31 Days Of Harry Potter
Recently one of my little sisters tagged me in a post on social media asking the question – how did i get into Harry Potter or Why did i love Harry Potter, something like that.
I remember when the books first came out I was it was 1997 and I could not have cared less about some 11 year old boys wizarding world. In fact I knew nothing of it really till maybe I was 18 years old when the first film came out. I liked it but honestly i didn’t really care, my little sister was about 8 or 9 at the time and she loved Harry Potter, I remember buying a Harry Potter t-shirt for her and I remember her reading all the books but it all never phased me, I was too lost in being that tumultuous age and all it entailed.
Fast forward to 2005 I was in my final year of my first degree at university. I was studying Textiles as a major at the visual arts school. I was very interested in witchery – well der, and I was very interested in the use of symbolism, mythology and story within my work. One day my lecturer asked me if I had read the Harry Potter books to which I replied I had watched the first two films but i hadn’t really gotten into it, he set me the task of reading the 3rd book for homework, he said this was where the story would begin for me. Harry Potter for homework it was hilarious but you know what happened – I devoured that third book! I was so astounded by JK Rowling’s use of symbolism and occult woven through a ‘children’s’ storybook, I was enthralled and for the rest of the year my lecturer and I would swap interesting symbolism and wonder about the stories as we pulled them apart and examined why certain characters where named certain things and explored all the mythological and magical links.
Later that year I was working in a particularly magkal job at a chocolate, tea and coffee shop. Once a week I got to hang out in the shop all by myself, put on whatever music I wanted, make gift baskets and sip tea and eat chocolate all day – winning! Magikal things started to occur at this shop one of them was a dream where one day I’m busy working away stocking a shelf when all these kids come running up to me, pulling at my apron and touching my hair, Mr and Mrs Weasley enter the shop and tell me I’m their long lost daughter. I cry and cry and cry in the dream, sobbing that ‘I knew it, I knew it” Oh how I have longed to live in the Burrow ever since. :D
In 2010 I had the unfortunate job of teaching year 7’s a made up subject called “integrated Studies” (we have no idea what we are doing) for 10 periods a week, it drove me mad. Oh how I longed for a full time visual arts role – alas. One day a week I had this class for 3 or 4 periods, gods we drove each other up the wall. One day I had had enough of trying to wrangle them after hyped up lunch times so I borrowed the very first Harry Potter book from the library and got them all to shut up, put their heads on the desk and I read to them for the whole hour. It was like magik. Not only did I get to delve into the first book – I had never gone back to read before, but the class actually looked forward to this one session a week of Harry Potter – hooray! The gentleness of being read to, a story told so differently to the film, to awaken the imagination. I think that class fell in love with Harry as much as I had – or maybe it was just me and they were glad for the ssshhhh time, whatever it was it was another moment of loving these stories even more.
I think for me the reason I love Harry is all these human connections and memories, I think it’s because it’s the place I go to for comfort. If I’m sick or in grief I put on the audio book and curl up in bed or lie on the sofa with the movie in a blanket fort. It’s an escape from this world. I love all the brave strong intelligent women. I love Dumbledore’s wisdom, the warmth of the Burrow, the books are silly and make me laugh, they are heart breaking and make me cry, the characters feel like friends, I have totally gotten lost in this world. Luna has become like a character version of the self who got squashed who just wanted to be herself. There are too many things I love and the more I watch and the more I read and the more I listen, the more I love. It’s like a parallel land of comfort and squee.
Visiting the studios where the films were created this year in England was amazing. I wish I could go back on a private tour with no swarming muggles everywhere and just soak it up again, just sit and be and enjoy.
Instead I drew and drew and drew for the month of July, every single day, the characters of Harry, based off this pic an illustrator in Instagram posted for everyone to join in.
A daily drawing practise was so good to do and I think it’s the first time I have committed to 30 days straight of drawing and not gotten stuck or lost or loathing. There was so much joy exploring the characters and revisiting the stories and just drawing every day for love.
I'm inspired to keep drawing, to draw all the characters - there are so many! A whole world to explore - what fun.