It was the 20th anniversary of your publication a couple of days ago, and I wanted to do something proper for you as a little bit of a tribute, but I lost track and couldn't come up with the words.
When I was eight years old, just four years after your publication, my third grade teacher asked me if I had read your story. I've always had a higher reading level, and she knew that I could handle it. Within sentences, I was enraptured. I read the first four books within the year, and eagerly awaited the next instalments of your story. Needless to say: When I was eight years old, I found a place I could run.
We've grown up together, fought together, mourned together. We've always stuck by each other when times were tough, or when the journey just felt like it was too much. You've taught me so many things as we walked the corridors of Hogwarts together. Lessons that will always be instilled in me, and in future, my children.
I found a place that offered me a home, constant companionship, and a steady hand to guide me. I learned along side you how to hope, how to grieve, how to persevere, how to tolerate, how to treat someone with kindness even when they were someone whom you disliked. I learned bravery, loyalty, and the true value of having true friends surrounding me. I learned to be empathetic, how harsh words can be. I learned so much from you, Harry, I don't know if I could ever list them all.
I learned critical thinking, and how to defend with text based evidence. I learned and developed my own love of creative writing by continuing your story, even when the covers had been long shut. I cultivated my love of reading and books within your pages.
The fact that I am a Gryffindor is something I display proudly. Something I defend with a loyalty that could only be learned from you. The fact that I'm a Gryffindor says more about me than I could ever tell anyone.
I've been shaped by the lessons in your pages more than you could ever possibly know, and I know that there are more eloquent people out there to say what I'm thinking and feeling.
I'm twenty three, now. Nearly twenty-four, actually. and it's been nine years since our last adventure together. No matter what, I can always come back to you and your pages. I can always find comfort with the friendships I've made among your pages. You will always be with me, and Hogwarts will always be a place to call home.
It was a place I so desperately longed to be at eleven years old. That feeling has never gone away. I suspect it'll still be there when I'm an old granny in my rocker, rambling on about it and reading it to my grand children.