By Anything77

The Extent of my Love

Everything
I know I learned from Harry Potter.
Everything I am, I am because of Harry
Potter
. I am not a lunatic, I do not run around looking for Platform 9 ¾ or
walk down the street in a cloak muttering spells. My love for Harry Potter goes deeper than pretending
it is all real; it is that feeling that I get when I am sad and all I want to
do is curl up with a Harry Potter
book. All my life friends have come and gone, but Harry has always been there,
the ultimate companion, more comforting and warm and familiar than anything
else. I have said many times that Harry
Potter
is like my oldest friend, and I know many people have tried to
explain this exact feeling, so I am going to try a different tactic. I am going
to tell you my story, the story of a nine year old girl and how a simple book
gave her hope and helped her believe in the extraordinary¦

My Story

I will
start my story when I was nine years old. It is important for you to know what
my life was like at this time. I had long hair, though I often wore clothes
intended for boys. I was also continually presumed to be a boy (which, as you
can probably guess, resulted in many awkward situations and caused me a great
deal of annoyance.) I was in third grade at the time; I had friends, a great
teacher, and a life. I was also very talented.

This was
when my mother and her boy-friend (not my dad) decided that we should all move
to Guatemala
for seven months and volunteer at an orphanage. I won't lie, though this
experience seemed to have a very positive affect on my brother, for me it was
terrible. Suddenly I was uprooted from everything I knew and sentenced to seven
months away from my wonderful, beautiful home and everybody I loved and forced to
live in the most un-homelike place I could think of.

While I
was there I was depressed and much paler in the bright sunlight than I had been
in the winter at home. A month or two after arriving I came down with a
sickness much like malaria called Dengue Fever and I was sleeping, sweating and
seeing things for a week. At night I would huddle up under my blanket,
depriving myself of sleep, for fear of scorpions, snakes and something
curiously like a tarantula that we had found right next to my bed. When no one
was near I would cry and ask God why he would do such an awful thing to me. I
would plead for a miracle, that we would have to suddenly go back home.

My family
learned Spanish; I almost completely refused to listen to it, let alone speak
it. I cut my hair short and didn't bother myself with personal hygiene. I
dreamed of home. I spent a great deal of my time writing plans about what great
All-American foods I would eat when I got back, things I would do and even
making escape plans in case my mom ever tried to make me go anywhere like that
again.

When I
wasn't writing, I was reading anything and everything that they had at the
orphanage, which included a very battered copy of Harry Potter and the Order
of the Phoenix.

There I was, lonely, depressed, without hope, and angry at the world. Then I
started thinking. Thinking about how when I read Harry Potter I was actually happy. I laughed when Fred and George
played their pranks on Umbridge1
and I thought long and hard about many of the wise and truthful things that
J.K. Rowling wrote, not knowing that her words would help a nine year old child
through a very hard time.

After
reading and rereading Order of the Phoenix several times I formed a new
resolve: I vowed that every day I would try to be the best person that I could
because Harry Potter had given me
hope, and because of that small little thing, my life began to change. Like
Harry at the end of Order of the Phoenix, I knew what it would take to
get things heading in the right direction, but I was ready for it, and I was
going to hit the ground running. Instead of sitting around at the house we had
all day I volunteered at the Pre-K classroom and helped the teacher keep the
kids in order. I opened a breakfast business at my house and every day I would
prepare pancakes smothered with chocolate and eggs with fried vegetables. I was
hoping to use the money I earned to buy fire-works to bring home for my
birthday. I talked a lot with volunteers from different, exotic countries such
as Belgium, Austria and Italy, and I also gave tours to
new-comers. When we left the orphanage to begin our journey home I took many
pictures of the ancient Mayan ruins that we visited.

By the
end of my journey I had read the fifth Harry Potter twelve times. I was
a much more serious and, for lack of a better term, tough person when I
returned than when I had set forth. While I was in Guatemala I learned endurance,
creativity, logic, emotional strength, courage and, beyond all else, I learned
to hope and see light even when I am surrounded by darkness. When Harry, Ron
and Hermione fought back against Umbridge by creating Dumbledore's Army2 instead of stepping back
and letting her have her way, I felt that I should fight back too. Like I could
do better with the hand I was given, and I just hadn't realized there was
another way to look at it before. I didn't know that I could do more than just
fold. The amazing determination that Harry's friends used to escape Umbridge3 drove me forward. All this
would have gone to waste and my journey would have left me a sad wreck
believing that the world is a dark place if not for Harry Potter, who helped me through, and who has taught me to be
the amazing person I am today.

After the Journey there's Still
More

Yes,
after the journey there's still more. Harry
Potter
never stopped being a part of my life and is still influencing and
guiding me. I'm still facing problems and Harry Potter is still helping me have
hope and make the right decision.

As I type
these words I am a twelve year old who dreams of becoming a writer, a
professional soccer player or a chef. I got my love of writing from reading the
books, my love of cooking from all the mouth-watering descriptions that Jo puts
in them such as Mrs. Weasley's sumptuous cooking, and my love of sports from
the thrill of imagining playing Quidditch. I skipped sixth grade this year and
am having a blast adjusting to middle school.

I am
smart, athletic, happy, funny, responsible and successful and everything I am and
everything I know I learned from Harry
Potter
.

Not many
people know how much Harry Potter has
helped me, it is the book behind the scenes, like the author who writes the
story, or the crew that lifts the curtain and lets the audience see all the
wonder that is to come¦

Notes:

1.
Rowling, Order of the Phoenix,
631-6, 673-5.

2. Ibid.,
339-47.

3. Ibid.,
760.

Bibliography:

Rowling,
J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York:
Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2003.


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