Contributed by Kayla King, Blog Manager and Staff Reviewer
Dear J.K. Rowling,
I suppose the best way to begin this letter would be to say thank you! Many readers might say that you changed their lives with the inception of your boy wizard. I'm sure that's true. But I want to let you know that you've not only changed my life, you've shaped it.
This year, on May 2nd, I spent the day remembering the seventeenth anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts. I remembered all of the amazing things in my life that happened because you wrote a story about magic, about good and evil and friendship and love.
This may seem like a lot of remembering. Maybe you could even say that I drowned that day in the Pensieve. I also remembered a line you quoted from Arthur Levine: "and they say we shouldn't teach children about evil." If reading the Potter books taught me anything, it was that evil exists in every part of the world, wizarding or not, and often it exists within each of us as well. But there is something even more powerful that you've taught us through seven years at Hogwarts. You've taught readers about friendship, love, loyalty, imagination; all of which are true magic.
Today I turned on the news only to hear about murders and horrific acts of violence. But I also saw acts of kindness and love and it makes me think that there is hope for our world. If your books gave me anything, I'm glad it is a sense of hope beyond the atrocties. And while many of us would rather not face what is happening, I think about teenagers coming together to fight the power of a Ministry, I think of Dumbledore's Army hiding out in the Room of Requirement to train for the difficult days ahead. I think of sacrifice and intellect and I think of the tension between Purebloods and Halfbloods and Mudbloods. Of propaganda posters railing against "The Chosen One," of lightning bolt scars, and hateful words etched on arms. I think of the damage of the Holocaust. I think of the destruction in cities and countries and the callous acts happening everywhere. And I think about what we can do to try to stop it.
I know it will take a group, or an Order of people coming together to make this world right. Sometimes I wonder why others are so willing to ignore the atrocities of your Wizarding World and all that it stands for. What's to say we won't do the same thing when it comes to our real world?
So once again I am reminded of that quote, "and they say we shouldn't teach children about evil," one that I believe originated on the day our world became a world of after, the day two towers fell and began this war on "terror." But if we remember, as you've taught, that there is hope for tomorrow, that maybe someday there will be a better world, maybe things will begin to change. After all, "happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."
With September 1st just around the corner, I imagine myself stepping toward Platform 9 3/4 and boarding the Hogwarts Express. I think about Treacle Tarts and Acid Pops and Chocolate Frogs and even Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans. I think about thestrals and dementors and the Sorting Hat (I think we'd have quite the conversation since I'm a Revenpuff; wise and loyal). I think about all of the beautiful times I've already spent at Hogwarts, and I know, it is my home away from home.
From my front yard I look at the single hydrangea bloom as summer starts to fade. It reminds me of Harry hiding beneath the window sill, listening to the news. And it reminds me of the summer I spent on my back patio devouring Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I remember watching one of my favorite worlds darken just as my real world did the same thing. I lost friends and battled the halls of high school, but I always had Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I was the bookish girl who made it through because of your books and your role models and your wonderful words.
And if you aked me if I still love your world and your writing "after all this time," I would reply "always."
Kayla Kingis a writer of poetry and fiction. She is the Blog Manager and Staff Reviewer at YABC, which means she loves to read and review books! She is an editor for 1:1000 and as such, reads great stories and contributes a new piece of flash fiction every month, and is a permanent writer for Germ Magazine. Kayla graduated from Buffalo State College with her B.A. in Writing and is currently pursuing her MFA from Southern New Hampshire University. You can find her website and blog here.