Yesterday was a significant day in our house. I finished reading the entire Harry Potter series (for the second time) out loud for the whole family. And then, of course, we had to watch movies 7 and 8 back to back and discuss theatrical omissions and additions. Because that’s how we are πŸ™‚

We started in the spring, reading together at night. At first I thought it would just be for my 11yo daughter. I had already read the series with my son when he was in 6th grade, and read books 1-4 to my husband when they originally came out. Now it was Jasmine’s turn. But my husband and son always managed to be in the room when I was reading and complained bitterly if we started without them. It became a family activity. During our road trip over the summer we finished book four. Since I didn’t think we’d get through the whole thing, I hadn’t brought book five with us. They insisted I purchase another copy because they couldn’t go the rest of the trip without hearing more.

By the time we got to book seven, we slowed down. Not because we’d lost interest, more because we didn’t want it to end. Reading together as a family has opened the door to some wonderful discussions and given us a shared reference point for viewing the world. Now when my husband answers telemarketing calls, he can be Stan Shunpike or Vernon Dudley. When we enter a dark room, someone will inevitably say “lumos” as they turn on the light. Next month when the kids have a week long break we’re headed to Orlando. Not for the beaches or Disneyworld. We can’t wait to revisit Harry Potter World to stock up on butter beer, chocolate frogs and Ollivander’s wands.

There are people who have burned Rowling’s books, claimed that they encourage kids to experiment with the occult. Obviously, they haven’t read the books for themselves. They’ve missed the whole point. To me, those books are about love. They celebrate the love between parents and children, between friends, between teachers and students. The wonderful messages woven into the fabric of these amazing stories are so much bigger than the books themselves.

Now at the close of this series, I feel like I’ve opened my kids up to a deeper understanding of so many things: racism (mudbloods), looking past surface actions to deeper motivations (Snape), always standing up for what they know to be right. Rowling is a genius. It’s no wonder her books are cherished and adored. And I’m so glad that I’ve been able to be able to share that with my kids.