Harry Potter is bigger than books. At this point, it kind of represents a bookish lifestyle for a certain group of readers. The truest Harry Potter confession is that it’s more unique to not have a personal connection to the series. However, it’s ingrained into the fabric of many who grew up with Harry, and judging by the clothes, bedding, and accessories for children, new generations are consistently being introduced to our favorite trio and their adventures.
It was while introducing the series on audio to my own children that I began to view things I first read 20 years ago through my current lens. Veela, as presented by Rowling, make no sense when considering the spectrum of sexuality. Even with all the insight about his past, Snape is awful. Hogwarts truly is a subpar educational institution—in the second book they cancel exams “as a school treat.” How are we evaluating growth, Hogwarts? How are you ensuring that your students learn? Who cares, Harry’s tired.
I also realized, upon re-listening, that I really hate Quidditch. This shouldn’t have taken my sports-avoidant self by surprise, but it felt wrong somehow. Someone with 50 Harry Potter ornaments and a circa 1999 fan fiction website hosted by Angelfire can’t hate Quidditch! And yet, I do. This made me wonder what other Harry Potter confessions readers are holding onto, and I turned the question over to my fellow Rioters. Their answers lie below!
My confession kind of confirms a personal truth—not even bookish pursuits can make me like sports. The fact is, I have never ever read a Quidditch match. Not in the canon series, not in my favorite novel-length fan fictions. As soon as they’re holding their brooms and sneering at each other, I completely tune out. I know there are important plot points peppered through almost every match, but I have gotten excellent at figuring out what’s going on by looking for dialogue tags and ignoring anything Lee Jordan says. I’m so happy for Harry and his innate abilities, but I don’t care about brooms, Wonky Faints, or any of the various balls flying around. Give me a common room fire and an overstuffed armchair any day of the week.
I shipped Harry/Snape for a brief, dark period when I was really into fan fiction. I was very much into slash fanfics, and it started with the more obvious (and completely believable) Harry/Draco. But there was some shockingly good Harry/Snape stuff out there! I even wrote a Harry/Snape fanfic (mostly as a joke) that was universally reviled on fanfiction.net. 🙂
When Deathly Hallows came out in 2007, I was still on Half-Blood Prince. But instead of finishing the sixth book like a normal person, I set it aside and went right to the seventh so I could read it with my friends. Imagine my surprise when I read the part where Voldemort breaks into Dumbledore’s tomb to get the Elder Wand and realized that Dumbledore was dead!
I’m a librarian who has neither read the books nor seen the movies. When I worked in a high school library and one of our sweet library-frequenting, book-loving students asked me what house I’m in, I always had to fake it. (“Uhhhhh, Slyther….puff? Is that a thing?”)
For some reason that I am yet to figure out, The Prisoner Of Azkaban is always referred to as “the best one in the series”, but this is my least favourite of the seven books. I can’t even pinpoint why exactly, except maybe for the fact that I read the book so many times that I ended up getting a bit fed up with the story. In my teens, this was the first Harry Potter book I was gifted, and the only one I owned for a long while (until the fifth came out, if I wanted to reread the others I had to go get them from the library, as they were too expensive to buy). I read this book so many times that I’ve got pages tainted by what I think is chocolate milk, some pages are dog-eared, and you can still see the marks of the bit of chips that ended up getting stuck between the pages, because that’s my reading snack since I can remember. I don’t dislike the book, but given the choice of rereading any HP right now, The Prisoner Of Azkaban would be my last pick – my favourites being The Chamber Of Secrets, and The Half-Blood Prince.
I buy a copy of Harry Potter almost every time I go out of the country. I don’t intend to. They find me, usually in a weird little charity shop. My Irish copy is held together with duct tape. My French copy has a receipt for knives in it (I did not buy French knives.) My Hong Kong copy found me when I was desperate for a book that wasn’t my teaching manual or the memoir I had already read twice. I bought my HK copy at a book fair my students had invited me to. Among the hundreds of stalls, I managed to find the ONLY English language book stall and buy Harry Potter, because of course I did.
If I went to Hogwarts, I would be one of those students who tries to sway the Sorting Hat in a particular direction. I know deep down that I am a Hufflepuff, but I really want to be a Ravenclaw. I take all of those online quizzes that sort you into a house. These quizzes sort people based on their favorite alcoholic drinks, how they make pasta, and even what they would buy at Anthropologie. Without fail, the quizzes place me in Hufflepuff. I then waste a lot of time retaking the quizzes and changing my answers until I’m sorted into Ravenclaw.
Rebecca Wei Hsieh
We were living in Australia when Order of the Phoenix came out, and we got a copy as a gift. Except my sister had the American editions of the first four books, and we insisted on maintaining a consistent aesthetic. So we asked someone to get an American copy. Except they got the UK version again. We did eventually get our hands on an American edition to match the rest of the books. Except we never returned the extra UK copies. So we just casually have multiple copies of OotP, for the aesthetic.
And now, the real fun! What are your Harry Potter confessions? Have you been mispronouncing a certain name for 15 years? Do you write Dobby/Winky erotic fan fiction under a pseudonym ? Are you so sick of the series you might scream? Please, please, please do share!