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To Harry Potter, on His Birthday

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Dear Harry Potter,

Thank you, on this, your 39th birthday. From the first day I met you, I knew I’d love you, and you didn’t let me down. A dramatic boy who loved to lash out whenever he got too nervous about something, you were unapologetic and didn’t care what happened, as long as you did what was necessary for your friends and those who depended on you. Still, you were a teenage boy and wanted to have a normal life.

But you never were normal, and that was fine. Your experiences didn’t define you, and maybe that’s why you’re one of my favorite characters. Whenever the world was trying to target you or take you down, you were running around with your friends trying to fix it all while still acting like kids. Wizard’s chess or dances, whatever it was, you were still just a kid who wanted to be a kid, even through everything you saw.

July 31st has always been an important day. Whether it was because we got new Harry Potter books as kids or because a new movie was coming out, there was something about the 31st that always brought us back to you. Even recently, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child came out on your birthday, and still, years after Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first released, we all went, dressed up and ready to celebrate all things Harry Potter.

And that’s because there is a love for you that will never go away. A character who kissed a girl for the first time and described it as “wet” because she was crying over Cedric Diggory, there is a joy that comes from thinking about you, Harry.

A Gryffindor, brave at heart, you faced down your foes and continued to lose so much along the way, but you never stopped because it wasn’t ever an option to you. And it was that determination that engrained itself in so many of your fans. For me, I knew that, to be a Gryffindor, to be someone who wanted to do the right thing, I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t sit back and expect it to be happy for me, because that’s not what Harry Potter did, and for that, I owe you so much.

It feels weird being an adult and realizing that, if you were real, you’d be nearly 40. It’s strange that I’ve loved this character and this story for more than half of my life, but that’s the way of the Harry Potter generation, and on days like today, we get to remember what it is about the Boy Who Lived that made us fall in love with his story in the first place.

Thank you, for everything, Harry James Potter. You’ll always be one of my favorites.

(image: Warner Bros.)

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Rachel is an I, Tonya stan who used to have a poster of Frank Sinatra on her wall as a kid. She loves superheroes, weird musicals, and wants Robert Downey Jr. to release a new album. She is Leslie Knope and she's okay with that. At least she gets to live in New York City though!