Is it time to let go of Harry Potter?

Aislinn McDonagh 31 October 2014

As I sit here, opposite the framed photo of platform 9 ¾ I received for my 18th birthday, my initial reaction is “how dare you?”

However, perhaps it is something I ought to consider. I’m twenty now, pretty soon I’ll have a job and have to start dealing with adulthood outside of Cambridge. For years my father has berated me to read “proper literature” rather than the Goblet of Fire and maybe it’s time to start listening to him. After all, I am a Cambridge student re-reading a book initially marketed for 11 year olds and written at KS2 level 4.

But I would argue that it is not just nostalgia that keeps me coming back for more descriptions of Hermione being shrill, Ron speaking with his mouth full and Harry never unclenching his teeth. It isn’t that I can’t see Harry Potter’s flaws: its weird idolisation of obsessive, probably-unhealthy-and-deeply- worrying love *cough*SNAPE*cough* is just bizarre. But despite all this, and perhaps partly because of it, Harry Potter is still magical and engrossing on the one-hundredth read.

It is a series that covers themes of prejudice, abuse, mental illness, the nature of evil and having greatness thrust upon you. In a society obsessed with stories, Harry Potter is still as exceptional as it was, 17 years after we were introduced to the boy in his cupboard under the stairs. It is unlike clichéd children’s fiction, and Harry Potter stands out for its characters that are imperfect but celebrated for their differences, with both women and men displaying the whole breadth of human possibility, morality and uniqueness.

More importantly, I love Harry Potter, and reading for pleasure should never be underestimated or scorned for being unintellectual. Maybe I ought to read Tolstoy, but Hogwarts will always be my home.