Shilpa Goel is an author, poet, and editor. She has compiled and edited five anthologies of poems and short stories about romance and travels. Her work has been published in eight anthologies. Shilpa shares her poetry, prose, and quotes regularly on Instagram (@meetlife240) and has readers from all over the world. She has been listed among top 10 on the list of 31 Modern Poets You Should Follow by NxtModern.com. She is the author of Poetic Letters To God.
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
10 Reasons Why Adults Should Read Harry Potter Books
Harry Potter, though a children's book series, is widely popular even among adults. These books are not popular without any reason, the love for these books is immense among people and once you have been introduced to the world of Harry Potter, it's hard to return. Then why not give these magical books a read yourself? And still, if you are looking for reasons to read a 'children's' book series, read on.
They help fight depression
With the increasingly chaotic and stressed life, the number of people fighting depression is increasing as well. When you are going through depression, it's a battle that's hard to conquer because you are fighting alone and that too with your own thoughts. Harry Potter and his fight with Voldemort to save Hogwarts come to rescue you from depression. A woman, named Courtney Ellefson shared her story of fighting depression on the internet. She shared how Harry Potter books saved her life after she observed an analogy between Harry Potter books and depression; how Harry and his friends had to fight Voldemort in each book in one form or the other until Harry had a final face off with him in the last book, just like depression, that keeps returning and haunting a person.
Another story about coping with depression with the help of Harry Potter books is shared by Brett Pucino who fought depression in his young adulthood. He read and re-read Harry Potter books, only to later find out that how dementors were an accurate representation of depression. According to Harry Potter series, when a dementor attacks someone, everything becomes cold and a person is reminded of their worst memories, taken over by total darkness. Anxiety, on the other hand, is represented by the boggart, which takes shape of the deepest fears of the person who sees it.
In Harry Potter, dementors are defeated by casting a Patronus, which can only be cast when a witch/wizard is focussed 100% on their happiest memories and positive thoughts while casting the Patronus spell (Expecto Patronum). Why won't it work on depression then? Can positive and negative thoughts reside together in the mind at the same time? The answer is NO! There can be either positive or negative thought at one time.
2. Highly popular among adults
According to a survey conducted in 2000, almost three out of four American adults were aware of Harry Potter books. Quoting the text from the survey here: "Seventy-one percent of adult Americans say that they are aware of the Harry Potter books, while only 29% are unaware, underscoring the widespread nature of the Potter phenomenon across American society. Awareness is highest among those who are college graduates (85%) and those in higher income groups (80% of those with household incomes of $50,000 and over). Also, women are more likely to have heard or read about Harry Potter than are men, by a 76% to 66% margin."
Another survey conducted in 2007 regarding pre-order sales of Deathly Hallows revealed that percentage of total households pre-ordering Deathly Hallows was 47% for the households without children, compared to 53% of the households with children.
The 80s and 90s kids who grew up reading Harry Potter are now adults as well and I am quite sure they are still as much in love with Harry Potter books as they were in their younger days.
3. They were banned
I don't know about you but when I hear the word 'banned', all I want to do is go grab a copy of the banned book and read for myself what made people ban it. Harry Potter was banned in some schools mainly because people felt that it promoted witchcraft, it was too dark for kids to read, and that it was setting wrong examples. Yes, it does get a little darker as the story proceeds but it never set bad examples. And thus, there are always controversies on banning of these books among people who think they should not be banned and those who think they should be banned. Personally, I think there's nothing in those books that would make anyone ban them. They are a bundle of inspiration. Read more here.
4. You can connect with your little ones better
If you're a parent, or a would-be parent (and even not one but still you will be a parent someday), Harry Potter books are something that would make your kids love you the most for reading to them. If you have grown up kids who have already read Harry Potter, then give yourself a read too and you will realize how you can use Harry Potter books' inspirational quotes, life lessons, and Dumbledore's advice to Harry as a guiding light to you kids. Not all witches and wizards are bad, and Harry Potter is the perfect example to teach your kids to not to believe stereotypes set by society.
5. Take a break from reality
Yes, take a break from reality and do yourself a favor of taking a dip into the depths of the magical world of Harry Potter (don't curse yourself for passing the age of receiving Hogwarts letter though, because it was never going to come anyway). J.K. Rowling takes you to another world as soon as you start reading Harry Potter. Even the Dursley's home (which wasn't magical but real) seems magical somehow. So, give up on reality for few hours and get immersed in the beauty and thrill of the Harry Potter world.
6. Know how to give unique surprises to your loved one
How about a Harry Potter themed present for the love of your life? No, not the creepy witch/wizard-themed presents. That's why you need to read the book, there are so many beautiful things in the book that can give you ideas to make personalized gifts. Here, I will give you an example, how someone gifted a Harry Potter Pensieve (which is an object to revisit memories) as a wedding present to his wife, who had made him read Harry Potter, and people couldn't be more awed.
And what if someone gifts you a Harry Potter themed present and you don't even know its significance? You wouldn't want to be termed as a 'muggle', surely not after you have read the books.
7. Teaches you importance of family and love
Harry Potter books can give you serious lessons about the importance of family and love in one's life. It shows how a mother's love became a shield against dark magic to her son throughout his life, how a family of nine lived for one another, and also treated Harry as their own family, how Snape's love for Lily made him the bravest wizard ever, who fought dark lord till the end only for the love of his life. Then, there's Harry Potter and The Cursed Child that can give you better parenting lessons than any other parenting guide, because there are other things required for the upbringing of a child other than love. As mentioned here.
On the other hand, while the world is fighting for LGBT rights, J.K. Rowling had the character of Dumbledore, who was gay. Yes, it was not revealed in the book but later J.K. Rowling confirmed his sexuality (35 things you didn't know about Harry Potter).
Isn't it wonderful how this is represented in children's books? These books widen kids' perspective and that of adults too.
8. We all have a Voldemort to fight
In this world of cruelty, we all have some or the other fight going on in our life, be it illness, social issues, politics, religion, racism or any other troubles. Like it's mentioned in the first point, depression itself is a Voldemort who needs to be fought every time it returns. If nothing else, Harry Potter gives us assurance that we are not alone. Even if it's fictional, we get a feeling that everything will be alright one day, like the end of the Voldemort and victory of Hogwarts. We too can fight the respective Voldemort(s) of our life. Give it a read, have a companion.
"Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity." - Stephen King
In fact, J.K. Rowling had created dementors based on the phase of her life during which she was struggling with depression after her mother's death. She fought her dementors, we can fight too.
9. A need to understand some parts of modern society
Did you hear the word 'Quidditch' or 'Apparate' or 'Squib' and didn't know what did they mean? Well, these are few of many words that J.K. Rowling invented in the Harry Potter series and they have become so widely popular that people end up using them in their everyday life. You so need to read these books to catch up with the society and 'Potterheads'. And then, there are memes bombarding the internet these days, how can you miss out on Harry Potter memes? They are one of the best memes out there, but they are not worth laughing if you know nothing about Harry Potter and the magical world.
I also came across a story of Erin Donnelly who read Harry Potter at the age of 36. Her journey of reading Harry Potter and her reaction towards it will be enough to make you feel guilty if you haven't read Harry Potter yet. Do give her story a read. She was on the verge of getting fired from her job because of her lack of Harry Potter knowledge.
I myself read those books at the age of 21 and yes, I instantly became a Potterhead.
10. Above all, it's a masterpiece of literature
From using sophisticated language to writing the story in such a style that J.K. Rowling keeps young as well as adult readers hooked till the very end. It entertains you, inspires you, gives you chills, helps you grow, keeps you thinking and it surely takes you to another world where you don't want to come back from. It has a plot so deep, so well planned and written that as you keep reading ahead, as the story unfolds, you feel like saying, "oh my god, how did she put all these events, things and characters together?!" The books have mystery, magic, fantasy, thrill, quests, excitement, fun, and humor. The more I say about these books, the less it is.
A masterpiece of fantasy, a masterpiece of literature Harry Potter series is.