29 August 2013

Throwback Thursday--Harry Potter

Two of my favorite scenes from Harry Potter have really resonated with me throughout my life, and especially now that I have come to know and love my ancestors so much.

The first scene was from Harry's first year at Hogwarts. He stumbles upon a mirror tucked away in the castle, and it's called the Mirror of Erised. It's a mirror that shows you the deepest desires of your heart--the thing you want more than anything else. For young Harry, whose parents were killed and whose extended family neglected and abused him, having a family was what his heart yearned for more than anything else. When he looked into the mirror, he saw his mother and father, and generations of his family, so real to him, for the very first time.




I have also struggled in my relationship with my family throughout my life--but despite the suffering I have experienced, I have no doubt that I would see exactly the same thing in the Mirror of Erised as Harry did. To me, that is the dream to which I have dedicated my life. It is the driving force, the desire behind the work I do with genealogy. Doing genealogy throughout my life for the chance that I will have a united family in death has always been an irresistible offer to me, because it is something I have never known.

This scene from Harry Potter resonated with me when I was Harry's age exactly because I was Harry's age and I knew what that pain felt like. So you can imagine how much more that pain resounded with me in the scene when Harry accepts the fact that he has to die in order to kill Voldemort.




The assurance that his family has been with him his entire life is one of the more powerful moments in the book. The promise from his family that they will stay with him in death is something very real to me. I believe that our ancestors are present in the very same way, with the same love from this story. I believe in that with all my heart, and I always have.

Harry Potter has been a part of my life since I was a child. The series grew up with me, and my age more or less corresponded to the age of the characters at every stage until the end. And it's because of scenes like these that I will never forget them--what they showed me about myself and what was most important to me.

Because of those lessons, I already look forward to sharing these books with my children. I've already imagined printing Hogwarts letters for them, reading the books to them and watching them read them as they grow older. And certainly the thought has occurred to me to restrict them from reading the books from later on in the series--both to let them experience the anticipation that I felt in waiting for them to be published, and to be sure that they are mature enough to understand what they're reading.

All in all, Harry Potter shaped an entire generation--my generation--of readers. And seeing that continue in my own family is something I look forward to in the years to come.