Ana María González Paniagua
Editorial Team Member

The Harry Potter series was the first monumental series that I read. I remember the day I decided to venture on the journey of those seven books. The emotions that filled me, excitement, wonder, and mystery, are still crystal clear. Some more specific details, however, are blurry. 

I was in second or third grade, browsing through the library, and I picked up the first book of the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Before then, I was reluctant to read the books my brother diligently suggested for me. But for some reason, I now got interested in them by myself and so the book was right there, in my hands, as I passed it to the librarian to check it out. I had no idea what awaited me, but certainly what I expected was much less than what I got from reading those books. 

It took me a while to finish the series, but at every corner, while I read them, I realized how meaningful they had become for me. Harry Potter allowed me to learn how a world is as magical as you let it be. It opened my eyes to how a book could immerse you into a fantasy where while many things differ, human emotion remains intact. I could empathize better while understanding the characters. In consequence, I could do the same in the real world. 

I saw myself in those books. I grew with the characters and realized how similar I was to them, especially Hermione Granger (one of the three main characters). Seeing how wonderful she was, I saw that I was wonderful too, no matter our flaws. I could be labeled as an “insufferable know-it-all,” but that is not the entirety of who I am; my bravery and kindness will shine through eventually. I also saw myself in bits and pieces of other characters. For instance, I identify with Luna’s good nature and craziness, Ginny’s abrupt temper (sometimes too harsh) and ndependence, Fleur’s vanity and grace, Harry’s impulsivity and emotional strength, and Ron’s selfishness and loyalty. It was interesting because, for the first time, I identified myself with fictional characters, with their virtues and weaknesses, and I noticed imperfection is okay, we just have to work on being better. From there on, books have been my love. 

Additionally, while it may seem like some children’s books, they hold complex truths and lessons that allow anyone to mature and grow. I have multiple quotes in my mind from the saga that shows these teachings, but this one quote I love, “to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.” It is a beautiful phrase that within it holds the idea that the people we care for change us forever, no matter where we are or where they are right now. It gives the audience strength and confidence that love transcends separation, which is nice to remember. 

Harry Potter changed who I am today, not because of its triumphant story of a boy who lived, but because it showed me through an outside perspective that life is challenging, but we decide how to take it. I still have to work on taking adversity better, but going back to this story helps me out. Fantasy may seem thousands of worlds apart from ours, but it can teach us more than a thing or two. Be open to learning from them because if we allow it, it can enable us to improve.

Sometimes fate has a way of saying something to us. I like to think that fate sent Harry Potter to me. Looking at it in retrospect, Harry Potter chose me as the wand chooses the wizard.