It’s been an epic journey and we’ve lost so many along the way: Sirius falling through the veil, Dumbledore falling from the Astronomy Tower; Tonks and Lupin lying side by side in the Great Hall... these moments will stay with us forever, indelibly printed on our minds.
But, just for a while, we can open up Philosopher’s Stone and start afresh, indulging in a little time with those favourites we’ve lost, appreciating their wit and wisdom anew and pretending to ourselves that this time the outcome will be different.
It started with a scruffy-haired boy sleeping in a cupboard under the stairs and finished with a young man able to make the biggest sacrifice in order to do the right thing. Seven books later and J.K. Rowling’s well-crafted story is out there for us to obsess over to our heart’s content.
There’s still so much to appreciate. On a fourth read you might notice a tongue-in-cheek joke, on the tenth you may realise the meaning of a character’s name. Even if you connected the dots long ago and know the people and plot inside out, there’s still nothing like experiencing a jolt when Slytherin’s locket first appears or when ‘Nice night for it!’ is fatefully uttered.
Immersing yourself back into the portrait-lined corridors of Hogwarts is like pulling on a favourite old jumper. It’s comforting and familiar to take a trip to The Burrow, go wand shopping with Harry in Diagon Alley and feel your heart dive along with him as he hurtles to the ground to retrieve Neville’s Remembrall.
It doesn’t matter that we’ve retraced these steps hundreds of times before, it’s the knowledge that whatever is going on in our lives, if we’re stressed or upset or just in need of five minutes’ peace, the Harry Potter stories will always be there for us, just waiting on the page.
From the moment we opened the first book and read the first page, we were hooked. Entering a fantastical world full of wondrous spells and enchanted objects, J.K. Rowling’s epic tale spanned seven books and seven years of our lives.
As children we grew up with our favourite characters and learned lessons of loyalty, forgiveness, joy and heartbreak alongside them. And now that the books are finished and we’ve watched the final film a hundred times, we continue to return to this much-loved story.
It’s a journey we know inside-out, have analysed over and over, and yet returning to it is like saying hello to an old friend. The Harry Potter books are spellbinding and re-reading them is how we keep the magic alive.