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Asher Says: 4 Pitiful Reasons to Read the Harry Potter Series

As most of you already know, I've committed to tackling the Harry Potter series after finishing The Sorcerer's Stone close to a year ago. Which is not an easy thing to accomplish when you factor in that it has SEVEN BOOKS. Four of the seven being REALLY LONG books.

What you might not know is WHY. Why this sudden interest in reading a series that I should have read a decade ago?

Well, I'm here to answer the question you've now developed as a result of that last paragraph. It's not your fault--I'm really clever at mind games.

Self-validation as a Reader and Book Blogger

Because Harry Potter is such an astounding collection of children’s fantasy novels EVERY ONE must read them. There is no excuse powerful enough to overcome people’s endorsement of this series. The Harry Potter series can do no wrong. And it’s full of riveting adventure and rigorous quests and magic featuring a very vulnerable main character. Anybody who has not jumped onto the Harry Potter bandwagon by this point is clearly ignorant of the wonders the series has to offer. And stupid too.

With that being said, without having read the series in it’s entirety, I have no authority on what’s actually good fiction. How can I, when wrenching, relatable, and exciting stories have been staring me in the face for ten odd years? It matters not that I, ten years ago, was a measly little third grader with no concept of imagination and zero appreciation for literature of any kind. I indulged in a total of four full-fledged novels while growing up. Harry Potter is supposed to be this eloquent, captivating, and creative fantasy, so how can I truly determine what books are unmatched in those characteristics if I have not read the king of kings in children’s literature? I even read somewhere on the Internets, though it was acknowledged as an exaggeration, that reading Harry Potter redeems you as a person. So, I’m obviously not only a BAD person for not reading the series by now, but also unworthy. UNWORTHY.

The fact is I don’t owe the redundant Potterheads of this world several hours of my life given up to read this series to gain their acknowledgement and approval as a reader and book blogger. Yet, I feel shamed and chastened nonetheless. So I’ve committed to reading the series.

In other words, I’ve f*cking caved to the peer pressure. xD

Preventing Being Lynched by the Potterheads I Know and Love

Not all Potterheads have been sipping on the Cuckoo juice. In fact, they can be sane and polite, sweet and dorky, and fun. I KNOW some pretty darn exquisite Potterheads. Threats, however, as well as various forms of torture, have been expressed should I refuse to go forth in my reading the series. These threats of punishment loom over me constantly so that I feel hard-pressed to lock up all my doors and windows and shut the curtains while I’m at it.

Am I truly frightened of these friends? Well, why else would I be mentioning it? But, at the end of the day, I do want to understand this deep implicit fascination with this series, particularly since I AM an AVID book reader and have shared and expressed similar obsessions with works of fiction. I’m tired of feeling left out.And threatened. That too.

I Want to Win Arguments with My Fifteen-Year-Old Sister

My love of all things bookish does not just relate to me, but it’s relevant to the lives of everyone in my household. We’re all READERS. How is it, though, reading as long as I have, that my little sister has read every single installment of this series not ONLY before I was willing, but before the movies as well? There were incessant dinner conversations at the table about the latest adventures of Harry Potter and Co. Maybe that was why I was so reluctant to carve out time to start it—all the boasting and chattering about every little thing that happened in the series was exploited for our benefit at every opportunity. There’s only so often you can hear about something before you’re slowly driven mad, or driven to ignore anything in relation to the topic.

Unfortunately, that might’ve been one of the more subtle instances to put a hitch in my stride and elongate my reluctance.

Now, however, it’s MY TIME. I want to be the one able to spout useless, random facts about each of the characters at any given time. I want to be the one to win the Naming Characters quizzes. I want to be able to recall hordes of information, like a BREATHING ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HARRY POTTER, on every moment of the series so that when it does come up in conversation—or even when it doesn’t—I will not only be able to hold my own, I will also be able to put my knowledge to work so that I can kick my sister’s cranium’s ass for once.

I Spent Fifty Precious Bucks on the Whole Boxset

That’s FIFTY dollars cash money, people. That’s some serious guap to spend on solely books. And really beautiful packaging. But nonetheless, I refuse to let it become tagged as superfluous spending, which would be the case if I push off reading each book. And I not only NEED to read each one, but I have to love it as well—it’s the only way to bolster my sadly lacking argument—which merely consists of a shrug and a ‘Well, it IS the Harry Potter series’—with an ‘I loved it so fracking much it had to come home with me, I had to own it.’ That explanation seems to satisfy most people and would help me refrain from ducking my head in shame when the price and with what I used to spend the money comes into question.

Although... I rarely get asked.

This is more of a way to explain to myself why I purchased an entire series I never finished reading because of my childish distaste and boredom—which haunts me as I stare at the set—instead of buying something else I rest more of my faith in loving.

It does seem like a huge gamble… until I read all the quotes, those wise, gut-wrenching, precious dialogue that leaves me wracked with shivers of not JUST mere anticipation but marvel at the power they hold. I’ve slowly convinced myself it’s more of an investment.

What about YOU? Have you ever frivolously spent a lot of money on something you WANTED to love? What books have you received the most peer pressure to read?

Got something to say? Let me know down in the comments section. Don't be shy!

10 comments:

AnimeJune said...

Look, I love Harry Potter but I know quite a few people who just "didn't get into it." They figured it just wouldn't be their bag for perfectly valid reasons like believing their current reading tastes would lead them to dislike it. If a person's lived their entire life and not enjoyed one fantasy book, who's to say they'd like Harry Potter out of all the other fantasy novels they've tried and hated?

People who try to shame or call people who still don't read the series "stupid" get on my nerves. I was shamed into reading Lord of the Rings - AND IT WAS BORING. I mean, I respected the work and detail that went into it, but DAMN.

The people I *do* disagree with are the "hipsters" who don't want to read Harry Potter JUST BECAUSE "everyone" likes it and it's so popular. To me, that's a pretty narrow-minded reason. By all means, don't read something *just* because everyone's reading it, but don't use it as a negative quantifier.

P E said...

Well, I love Harry Potter. I read it before most of my friends and it's probably one of the most influential books I've ever read. I kind of grew up with it so the series means a lot to me. I do also know people who didn't understand why this series is so big. I don't think you need to read Harry Potter unless it sounds like something that would interest you. I hope you enjoy the series, but if not that's okay too.

Caitlin said...

HOLY HELL ASHER I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS SERIES OMGOMGOMGOMG. haha, okay, totes over that now. I LOVED your post, so funny. Looking forward to hearing about how much you love HP!! Series I felt most peer pressure to read was THG, but then I loved them ;)

Cait x

Yiota Yiotini said...

Tsk tsk..you haven't read HP :P Actually many of friends haven't read it, or haven't read all the books and i am a crazy Potterhead. I don't mind though. I love explaining everything to them. Since they can't read them..okay!
It's easier to read them when you are younger too. You haven't read that many books and HP can be truly special. Like your first series! :D

On the question you asked though, i haven't read a book cause of pressure. I live in healthy environment i think. Everyone reads whatever their want. LOL. We do constantly say each other to read a certain book, but only because we think they will like it.

I have spent money on something i wanted to love. Constantly. Video Games. I buy them and never play.

Liz @ Planet Print said...

LOLOL. This is hilarious! And you know...I'm kind of glad you caved to peer pressure. ON THIS OCCASION, of course. Because caving to peer pressure = bad. Usually. Unless Harry Potter is involved ;). After spend so much on the set, I really do hope you end up enjoying them all in the end! (Which book are you on now?) If you don't, I will die on the inside, but I will accept it...:P.

Brodie said...

In other words, I’ve f*cking caved to the peer pressure. xD

*SQUEALS IN DELIGHT* I LOVE TO READ THESE WORDS, ASHER.

Do you know how much I love this ENTIRE post?! And that I had the biggest grin on my face while reading? And that I KNOW that your primary reason was actually to impress me and the other Potterheads who are sipping the Cuckoo juice (when you're not longer a muggle, you'll be saying PUMPKIN juice. Or in this case, probably Firewhiskey) and because you secretly DO want out approval? Okay, so maybe not, but ASHER ASHER ASHER I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED THAT YOU BOUGHT THE SERIES AND ARE GOING TO READ THEM AND AND AND BE A WORKING ENCYLOPEDIA OF POTTERISMS! LIKE US! Are you excited to join our Hogwarts club, Asher? *manic, crazy eyed look*

PLEASE keep us updated on when exactly you start and your progress throughout. Or I'll just stalk you on Goodreads, either option works. And DO stick with the series, regardless of your feelings of the first few books (while i obviously love them, I know some late readers who were a bit meh with the first two), because just as Harry and his friends age another year with every book, the books themselves mature with the characters. that's one of the things I love so much - the books grew up in story, in depth, in the writing and mature content as both the reader and Harry do. And OH MY GOSH. Wait until you get to... well... EVERYTHING. ALL THE EMOTIONS, ASHER. THE EMOTIONS! *drops to the ground and beats flailing arms*

Why yes, I did take my morning Cuckoo-Pumpkin juice, how did you know?

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

Oh, Asher. Ohhhh, Asher. All I will say is that you are in for a HUGELY emotional series...with memorable characters that I still regularly think about. I can read certain passages and get those chills you're talking about. I can read certain passages and STILL tear up. There is true magic in this series, yeah, but it's also in the age-old story being told. J.K. Rowling is a master story-teller, and I sincerely hope you enjoy HP!

Molli | Once Upon A Prologue

Sarah said...

"So, I’m obviously not only a BAD person for not reading the series by now, but also unworthy. UNWORTHY."

ASHER. I'M SO GLAD YOU FINALLY UNDERSTAND.
ANYWAY. I shall forgive you, 1: because you're awesome; 2: BECAUSE YOU'RE FINALLY GOING TO READ HARRY POTTER.

Also: How the HELL did you manage to get the whole boxset for only $50? :O *is insanely envious*

ANYWAY.

"Have you ever frivolously spent a lot of money on something you WANTED to love?"

YES! Harry Potter for one (it worked out rather swimmingly), Vampire Academy (also worked spendidly), Iron Fey (still must read), and His Dark Materials (Phillip Pullman. JADFHJDAFDJKL. I DIE. FROM THE GOODNESS).

ASHER. I EFFING LOVE YOU. Also, I have one *TEENSY* little correction: Potterheads DO, in fact, all drink copious amounts of Cuckoo juice. Just so you know :D

Heidi said...

I'm curious, Asher, have you watched the movies?


(This is me restraining all of my giddiness about the fact that you are going to FINALLY read these books because yes I am a bit of a Potterhead.)

Sonia said...

THESE ARE THE BEST WORDS I HAVE EVER HEARD IN MY LIFE <333

ASHER, I'M SO EXCITED FOR YOUUUUU!!!!!!!