Escaping into Harry Potter, Kind of

First five Harry Potter books, photo by Mary Warner, November 21, 2016.
First five Harry Potter books, photo by Mary Warner, November 21, 2016.

This may come as a shock to Harry Potter fans everywhere (including me!), but I haven’t read the entire Harry Potter series. (The horror!)

The first book came out when my children were wee. My oldest was 5 or 6 at the time, a prime age for me to settle in and read to the kiddos. Because the books were released over a series of years, I kept up with reading them through Book 4. When Book 5 came out, my kids were old enough to read to themselves and were impatient about having Mom read to them any longer. I caught some of the movies, but never did read Book 5 and beyond.

Earlier this year, I made it a goal to read the entire series. With the emotional upheaval of the election just past (and its dreadful aftermath), I thought I’d engage in some bibliotherapy and pure escapism and started reading the Harry Potter series 9 days ago.

I finished Book 3 today. They read much faster than I remember, although reading aloud to ¬†young children is not exactly a speed-reading endeavor. Book 4 is much longer than the previous ones, so it’s likely to take more time. Book 5 is even fatter. I’ve not seen copies of 6 or 7, so I’ll assume they are bulky too. I’m not reading them fast in order to get through them; they are just that engaging.

While they are an escape from today’s political landscape, they are also a great lesson in continuing on despite monstrous adversity. Good looks like it will succumb to evil many times in the books, but courage, persistence, quick thought, and help from unexpected sources forestall or overcome evil. Fiction provides great lessons for everyday life.

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