Diagon Alley

My mother, bringer of the best things in life, introduced me to the Harry Potter books when I was eleven. I used to read only the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine and detective stories but she probably decided that it was time I expanded my reading repertoire. I was skeptical at first because this is a different genre. Also, when my mom asked me to read it, she already bought the first two books in the series, The Sorcerer’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets. I was not used to reading something that doesn’t end with just the one book. And what did my mother know anyway? Answer: Only the greatest stuff. Whoever you are who suggested to my mom to let me read Harry Potter, I am eternally grateful.

And so I entered the wizarding world with Harry, Ron and Hermione (which I used to read as her-mee-yown until I saw the first movie trailer) and I was in awe. I was all, “I feel you, Harry. This is scary and amazing and we’ll get through this no matter what.” I just wanted the best for this kid because he had been through so much at such a young age. But what I wanted most of all was to get a letter from Hogwarts.

I’m not quite sure but I think I’m the first person to read Harry Potter in our class because I was the one lending the books for my other classmates to read. I breezed through the first two books and was keen to get started on The Prisoner of Azkaban. My mom said I should just borrow from one of my classmates, which I did, but I vowed that I would get my own copy one day. After I finished Azkaban, I was shocked to learn that there is no Book 4 yet. What was I supposed to do with my life until then?

The day The Goblet of Fire was released, I dragged my mom’s ass to National Bookstore to get my copy. All the copies were hardbound. And hardbound books, as I will painfully know that day, are much more expensive. If I remember correctly, it was around 800 pesos. My mom said that it was too expensive and we should just wait until a paperback is available. BUT WHEN WILL THAT BE?! I was fighting tears because if felt like I had been waiting for this for the longest time. And I’m getting tired of rereading the first three books. I want to know Harry’s next adventure! My mom took pity on me and bought me the book. I did not beg for it though, you guys. I just quietly suffered, which is more effective.

It was almost three years after the release of Book 4 when the fifth installment in the series The Order of the Phoenix finally came out. This time I saved my money so that I wouldn’t have to cry over how expensive it is. I also did not cry when Sirius died which I still blame Harry for. Dumbledore’s death in The Half-Blood Prince was also no tearjerker because the old man died on his own terms. But I wasn’t able to handle myself over Dobby’s death. Here was a creature who didn’t want to cause any harm to anybody and just wants to be of help and HE DIES?! I am not able. ALL THE TEARS! I literally had to stop reading because I was bawling.

To be honest, I didn’t fully grasp Dumbledore’s (aka Harry’s hallucination) explanation when Harry “died” the first time I read The Deathly Hallows. It was probably on my third read when all the details clicked. It was also a couple of years after when I fully appreciated the magnitude of Harry’s sacrifice for his friends and his school, how much courage it took to walk alone to your death. But we were there, just like his dead parents, Sirius and all the people who loved him. So guess what Harry, even when you’re alone, you’re not really alone. Because of the Sorcerer’s Stone, we’ll always be there.