Today, May 2, 2016, marks the eighteen year anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, the day that Harry Potter once and for all defeated the Dark Lord, Tom Riddle, Voldemort, He Who Must Not Be Named. It is also the day we honor and mourn the loss of those witches and wizards who fought bravely and lost their lives in this, perhaps the greatest and most devastating battle of our lifetime.
And yes, I know that this Battle never actually took place. There were no victories, no casualties. Harry Potter and Voldemort and all the others are just words on a page. Not real.
And yet, they are so much more than just words on a page to millions of readers around the world. To us, the magic is real. The sacrifice, the bravery, the friendship, the love are all so much more real than the cold, harsh reality of hatred, discrimination, and selfishness that plague our physical world.
But you know, I think the true magic of Harry Potter lies in its ability to connect those who have never met, who live half a world away, who are separated by seas and continents and cultures. Thanks to JK Rowling, we all have something in common. We love her stories. We love her characters. We grew up with them. We learned with them. And we fought with them. We are still fighting with them today. For love. For acceptance. For freedom. For a better world.
That is why, almost nine years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, at the age of 28, I still raise my wand with my friends around the world. Because even if it didn’t actually happen, all that Harry Potter gave us still matters.
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”