As the final installment of the Harry Potter films goes on release at cinemas this week, Samantha Khan, an 18-year-old Commonwealth Correspondent from Trinidad and Tobago, reflects on a story that has touched the hearts of millions of people worldwide.
“The stories we love the best do live in us forever.”
These are the words of world-renowned author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling, spoken at the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in London on July 7th 2011.
The event was a sight to behold. Reports stated that thousands of fans were gathered in Trafalgar Square to bid goodbye to the boy wizard and the fourteen years of magic that he shared with us.
Fans from around the globe camped for days in the square, braving the elements, awaiting the arrival of stars from the movie and Rowling herself. Though I couldn’t be present in London, my spirit, along with that of innumerable other fans, was most certainly there. I sat glued to my computer screen, gasping with excitement as the stars appeared and crying as the final speeches were given.
It will never cease to be extraordinary to me that a story, created through the stringing up of words and sentences, could touch the hearts of millions of people worldwide and unite us in such a powerful manner. For fourteen years we were all Potter fans together, going to midnight book releases and staying up to the wee hours of the morning reading or, in my case (with the final installment), trying as hard as possible to ration the reading to make the magic last longer.
In years to come, we will proudly tell future generations that we were there when the books were being released. We were there when it all began and when it was finished. We were the Harry Potter generation. And we will always be united as the Harry Potter generation. It usually takes extreme tragedy to bring the world together. This one time in history, it took a story- brilliantly conceived and masterfully written.
As I sit here, anxiously awaiting Friday the 15th (tickets to the premiere stowed safely in my bag), I muse at the phenomenon. Why is it that the tale of this bespectacled orphan so entranced us? Perhaps we needed to escape the harshness of reality, or see the world through the eyes of another.
It might be that we related to the characters or were comforted by their humanity. Or maybe what we needed was the assurance that Good will always overcome Evil, and that no matter how difficult or unlikely, Love, Family and Friendship can outshine Hate, Greed and Bitterness.
Whatever the reason, Pottermania struck us and changed us. And as we go forth into the post-Potter era, we should take a lesson from these beloved characters and understand that regardless of our height, weight, age, ethnicity, hair colour or social/ financial status we can make difference even in the bleakest of times.
We can defeat the Voldemorts (gasp! I said his name) and Death Eaters of everyday life. We should also understand that, like those very characters, we can only do so if we look past our differences and work together to overcome the Darkness of the world.
Because like our motley gang of unlikely heroes, we can be heroes too. Like them, we need to take action against the ills of our own Muggle society.
We are Dumbeldore’s Army. We are the Order of the Phoenix. We are the Aurors of the world.
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