Harry Potter and how it taught me to grow up

As a child of the 90s, most of my life was spent waiting for the next Harry Potter book. At one point in my life, I stood in line for hours, dressed in tights, a crisp white button-down shirt and a dark skirt, waiting in line for the premiere of the eighth movie, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows II.” In my hand, Sirius Black’s wand that I stole from my brother and a Gryffindor button pinned on the lapel of my blazer.

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The polaroids were snapshots of my trip to Harry Potter World in Universal Studios. It was my second time visiting the theme park and it was definitely on my list to take beautiful pictures. Photo by Klarizza Aggabao

So what does Harry Potter have to do with becoming an independent person? The characters themselves: Harry for bravery to stand up against what he doesn’t believe in; Ron for his loyalty to his friends and his camaraderie; Hermione for her brilliant mind, being the “brightest witch of her age.” As the characters grew throughout each book, I saw myself growing with them.

The person that I grew with the most is Hermione. Because Hermione was considered to be in my age group, I really did grow up with her. What made Hermione more relatable to me was how realistic she was as a woman and a character.

Hermione was smart. She focused on schoolwork, helped her friends and was never the stereotypical weak and meek and silent girl character that most movies would interpret her to be.

What I loved most about her was that she was never ashamed of who she was. When Draco Malfoy called her a “Mudblood,” a derogatory term for a Muggle-Born, she cried a little but she never hid from that.

As an Asian who immigrated into the US, identity was important to me. I was always so conscious about how different I was from the rest of my friends. I was always ashamed of bringing Filipino food during lunch; I was always scared that I would screw up on my English when I talk.

What Hermione did for me was she taught me to embrace my individuality and my support systems. My friends love the fact that I’m different; They love going to my house and eating Filipino food. As I grew older, I came to fall in love with my background.

Finally, Hermione taught me to be a feminist. Throughout the series, she never had to wait for someone to save her. She was always ahead.

Courtney Lindley, a writer from Bustle, wrote an article, 36 Times Harry Potter’s Hermione Granger Was A Feminist Icon and I agree with everything on the list. But here are my top favorites: She wasn’t dependent on her male friends, she believed in justice, she had ethics and she wasn’t afraid to be herself. Hermione was unapologetically herself in all ways and she aspire me to be the woman that I am.

With her in mind, my demeanor and personality evolved into becoming self-sufficient; I never focused on finding a guy, it was always about my future and my end goal. Growing up independent and responsible, I learned what my priorities were and what I considered to be important to me.

And tonight, as I watch the new Harry Potter film, I will always go back to the series and praise it for how it has shaped my future.

 

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