Having not visited Diagon Alley or good, old Hogwarts for more than a decade – and having spent six months in the grim land of Westeros – I decided that January 2015 is the time to pick up my wand, whip on my invisibility cloak and call on my old pal Hagrid.
A few chapters in, I am astonished by how differently the book reads now that I am in my mid-late twenties (nowhere near 30 though, let’s not get dramatic).
Although it is still a magical read and the wonders of Gringotts and Quidditch will never cease to amaze me; now the human story is much more prevalent.
Harry’s first encounter with the Mirror of the Erised and seeing his parents, for example. Upon first reading, way back when, I thought about how amazing the mirror was and how he better hurry up because Mrs Norris might catch up if he dawdles too long. Now, I am caught up in the moment. How equally wonderful and tragic for this 11-year-old boy to see his mother and father, having never even had photographs of them.
I can’t bear to imagine the torture of pulling yourself away from the sight of everything you’d ever wished for.
J. K. Rowling has achieved something so rare with these books that there is no wonder children continue to cherish them throughout their adult years too. She has created her own type of magic, that evolves and grows as its readers do.
And, don’t even get me started on the extra magic of hindsight – I can’t count the amount of times I have shouted “but Snape’s a good guy” at Harry this time around.