Happy Birthday, Harry Potter

When JK Rowling was stranded for hours in a train to London and the idea of a scrawny bespectacled boy, who didn’t know he was a wizard, fell into her head, she didn’t have any idea she'll be changing many lives from that day on.

The novel changed my life. It changed everything.

Like most teenagers, I had no idea of what roads to take in life later on. Sure, the gossiping and parties are entertaining, but when the lights are out and you couldn't get some sleep, you fantasize about the future.

They say if you want God to laugh, tell him your future plans. He was in tears after hearing mine: I will write stories, just like my hero.

So, on Harry Potter and JK Rowling’s birthday, here are seven magical lessons worth spreading:

We don’t always know everything, and that’s OK
Harry Potter, embarrassingly, sprung from Rowling being stranded in the train; boredom, to put it bluntly. If Rowling had known she will be stranded, she would have had chosen a different route or schedule.

The world would have never known Harry Potter.

We could say the story would have gotten to her anyway. But being in ‘that’ train has made a big contribution to the dynamics of the story.

A psycho Harry Potter planning to hijack a plane to crash it to Disneyland is a cute story, but Rowling would have had a hard time making him relatable, if ever she thought about him while being stuck in Heathrow.

Imperfections make us human
Imagine Harry Potter with Zac Efron’s face, Taylor Lautner’s abs, Prince William’s childhood and Stephen Hawking’s brain - that would make for an interesting read, right?

Wrong!

What makes Potter so endearing is the fact he’s been through all these ordeals and still made it. Harry Potter would be so dull being perfect.

I imagine the story revolving around swooning girls harassing Potter to get them impregnated, scandals at the palace, Gremlins hatching in the room, etc.

Keep a small circle of friends
I saw fatigue in Rowling's writing midway through Order of the Phoenix.

One of the reasons probably, is that Potter was now having a bunch of people to deal with; Dumbledore’s Army, Quidditch team, and the Order of the Phoenix, which were taking a toll on our young hero and his brilliant writer.

When it was just Harry, Ron and Hermione, life in Hogwarts may have been troublesome, but it was simpler, more fun.

I laughed like a hyena when Ron and Hermione quarreled with Wingardium Leviosa, was open-mouthed when Tom Riddle revealed his real identity via the cleverly executed anagram, screamed ‘NO WAY!’ around 2am when Peter Pettigrew ratted his way out in The Servant of Lord Voldemort, and didn’t eat for days when Cedric Diggory died.

These first four books have been fun to read, personally, because I could follow all the characters without steering too far from the trio.

Evil is real
When Fenrir Greyback attacked Lavender Brown in true ruthless werewolf fashion in the Battle of Hogwarts, I couldn’t thank Hermione enough for jinxing him.

But that won’t compensate for the fact I’ve read that scene that haunted me up to this very day.

While I was warned of the evil qualities of Lord Voldemort, knowing the Lestranges and what they did to the Longbottoms was a wake-up call. Evil does exist.

But there’s hope.

People like Mr Weasley, Luna Lovegood, and yes, Severus Snape, are all living proof evil can be stopped when good people decide to take action.

I need to stop preaching, sorry. Moving on.

Bad fatherhood gives birth to the best villains
Lord Voldemort was disappointed with his Muggle father for abandoning his mother (Merope) because she’s a witch. It fuelled our villain’s growing years of making himself special, feared, envied.

Imagine if Tom Riddle was fathered by someone like, say, Adam Sanders.

Rowling would have a hard time making Lord Voldemort the villain that he is today, who has, by the way, got a perfect attendance in countless Best Villains of All Time lists everywhere.

It’s practically difficult to make someone with a cool dad, a laugh-filled home, and fed with mom’s home cooked meals evil.

Great things are never rushed
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone took Rowling six years to write.

Six freaking years, people!

When asked about her recipe for an enjoyable read, Rowling answers humor, strong characters and a watertight plot. These three things are easily said than being done. They take time and proper execution.

Rowling's genius is highlighted in her foreshadowing skills. Who would’ve thought that little scene in Borgin and Burkes, where the vanishing cabinet was mentioned (Chamber of Secrets) will play a major part in four books later?

And what about the Invisibility Cloak being returned to Harry (Sorcerer’s Stone) after Dumbledore confirmed it is the cloak of death itself (Deathly Hallows)?

How these things get connected like clever clockwork is a result of the author taking her time, because she knows it’s a great story.

Writing is the best platform for expression
Growing up watching cartoons and movies, I longed to express what I've digested and to show my own spin on them.

Writing was the very last avenue. What should I know about writing when my English has always been stuck at D-?

I thought drawing could give me that, as I used to do comic strips. But it’s something few could appreciate. And so, I have given up on expressing the artistry for years.

One day, I forced myself to read a few pages of the first Harry Potter novel, in order to better understand the movie I watched two days ago.

It was the beginning.

Reading taught me how to write better than all my English teachers put together. No offense, they were good teachers.

It was as though this huge chest of screaming ideas, plot twists and hairy characters have been let out inside of me, and wouldn’t leave me until I get them on print - or die trying.
Being able to express your longing, your dreams, your fascination through writing gives this satisfaction none but a pen and paper could quench.

I’m forever indebted to JK Rowling and Harry Potter.

Happy birthday, guys!