Harry Potter has meant so profoundly much to so many people, and never is that more poignant than when you are walking around the commercial madhouse that is Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter. “It’s a racket, it’s a racket, it’s a racket,” you’re telling yourself. “Don’t buy that $60 sweatshirt, or that $7 bottle of juice. I don’t care if it’s pumpkin flavored and spiced to perfection – that is an obscene amount of money!”
And yet, it is so beautiful to see just how much everyone there cares, that you forget that it’s a racket pretty quickly.
You look around and see swarms of suckers who shelled out $175 for a ticket, and more for the campy merch [just like you]. And yet, you also see a multitude of people brought together by the same story of friendship and bravery, books and cleverness, adventure and loyalty. The same thrilling ride. The same touching moments.
We all shed at least one tear for Albus Dumbledore, or Fred Weasley, or Dobby the House Elf. We all scorched with indignation at any mention of Dolores Umbridge’s toad face. We all feared the worst as Harry strode into the forest to meet Lord Voldemort, ready and willing to sacrifice himself. We all rolled our eyes every time 16-year-old Harry thought about the roaring monster in his chest when he saw Ginny Weasley.
We were all there, through everything. It has almost been ten years (ten years?! a decade?!?) sine the last book came out, and yet, after all this time, this story still matters. Rounding the bend and seeing that castle looming above in the distance can still bring a chill to my skin and tears to my eyes, just remembering these characters and this story that brought us all together.