I have a confession to make: I am a wand-owning, Chocolate frog-eating, full-blown Potterhead who has not read all of the Harry Potter books in full since I was 16 years old. In my defense, knowledge of what goes on in Potter-land is so ingrained in my psyche by now that I basically lived it myself. Like, I can’t remember 90 percent of what went on in my junior year of high school, but I absofreakinglutely remember sitting alone on the tile of my bathroom floor crying over Tonks and Lupin, and I’M SORRY, I didn’t even segue gently into that, none of us were ready. Yeesh. Wow. My bad.
Anyway. My point is, when you’re in this fandom, you’re (obviously) in it for life, so you never have any of that “oh, wow, I forgot that even happened in the book!” nonsense you usually do when you reread a fave. It’s burned into your brain forever. That being said, there is no denying the Hogwarts Itch — the medical condition I just created to describe that feeling you get when you just have to, have to, have to reread the series again.
For some of us it’s cyclical. It happens every year, or every three years (or, like, every day). For others it’s triggered by circumstances — the coming of autumn, or a big life change that makes you want to lean into something familiar. But no matter when or what or why, there is one symptom that unites us all in the Hogwarts Itch: you can’t ignore it for long. Here, the series of thoughts you have while deciding whether or not to reread Harry Potter:
The "Ah, Wouldn't That Be Nice? Too Bad I'm So Busy And Grown Up And Stuff" Stage
Otherwise known as "living a lie". When the thought of rereading it first enters your mind, you underestimate its power — and very much like Voldemort the first time he encountered bb Harry, you're about to pay dearly for that mistake.
The Blue Car Syndrome Phase
Blue car syndrome is when you think of a blue car, and then you see blue cars everywhere. The principle is the same here — you think about rereading Harry Potter, and then suddenly your friend from college is live-tweeting her own reread, and there's a PotterCon in town, and you had a weird dream that you were playing Quidditch and Ginny Weasley was your BFF and co-captain and you're weirdly married to Oliver Wood?? (Ahem.) Anyway, the more you try to not think about it, the more the universe demands that you do.
The Calling Your Mom And Demanding To Know If She Still Has Your Old Copies Phase
Of course she does. Because even if you forgot what diehard, hopeless nerd you were, the woman who birthed you and crimped your hair into Hermione's 'do every Halloween in the early millennium will remember forever.
The Weird Guilt Trip Phase
Your one friend who isn't into Harry Potter, but has an exceptional personality so you let it slide: "Oh, you're reading that again? When there are so many other good books out there?"
You: "I AM AN ADULT AND I DO WHAT I WANT, but also, yes."
The Questioning Everything About Your Life And Your Choices Phase
If I let myself read this blessed book again, will I get crossed in the time stream? Accidentally regress to my teenage self? Start listening to Evanescence in my disc man, wearing eight layers of pastel t-shirts at once, and drinking Sunny D?
The Paranoid "What If It Isn't Everything I Remembered It Was?" Phase
If it's been long enough since the last time you read it, you're basically a brand new person. Can you trust this brand new person to enjoy and honor these books the way that Younger You did? What if the brand new person that you are is ... a Muggle?
The Sweet Surrender Phase
Enter you, snug and cozy in the pajamas of your Hogwarts house, snuggled up in bed with a cup of (SUPER BRITISH) tea (BECAUSE YOU'RE BRITISH NOW), cracking open the spine of the best book that ever happened to you. R.I.P., all your adult responsibilities and social obligations for the next month. We're going back to Hogwarts.
Images: Warner Bros.; Giphy(6)