On Reading Harry Potter For The First Time At 30

OH HEY GUYS:

 

Screenshot at Apr 20 11-21-29

 

Ever since I started this blog, in 2010, I have been (lovingly) harassed about the fact that I have never read Harry Potter. I knew this was a serious rarity in the YA book world but alas….I had not.

When the first book came out I was 12. I vaguely remember people around me reading it but, even though I was a big reader all my life up to that point, I had just moved 4 hours away to a new town and a new school and I was trying so hard to fit in that that’s where all my time was going to — making friends. Plus I was in this stage where I only wanted to read teen mags so the idea of a book about a young wizard did not appeal to 12 year old Jamie. But the thing is, all those years when it first gained popularity I remember it happening but I do not actively remember the people around me being like super fans or even really talking about the books. Maybe I just wasn’t rolling with the right people? Either way, because of that, I never felt a push to read them even if I *knew* they were super popular. Then my reading drought happened. Then college where I never had time to read.

Then, two years later after college in 2010, I joined the blogging world and almost instantaneously I felt this pressure, that I had NEVER felt before, to read Harry Potter when I saw how life changing and formative it had been for so many. And it just kept mounting. I actively WANTED to read it. Was excited at the prospect of it. Wanted to discover it for myself.

But I was scared.

I was scared that it wasn’t going to live up to the experience I’ve witnessed others have — people who talk about it daily and reference it all the time and who were forever changed by it. I mean, you wanna talk hype, try being a person who hasn’t read Harry Potter in a community full of book lovers! There is no hype for a book like that. There has to be a word beyond hype because that doesn’t even cut it. People GREW UP with Harry.

I was scared that I wasn’t going to like it. I mean who would want to be THAT person?? I would probably have to retire from blogging and go in the equivalent of the Witness Protection Program.

I was scared that the magic wouldn’t be there because I was reading it for the first time at 30 and not 12. I knew it held up for so many adults rereading it but I was afraid I was too old and jaded and I don’t even know what to be reading it for the first time at 30. That the magic wouldn’t be there. I can’t really explain it but that’s how I felt and deeply feared it.

But let me tell to you…..I was so dead wrong.

I think I discovered that the magic of Harry Potter is that it gives you what you need when you read it — no matter how old you are. I am a 30 year who believes that adults can enjoy children’s books and YA books but I have experienced nothing like the transcendent experience of Harry Potter. Sometimes I felt like I was a giddy 12 year old anxiously going on this journey with Harry and daydreaming about going to Hogwarts and sometime I read it with my adult eyes and my adult emotions and views. But that magic was there — burning and burning and burning fiercely.

When I was reading it, it didn’t matter that I wasn’t reading it for the first time along with everyone else as a kid or that all around me is Harry Potter hype or that I felt like I was the last person on this earth of my age group to read it — it honestly felt like I was experiencing this thing that nobody else had and that maybe I was the ONLY person on earth to read it. I mean, as soon as I would take a break from reading I was so happy to remember I had all of Twitter to lament with when my heart was breaking, because I was in fact clearly not the only person to ever experience it, but when I was in those moments, so 100% transported into the story, it was as if none of that mattered and the Harry Potter that I had heard of was not even the Harry Potter I was experiencing. I felt like the only person who had ever experienced it.

Now, sure, do I wish that I had grown up with Harry Potter so that I could have had the excitement of waiting for each book and feeling like I grew up with the series and everything that goes along with it? Absolutely. But I didn’t. And my experience wasn’t any less magical. I had stayed relatively free of spoilers and never watched the movies (honestly the only big thing I knew was about Dumbledore) so I was going into all of this with no real ideas of what to expect (other than OH BEST BOOKS EVER ACCORDING TO THE WORLD) so everything was the most devastating blow as if I had read them when they were first coming out. I was thankful for that part of my experience and how it probably factored into it.

I think the other thing about reading Harry Potter for the first time as an adult is there are things that, had I read it for the first time back then, I would have never connected with the way that I did or had the same things resonate or stick out to me. There were things I may have passed over as a kid.

I think as an adult, who lost a parent as a young person, watching Harry struggle with this ever present grief and loss resonated with me so much. I think it shook me in such a profound way because I understood it. 12 year old me might have felt deeply for Harry but I could have never read it the same way as I did now having experienced such loss. I could have experienced those dark depths with Harry and it would have been super emotional because JK Rowling is brilliant but to feel it in such a personal way? It added so much more to that experience.

One of the biggest examples of that is this one tiny part in Goblet of Fire:

 

Screenshot at Apr 20 10-56-49

I wept at this scene as hard as I did some death scenes. It broke me honestly. I have memories of hugging my mom but they feel like a lifetime away because I was just a kid (we were not a huggy bunch once I got past middle school). It made me appreciate in Mrs. Weasley all the surrogate moms I’ve had in my life. It made me appreciate my stepmom even more for how, even though my mom isn’t here, I have her to guide me in a motherly way even at 30. I think as an adult it breaks my heart for all the motherless kids out there because I am one. And to know people who are surrogate moms and stepmoms and oh man..I KNOW to my depths the selflessness of them. I would have loved Mrs. Weasley and recognized all these things in her and these interactions with her and Harry would have made me cry likely…but I just know I wouldn’t have seen them the same way had the first time I read them been when I was 12. Maybe upon a reread it would have stuck out to me but I’m glad Mrs. Weasley and this relationship was everything to me my first go around.

There were just all these things I think as a kid I would have never felt as strong about. I could go on and on and on.

I think that’s the beauty of these books — no experience will ever be the same as someone else’s and, even though I’ve only read them once, I have to guess that no read YOU ever have of them will be with the same eyes. Always something new to glean or to feel or to experience or to see for the first time.

I think the best part about reading it for the first time as an adult is how even more impressive it was to feel that MAGIC for the first time. To be aware of how special these books are and how they hold up even more than I could ever imagined to the way people talk about them. To recognize how truly special the experience is and that how, as an adult, it’s hard to find that magic anymore so to experience it so purely and freely was amazing. I went into Harry Potter with a lot of expectations and buildup and THESE BOOKS CHANGED MY LIFE personal accounts, which is a really tall order to ever live up to, and it exceeded them more than I could ever have imagined.

GOD these books are just so brilliant and I just want to reread them already. I mean, JK Rowling HOW? How did you do this? There are so many things that I want to point out about how brilliant they are but 1) I don’t have the words and 2) most of you just already know what I mean. I’m amazed and in awe still at what she wrote and how deeply I felt it.

I know a lot of people pity me for not having read Harry Potter up until this point but don’t. Just because I haven’t been a fan for my whole life doesn’t mean my experience was any less magical or that I’m missing something or I’m less of a fan (yeah, someone made me feel like that and I’m just like okay I don’t think you can quantify this shit but OKAY if it makes you feel better). Sure, it would have been great to experience it alongside everyone else and I don’t have those memories that so many do but my experience was my own and it felt as pure as anybody’s first read of it could have been. I experienced the magic deeply in a way I couldn’t have imagined just by hearing about it. So personally, so uniquely.

And maybe my experience was “late” or different than yours but I think the magic in this series lies in that there is no expiration date or one right experience. There is no late to the party. The party goes on infinitely and transcends time. The magic is there, and it might manifest differently, but it is there for the experiencing whenever you need it. And…the fandom, for the most part, is ready to welcome you in as if you’ve always been there and not point out that your invitation looks a little bit different than theirs. Plus, not to mention, they will help pick you up after you finish when you feel like WHAT IS LIFE WHY IS THIS OVER WHAT WILL I DO NOW because, even though it’s been years for them, it’s so easy to be transported back to remember how devastating and wonderful and emotional it all was the first time you read it.

I can’t believe my first experience is over with Harry Potter and I look forward to a reread (when I’ve recovered) and to watch the movies and dive even further into the world and the fandom. I am relieved to not have to be on ~constant vigilance~ alert mode for spoilers all the time (I haz skills y’all, I know). I am honored to be a fan of this series and to have experienced a truly life changing story — one I was scared wouldn’t happen for me. Thank you for being along with me for the journey and cheering me on and being there for me throughout my reading experience!!

One shoutout though: I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite character because I could literally write a 50 page analysis for why quite a few of them are my faves/the best ever but Mrs. Weasley is everything to me. I honestly strive to be half the woman she is and her selflessness and strength and capacity for love really moved me — even when she wasn’t always appreciated. Plus she has one of the best lines in Deathly Hallows that made me laugh amidst a waterfall of tears (and then made me cry some more) when she said, “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!!” and was the most boss ass bitch around.

Oh my god guys I can’t stop crying or blabbering on. I have so much to say. I feel so much. Too much. I might explode. My binge was a whirlwind and I feel like there’s gotta be some potion to drink that can bring me some chill, right?? Or is this why 100% of you have no chill ever when talking about this series? I’m destined for a life of never being the same again??

So that’s all for now….time to eat my feelings.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I am one of those people who grew up reading Harry Potter and it changed my life yada yada, but I’ve always thought and worried about other people who didn’t get to experience the same epicness as I did as the series was being released one by one at midnight release parties. Like, wouldn’t their experiences be lesser than mine and how sad is that?? (I realize how self centred this sounds now…)

    “it honestly felt like I was experiencing this thing that nobody else had and that maybe I was the ONLY person on earth to read it” <– So it comes as a huge relief and much happiness that your experience may have been different from mine, but is still CLEARLY just as special as mine and as anyone else's. You are so right in everything you say here… everyone's experience with the books is their OWN and is pure and unique. And it will continue to be that way with our children, and our children's children, etc. So much love for this post πŸ™‚

    • I totally understand how you can think that! I mean, *I* thought my experience was going to pale in comparison to everyone who grew up with it. I would have loved to do all the releases and all that and would have loved to have Harry Potter to be a series I revisited over and over again as I grew up but I’m just glad my reading experience had that magic I thought I might have missed.

      I think it will be SO fun to discover these books again with my nieces and if I have kids!

  2. OH I am right there with you and just had to comment! I’m reading them for the first time too, in my 30s. We are definitely a rarity lol. I just have the last one to go and I feel like I need to recover still from the last 2. I some how managed to have no spoilers. Never watched the movies… I was totally blind going into these books. I was a few years older than 12 when they came out so I had some misguided chip on my shoulder that I wouldn’t like reading about a “little” boy and magic. Ugh, my younger self was so clueless. Like you though, I appreciate them and what they are to me NOW. What you said here…. “the magic of Harry Potter is that it gives you what you need when you read it β€” no matter how old you are”…. so much YESSSSS!!!! I just love this post and what you said I had to post. πŸ™‚

    • YAY us!!! Being like unicorns!!

      And OH MAN..yes those last 3 drained so much out of me!! I took a month off between Order of the Phoenix and Half Blood Prince but dove into Deathly Hallows right away…probably shouldn’t have done that for my sanity bc OMG I AM SO FRAGILE RIGHT NOW. haha

      and yessss another person who avoided spoilers and movies!!! Everyone was like HOW and I’m like I just have skills okay. And I felt the SAME way as you…I cared about learning about makeup and hot boys in magazines and clothes at that time sooo a little boy wizard? NOPE.

      I’m so glad you are having the same experience!! I am here for you when you finish Deathly Hallows!!!

  3. YES!! I am 35 years old (a week away from 36) and I JUST finished Harry Potter for the FIRST TIME last week!! Talk about an emotional roller coaster and I had ZERO interest in reading anything else after that. I mean, how could any other book compete? For me, I was never super into it because of the premise. There was a time when I didn’t read any fantasy at all so the thought of a little boy who finds out he’s a wizard and all this magic and stuff just turned me off. I figured I didn’t like it and I also figured it would be one of those much hyped books that I never, ever read. Then I started my blog about a year and a half ago. And because of everyone’s recommendations, I started reading Fantasy books and loving them. Then I started feeling so much pressure to read it. I AM SO GLAD I DID! God, it’s now my favorite series ever. I can totally understand why people reread this series so many times. I wanted to read it all over again the second I was finished.

    • YAY us!!! I’m glad I’m not the only 30something who just read them! That’s how I’m feeling right now…I refuse to read any fantasy bc WHAT is going to compare??? I’ve been trying to read some romances and stuff to have a complete change of pace!

      I got into fantasy late too!! I very rarely read it before i started blogging 6 years ago. It just wasn’t what I was into when I was younger — I like contemporary, historical fiction and horror.

      And omg so with you!! I already want to reread it. So happy to be finding other people who are in that very raw place having just read it like I am!! I just feel very emotional about it all haha

  4. Yay! Harry Potter! Finally! I started reading them with my son when he was seven and I was 42. His father was making a sandwich in the kitchen one night and he overheard us reading Sorcerer’s Stone. He came into my son’s bedroom and asked what book it was. Judst from tje lityle bit he heard, he was hooked! We were on chapter five, so he took it to work with him the next and caught up. After that he can in every night when Sebastian and I were reading and listened in. It became our family bonding point, and when Sebastian’s dad moved out when he was 13 remained an anchoring comfort to be able to look forward to the last two books, and the rest of the movies as a family of two. Just like with you the books were as magical to me as an adult as they were for him as a child. The people I feel sorry for are the ones who read the books as children and don’t plan on reading them again as adults. I agree, in some aspects it is a much deeper experience reading it as an adult. Thanks for sharing your feelings. πŸ™‚

  5. I’m so happy you loved the series so much! I’m sorry you didn’t experience all the magic as a kid, I had the same age of Harry and friends when I started reading the books and watching the movies and I was about to start middle school without my childhood friends, so it helped me to takle this moment of my life. My mom read the books that time too, I read during the day and she read during the night, and loved them all. She always disliked fantasy and still now prefers other genres, but Harry Potter is special to her, even if she read it for the first time at 50! I think the real magic of this books is that it doesn’t matter at what age you read them, they will always be a unique experience!

    • (sorry this reply is so late! I published this post right before a two week vacation and gahhh catching up is hard)

      I feel like your experience is the one that so many people I know had and that I totally covet even though I love my experience all the same! There just seems like something so magical to be reading a series in the moment it’s coming out and with everyone else. And isn’t it amazing how books can make life more bearable? I’ve always found that comforting!

  6. You’re definitely destined for a life of never being the same haha. I read these books for the first time when I was 21 and I remember just being so swept up by it (and I had already seen the movies multiple times)!

    It’s SO hard for me to pick favorite characters from this series too haha. But my favorites (besides one) are all girls! Hermione, Luna, Mrs. Weasley, and Neville!

    I’m so glad you loved the series πŸ™‚

    • LUNA is such a great character too. I think I wouldn’t have appreciated her had I read this as a teen bc I would have thought she was too weird but as an adult I’m like HELL YAS GIRL.

  7. I’m so glad you loved this series! I was one of the people who grew up reading it, so for me it was a huge part of my childhood, but I have always wondered how I would feel reading it for the first time now when it doesn’t have that huge nostalgic value.
    I think that’s the beauty of the series though – it can be read by anyone of any age! I know when I reread it, I always think that I would have a sense of nostalgia with it even if it was the first time because you watch those characters grow up throughout the book, and you can remember what it was like to be that age.
    Great post! Yet again, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  8. Nikki Lemmons says:

    I grew up reading the Harry Potter books, but I read them all together for the first time a couple years ago as an adult. That was a completely different experience for so many reasons. Not only did I not have to wait so long between books, but you’re right- you get something different out of it as an adult. Being in the stage of life I am in now, I loved Luna so much more because she’s who I wish I could be. I’ll always be Hermione, but I wish I accepted myself the way Luna does. Surprisingly, the deaths still made me weep like they did the first time I read them, just a few pages earlier since I knew they were coming. It gave me a different kind of love for the books than I had reading them growing up. And I hope that live changes and grows the next time I read them too.

  9. Yes! I’m so glad you loved these. Rowling truly did an amazing thing. To have a series be so relevant for so many people around the world and be so marvelously written, too….it’s magic. Reading this whole post I just kept nodding and smiling and agreeing with everything. Welcome to the club!

  10. I was an adult when the books came out so I didn’t have the experience of growing up with them either. I started them when book 4 came out. The first chapter was in Newsweek. I loved it and immediately went back and read the first three. So you aren’t the only one to read this as an adult. I think they are deep enough that you prop ably get more out of them when you are older.

  11. “The party goes on infinitely and transcends time.” – No doubt about that! And yes you are destined for a life of never being the same again. And it’s wonderful!

  12. This post made me so emotional about the amazing experience that Harry Potter is for EVERYONE. Having lost a parent young myself I know rereading the books after that was such a different experience compared to when I read them as they came out. It’s a series that really bears up on a reread because there’s just so much in there. I’m so glad you loved them coming to them as an adult.

  13. I love Harry Potter and remember the last book coming out the same summer I was working with kids and teens at a summer camp, so I spent the entire weekend reading to finish the book so I wouldn’t have the ending spoiled by campers. I was just thinking about re-reading the series the other day… I think it’s time, plus now the first book is illustrated, which I can’t wait to experience.

  14. Honestly, as someone who grew up reading Harry Potter, I’m a little envious of YOU. By the time the 6th book was coming out I was so tired of the pomp and build-up that came with waiting for the book to come out, on top of the stress of avoiding spoilers. I got it, read it in like two days, and then thought “thank God I can breathe easy for a year.” I think it’s kind of fantastic that you were able to read the books and enjoy them in your own time. And as an adult you’ll probably remember so many more things πŸ™‚

    I agree so much with being able to enjoy the magic as an adult. For all of us adults who read YA and MG, you really can appreciate magic in a book without being the intended age. I’m happy you enjoyed the books so much and shared your experience!

  15. I didn’t get my first Harry Potter box set until I was 20 because that’s what I asked for for my birthday that year. I started reading and finished the first book that day. Then I read the second book the next year, the third book the next, and I’m currently on the fourth book. I’m going to be 25 this year so I know what you mean when you say you felt like you were pressured to read it or that you might have been left behind. But I agree with you: the magic is so there, no matter what age you start it at. I’ve seen all of the movies multiple times, so I feel like I know what to expect, but I really don’t. Since the third book there have been so many things that are different and I’m experiencing them for the first time. I’m slightly put off because of how huge the books are from Goblet of Fire and on, but I’m determined to finish them this year. The magic is amazing and the story is, too. It’s like we grow up with Harry regardless of when we read it.

  16. Hahahah YES. THIS IS WHY WE HAVE NO CHILL.
    But seriously, Jamie, this was such a magical (omg, no pun intended) post to read. Firstly, I am SO SO happy that you enjoyed the books. I’m sure it was so hard with like, the worst hype in the entire world. But secondly, I’m so happy that you LOVED them. I think because so many people grew up with the books, so many of them/us have the same experiences but I LOVE that you have a different experience. There are times when I’m like, Okay, I know this is my favorite series (and everyone else’s) but is it REALLY that good or are we all trapped in this love of something because it touched our hearts as children? It’s so satisfying to see that you can read the books for the first time as an adult and still fall so deeply in love and be totally swept away.
    I also can totally appreciate the feeling of having your adult experiences and emotions and seeing the book through that lens for the first time instead of applying them after a read (or two or three or ten). It’s definitely not the same experience but I read Walk Two Moons as a kid and loved it and hadn’t re-read it until last year and whoa boy. My adult emotions into that book… I was a WRECK. It was almost like a first read because I remembered almost nothing from reading it like 18 years ago and to read it after all of the experiences that I’ve had sine then… It was VERY emotional. I can totally see how that would be much more raw reading Harry Potter and being able to channel your experiences as you’re reading. I know I’m so entrenched in this series that I really only see Harry and the gang and I don’t have that deeper level of reading, really, because I know the series too well. I love that you had such a wonderful and unique experience!
    Thank you for sharing your feelings on this! It was truly wonderful to read and I’m so happy it was such an incredible experience for you as well!

  17. Jamie, I didn’t start the series until the until series was out, so I can relate to your experience. That said, there was something amazing about NOT HAVING TO WAIT for the next book to come out! I loved being able to plow right through the story and live seven years with these people in the course of a few months. But the day after? I missed them. I missed our adventures. SO MUCH. My heart grieved that the experience was over.

    But, thankfully, Rowling has kept the magic going– there are always new little stories and facts that she is revealing!

    What house do you think you’re in? I’m Ravenclaw. πŸ™‚

  18. Ahhh!! So glad that you wrote this post! J.K. Rowling is brilliant! What’s amazing is the Harry Potter series is for all ages and it doesn’t matter when someone reads the series for the first time. Everyone’s first time reading Harry Potter is magical. Harry Potter will always continue to live on always because the fandom is strong.

    I hope you have a chance to watch all the movies, do HP re-reads, see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and immerse yourself into the fandom beyond the books because once a Potterhead, always a Potterhead.

  19. This made me cry! Mostly, because I *get* how special it is every time I read it. Even when I was super depressed and couldn’t read anything else, I always could pick up a HP book and feel safe and happy, even when the most miserable things were happening in the book. There is a bit of magic in the books, and for me, that magic is never, ever lost, no matter how many times I’ve read the books. And I’ve read them a LOT (like more than 30 in the case of the first three).

    I’m so proud of you for finishing! I can’t imagine the pressure of not having read them in this community, but I would love to have that magical first time of reading them all over again. And I don’t think I ever really loved Mrs. Weasley as much as I have the last two or three times I’ve read the book. All the parts about the parents have really gotten too me, now that I am one. With the Mirror of Erised, I cried for Lily, seeing her son for the first time since he was a baby. Ahh, now I’m crying again.

    Anyhow, congrats! Welcome to the fandom, and thank you for the lovely post to read today.

  20. JAMIE! I’m so glad you’ve finished! Welcome to the Potterhead club, we are so happy to have you! You are no less of a fan just because you got into the books late – I remember people saying that to me because I got into Harry Potter when the fifth book came out. Like the series wasn’t even done yet and people were shaming me because I hadn’t started. So just give them the brush-off (and a mental finger) and know that they’re idiots.

    I will say that I was older than most of the fanbase when I first started as well. I think I was 21-22, the first book had come out when I was 16-17, so I was pretty skeptical. So yeah, I didn’t start until I was an adult, and reading as an adult is totally fine. I agree with you, the magic doesn’t go away. I remember reading the first two books on a long-haul flight home to Hong Kong, then dreaming about HP CONSTANTLY. I read book 3 in a jetlag induced haze and immediately went and bought books four and five, and then waiting impatiently for books six and seven. I never did an HP launch party and I don’t feel like I missed out because the magic in in the tale and the writing and the books.

    All of that to say…thank you for this feels-y post and also, I LOVE that Mrs. Weasley is your favorite. Ginny was my fave because I loved seeing someone who was seemingly small and frail (to Harry), who went through a mental and physical ordeal, and then was able to deal with it and move on and be strong and funny and witty and amazing.

    I think you said on Twitter you’re a Ravenpuff? Go take that Pottermore quiz now! =)

  21. I think we all have sooo many thoughts on this so I don’t even know where to begin. HP is so important to so, so many of us and I LOVE hearing about your experience! You’re totally right when you say “And maybe my experience was β€œlate” or different than yours but I think the magic in this series lies in that there is no expiration date or one right experience. There is no late to the party. The party goes on infinitely and transcends time.” It really does! I love knowing that people read these books at any age and love them just as much as the rest of us who read them from the start. My parents read the books right along with me and they loved them just as much. So, so happy you loved these. Also, for your reread, I can’t recommend the audiobooks enough! Jim Dale is perfection in narrator form.

  22. I teared up reading your post. It’s so wonderful to see another HP convert come to life. πŸ™‚ Now you have the joy of rereading them and catching all the small things you didn’t before. And the movies, oh the movies! So lucky.

    I didn’t start reading the books until the first movie came out, I think, so I was an adult too. Once I caught up, I started rereading the entire series before each new book release. And it stuck. I’ve read Deathly Hallows 6 times, the last time in 2013. I’m actually planning another summer reread for this year with my sister (who just read the series with me in 2013 for the first time, but loved the movies.)

    Harry Potter will live on with you, no matter where you are. Always.

  23. Aww, that’s so beautiful. I have no doubt that no matter the age, HP has the ability to affect people in different ways. I remember reading it as a kid and it felt like I discovered a brand new world, I’m glad to see age doesn’t change that and to quote Rowling, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home!

  24. You’re done, you’re done! I’m so happy for you. And you’re absolutely right about it not mattering when you come across Potter or how long you’ve been a fan, and you’re especially right about it meaning something different to everyone. That’s the magic of Potter, after all. Also, I sent this to a Potter friend/coworker, and we agreed that we need to take the afternoon off because we’ve “Come down with a case of Potter” and have to watch the movies to recover. So thanks for that. <3

  25. Elizabeth Pedraja says:

    I read the HP books for the first time in my mid 20s, and I didn’t really have the same experience. I definitely enjoyed the books, but I just didn’t “get it”- The experience wasn’t any more compelling than some of the other fantasy series I had read instead of Harry Potter while growing up, like Chronicles of Narnia, LOTR, or the Great and Terrible Beauty series by Libba Bray. This could be due to the fact that as someone who had a best friend obsessed with the series growing up, I had already known everything that was going to happen. I think also I was annoyed with some of the fandom groups, the same way people would get irritated with the TwiHards- here were all these people reading one series when there were so many other worlds they could go on to enjoy, but who were too attached to this one world to open themselves up to something else. I’m glad you had the experience you did- Sometimes I wish I could have been one of those swept up, but I’ll just have to go home and re-read my middle school and HS journals decorated with Sarah Dessen quotes.

  26. There are no words to describe how happy I am that you found these books at the right time in your life! And that you loved them so much!! Harry Potter is timeless and I truly believe any time is a good time to read them for the first time. Mrs. Weasley is wonderful and I can immediately see why would would latch onto her so strongly, much like Harry. And god I love that line in Deathly Hallows! Badass. I’m one of the people who grew up with Harry, and I read them soooo many times throughout high school and college that it’s hard to tell if my opinions have shifted much. Unfortunately I think the internet has soured me a bit more than being an adult, all the constant picking apart of certain characters and plots. I had to pull back for awhile because it was taking the magic away for me. But I want to reread again soon since it’s been a few years, and remember why I love this series so much. The books. “And maybe my experience was β€œlate” or different than yours but I think the magic in this series lies in that there is no expiration date or one right experience. There is no late to the party. ” This is absolutely true and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! I’m always happy to meet another Harry Potter fan and to see the smile light up their face. It’s an awesome thing. SO HAPPY YOU LOVED THE SERIES JAMIE!!! Now watch the movies (I have to say, they are not my faves. But they are good.) and get Will to take you to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It truly feels like you are IN Hogsmeade. It’s amazing. Love your post so much, thank you for sharing your experience with all of us!!! <3

  27. As I was already an adult when Harry Potter came out, I didn’t read the books for a long time either. I thought, these are kids books, why would I read them. But as more and more people my age told me they loved them, I had to read them. I read the books when I was 39 (about 5 years ago) and LOVED them!

  28. Yes! I love this! I am also jealous of you and the fact that you just experienced Harry Potter for the first time, as an adult…what amazing thoughts you could have around these moving books!
    Look forward to reading them again, they only get better πŸ˜‰

  29. Sweeps past all the comments so as not to be be spoiled because GASP, I have not read Harry Potter. OK, so I read like 2 and 1/2? I picked it up because I got crap for never having read it and so I suppose I started reading bc I felt obligated and like I need to see what all the hype was about, so of course my heart wasn’t in it. I would like to discover the magic of Harry, but maybe it’s impossible or too late. Whatever it is, I want to be pulled to read it because I want to read it, not because people harass and shock horror over you because gasp, you haven’t read it. It’s not like I go up to people and give them a hard time about not reading my fave books. Have you read Jellicoe Road? NO?! WHAT IS YOUR LIFE. FRIDAY BROWN? HOW CAN YOU NOT HAVE DISCOVERED THAT MAGIC. I’ll try again one day, when I’m ready for the magic and I’ll discover it for myself. Because I want to. Because I choose to. Not for anyone, but me. Until then, I’m shutting out the crowd and reading whatever I damn well please.

  30. Gah, there is nothing better than being a fan of something for however long and getting to see someone else experience the magic you’ve known all along. You know how exciting it is when someone reads your favourite book and loves it too and you’re a little jealous as they get that joy of experiencing it for the first time but you’re ultimately happy for them? I have that feeling. I love the fact you love the series and screw anyone who makes you feel bad for not reading them sooner. It’s awesome that you get to read them now (the wait between books was awful!) and I’m glad you enjoyed them. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t read them when you were younger (my mom fully read those books straight after I did so she could find out what happens too).

    I’m always impressed at people that managed to avoid the Harry Potter hype (I mean, it was everywhere). I find it strange that someone wasn’t a part of it but that is more because it was my entire childhood. I know my brother liked the series but not in the same way I did, that series is probably what helped to keep me reading as I grew up. I was always a big reader, but I hadn’t fallen head over heels in love with a book until Harry Potter so I fully attribute it as the cause for my voracious reading now. I’m glad you got to enjoy it at a time that was right for you, anyway. Who cares if you’re a bit late to the game? You’ve arrived and you part of it now and there’s a whole new world of Harry Potter arriving in the form of Fantastic Beasts anyways, so you’re right on time when you think about it.

  31. Another Potterhead has been born!!! I didn’t read it until my early 30’s and fell in love with it immediately. I agree that reading it as an adult you’ll probably have a very different experience than if you read it as a child. I’ve read he first five books five times (I’d reread the first books each time before a new book came out) and the entire series twice. Each time I keep finding and remembering different aspects. There are so many layers to these books that I don’t consider them justa ‘kids’ read. You’ll get different things out of this series every time you read it. How many books are there that adults and children are both drawn to over and over?? Not many. Now if I could only get my butt to HP World in Orlando and I’d be happier than a House Elf with a sock. #HPbucketlist

  32. I think there are plenty of us who read these books as an adult. I read the first three to my son when he was born, so I was 24 at the time. The thing about the entire series is that they transcend age and gender and race and religion. You can be 12 or 62 and still enjoy them for what they are – amazing stories. Will you get something different out of them at different ages? Hell yes, and that is what makes them so special! They are the first books I can ever remember that have such universal appeal. Think about that. It says a lot about how much the book world has changed simply because of these books. So, I am actually rather glad you read them after everyone else because it just proves that universal appeal still holds!

  33. These books were amazing to me. I read them while in college. My Mom introduced me to them. My Mom, my sister and I would all read them and pass them around and talk about them. I own the series and have only reread book one last summer. I think this coming year of maternity leave I will take the time to reread the series again. I have a feeling it will impact me differently at this age and I may see things in a different light too.

    Thank you for sharing your experience as a new reader. I loved reading this post!

  34. Yayyyyy Jamie!! I’m so happy you loved it!! Reading about you experiencing it for the first time makes me want to reread the whole series so badly! I haven’t read them in ages and I’m wondering if I’ll pick up on some things that I didn’t before, like you mentioned. And people thinking you’re less of a fan because you didn’t read them right when they first came out are just *UGH*. I mean, seriously, that would mean that none of the kids who are going to pick them up in the future could ever be the kind of fans that we were? I don’t believe that.
    And yes, Mrs Weasley is amazing! I love her ginormous heart! Picking favourites is hard when it comes to a series like this with SO MANY amazing characters!
    Welcome to the fandom πŸ˜‰

  35. Oh my gosh harry potter is so awesome!

    Nabila // Hot Town Cool Girl

  36. I am SO HAPPY you finally experienced Harry Potter. It doesn’t matter when you read it. My own grandmother got me into HP — I was maybe 9 or 10, and she was in her 70s — and I’m forever thankful that she did. It touches you. You can have all sorts of experiences with books, and maybe you find yourself attached to some books over others (like me and Jane Eyre — I LOVE THAT BOOK MORE THAN LIFE ITSELF), but HARRY POTTER…Harry Potter is so unique and all-encompassing. Everything about the series and all that came with it. It’s a lifestyle. And I’m so so SO glad you finally got to experience it too!

  37. As someone who didn’t read any HP until very recently as well and in my late twenties, I completely agree with you! The magic is there no matter how old you are, and while part of me wishes I had picked it up when I was a kid and it first came out and really grew up with it, another part of me is thankful I waited. I think I appreciated it so much more now than I ever could have back then. I can’t wait to share this with any kids I might have in the future though. Who cares when you come into it, it’s special no matter when you read them.

  38. THIS WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL POST, I honestly had goosebumps the whole way through and I am slightly tearing up, seriously!!!!! “The magic of Harry Potter is that it gives you what you need when you read it” — this line resonated so much with me! I first read them aged 9, and I was kinda just an excitable kid who loved the magic and plot twists and friendships, and especially loved Hermione who reminded me so much of myself; and then when I was 12 the deaths really hit me a lot more; and then I was 15 I felt so much the teen angst, especially Harry’s first crush/relationship with Cho, and the occasional rocky times the Trio have. So it has given me what I’ve needed every time, and now that I’m nearly 18 I can hardly wait to read them a fourth time and see what new thing I’ll take from them. I loved so much reading your paragraphs about Mrs Weasley, WHO IS THE BEST ESPECIALLY NOT MY DAUGHTER YOU BITCH! One of my favourite lines about her:
    “Of course, it’s not your fault, Harry, dear,” she said, heaping nine or ten sausages onto his plate.
    She has seven kids and yet she still takes him in as one of her own! SHE IS ASTOUNDING.

    That makes me so angry that people have said you’re less of a fan! What about people who were 30 when the books came out?? What about, for example, you reading Sense and Sensibility now (which makes me so happy, I love that book and the gorgeous cover you’ve got up is the edition I own and read!), are you less of a fan because Austen’s been dead 150 years? OF COURSE NOT. Honestly. Fandom snobbery = the worst!

    It’s so impressive you had no spoilers! Aged 9 (8 years ago) I’d not seen any of the films and I knew nothing about the books, and I feel so awful for people who go in knowing all the deaths, couples etc, although I do honestly believe you could love it regardless, because even now I get so excited about the plot twists! Like the last time I read the books I COULD NOT STOP READING THEM even though I knew everything, I was just so engrossed!

    This comment has got super long, sorry about that, but here’s to many happy rereads in the future! <333

  39. Amber R says:

    This post speaks to me so much at this point in my life right now, and is making me smile so hard πŸ™‚ the first book came out when I was a pre-teen an I hadn’t interest whatsoever for over 15 years to read it, even when all my friends in highschool would line up at borders at midnight to get the new releases. I can’t say exactly why I avoided them for so long.. I just didn’t GET it, why as an adult would I want to read about a little boy with a magic wand? I never had any interest in the movies either, I for have heard tiny bits and pieces over the years, but I did not know any major plot points. I spent the last 15 years thinking that Hagrid’s character was actually named dumbledore for some reason,( I did know there was a friendly tall guy in the books) flash forward to this February, it was cold I was bored and not reading any other books. I had been constantly been pressured by coworker for the past 2 years to read the series. In fact, I picked up the first book out of spite to read it and tell her how NOT into fantasy I was, how silly it would be,and that it wouldn’t suck me in as a 29 year old woman. Ooooohhhh boy, was I wrong in the best way! It took me about 4 weeks to read them
    all, and now this summer I am re-reading them as my 55 year old mom reads the series for the first time too! These are the only books I have ever read that make me feel visceral sadness, and happiness, and I have read a lot of books in my life. The end of the deathly hollows stuck around with me for weeks and I would think about it at random haha, and genuinely miss the characters as if I knew them in real life. I too get EVERYTHING now on the internet. I am so genuinely thankful that I have experienced the magic of the series and it is now just as fun experiencing it along with my mom, as she calls me and asks me about all the little details. I am thankful I have gotten to know Molly Weasly’s character, as she is my favorite and the warmth of her character actually feels like a hug as you read. I’m so into this world, and gladly extend a ” you were right” to all my friends that tried to get me experience the magic.

    • Literally just nodding my head furiously to everything you just wrote here!!! I’m so happy we finally jumped into this world and experienced that transcending magic it holds in those pages! I STILL feel at a loss that I’m done with and like I SO miss them too. Like maybe I should reread already haha

  40. I was in my late 20s when these came out. My middle school aged niece recommended the first book to me when it was becoming popular, but was not yet a cultural icon. I was hooked immediately and read the series in my thirties, as they came out.

    I have some friends my age who maintained their “That’s nice, but I don’t read kids’ books” stance, and others who loved them (that’s who I borrowed all my copies from, since they’d buy them on release day and plow through them in days). Another niece, who was basically Harry’s age, became too literary in high school, and sneered at Rowling’s writing style (but kept reading anyway, I noticed).

    But my favorite Potter experience by far was reading the new Illustrated version of Sorcerer’s Stone to my nine year old daughter. Reading it aloud to a child is really the best of both worlds: youthful wonder and adult perspective.

    I’m glad, after all the hype, you love them too.

  41. I am so happy to read your blog! I’ve turned 30 in august and have started reading Harry Potter since end of august. Sadly it’s almost over.. But luckily there is Fantastic Beasts. I am such a fan of the books!

    I had already seen all of the movies 2 or 3 times. Then, the Cursed Child came out and decided my odds of actually going to the play were low (living abroad.. though I am watching ticket sales). I started reading it and finished in 3 days. After this I decided it was finally time to read all of the Harry Potter books. I’ve never read books this fast with forgetting time. Lovely..

    I remember my mum telling me, when they first came out, I should read them, but I refused. Haha! Now at 30 I am FAN!

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  1. […] The Perpetal Page-Turner reflects on reading Harry Potter for the first time aged 30. […]

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  3. […] it was just as magical and special in a way that they might not have appreciated as kids. (I loved Jamie’s post on this after she finished the series this […]