Note: I have been compensated for the writing of this post. Regardless, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
I was eleven years old when I was first introduced to Harry Potter. My friend was feverishly tearing through the pages.
I’ve always been a slow reader. Not a bad or disinterested reader. It’s actually an activity I’ve enjoyed and excelled at more than most other hobbies for as long as I can remember. But the length of the book intimidated me. I knew I’d never be able to keep up with my friend.
It wasn’t until months later that I finally picked it up. I was immediately enthralled. The pages kept turning at a break-neck pace. I was enchanted, but also a little discouraged that JK Rowling had the same idea for a witch school book as I did, and that she did it so much better than I could have dreamed.
Except I didn’t know JK Rowling was a she. Her identity remained mysteriously masked until a couple of years later. When I learned the reason she had kept her name and gender a secret was that her publishers didn’t want boys to stay away from reading the books’ great moral lessons, I thought for the first time that there might be something wrong with the way the world treated women.
Great the moral lessons were. The books will never be consistently taught in schools as they don’t follow a classical story arc, but the lessons were so powerful that studies show they may have cultivated the identifying trait of empathy we see in the vast majority of the millennial generation. Lord knows we need that empathy to battle the wave of prejudice that has entered our highest institutions in the years since we’ve become grown.
Finding My Place in the Wizarding World
I was recently talking with some friends who told me about Pottermore. It’s Rowling’s official site that sorts you into your house, gives you a patronus, and selects your wand.
I told them that every quiz I’ve ever taken puts me in House Slytherin. And that I’m always tempted to lie about it, but then don’t because that would further reinforce the fact that I’m a bad person.
So I took the quiz on Pottermore. And guess what? I can’t lie:
The result analysis showed me that not all people in Slytherin are bad. You can use your cunning, ambition, resourcefulness, determination and shrewdness to good ends. Which sounds like phooey until you remember that the sorting hat’s initial reaction was to put Harry himself into Slytherin.
So basically, I am Harry Potter sans the political influence to sway the sorting hat.
Or at least that’s how I sleep at night.
Mr. Ollivander issued me a 10″ redwood wand of supple flexibility with a phoenix-feather core. Ten inches is pretty standard, but here’s what the rest of it means according to Pottermore.
I’m able to ‘fall on my feet, make the right choice, and snatch advantage from catastrophe.’
Short-term, I’m hesitant to attribute these characteristics to myself because I live in a state of constant self-doubt, but when I look at my life as a whole–at the ebbs and flows of struggle versus strength–I can’t deny that this is true.
AI might just be putting the real Ollivander out of a job here.
Phoenix feathers are super rare. But the description of ‘showing initiative,’ ‘acting of their own accord’ and the fact that this is a quality that ‘many witches and wizards dislike’ also sounds about right when meshed in with the story of my life.
I’ve never been one to follow the crowd, and I’ve straight up lost a lot of popularity contests because of it.
The symbolism of intensely bursting into flames followed by a rebirth is not lost on me, either.
My patronus was a white swan. Which according to mugglenet.com (which is also a thing, apparently,) signifies:
- Loyalty (especially to your partner and kids)
While (inner) beauty and grace are something I aspire to, loyalty is the only thing I’m comfortable claiming at this particular moment in time.
But I think it’s super chill that my patronus will be there for me with all its beauty and grace when I need it.
Nerding Out for the Holidays with Harry Potter Gifts
I’ve obviously spent a lot of time reflecting on how Harry Potter has influenced my life lately. I’ve also been scouring the web for all those quotes I highlighted back in the day with a real highlighter because ebooks weren’t a thing. And images that remind me of the power of good over evil–even if you have to play the long game to log that win.
It turns out there are so many other nerds out there! One of my favorite collections that I’ve stumbled upon has been from Society6, which allows users to create designs on various different products.
This is my curation of favorites, but poke around the site a little more to find your own, too. Oh, and be sure to read all the way to the bottom to enter the giveaway–you could score a free or seriously reduced-priced gift for the Potter fan on your holiday list!
Dumbledore’s Magic Words Print
Because Dumbledore and I are on the same page about the power of language, I’m all about this Giclee print. Also, the prints are super affordable.
Sirius Black Quote Pillow
I believe in this truth so hard–especially when we continue telling our loved ones’ stories. If you’re looking for additional gifts for those who may be mourning, I highly suggest checking out The Midnight Orange.
That is, if this pillow alone isn’t powerful enough in its simplicity and truth.
Happiness Can Be Found Even in the Darkest of Times Throw Blanket
Society6’s throw blankets are crazy soft with sherpa fleece on one side and the printed image on the other. I feel like this gorgeous design could inspire me to set down the ice cream I just cuddled up with after a particularly depressing day.
Anything’s Possible JK Rowling Quote Mug
A mug like this with such a bad-a quote on it would get me amped up and ready to take on the day.
With the help of ample caffeine, of course.
Choices vs Abilities Harry Potter Coffee Mug
Same deal with this mug as the last. Our abilities are sometimes out of our control, but our choices aren’t. And our choices are ultimately what define us as people.
Now go make today the best decision making day ever.
I Solemnly Swear I am Up to No Good Comforter
This one makes the list solely because I think nerdy double entendres are hilarious when executed consensually.
What is Right vs What is Easy Tote Bag
I’ve talked before about how we’re living in a time when our morals are being put to the test. I never imagined I’d live in a time where the decision between these two extremes was so prominent. I thought we had collectively learned our lessons.
But I was wrong, and we all need to be constantly made aware of it. Displaying the reminder on a tote like this one seems like a fairly non-aggressive yet effective way to get the word out in the parts of our world which remain analog.
Sirius Black Quote Tote Bag
Last but not least, this bag brings us back to my Slytherin diagnosis.
Full circle, people. Full circle.