Harry Potter and the 33 Years of Poor Decision Making

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Sometimes I am stubborn. I think I know everything. At 33 years old, this is getting a little high-handed of me. Firstly, I obviously do NOT know everything; if I did, then I would at least be rich by now. For instance, I got married at 23. While this was not a bad decision, I certainly was not smart enough to know that taking birth control while also taking antibiotics would lead to an early pregnancy at 24, a mere 6 months after I married my husband. 5 years later, we decided we wanted a second child. I wasn’t even smart enough to learn after the one kid.

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These are just a few examples of my sub-par intelligence. I love my kids and am glad to have them, but, I don’t even know that I have any business being a mother most days. I think pajamas are perfectly acceptable clothing all day. I try to remember to tell the kids to brush their teeth. I am lucky if I remember to brush the two-year-old’s teeth twice daily. This is also probably why I have not made a dental appointment since we missed the last appointment in December. Stubborn, with a side of dumb, yet I still find myself surprised at my poor decision making every day. Thankfully, I still haven’t ruined my kids. I think. Here we go again.

Stubbornness in its truest form has also peppered my decision making processes where pop culture is concerned. I refuse to watch Angel. I loved Buffy. I miss Buffy a lot. If I were to watch Angel I know Buffy will show up, amongst others, and I will sort of have pieces of my show back. There’s just the little problem I have with not liking Angel. Without getting into it, in all of its ridiculous proportions, I am Team Spike. I don’t want to watch Angel. I see it in my Netflix queue and roll my eyes, because I KNOW the show blows because Angel is on it. For a long time I refused to read Harry Potter. This is even sillier than my refusal to watch Angel. Harry Potter never did anything to me. I just happened to be born into a Southern Baptist upbringing. Harry Potter was labeled improper reading since Harry is going to a magical school with other kids to become witches and wizards. So, the Baptists (meaning well, surely) decided that they did not want their kids reading books about this subject matter. So, I skipped it. Sort of for my grandma, who would have NONE of this, and also, just to be different. Now, my grandma didn’t live with me and my parents (who didn’t go to church) and my parents never cared what I read. I never asked for their input, honestly. My mom didn’t like MTV. She had a pretty normal reaction to Marilyn Manson popping up after midnight when her 15-year-old daughter was watching music videos. (Remember when MTV did that?) In my defense, I never even liked Marilyn Manson. I was just rebelling. In my spare time I was all about ‘Nsync and learning the sweet dance moves to those videos.

I’ve come a long way. This year, for my 33rd birthday, I decided I would read ALL of the Harry Potter books. Now, don’t get me wrong, I saw all of the movies. I knew the story was fun, but I kind of liked it when a person asked me if I had read Harry Potter and my answer was no. I loved it when they judged me, because I could always say,

“But I have read Anna Karenina,” (Or, insert another perfectly intelligent book that I had read) “what did you think about that one?”

Then watch the person who tried to judge me fold 99% of the time. (That 1% typically became my BFF.) Yes, I’m a snob.

So, 18 years after Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Philosopher’s if you are non-American) was released, I decided to read the book. I think this may be a genius move, honestly. There is absolutely no way I would have appreciated these books 17 years ago the way I do now. Also, I can say that I am perfectly happy to let my now 8-year-old read these books. Surprisingly, they are not about trying to make children want to perform witchcraft. There aren’t even curse words in the first 4 books I have read. So, let’s discuss what 33-year-old Leah has found out about Harry Potter books 1-4:

I felt silly reading Harry Potter for about 2 chapters of book 1. It felt like I was obviously reading a children’s book without my kids, then I sort of felt guilty. Well, I got over it. I also realized that JK Rowling is writing about so much more than a child who is magical. Then, I realized that I was okay with ALL THE MAGIC. It’s so neat. It’s like the Disney World of books! There is this whole other world that muggles don’t even know about. Then, I felt depressed, because I am obviously a muggle. This really isn’t fair. I feel like if anyone were to be a non-muggle, it would be me, even if I am stubborn. The story is really sweet. Meeting the characters and exploring Diagon Alley, Hogwarts, The Hogwarts Express, Ollivander’s, Gringott’s, and Platform 9 ¾ was incredible. I love the traditions, ceremonies, and little surprises that are introduced. Quidditch! Flying brooms. JK Rowling teaches the reader about racism in the non-muggle community. Prejudice is alive everywhere, folks. They are also crazy jerks. A lot of these pureblood witches and wizards look down upon those who are not just like them. They call anyone who has a muggle parent a “mudblood”. We are taught about death. Consequences of actions and the way the justice system works when confronted with mass hysteria (insert Azkaban and dementors). Harry really begins to lose his innocence and is forced to grow up as Voldemort comes back into power. Gossip and gossipers are a major theme as well. There are definite cracks in the magical world. Harry is consistently brave, yet he is questioned because of gossip in the media and the evil plans of his tormentor. The Ministry of Magic’s façade is beginning to crumble, and the old ways are starting up again.

I’m ¼ of the way through Order of the Phoenix. This series has taught me that it’s okay to believe in magic. It’s also a reminder; prejudice is everywhere. Evil is everywhere. We all make bad decisions, whether muggle or wizard. I will have my children read these books and watch the movies happily. They are going to know that magic is alive, but also, so are bad things. Bad decisions can be made daily, and I want them to remember Harry, Dumbledore, Sirius, Molly Weasley, and others. I want them to understand friendship. My kids will go to church, and they will also get to read Harry Potter. Go ahead and judge me, but, you might want to read these books, too.

I can admit it, I made a dumb decision by waiting so long to read these books. I can also still be impregnated. We’ll see if I’ve learned my lesson after 2 kids.

2 thoughts on “Harry Potter and the 33 Years of Poor Decision Making

  1. Pingback: HTFG Talks: Harry Potter and the July I Cried Over a Free Elf (and Other Musings) | How to Fangirl

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