Two epic Harry Potter events occurred at the same time this summer; J. K. Rowling’s publisher announced that she had passed the 400 million copies sold milestone, and I (finally) just finished reading the entire series. When I realized that these two events occurred simultaneously, I was like, “Well, then 400 million people are wrong. The series was not that great!”
So it’s no secret – I didn’t enjoy reading Harry Potter as much as I thought I would. I don’t know how Rowling managed to sell so many copies. Ok, I sort of know. Once you have read the first page of the first book, there’s no going back. You have to find out what happens, and it takes 7 books and 3,400 (UK versions. US versions are even longer!) pages to get there.
My Messed Up Harry Potter Journey
I waited until I was done university to read the series because I was too scared too busy to read it before then, and I wanted to get through the whole series at once – none of this waiting a year for the next book to get published nonsense! For seven months, Harry Potter was a part of my life. That’s one book per month. Here are some adventures Harry and I encountered along the way:
I brought the second book with me on vacation and ended up having to use it as a shield charm when – much to my dismay – my least favorite person in the entire world ended up on the same plane as me. I saw her in the airport and was like, “No big deal, there are thousands of people going to hundreds of different places today.” What are the chances that someone you have purposely decided not to see – ever again – ends up on the same small plane going to the same small place? Seriously, she must have been stalking me and trying to ruin my vacation. I needed some Polyjuice Potion at that point, and my very own Hermione Granger to make it for me. No such luck. Harry Potter: 1, Elle: 0.
I read an entire wrong version of the 5th book, and then had to go and re-read the entire right version. Now you know – in China they even sell fake books! Who in their right mind would bother to write 800 pages of fake Harry Potter? I thought Rowling was mad to write so much of the magic-mumble, and she made millions doing it! From the start I was a little confused – why was Harry suddenly all grown-up and making out with so many different girls? Harry Potter: 2, Elle: 0.
I threw up on one copy of the final book, and had to pay the library $45 to replace. Ya, gross. It was on another trip, at another airport, where the garbage cans were all covered and I had sudden-onset nausea. (Warning: too much information forthcoming!) I vomited on the ground and there was no magic stopping Harry Potter from landing in the puke pile. That book is now buried in a garbage dump somewhere. I guess that means Rowling will sell 4,000,001 copies. Harry Potter: 3, Elle: 0.
Final Thoughts: Reading Harry Potter is exhausting! In order to read the Harry Potter series, you will have to lug 7 oversized books around with you everywhere you go for years months on end. You will not be able to sleep at all until you have finished each of the books. You will have to learn a whole new magical language, and keep track of 10,000 characters with varying magical abilities. You will have to learn the rules of some mad-hatter sport called Quidditch. Your life will be cursed with worst-enemy encounters and the sudden urge to vomit in public. And the whole time, you’ll be worried sick that the scrawny bastard is going to get himself killed by some crazy-eyed snake-wizard.
If you haven’t invested half your life any time into reading it yet, skip it. It’s really not as great as 400 million readers would suggest. I pushed through and read all 7 books because I had it on my list, and didn’t want to give up. But I wish I hadn’t put it on my list in the first place. Harry Potter: 4, Elle: 0.