If you aked someone what today is, chances are they would say, "May 2nd." And they would be
right. But if you asked me, I would say, "Harry Potter Day!" You see, invisible readers, today I remember the seventeenth anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, I remember the books and the movies and all the amazing things in my life that happened because Jo Rowling wrote a story about a boy wizard.
This may seem like a lot of remembering. Maybe you could even say that today of all days I'm drowning in the Pensieve. But to have a day to celebrate everything Harry Potter did for our world seems justified. Of course I am probably biased because I am part of the Harry Potter Generation. But to think about the horrific things that are happening in our world today and to look at the themes J.K. Rowling used to create her wizarding world seems necessary.
There is a line from an interview where Rowling says, "and they say we shouldn't teach children about evil." If reading the Potter books taught me anything, it was that evil exists in every part of the world, wizarding or not, and often it exists within each of us as well. But there is something even more powerful that Jo Rowling teaches through seven years at Hogwarts. She teaches readers about friendship, love, loyalty, imagination; all of which are true magic.
Today I turned on the news only to hear about murders and riots and acts of violence. But I also saw acts of kindness and love and it makes me think that there is hope for our world. If Rowling's books gave me anything, I'm glad it is a sense of hope beyond the atrocties. And while many of us would rather not face what is happening, I think about teenagers coming together to fight the power of a Ministry, I think of Dumbledore's Army hiding out in the Room of Requirement to train for the difficult days ahead. I think of sacrafice and intellect and I think of the tension between Purebloods and Halfbloods and Mudbloods. Of propaganda posters railing against "The Chosen One," of lightning bolt scars, and hateful words etched on arms. I think of the damage of the Holocaust. I think of the destruction in Baltimore and the callous acts happening everywhere. And I think about what we can do to try to stop it.
Now I'm not naive enough to think that one blog post memorialzing a seventeen year anniversary of a wizarding battle is enough to change the world. I know it will take much more than that. I know it will take a group, or an Order of people coming together to make this world right. But if we are so willing to ignore the atrocities of a Wizarding World and all that it stands for, what's to say we won't do the same thing when it comes to our real world?
So once again I am reminded of J.K. Rowling's quote, "and they say we shouldn't teach children about evil," one that I believe originated (in some similar form from Rowling's editor, Arthur Levine, of Scholastic Press) on the day our world became a world of after, the day two towers fell and began this war on "terror."
Maybe all we need to teach children about evil is a newspaper or a clip on Youtube. But I think most would argue against such things. What I'm wondering is why books such as Harry Potter are not being taught more in our schools when they so cleverly mimic the evil within our own world, and the light inside it too. Because "happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."
If we remember the light, the hope for tomorrow, maybe someday there will be a better world. So today I remember the Battle of Hogwarts and my fictional friends who perished because of it. But I also remember the lives that have been lost and will be lost in our world. I hope you will too.
P.S. If you asked me if I still love Harry Potter "after all this time?" I would reply: "always."