There's really no other way to say it: I can’t wait to introduce the Harry Potter series to my child. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm obsessed with the series, but I am a fan. A big fan, actually, and one who's already started involving my son in HP fandom. It’s one of the few fictional sagas that I have emotional memories attached to, like how my mom sent me the first book in a care package when I was sick during my freshman year of college, or how she and I found ourselves at a small town release party for Book Seven years later, complete with a man dressed as Hagrid riding a motorcycle around town, and a reporter dressed as Rita Skeeter quizzing the crowd (it was even more epic than it sounds, you guys). Like a bajillion other people, I too stayed up until 3:00 a.m. reading, and managed to finish the entire thing in less than 24 hours. And yes, I totally teared up, by which I mean silently ugly cried as Harry made his final approach in the Forbidden Forest. Ah, I still get chills thinking about it.
Of course, sharing it all with my son goes beyond my own personal feelings, I swear. I also understand that other parents have their own ideas about how their kids will relate to the series, if it all. For me, it really comes down to what I hope he'll experience and gain from it, including but not limited to:
He’ll Get A Taste of Magic, Wonder, And Creativity
I’m pretty much willing to do whatever it takes to keep these feelings alive in him for as long as possible. And if it means reading him the entire series one to three times a year, every year, for his entire life, then so be it. That’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
He’ll Use His Imagination
It's not just about the books — the movies definitely have their place in my kid's life, too. How else is he supposed to know it's pronounced "her-my-oh-knee" and not "her-me-own?" Still, I want to go through the pages first, to give him a chance to come up with his own ideas for how it all looks, sounds, and feels. Also, I think it spoils things just a bit if he sees how attractive Neville ends up.
Smart, Strong Women Are Everywhere
We have a nice circle of ladies surrounding my son in his everyday life, if I do say so myself, but few mortals hardly actually compare to Hermione, Ginny, Mrs. Weasley, Luna, Tonks, and McGonagal (to name a few). There are a number of traits he's seeing displayed by the women he knows, but helping to defeat a Dark Lord isn’t one of them (thankfully).
Exposure To The Concept Of Consequences
My kid is still pretty young, so we are just started to introduce discipline and consequences. I’m glad to have the chance to share stories with him that show characters facing tough choices, and making seemingly impossible decisions. I'd much rather he see this happen in fiction as opposed to really making him decide between, say, dying a horrible death and forcing his beloved headmaster to drink poison.
The Examples Of Standing Up For Yourself And Others
OK, not that I want him to think it's acceptable to punch people, but Malfoy totally deserved it in Book 3. And the time that Neville got 10 points for Gryffindor because he tried to stop Harry, Ron, and Hermione from breaking rules? Pure awesome.
The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Won’t Make Much Sense Otherwise
My dream 2021 vacation would be pretty lame for him if he hasn’t read the books yet.
The Benefits Of Studying
Rowling makes it pretty clear on a number of occasions that Harry’s only alive because his friends did their homework. While I don’t want my son to associate academics with fearing for his life, I think having a healthy respect for them is always a good thing. Also, he should know when and how to eat plants. We live in the Pacific Northwest. These are relevant lessons. Also, he'll need to know when he attends actual Hogwarts one day, which he is obviously going to do.
The Not-So-Subtle Lesson To Be Kind To The New Kid
Secretly, I want him to think about what could happen if the kid he sits next to on the first day of school could be the most famous first grader to ever walk the face of the earth.
I Want To Re-Read Them All Myself
I think there is a chance that if I were to start it on my own, I would plow through it and go MIA for six or so days, so I need someone to keep me accountable.
An Excuse To Tweet J.K. Rowling
I mean, she’s a busy lady. I need a good reason to bug her, and, “Jo, I’m reading your books with my kiddo for the first time, and it’s awesome!” seems a little better than, “Jo, I’m a fangirl!!” which is pretty much all I would have to say otherwise.
Love And Friendship
No, you’re sniffling like one of my aunts watching Beaches.