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This post is slightly late in being written, really, I should have done it yesterday, but got totally absorbed in something else entirely.

I saw the final Harry Potter movie yesterday. I loved it. After seeing the first part I thought this wouldn’t measure up to my expectations, but it did, and it far exceeded it too. Everything about this final installment just fit for me. It’s been a long time since I picked up the books, something I hope to rectify soon, but I don’t know, this film was just fantastic. I know there will be people out there who have bones to pick about certain aspects of it, those who mourn the loss of their favourite characters again, or simply state that so-and-so didn’t get enough screen time [Fred, much?] but you know, there was only a limited amount of time that people could sit in the cinema for.

Whenever I have described what the whole series means to me, the books, more than the films, I tell people that I have grown up with Harry. I don’t think I ever had an imaginary friend, but I always had Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Lived to keep me company.

One of my most vivid memories of Harry Potter was on the release day of the fourth book. For some reason my stepmother had told me I wasn’t allowed to read it because she was punishing me for something or other [pretty much like most of those days?], my sister and I had constructed a tent in the back garden, where we were pretending to be “camping” – as much as you can in your own back yard. It was a sweltering hot day, but my sister – someone who not only hated Harry Potter, and didn’t get along with me particularly well – went down to the library for me, pretending she liked the books to my stepmother and rented it out for me. She brought it back, and in the heat of the day, in that stupidly hot tent, I sat for hours and hours reading The Goblet of Fire.

I think really, at that time of my life, my love of the books was spurred on by the need to escape the realities of my own life, much in the way people watch the soaps… to see or to know that someone else’s life is much worse that your own.

You would expect, with that sort of philosophy, that when I moved in with my mummy the following year [I think] I would have left the HP verse behind – but I didn’t. My love of the books, of Harry and his friends could only grow… Harry Potter became my best friend and we had many adventures together in the worlds that other people conjured – the fan worlds.

And, even from this, I will always owe something to Harry and his friends, because they brought me my own. Yeah, I had friends in school, but I wouldn’t say I really connected with people until secondary school. I don’t remember much of primary school. I was bullied throughout school, not that I have ever let it affect me, even into the present. I keep everything in, yet I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Harry Potter has taught me to be myself. I wouldn’t have the friends I do if it wasn’t for these books. I have friends from all across the world, and the ones closer to home. Harry Potter [I would say] is the thing that brought me my best friend who without uni just wouldn’t have been the same. I still remember the night that we really connected as friends, and HP Geeks, ridiculously well.

Above all, Harry Potter taught me to love other people.

… and, of course, that “happiness can be found in the darkest of places, only if one remembers to turn on the light”