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Hogwarts, a place I will forever call home

By Danyelle Roquemore

For most of the world, the magic of Harry Potter is over. It ended a year and a half ago with the last film.
But it isn’t over for me.
I saw the first Harry Potter film when I was 7 years old. My mom told my aunt not to let my sister and me watch it. Naturally, my aunt put it on as soon as my parents were out the door.
I was hooked. When the movie was over, I was in awe. I felt like I had finally found something I could relate to.
That’s deep for a 7 year old, right?
Well, it wasn’t for me.
My mom and dad have been in an on-again, off-again relationship my entire life, and I didn’t have very many friends in school.
Even at 7, I knew I lacked something other kids had. I just didn’t know what I was missing was security and stability.
Harry Potter brought that to my life.
After I saw “The Sorcerer’s Stone,” I cried until my dad took me to see “The Chamber of Secrets.” My mother flat out refused to have anything to do with it, at first.
Once I saw the second film, I wanted more.
My school librarian was a mean old lady who wouldn’t let a second-grader check out books about wizardry, and my mom wouldn’t let me check it out at the public library. So, I waited until the third grade.
Still nothing.
Finally, in fourth grade, I got my hands on the books, and boy, was it worth the wait.
Once I had read through the first three books at lightning speed, I caught my mom’s attention. She finally caved and bought me a set of the first five books.
I cried from happiness when I received them on my ninth birthday.
By the time I was in the sixth grade, I knew Hogwarts was my home.
My parents were falling apart again. I felt like my house was not a home, but a battlefield, and the only thing that saved me from falling apart was reading my Harry Potter books by lamplight in my room as they fought in the next room.
When my parents finally called it quits and divorced, I was on my way into middle school, the worst two years of my life.
In middle school, I lost almost all of my friends.
One of the only people who stuck by me was a girl who became my friend in elementary school solely based on our shared love of Harry Potter.
She and I were like the Weasley twins: always together and able to finish each other’s sentences. I was the Fred to her George.
The summer before my eighth-grade year, she and I went to a “Deathly Hallows” release party, and we both cried over the series’ end and losing our favorite characters.
Throughout high school, whenever things got hectic, I would pick up one of the books and go home to the Wizarding World.
Once the movie series ended, I started to suffer from post-Potter depression. Yes, it’s a real thing.
Thinking about it, talking about it, reading it still makes me cry because Harry Potter is so beautiful and dear to me. I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s a part of who I am.
People have asked how Harry Potter has impacted my life. I can’t specifically answer that. There’s no one specific thing that it did for me.
I simply don’t know who I would be without it. It has shaped my personality, sense of humor and relationships with others.
I lived in the cupboard under the stairs, feeling like I didn’t belong with my family. I have found solace in the Gryffindor common room and the secret passageways of Hogwarts Castle.
Eleven years after seeing the first film, I am grateful for the series and all it has given me.
Harry Potter has taught me about things like death, heartbreak and betrayal. It has taught me to explore every one of life’s possibilities and trust my instincts.
It has taught me that love, loyalty and friendship are great qualities to possess.
But above all, the Harry Potter series has taught me to never, ever back down from my beliefs or compromise who I am.

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