I remember watching that speech six years ago and crying my eyes out. I’ve just watched it again to make sure I quoted it correctly and I’m sitting here crying again.

I’ve recently found myself stuck in a reading slump. Every book I have picked up I have almost immediately put down, I have started many and finished none and I wondered whether I had finally lost what has been the love of my life for 23(ish) years.

I haven’t.

I just needed to try something different, not something new, not something unknown and certainly not something unfinished. I returned home to an old friend and they welcomed me with open arms.

I had forgotten how much I love the Harry Potter series.

I know – I can hear your gasps of horror – how could I have forgotten?

Maybe forgotten is not quite the right word, I have always known my love for Harry Potter, it has exceeded everything always, but I had not remembered just how comfortable the books are. Last week I decided to try to escape my funk by picking up Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I’ve read 1-4 so many times that I didn’t want to start at the beginning.

I fell in love all over again, with the characters and the writing and the joy it brought me. One night,as I stayed up until 1am reading, I remembered 11 year old me, laid out on the sofa on a hot summer’s afternoon turning page over page; my eyes moving perhaps faster than they ever had before and still not as fast as they would, some years later, when the final book was in my hands. I could recall just how unprepared I had been for the death of Sirius, how I felt Harry’s fury and just how much I wished that I would receive my letter, and even though I knew what was coming this time, I was still just as absorbed.

I remember the night of 20th July 2007. My dad took me for dinner and then to see OoTP before he stood in line with me for several hours, waiting for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to be released at midnight. When I look back on that day I think about how much my dad loves me. He is not a fan of the books or the films but he knew how much it meant to me to be there for the dramatic end to the story I grew up with.

Harry Potter and Hogwarts were always like a friend and a home to me and over the last week, as I have returned to them, I am reminded of just how much they have given me.

She was right. Hogwarts really does welcome you home.


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