We met in a warm secondary school classroom. His story resonated in my ears, one of which I refused to hear because ohmygod, why would I want to hear your life story in that Brunei heat?! I didn’t feel any spark between us, mostly because there was no touching to justify whether there was a spark.
It wasn’t until a few months later during Hari Raya on a car ride to Seria that I fell in love with him after finally holding each other: my hands caressing his spine, and his life touching my heart. We began to journey together, from the abuses he had to go through to the difficult moment of misunderstandings between us (WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY?!)
Our love has continued on until now, and beyond.
Everyone, meet the person who has played an integral part in my life: Harry Potter.
In terms of literature, the young generation that went through the first decades of the 2000s is dubbed as “The Harry Potter Generation”. Never has a book been that visibly influential, with a scar marking a sign of not only a love for a character, but also seen an indication of victory: Over the Dark Lord and sins, the misconception that everyone on the Internet are sexual predators and the continuous notion by media believing that reading has been met with apathy by young people.
The Harry Potter Generation utilised the Internet in a way no books before it went through. I remember being fourteen and the only one amongst my peers who knew about Harry. At this point, Harry and I were already discussing about our wedding while everyone around me were only familiarising themselves with him through a film. Tut!
My emotion for Harry and his stories was one of love at that age. I couldn’t stop talking about him, but if no one’s listening, how can I continue to talk so fondly of my boyfriend whom I’ve already gone first base with?
Internet was my pathway to find others who loves him as much as I do, and a message board called The Wonderful World of Harry Potter became the comfortable nook on the Internet where Harry became a bridge between me and people all over the world.
I participated in discussions of the books, read theories about Voldemort and later Horcruxes with a hunger that my curiosity demanded. I ship almost violently (RON AND HERMIONE ARE MEANT TO BE, OKAY) to the point that I went (and still go) on my everyday life going, “I ship you and so-and-so!” and nearly cried from pure happiness at the revelation of Dumbledore being gay. I’ve written fanfictions, drew fanarts and improved my English from communicating with people about Harry (we’re on second base at that point.)
The most wonderful thing I got out of Harry and the message board is the friends I made there, whose views does not necessarily parallel to mine, but the amount of acceptance we have of one another in terms of religion, cultural and political is akin to Harry’s value of tolerance and kindness. I met Lana twice for Harry Potter conventions. Last year, we tasted Butterbeer together and got slightly addicted to pumpkin juice. We cried when we arrived at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park because that’s how much Harry means to us. Our friendship has not been restricted to just Harry though. In 2009, we drove from San Francisco to San Diego for Comic-Con where our time there involved waking up before dawn’s buttcrack to go to the very last LOST panel amongst other nerdy things.
(I’m a Hufflepuff. Get over it. I know what it means to be in this house.)
Harry taught me more about life than people around me have, which is such a sad truth, but if you’re confined to a society like Brunei, it’s difficult to shake off bias prejudices. Harry (third base now, guys) taught me that everyone has their worth, and people are not to be slotted in boxes labelled ‘GOOD’ or ‘BAD’ unless you’re a pretentious villain who can make a cool anagram with his full name (if you are, what the actual heck! I am so jealous of you!)
Each and every character resonates a goodness that we should aspire towards. Ron’s idea of loyal friendship is something I carry with me regularly, and the realism that derives from his character tugs my heartstrings all the time. Hermione’s bookish strategy taught me that intelligence is power, and she injected the confidence I carry now by providing me a pathway that hateful negative comments should be dismissed, not to be obsessed over. Dumbledore taught me to be fabulous. Wormtail’s blind commitment reflects a fear of the powerful, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a bad person. Molly Weasley, human and strict mother of seven, despite doing all she can, still has the need to wash her bloody mouth for swearing! The idea is that all characters have a weakness, and whether they’re on the Dark Side or the side of The Boy Who Lived, we are all complex people, each with their own depths and struggles.
That’s what Harry has taught me and more (I’m not sure what base we’re on, but we are so obviously married right now.) Although there’s a jadedness in how I view the world today when I see people’s failure to love and accept each other, I’m happy to know that there’s a world out there in the form of seven books that aspires for what I want to see in people’s treatment of one another. In that way, the book will continue to inspire people to do the same, and that is hope rekindled for me.
I love you, Harry.