Then, two weeks ago, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling appeared on his desk. Immediately, classmates began to speak to him, asking him who his favorite characters were, how many times he has read the entire series (a jaw-dropping ten by the way), and various other Harry Potter related questions. Even the math teacher would spend a fraction of his limited class time to discuss the plot and developments, pondering over the importance of certain characters and other elements of the series.
Watching everyone push past the typical people they spoke to within that class made me realize the sheer power of Harry Potter as a series. Throughout my life, ever since I originally started reading Harry Potter in the fourth grade, I established connections with people over the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. However, I had never really stepped back to realize the sheer ability of a series to transcend past divisions within communities, and pull people together.
Every year, I connect with my teachers, namely my English and Biology teachers, over our favorite Harry Potter books and the houses that we belong to. In fact, I have pressured each of my teachers into taking the "official" sorting hat quiz on Pottermore that was curated by J.K. Rowling herself. I have helped my tenth grade English teacher figure out her route for her first visit to Harry Potter World. I have brainstormed with my Molecular Biology teacher over ideas on how to replicate the Tri-Wizard tournament so that her kids could partake in it at her home. And, I have discussed the ways that Harry Potter reflects real-world issues in subtle ways with my fifth grade teacher, who I still visit from time to time.
In addition, I have created many friendships through a mutual love in the Harry Potter World. In fact, one of my best friends and I took an impromptu trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando last year for my sixteenth birthday. I have formed a "book squad" within my old field hockey team where we hosted Harry Potter themed dinners together and had marathons. Not only have I created friendships throughout my school and community through my love of Harry Potter, but I have established connections throughout the world in a similar way. I have friends who I discuss books with who live in Canada, Chicago, Great Britain, Germany, Texas, and the Philippines. If that doesn't show you Harry Potter's ability to draw connections between people that would not have previously existed, then I don't know what would.
This year, as a President of the English Honors Society, I even used this ability for Harry Potter to establish connections to motivate the members of the society. At the beginning of the year, I asked each of them to disclose their Harry Potter house in a survey. Then, I told them that the Hogwarts house with the most EHS hours by the end of the year, wins the EHS "Hogwarts House Cup," and would win a prize. Then, when I created the tutoring schedules I paired people with others in their house, so they can get to know each other. By doing this, I unknowingly used the ability of Harry Potter to band people together as a motivation tactic.
The one boy who is still deep into his eleventh re-read of the Harry Potter series is what catalyzed this realization for me. Harry Potter, a character that originated in the imagination of a single woman, possesses the staggering ability to unify people across friend groups, age groups, state lines, and country lines. And that ability is what truly makes the series magical.