The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Maybe it’s a little cheesy to say that the Harry Potter books/movies “saved me.” But I can’t think of a better word for it! I truly believe that this wonderful series had one of the most important and positive impacts on my life.
I think I was around six or seven years old when I first discovered the movies. My dad had put on the first movie, and I was automatically intrigued. Why wouldn’t a young child be mesmerized by magic and heroes? I loved everything about it. The magic, the characters, the setting, the plot… All of it was just perfect to me. And that was before I even knew there were books to read!
So why mention this? Well, around this time, I had moved to a new school in the second grade. I had attended an all-Muslim private school from grades 2-6. I feel like, typically, when you’re surrounded by people who share the same faith, you’d be able to make friends easily. Unfortunately, that was not the case for me. For reasons beyond my realm of understanding, I was not liked by many people in my class. I don’t think I was ever rude to anyone. If anything, I was more shy, but I was as nice as I could be. The thing was, before I even started officially attending that school, I was there for a day just to see how it was with my brother and my mom. Everyone was nice to me. I thought I had made friends, so I was excited to start school there. But when I officially started, I was left alone.
The girls in my class were especially terrible to me. As a seven-year-old, all I wanted to do was play with the girls in my class. I wanted to jump rope with them, play tag, hide-and-seek, you name it. But every time I approached them and asked if I could join them, they’d sort of glare at me, like I was something gross stuck under their shoes. Then they’d just flat out say no. I’d just look at them, stunned, and ask them why not. They just didn’t want me around. I was constantly alone during class time, lunch time, and recess. This happened everyday in only the second grade, and it always ended with the same result: me coming home in tears.
Throughout the years I spent in that school, I managed to make friends, but they never stuck. There was one girl that I had once thought of as a best friend, but she left me for another. Now, I’m not saying she can’t have other friends. We did have other friends apart from each other. But she went back to her old ways in treating me like the dirt under her feet after she chose another best friend to be with. She would only come to me when she got in a fight with her other friends and she felt alone, and then would return to them once everything was sunshine and rainbows for her. I, on the other hand, did not have her to lean on when I felt alone. And I was very much alone in the years I spent in that school. Even after the horrid second grade and into the rest of the years there, I often came home crying.
However, I was not completely alone. As I mentioned before, I had discovered the Harry Potter movies in either the first or second grade. And I was just in love. The magic was uplifting, and the characters were there right in front of me. They were there. Knowing that fictional characters were there for me, even on a TV screen, was a comfort, especially when the real people that I desperately wanted to be friends with weren’t.
So can you imagine how elated I was when I discovered that there were books, too? In the fourth grade, when I was still around my toxic classmates and fake friends, I found the books in the library and read them one by one. I just opened the first book and allowed each chapter, each page, and each word to envelope me into their world, where I was wanted, and where I wanted to be. When I read those books, I wasn’t surrounded by toxicity and negativity. I was surrounded by Patronus Charms, Weasley Christmas sweaters, and the friends that I’ve always dreamed of having.
Of course, I was judged for enjoying this franchise. Why? Well, let’s think about it together. I was in an all-Muslim school with all-Muslim students and teachers, with a mosque inside, and Qur’ans to be read everywhere. Harry Potter is a series with magic, which includes dark magic. I was constantly told that it was Haram (a sin) to read these books and watch the movies.
Did I listen to them? Hell no! Listen, I am a proud Muslim, I love the God I believe in, and I love reading the Qur’an and talking about my faith. But there is nothing wrong with reading a book that, yes, includes dark magic, but is completely fictional. Know what fictional means? It’s not real. It’s not going to curse me or my family or anything of the sort. Believe me, the rest of my family enjoys the series as well, and I’ve read, reread, watched, and re-watched the series a thousand times. It’s been 13 years, and I haven’t been cursed or anything.
Also, why would I turn away from the series that made me feel better? The series that no longer made me feel alone? Why would they try to take that away from me? Why did they think I was stupid enough to push away the one thing during that time of my life that made me feel loved and wanted? I was always sad and depressed attending that school. The Harry Potter series was my escape from that loneliness. There was no way I was going to stop reading and watching it, not because they thought it was “sinful.”
Is it still cheesy to say that Harry Potter saved me? Maybe it is. But just because it’s cheesy, doesn’t mean it isn’t the truth. I do have friends now of course, friends that I absolutely adore. But back in my elementary days, with this series, I had somebody outside of my family to lean on. I had a best friend that stuck. To this day, I have this incredible series to turn back to whenever I need it. And it’s always there for me.