I’m going to say the completely expected thing here.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone cover

The Harry Potter books were what I remember really getting me into reading as a kid. I know that I read a fair amount before that, mostly Nancy Drew kind of stuff. But then one Christmas one of my aunts gifted an elementary school me with these three tomes, saying that one of my older cousins really liked them. These things were each time again as thick as anything I’d read before minimum.

It was more than a little intimidating.

But then I started reading them and there was this new world to explore. There were monsters and magic and all number of things that I wanted more of. The characters were some of young me’s closest friends, and I could imagine myself at Hogwarts and along on their adventures. It was comfortable and fun and an away from the real world.

I got into more fantasy during the wait for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and then more sci-fi while waiting for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It opened my reading to Anne McCaffery and Brian Jacques and Tamora Peirce.

It felt a little like someone had shown me a hallway full of doors to other worlds and tossed the keys to me. There was so much to read, so many worlds to visit and characters to meet. So many adventures waited, if only I could find the books they were in. It meant that awkward kid me could find places she belonged.

And the characters grew with me, sort of at least. As they grew, so did the threats they faced and the stakes. It stayed a pretty standard hero’s tale, but Harry was given room to be angry and to feel uninformed and like he was being used. Characters matured and made mistakes, even the adults.

I really do need to read this series again sometime soon.