On JK Rowling’s birthday, here’s why Harry Potter continues to cast magic

31 July is the birthday of a boy wizard who changed the lives of millions muggles across the globe with his magic. Harry Potter also happens to share the same birth date with his creator JK Rowling. She is 54-years-old today. Every year, writers release a book that traps the hearts of readers. When ‘Pride and Prejudice‘ were released, little did Jane Austen knew what she was about to make a dent in the soul of literature. When ‘1984’ was launched, George Orwell scared us with the dangers of a world under constant surveillance. And when ‘Harry Potter’ was released by Bloomsbury, it made history.

With 500 million copies in print, billion dollars worth of film series, merchandises and theme parks later, the book continues to cast its spell. There comes a moment in history when unsung creative geeks bring out unseen work of art that it makes you pause and say, huh. It’s something like how the world went crazy with ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Titanic’. For me, it was Harry Potter which triggered my wildest dreams, making me believe the impossible.

My dive into Hogwarts happened when I was ten. After much persuasion by my cousin, I eventually decided to read. 14 years later, I am not hesitant to say that the book still makes my imagination go wild. After all these years, how does it manage to stir the child in the heart of an adult? Well for starters, Harry Potter enchanted me with its universe of own school where magic was a possibility.

It taught that magic is real if I trust in myself. I found magic in the friendship between Harry, Hermione, and Ron. I saw magic in the wise words of Albus Dumbeldore. His words of comfort to Harry throughout the series as he grows over the years is heartwarming. Perhaps he is one of the most powerful characters to exist in fiction. ‘It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends,’ he says or, ‘It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.’

I found the magic of love and care in the grizzly bear form of Hagrid. I found magic in the warmth of Molly Weasley’s sumptuous food and her love for Harry as her own son. I found magic in Malfoy’s narcissism; how pride can ruin you. I also found magic among the Dursley’s. And then I found magic in Lord Voldemort’s pure evilness, how desire and lust for power without principles is folly.

There is a reason why we love fiction even if they aren’t real. It is humbling to read or see characters on-screen face obstacles which mirrors the situations we face ourselves in our own lives. We are bowled over by their conviction and determination to reach their goals. Harry Potter is about power, evil, love, friendship, oppression of minorities (read mudblood), and death. When stories of such powerful feelings are written, it is only natural to believe the characters. They continue to live and thrive in my brain. Today, 14-years-later, since reading the very first chapters – the boy who lived, I believe that magic is real. I believe in magic of words.

Mohammed Rayaan