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Reading “Harry Potter” for the First Time at 18 Years Old

For years I refused to read anything that had to do with  "Harry Potter." In the beginning, it was because fantasy was never really my thing. As time went on, I simply didn’t want to give in because I held out on reading them for so long. However, I decided in 2020, after some not-so-subtle pushing from a friend, that I would finally pick up my copy of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone” by J.K. Rowling.

Obviously, I knew about “Harry Potter” prior to reading it. All my friends read the books growing up. I’ve seen the first two movies at least a dozen times. As a three-year-old, I was obsessed with the first two movies. I even got the Barbies for Christmas one year. But I was never allowed to see past the second film as a kid because my parents thought the movies were too dark for someone that age. Understandably, of course. I also never bothered to pick up the books because by the time I reached the right age for it, I lost interest in the series. 

Going into this, I was pretty nervous. Everybody and their mother seems to love this series, and I wanted to have the same reaction. I knew if I went in with high hopes, I was sure to be let down. So, I did my best to get rid of any previous expectations I had. This part was definitely easier said than done, but I did my best.

The first chapter about bored me to sleep. Although, once Harry found out he was a wizard and started meeting the rest of the characters, things started to pick up very quickly. Especially once he made it to Hogwarts.

I loved everything about Hogwarts. The dorms, the classes, the houses. Everything seemed so wonderful. I mean, who wouldn’t want to dine in the Great Hall or play a game of quidditch? The whole time I was reading I just wanted to be at Hogwarts so badly; I finally understood why everybody wished they got their Hogwarts letters growing up.

The overall plot kept me engaged, too. Since I haven’t seen the film in years, I couldn’t remember it that well, so I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. J.K. Rowling did a good job of making me root for Harry and his friends. I found myself only wanting the best for them when sometimes I can get easily annoyed with the protagonist.

By the time I reached the final page, I was sold. The hype for this book is very much well deserved. It’s fun, fast-paced, and for all ages. I ended up giving the book four stars. I also highly recommend that if anyone else has been holding out on this series because of the hype or your pride, you’ll do yourself a favor by picking up “Harry Potter.”

Going into it, I thought it would be kind of cheesy with some of the themes or lessons in it because the novel tends to be marketed towards young readers. To my surprise, it wasn’t really all that cheesy and the book actually taught some good lessons. The one that stands out the most to me is how important it is to speak up. Towards the end, there is a point where Harry, Ron, and Hermione are going to sneak out to find the Sorcerer's Stone. A friend of theirs, Neville, chooses to stand up to the trio because he knows that what they are about to do is dangerous. Neville, who can be seen as a bit cowardly at times, works up the courage to stand up to his friends. In the end, even though Neville didn’t succeed in stopping them, he is still rewarded for his actions. I think this is something a lot of the readers should take away from this novel because so many of us let out friends do whatever they want, even if we know it is dangerous. We give them a free pass just because they are our friends. I know I definitely don’t stand up to my friends very often. But now after reading “Harry Potter”, I understand that it is something important that we should all do. 

Overall, I had a great time reading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling. Now that I’ve finished, I’ve taken all the Pottermore quizzes to really embrace my new potterhead lifestyle. I learned that I’m a Slytherin, so it’s time to start rocking my green and silver.

Nickie Johnson

George Mason University '22

Nickie Johnson is a senior at George Mason. She is majoring in history and hopes to one day become a school librarian. This is her third year writing for Her Campus, and she has loved every minute of it! She is involved in GMU's Honors College and the George Mason Chapter of Educators Rising Collegiate. In addition to writing, Nickie loves watching movies and reality television, performing showtunes in the mirror, and reading.
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