For me, they are complete escapism neatly packaged in seven highly descriptive (but easy-going) books and eight beautiful films. I have always loved reading, but JK Rowling’s work speaks to me on another level. There is something comforting yet exciting about this series of books targeted primarily at children.
I was lucky enough to be an original Potterhead. I was a young child when the Philosopher’s Stone first made an appearance and I dutifully read each book as it was published. It was almost as though my friends and I were part of a magical cult; we all of a sudden had a dictionary of words that our parents didn’t know! Whispering Charms, hoping that somehow something would happen and calling anyone that annoyed us a “Muggle.” Then when the movies started coming out I went to the cinema to see every single one, and that took me through my final secondary school years and my crazed uni years. Potter and Hogwarts were a constant. Then somewhere along the line, it petered out. It wasn’t an intentional thing, adult life just got in the way of the magic I suppose.
Then, following a lot of recommendations, my husband and I booked tickets to go to the behind-the-scenes Warner Bros tour in London. We finally made it there earlier this year and it was a complete immersion in all things Hogwarts, Potter, and Magic! (I would very highly recommend, but it is quite pricey, so be prepared). I was inspired! And before we’d left to drive home, I’d announced that I would be reading all 7 books again.
Now, I realise that these books are meant for children and yes, they are simply written. But that’s part of the beauty. To me, reading these books is a very similar experience to listening to a guided meditation. Letting the beautiful imagery wash over me feels the same as doing a body scan.
If you think about it, books of this nature and things such as mindfulness meditation or colour therapy have the same goal in mind. To bring peace to the individual. I grant that mindfulness is much more about nonjudgmental acceptance and Potter has a lot more broomsticks, but for me it works! So why not?
I, like many others sometimes find myself bogged down in the day to day stress of my Muggle life. And, like many others, sometimes find it hard to cope in this modern chaos. But as I started rereading these modern classics I found that as I moved through the passageways and across the moving staircases, past the black lake and down the hill to Hagrid’s hut, the negativity simply lifted. Like a glorious silvery patronus. And while I can’t claim that my stress stays out of the way throughout my stressful work day, the promise of an adventure involving a Boggart or the Deathly Hallows does seem to help.
So my advice, if you’re looking to try a new method to get out of those post-work blues, is to go and grab a copy of the Harry Potter library, find a comfortable seat and take a ride on the Hogwarts Express.