Today is a special day in literary history. It is JK Rowling's birthday, and Harry Potter's birthday!
Harry Potter holds a special place in my heart. As I read the books, I grew up with Harry, and I shared his adventures with my father. Ron was my spirit animal, Hermione was my role model, and Hogwarts was always there when I wanted to read about magic, adventure and heroism.
Not only did Harry Potter's story inspire me, but the story of JK Rowling herself. She began writing Harry Potter during a very difficult time in her life, when she wasn't sure how long her next paycheck would last, but she never gave up on her story, and once it was published, it became a source of inspiration around the world.
I was part of the generation that was the same age as Harry when the first book came out, and I remember the day I first saw it at the school library, sitting on a display of many other fantasy books. I picked it up, read the back, and then I couldn't put it down. I showed the book to Dad that very day, and he had finished it the next day. After that, we bought the book, and waiting for the next one became an event.
Dad would read them first, because he was a faster reader than I was, and then we would talk about the books when I finished reading them.
The second book was one of the scariest for me because of the giant spiders!
The third book was one of my favorites, and Sirus Black and Professor Lupin were my favorite characters.
I remember Dad warning me not to read the fourth book at night while we were on a hike in the mountains, but of course I did anyway, because the story was so intriguing, and Harry was so brave.
The fifth book made me cry, and I remember having to put the book down for a moment in tribute to a great character.
The sixth book was the most difficult to read when Dumbledore told Harry something that was impossible until it happened.
There was only one book that I didn't discuss with my Dad right after I read it. I was at the Disney College Program when the last book came out, and during my day off, I found a nice park and read the book for the whole day. As I read, I thought of home, and for awhile Disney became Hogwarts in my imagination.
I was able to talk to my Dad about it on the way back from the program, and I remember feeling sad that it was over.
But the movies kept coming out, so Hogwarts was not truly gone, and even then I knew that all stories must end, and I had to find a new series to read. Still, Harry Potter remains a very significant part of my childhood, and I enjoyed talking with my Dad about what would happen next, and how Harry would defeat Lord Voldemort.
Once the news announced just how Harry Potter was published, I became determined to publish my own epic story, and now JK Rowling is on my list of role model authors. I later learned that she was inspired to write through the works of C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien: two amazing authors with epic stories to their names.
JK Rowling is an amazing writer, and one day I would like to meet her, shake her hand and thank her for creating a magical, powerful story that can be read and enjoyed by all ages.
Happy Birthday JK Rowling.
Happy Birthday Harry Potter.
Thank you for the magic.