Probably a week ago, I went to watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the second serial installment of the famous Harry Potter universe. To be completely honest, I’d been quite unenthusiastic since I thought I’d grown out of this raging HP fan girl phase, that I’d milked whatever lesson it could have given me in that point of time.
No sooner did the WB logo appeared that I realized I’d been kinda wrong. As the movie progressed, my sense of awe at the Harry Potter universe, nay, at the reoccurring theme that tied this new movie to the old ones grew to a point that I had to stop and cry a few tears of nostalgia mixed with a hint of courage.
In this new movie, the legendary Newt Scamander went about one of his adventures in America in the 1920s. Although it was completely unrelated to the Harry Potter universe save for their collective magical abilities, and some mentions of a few characters here and there, there was an apparent tie. The tie? It’s the fact that Newt was not welcomed; Newt, even with his interesting choice of a career, was not praised in his homeland, nor in America. Wizards, in general, did not believe that magical beasts could make good friends in the 1920s just like how the whole wizarding world did not believe Harry when he told of Voldemort’s return. Although Newt was battling a social injustice much different than the mudblood situation in the 1990s, they were essentially fighting the same battle, a battle against a society of people (or wizards in this case) who are riddled with prejudice and most importantly, who did not take their views seriously. This reminded me, forcefully, of the emotions I first felt reading Harry Potter. The reason it has a special place in my heart in the first place is the courage it’s instilled in me.
Growing up, I, and no doubt other kids in the “millennial” generation are often dubbed as lazy, entitled, lacking in motivation and/or obsessed with technology. This is nothing new, really. It’s been found that people have been putting their next generation down for as long as civilization started.
Hesiod, a Greek poet said this about the young of his time, “They only care about frivolous things. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly… impatient of restraint.” (watch a hilarious talk from Adam Conover about this exact topic here)
It becomes dangerous when the generation that is put down actually believes so. I know that is my case- the all too common case of this condescending attitude actually creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more I was dubbed as irresponsible, the more irresponsible I became. The more I was dubbed as airheaded, the more airheaded I became. It created this polar sense of self in me so severe that at one point, I thought I was developing a split personality disorder because I was responsible and careful in school or any other social interactions, but would be magically turned into this callous pig in the vicinity of my abode.
That all started to change once I got immersed into the Harry Potter universe. Here were these kids, no older than my age, who were actually taken seriously by some people (what a wild concept!). Here were children who had to decide what to do, in order to fight for what they believed in. Although their decisions sometimes lead to devastating results, some of them actually turned out to be right. I was mind-blown! This was proof that just because I was young didn’t mean I shouldn’t live my life in this moment however I saw fit.
This also leads me to another conclusion, that I should not hold on to this unhealthy obsession with vintage stuff, or this fantasy of the future. I’m living in the present, and I can make changes here and now. The wise of the past had their share of problems, and the wise of the future will have theirs. Me? I have my share of time right now, with real problems and opportunities and it’s just foolish to not take part in the here and now.
You see? This is why Harry Potter fans cling to it. You can’t just grow out of something that makes you who you are. Stories like this; they stay with you forever.
Thanks, J.K. Rowling. Thank you for everything.