By Tanvi Berwah

Harry Potter, a name so familiar that it seems like an extension of my very personality. Let’s start where it all started – Godric’s Hollow. I imagine myself walking down the snowed street, and now beholding the Potter War Memorial. It’s mesmerizing, it’s inspiring. I wonder what their life was like. And as I reminiscence, it strikes me – it’s not real, yet so real it could’ve been an alternate world where I belong.

It was never quite hellfire and brimstone, despite all the sparkly enchantments that the world was shamelessly learning to love over a decade ago. I cannot point out a single moment or day when I fell in love with The Boy Who Lived.

I could talk a lot about the phenomenon Harry Potter has been through the last fourteen years, but that could take more time than it might have taken for the last movie to be filmed.

Instead, I just want to recount select amazing moments I’ve spent in this fandom, which is like a family now. I’ve met great friends within the fandom – friends as passionate about the series as me; they get me, and get my tears when I sob watching instances like Lily dying for her son, Sirius Black dying for his Godson and Dobby dying for his friend.

My first book-launch party was, sadly, very late – when Half-Blood Prince came out. It was one of a kind experience. I bonded with people I met for the first time, we clicked photos dressed as HP characters and talked about the past five books, discussed movies and theorized till wee hours. It was one of the most remarkable days of my life.

A very distressing time for me was when my mother died. I was more or less in a trance for months –- how could it happen to me? And then Luna Lovegood, who herself lost her mother when she was nine, told me, “Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end.” I took her word. Since I run, I had the fortune to talk personally to Evanna Lynch, who plays Luna in the movies. She was so nice and friendly and we talked a lot about how Harry Potter has touched both our lives. She reminded me that believing in Luna was the best thing I did being a fan. I thanked her and I will carry her and Luna’s words with me forever. After all, “those who love us, never truly leave us.”

A lot of people, though, think I’m sort of out of my mind being such a crazy fan. Some people I’ve only heard of through the news, go so far as saying the books promote Satanism with all the witchcraft without ever having read them. Au contraire, the books promote the seven virtues of temperance, prudence, justice, courage, faith, hope and the most important, love, which is the pinnacle of them all.

Phenomenal love like Snape’s unrequited one, Fleur’s devotional one, Tonks’s against-all-odds one, Lily’s sacrificial one gives hope in the bleak world we live in today. JK Rowing touches on profound topics like war, racism, poverty, abuse, corruption, and homosexuality and gives us a story that rises above all prejudices. It restores faith in humanity – we can see that here is a woman who believes in these things, and via her there are billions who have come to believe in the goodness.

When I saw JK Rowling, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint at the 7th July premiere, it really dawned on me how I have lived my life at Hogwarts. I have lived a life immersed in a world that provided me with wisdom and love when I most needed it.

More than a decade on, my love for Harry has only grown, thanks to this fandom which is holding so strong like a family. I want to thank you, JK Rowling, for every word you put in those seven books.

Thank you for my very childhood.

“He couldn’t know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: ‘To Harry Potter – the boy who lived!’”

Tanvi Berwah runs several fan sites in the ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Hunger Games’ fandom, including and Hunger Games Network.