I read my first Harry Potter book when I was 7 years old. The first two movies had been released at that point and everyone was encouraging me to read the books that had inspired them. At the school book fair, my dad bought me Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – I wanted to start with that one because that was the movie I liked best. By the end of the third grade, I had finished the first five books and I was a bona fide Potterhead. Children are very impressionable; Alfons Heck once described them as being ‘empty vessels.’ Because I started reading the series at such an early age, Harry Potter has had an enormous impact on the person I am today. Nearly all of my beliefs and morals are variations of themes found within the books: love conquers all, good will always triumph over evil, and do the right thing above all else. These themes dictate how I live my life. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and many of the other characters in the series have all taught me what it means to be a decent person.
The world is changing, but vestiges of old-fashioned ideas still remain. Even today, some consider a woman to be incomplete unless she is in a relationship. Too many of today’s young females buy into that stereotype, but I am sincerely glad to say that I am not one of them. Ginny Weasley and Hermione Granger will always be the best role models I could ask for. Both are strong, independent, brave, and clever. Both understand the value of being able to stand on your own: they have never needed a man to be happy with themselves. Their example is possibly the most valuable thing I have drawn from reading this incredible series – they have shown me that all a girl really needs is to be happy with herself and the rest will follow. My morals and values are very essential to who I am. I refuse to compromise on what’s important to me, and I won’t change who I am or what I believe just to appease other people.
Throughout all seven Harry Potter books, the main characters’ essential traits remain unchanged: Hermione will always be staggeringly intelligent, Ron fiercely loyal, and Harry pure of soul. Like them, I am determined to stay true to myself no matter what the world throws at me. Reading Harry Potter makes me feel invincible, even to this day: I can do anything, be anything, when I read Harry’s story. If a kid my age can defeat the most dangerous Dark Wizard of all time, then my own possibilities are endless. Beyond all that it’s taught me, this series also gave me something infinitely more precious: a beautiful, inspirational story that I will continue to be amazed by for the rest of my life.