Dear Joanne Rowling,
I cannot remember a time when I did not know who Harry Potter was. It was almost like I was born knowing about this bewitching boy. One of my earliest memories was when I was about four years old and my mother would read one of the books to help me fell asleep. She would read me a chapter each night, slowly reading and stopping frequently as my small voice asked her questions. In a way, I feel as though I grew up with Harry and Ron and Hermione. Some of the movies came out close to my birthday, so I did feel like I would be growing up with them Just recently, my mother commented on how I remind her of Hermione and how proud it makes her to say that. Truthfully, when I was little, I would always say that I wanted to be just like Hermione when I grew up; for a while, my hair was bushy like hers, so I guess I wasn't fer off Her strength and intelligence always appealed to me more than other characters. She was exactly how I wanted to be; smart, strong, passionate, and clever. She got past her struggles, like when Malfoy called her a mudblood in the second book. She became better because of that and she did not let Malfoy get to her. I thought it was remarkable how she could turn a "weakness" like that into a strength, because I always felt like weaknesses hold you back.
Through the years, I would play the music from the movies to put me to sleep. As I got older, I began to read the books on my own and feel the pains and joys of the characters. I cried each time of the characters died, feeling as though I really did lose a friend or mentor as I read the words. I hung a Gryffindor banner in my bedroom to make me feel as though I was a witch, not a muggle. On my eleventh birthday, I waited for the owl to come so I could get my acceptance letter from Hogwarts. It gave me some sense of peace to be able to dive into the magical world so unlike ours. I went to a private Lutheran school and some things were considered very weird. It was such a harsh reality there and it felt good to get away from that in the books. When I was younger, my peers would look at me strangely or think I was weird for playing make believe games and thinking I was a witch. In kindergarten, some students comp lamed to the teacher because I called my dad a vampire since he worked nights at the time. It seemed as though I was always separate from them because I never acted or behaved like them. I tried for a long time, to dress and talk like them, but it never felt like I could do it enough for them to actually accept me.
I always admired the world you created in those books. I wanted to be a part of the danger and the magic that separated Harry's world from ours. When I was young, I always thought that the magical world and the mundane world had a finite barrier, like the barrier between King's Cross and platform 9 3/4, between them; one that's too thick for either of them to muddle together. As I got older, however, I realized that the barrier between Harry's world and mine wasn't so finite after all. Sadly, the spectacular magic with wands and potions do not exist, but a different magic does. There's a magic in bravery, friendship, creativity, loyalty and intelligence. The magic that exists in the world is indeed present, but is taken for granted or overlooked. The things so mundane that most people do not realize are tiny shows of magic all in of themselves.
I did not realize this everyday show of magic until I read the books on my own a few years ago. It was my first time reading them, because I had so many other books to read. I noticed the small, subtle things that many people forget when they're reading. However, what stood out to me the most is the painting in Luna's room. "...They were not moving as the portraits at Hogwarts moved, but there was a certain magic about them all the same: Harry thought they breathed. What appeared to be fine golden chains wove around the pictures, linking them together, but after examining them for a minute or so, Harry realized that the chains were actually one word, repeated a thousand times in golden ink: friends. . .friends. . .friends. . ." It touched me, but I do not even think I realized it did just then. It gave what the books were about a whole different meaning for me. The kids were forced to grow up sooner than they should have and fight the most feared wizard of all time. Even though they could use magic to help them, it was not easy.
But nothing could compare to the journey each of the characters went through. Nothing could compare with how they were fighting, not just to save the world from destruction, but for each of the people they cared about. The books seemed to explode my world and bring it back together again in a whole new perspective. It was as if I was suddenly faced with what really mattered to me. I did not feel like I had to prove myself to anyone anymore. I knew who I was, and somehow, the books made me realize that. Maybe it was Draco's struggle between making his parents happy or choosing the right path. Maybe it was Luna, who showed me that being strange and different might not make everyone like you, but you'll still be happier. Maybe it was Harry, who knew what he had to do almost the very moment Hagrid told him about how his parents actually died. Maybe it was even Ron and his family, and how close they were to each other. I just know that my family was important to me. They might not all be blood related, but they all matter and have a special place in my heart. I was not scared to fail or ask questions anymore. "It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default." It's true, because how will you know if you never try? How can you succeed without a risk? How could I just sit back and be scared to fail when my life will pass me by?
I love Harry Potter and all the other characters. The books gave me an escape from the ordinary world I live in. I felt as though a chapter of my life had ended when I read the final pages of the final book. But I believe what you said is true, Ms. Rowling, that "Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home," because it will I can open the books again whenever I want. I can experience the magic over and over again. I can go back to Hogwarts because it will always be there, just like home.
Thank you, Ms. Rowling. Thank you for giving me a home.