Scrapbook layout about my HP love. Journaling says: “They’re just children’s books.” That’s what I was told. And, honestly, I didn’t have a whole lot of interest in them until the 1st movie came out. Because: Alan Rickman. But I read the first one in preparation for the movie and was simply, irrevocably hooked. The world in these books was rich, detailed, emotion-charged. The characters were full and fleshed out. Their turmoil was real. They were easily adopted as more than characters in a book. They became almost family. And each book became deeper, richer, more layered. The characters became more complex. Watching these stories come to life on the big screen was sometimes amazing (The Great Hall! Buckbeak!) and sometimes disappointing (Tom Riddle’s backstory! Moar Snape!), but I didn’t love them any less. It’s truly a statement to the writing that this collection spoke to so many adults as well as kids. And there are so many moments that will never leave me. Richard Harris as the 1st Dumbledore. Meeting Snape for the first time and his speech about bewitching the mind & ensnaring the senses. Minerva ensoldiering the statues to fight. Molly defending her daughter against Bella. Trelawney throwing crystal balls at the Death Eaters. Lucius kicking Dobby down the corridor. “Yer a wizard, Harry!”, Hermione coming down the stairs to the Yule Ball, Harry taking the Felix Felicis and describing the spiders’ pincers, Umbridge making Harry carve “I will not tell lies” into his hand. I could go on forever. But it became even more than this. The fandom that emerged and grew, creating fanfiction, memes, art, A Very Potter Musical, Cleolinda’s M15m, Potter Puppet Pals, & so much more. It became real for us, in part, I think, because we felt that it was a place we could finally belong. Weasley will always be our king. Harry will always be the Boy Who Lived, Hermione is still the brightest witch of her age. We will always know how to pronounce Wingardium Leviosa. And we will always trust Snape. Whether we are Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff, we ALL belong to Hogwarts. And as JK Rowling said, Hogwarts will always be here to welcome us home.