Taking the Hogwarts Express and Revisiting Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
by Jahzeel Dionne Ybasco
A number of people will hold on to their childhood by collecting their favorite toys or playing online games. Others will opt to document their lives using photos, and now, their Facebook Timelines. Still some others will act very childishly, trying to outshine anybody with their over-the-top achievements, whether real or fictional. I hold on to my childhood by taking a train in Kings Cross station, Platform 9 and ¾.
I practically grew up with Harry Potter. Since high school, there has never been a year when I have not reread any novels nor watch the movies. I am not that proud of it but I have unconsciously turned it into my Bible I religiously read. There was a time in my life that I pretended I attended Hogwarts instead of the university my parents had chosen for me. It was very easy as the stairs in that school were ancient but sturdy *cough* Philippine Normal University *cough* and the teachers were as strict as Professor McGonagall. My brothers—heck, my entire Muggle family—have asked me why I keep watching the same Harry Potter movies or read the same books. My younger brother asked me last Christmas if there would be a holiday he would not see Harry on screen. I flatly told him no.
I know I am not alone though. I joined Pottermore some years ago because of someone who is addicted to Professor Snape. To my surprise, I saw billions of people around the world, of different ages I assume, who try their best to participate in different activities in the website to give glory to their respective houses. They also make sure to check out every nook and crannies of the website to see J.K. Rowling’s official updates and collect cards of famous witches and wizards. Empowered by their devotion, I also have started to collect things and uncovering subplots of the Harry Potter series by visiting the story sequence and thus add more points for Gryffindor House.
Harry Potter‘s influence in my life does not stop there. It is one of the reasons how I have been able to create a fictional world of my own. I used to believe in the power of fan-fictions and how amateur writers can give a new direction for renowned characters. In fact, a part of me still does. However, upon getting a second Harry Potter book set two years ago, I realized, I can also make a world of my own similar to Hogwarts and create my own characters. I do not have to borrow someone’s protagonists and antagonists, supply them new plots and new characterizations when I can channel my creative juices on my own literary babies.
Some readers who have not read the novels nor seen the movies will probably think the entire concept of a young-wizard-triumphing-over-a-full-pledged-magician boring. That it may be a complete waste of time. However, I have realized that people in the world consider boring the things they do not completely grasp. Let us also consider the intimidating number of movies and the length of the books, and even religious reasons why they have missed a big portion of their childhood. I also acknowledge that maybe, their whole concept of childhood is built around the idea that kids have to kill each other in a dystopic world. My concept, though far less interesting, is happier than that and no, I am not about to defend myself nor will I give them a guide to Hogwarts. It has always been a matter of choice. Quoting Professor Dumbledore:
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Kids and kids-at-heart can continue bickering about the best for them and I will gladly excuse myself from joining. All I will have to do is go to Kings Cross Platform 9 ¾.