An Open Letter To JK Rowling

Dear JK Rowling,

I was 7 when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published, and being honest with you, I didn’t even know it had happened! I was introduced to Harry a few years later by my best friend, and after borrowing the first three books from her I was taken with the wonder of the wizarding world.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the first of the series that I bought for myself. I was 10, and I remember reading it in the classroom at school. It still bears the paint stain from art class.

From then on I was desperate to get my hands on the next book, and the next, and the next. I had them pre-ordered for what felt like forever, and when they arrived I hardy spoke to anyone until I had read them cover to cover. I grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione. I developed as the characters developed. Hermione blossomed from a rather annoying young girl to a strong, independent young woman, much as I did. Her character was an inspiration.

When the end came, it was heartbreaking. Reading that last line was a profound moment. The last time I would read Harry Potter for the first time. “The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.” And in that moment, when the end had come, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss. The characters that I had loved, that I had grown up with, had finished their journey.

Since then, I cannot tell you how many times I have re-read the Harry Potter books. And every time I get lost in the incredible world you created, I live each moment, and the wonder never fades. And every time, when I read that last line, I got the feeling that a part of me left and stayed with those books, that somehow, now that they were over again, I was a little less than whole.

I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows again in the early hours of this morning. And when I came to that last line, I was prepared to feel that familiar sense of loss now that the journey was over again, but it didn’t come. Instead I felt an immense sense of gratitude. I am thankful for you, JK Rowling, I am thankful for the world you have created, for the wonder you have given me. I am thankful for the way your words have encouraged my imagination to run wild, to open up, to experiment and to express.

I have always considered myself part of the ‘Harry Potter Generation’. Somehow I felt that because of my age, and the fact that the books were released as I grew, and I grew with them, that I, and others my age, had a stronger bond, a special connection. But I realise now that you have given the whole world a gift. For generations to come your books will be read by young girls and boys and, like me, they will grow up with the characters, like me they will feel that bond – the Harry Potter Generation is ever-growing, and it will never end.

When I turned the final page of the final book again this morning, I realised just how lucky I am. I am so lucky that I have had the opportunity to read your books and to learn your world. I am so lucky that I can revisit that place again and again. And I am overwhelmingly thankful that you have created this gift for us, for the world, for your readers, and for many more Harry Potter Generations to come.

JK Rowling, I thank you.

Jessica Johnson (age 23)

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