I’m Scared to Re-Read Harry Potter

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Jess Carbert

Staff Writer

Jess is a freelance journalist with training in the mystic arts of print, television, radio, and a dash of PR. When she’s not mowing people down in her wheelchair, she’s writing like her life depends on it, or getting willfully lost in a book. Twitter: @heyits_wheels

I’m scared to re-read Harry Potter. Okay, maybe “scared” is a little histrionic in this situation— after all, the series was easily one of my best literary childhood memories. I was so attached to the books and the characters in them (my heart still shrivels at the unequivocal truth that I cannot marry Fred Weasley), I could never truly be “scared” of the contents. It’s not like I think a dementor is going to come for me in my sleep, and there’s not much a boggart can show me that I haven’t already lived through (okay, this is getting uncomfortably real, let’s just dial it back a few notches).

Last year for Christmas, I bought myself a brand new Harry Potter box set (of the books, obviously. The movies were never good enough for me because I am, in fact, the worst kind of snob). It was, unfortunately, time to say goodbye to my old, mismatched, tattered copies; the spines were splitting on the paperbacks, the hardcovers had fallen right off the binding, and there were mysterious food stains discolouring dog-eared, yellow pages. I ripped open the Amazon box with my new, gleaming copies and thought: I’ll read these over Christmas!

I never did, of course. But it wasn’t my typical TBR aversion that caused me to plonk that beautiful box set on a shelf I can barely reach and then steadfastly ignore it like an unpleasant truth; I was just worried that when I returned to Hogwarts, it wouldn’t feel the same. It would feel too small, too claustrophobic, too immature.

I was worried if I read the books again, there would be no magic left for me.

Now, as summer rolls into fall a year later, I (a grown-ass woman with grown-ass responsibilities) need magic more than I ever did as a forgotten, bullied, disabled kid. I need something stronger than the person I am today, and to be honest, I need a distraction, a coping mechanism to survive until I can get out of my own personal Privet Drive, away from my own personal Dursleys, and never look back (and yeah, guys, I’m in therapy).

My life is a shit show, to be honest with you. It will get better when I move, but now more than ever, I need the kind of solace I have (until recently) always been able to find in books. As much as I fear that even The Boy Who Lived will let me down, I’m out of platitudes, strategies, and cheery, repetitive mantras that have slowly turned to meaningless mush. I can only hope that Hogwarts welcomes me home with open arms— bonus points: even the Forbidden Forest is accessible.