I have an older sister who is two and a half years older than me, which means that she is and was first to do a lot of things between the two of us. She was the first to drive, will be the first to vote, first to enter elementary school, middle school, high school… and the first to read Harry Potter.
I distinctly remember the day that my sister finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, maybe almost as clearly as she does. We used to share a bedroom and I could hear her sniffling from her side of the room. I thought it was dumb that anyone would waste time reading a book that made them sad, and I told her as much. We had a conversation that went something like this:
Me: Why are you crying?
Sister: This book is really sad.
Me: Well, why don’t you read something else?
Sister: Because it’s so good! You have to read it.
Me: How can something that makes you cry be so good?
Sister: You’d have to read it to understand.
Me: Just tell me what happens. I’m never going to read them so it won’t matter.
Sister: You’d hate me if I did. One day you’re going to read these books and you’ll be glad I didn’t ruin them for you.
Me: (large eye roll and angry page turning of the book I was reading, Magic Treehouse #36: Blizzard of the Blue Moon)
So, to my sister:
I consider myself pretty lucky that I have a sister who was smart enough not to tell me how the Harry Potter books ended because I honestly don’t think I would have ever forgiven myself for asking her. I’m also lucky that not only was she determined not to tell me how the books ended, she was also determined to get me to read them myself.
She started out using tactics like showing me her favorite funny parts from the book, knowing that I liked things that were lighthearted and made me laugh. The only part that I specifically remember her showing me was from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, when Peeves was mocking Harry for inviting Luna Lovegood to Nearly Headless Nick’s Deathday party. To my little brain, his chants of “Potty lurves Loony” were absolutely hilarious, and I would find that book on our bookshelf and pour over the pages to find it again, although I never even considered reading the entire book. However, in years to come after both my sister and I had read and reread our little paperback copy of the book over and over again, shoving it into backpacks and lockers to the point where the spine was pretty much non-existant… it ripped in half. I’ve always found it funny where it ripped, with the first line on the last page before the rip being my old favorite:
As time went on my sister decided that she was sick of me just reading certain parts of the book and wanted me to finally read the entirety of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. She even offered to read the entire book out loud to me if I would listen. I agreed to… if she would first read a pretty long book to me about unicorns.
And I know I sound like a little brat but:
1) I didn’t think she would actually do it: I was mostly hoping that she would realize that I was a little brat and give up her mission of making me read the books.
2) I just really liked unicorns: And I know that there are unicorns in the Harry Potter books but I preferred my unicorns a bit more… alive.
So 200-something pages later my sister had read an entire unicorn book to me (spoiler alert: it turns out it was just a horse) even though I was only half listening and had been playing with Barbies the entire time.
Now, I don’t know how often you read out loud, but it’s pretty tiring. Your voice starts feeling pretty weird and you start forgetting if the words that are coming out of your mouth are actually words and not just Kermit the Frog impersonations. Needless to say, I was surprised – nay! (or should I say neigh!) – shocked that after so many pages of that unicorn-turned-horse book my sister was still wanting to read me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
So I promptly refused to listen and left the room.
I KNOW THAT I’M A HORRIBLE PERSON AND I’M SORRY.
Of course, my sister wasn’t going to give up that easily, and she quickly turned me into the Mom Police, who told me that after all my sister had done the least I could do was let her read the book to me. Being that I was sick of being read out loud to and that I was annoying and hard to please, I bargained with her and said that I would just read the book myself.
So I did, and I loved it.
(It should be noted that this is the only time in history that my sister was right and I was wrong)
At first, I met the books with the same amount of skepticism and joy that Hermione possessed when first meeting Ron.
But clearly there was hope for me yet because we all know how those two turned out.
Sure enough, by the time I was devouring the third book and getting caught up in the magic that was the Night Bus and animagi my brain was doing a pretty spot on impression of Ron upon meeting the Boy Who Lived.
And thus followed days and weeks and months of me abandoning Magic Treehouse in order to read as much Harry Potter as possible. I brought the books to school and ended up having to set them on my own personal counter spaces around the classroom when they became too thick to fit nicely in my desk.
That is until I had a nightmare while reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (something involving Voldemort’s daughter – what? – challenging me to a duel but Harry Potter stole my wand and left me helpless), deemed them too scary, and stopped reading.
Two years later, fourth grade Audrey decided that she was brave enough to continue reading, and almost four years after my sister had finished the books herself and we’d had that fateful conversation, I was bawling my eyes out on our couch as she looked at me with a hardly suppressed “I told you so” look on her face.
All was well.
Hey guys! I haven’t done a Storytime Saturday in foreverrrrrr so I’m sorry about that! They’re some of my favorite posts to make but they also tend to take a pretty long time so that I can make sure I’m happy with the final product. I’m going to try and make them more regular, though.
Harry Potter changed my life (cliché counter: 1) and they’re really the books that got me into seriously reading (2)! I thought it would be fun to share my story about when and how I first read the books. If you’ve made a post like this, let me know! I think it’s really fun to share experiences. If you’re interested in something like this I would really encourage you to make one because I had a blast doing it.
I’ve done not one but two other Harry Potter related Storytime Saturdays, so if you’re interested in reading more from me, click the links!
Thanks for reading 🙂