Harry Potter’s 20th Birthday: On magic, youth, and reading the series to my kids

There’s nothing quite like rediscovering Harry Potter through the eyes of children.

Like most readers of my generation, I enjoyed the books of the Harry Potter series as they were released (mostly, at least…I missed the first couple while on my mission). I read the Sorcerer’s Stone over a Christmas break during college when I was 22, and then enjoyed each as JK Rowling finished and published them, right up until the Deathly Hallows, which I read shortly after Brittany and I married (like the nerds we are, we waited in line, bought two copies, and then read it together).

But reading it with my Littles has been a far more rewarding and magical experience, beyond what I could have imagined. Right now, we are in the midst of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Because I am reading it aloud, I find myself adapting voices and tones that fit the characters and action. I hear the gasps when there are plot twists and the sighs of disappointment when a chapter ends in suspense. And I hear the giggles and cheers when Harry emerges victor during the Triwizard Tournament, despite all the odds stacked against them. Harry Potter‘s world is magical, a world where children can face obstacles, fight evil, and emerge victoriously, and yet still experience the magic and wonder of childhood.

Every parent and grown-up should enjoy it and experience it through the eyes of a child. The magic seen through their eyes is a reminder that there is a purpose to life, there is a purpose to sacrifice, and there is a purpose to family. It’s a reminder that in spite of the daily grind, there is magic, if just in moments of imagination and inspiration when a child can see a world where words are magical and evil lords may be defeated. Moments like these refresh and renew, and for me, reading it to these little people and enjoying their discovery of the magical world of wizards and witches, it makes me feel both young and oh so very old.

For that, J.K. Rowling, I thank you.

About Daniel

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. He reads about history, politics, and current events, as well as more serious genres such as science fiction and fantasy. You can also follow him on his blog PubliusOnline.com where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas.