The Chosen One

Lovely artwork by John Hendrix, part of a Harry Potter tribute exhibition. Get lost ogling the entire collection here. I've written about the pleasures of re-reading before and, given the mounting madness of our present lives - attempting to find a new home for my work, a move, a new day job, and the unexpected closure of our child care - I've dived right into a forever favorite: the Harry Potter series.

I'm not sure there's a single reader or writer of my generation who hasn't been influenced by J.K. Rowling, whether it's losing themselves in her work or wishing those of who can would just get lost. I began reading when I was in high school, the spring prior to the release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I was working in a library at the time, and I remember getting on the wait list for the fourth book and marveling at the hundreds of names ahead of mine... and the hundreds of copies the library had pre-ordered. Harry's pursuit of the Triwizard cup has always been my favorite of the seven, and I can only liken it to my childhood love of the Baby-Sitters Club Super Specials - that's blasphemous, right? But, really. They were bigger stories and different; familiar faces, unique challenges.

In the years since I read these the first time, I'd forgotten just how truly sly the Weasley twins were, how really awful Ron could be (and how easy he is to forgive), Hermione's unapologetically dogged nature... what a prat Harry sometimes could be. My love for Minerva McGonagall will go on and on, and while I'm no more sympathetic towards Professor Snape, I am considerably less willing to trust Albus Dumbledore.

But what surprised me most, and probably shouldn't have surprised me at all, was how well these books have weathered not only the years since their publication and my initial exposure, but me growing up. Though I was well past the age when I might have received a Hogwarts letter myself, I was still so young. I connected with the characters, I laughed at their jokes, I cried with them and was frightened with them. That hasn't changed, even though I know that I have. Harry's story is a timeless one, and I hope it's as much of a treat at forty as it was at (a little more than) thirty.

Because I can't wait to read along with my gals when they get big.