If you could have any memory erased, what would it be?
Sometimes this question pops up, and some people struggle to find a good answer. Our memories have emotions tied to them–good or bad–and have shaped us into the people we are. We can’t make the choice lightly, but I have an answer:
I would erase the memory of reading the Harry Potter series.
Cue the gasps and shrieks of horror. Cue the faints and breaking glasses. FORGET HARRY POTTER?! WHAT BLASPHEMY IS THIS?!
But you may already know why I want to forget reading the HP series–so that I can read it again, for the first time, to relive the joys and heartbreaks, the loves and losses, the victories and defeats held within those pages. I still, to this very day, read the series and fangirl over plot elements, fan theories, and favorite characters–but I sometimes wish for that first moment of being shocked at what happened to Cedric Diggory or mourning the loss of Dumbledore–and learning the truth about my favorite character: Severus Snape.
I haven’t (yet) achieved the feat of experiencing the series for the first time all over again–but I think I’ve come close.
As a teacher, I relate the literature I have my students read to things in popular culture, like Harry Potter. Turns out, there are young people who’ve *gasp* never read the series (and not for parental guidance reasons). Well, I’m not one to shrink away from a challenge. One of those students of mine is an avid reader, but “never got around to it,” so I lent her Sorcerer’s Stone.
She devoured it in two days, then begged for more.
Then she got another student to read it, who got another student to read it. It’s contagious!
Now their peers are all in on it, reading and talking about the series. Some who are already fans are rereading Harry’s adventures and gushing about the stories with the Newbies. It’s almost an impromptu book club, but it’s more than that–
It’s Dumbledore’s Army.
Just this morning, I felt such joy when Patient Zero came to me, having now finished Chamber of Secrets, gushing about Dobby and how “he was annoying at first, but ohmygosh, Miss Chase, Dobby is amazing. I love him.”
Then, joy intermingled with bittersweet heartache. Dobby.
I will be here for her, for all of them, when they read through the entire series. They will rejoice, they will mourn, and they will fight for the survival of the human race against Lord Voldemort and his legion of Death Eaters.
And I will be right there with them, reliving Harry Potter, for the first time, vicariously through them.