Believe it or not, there are still people who haven't read the Harry Potter books. I know, right?
I must confess, I was a latecomer to the Harry Potter party. The summer Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, I read all seven books, back-to-back, for the first time. So, for me, J.K. Rowling's iconic series is linked to the summer after I turned 18.
But if you started reading the series when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was still new, Harry Potter took up 10 years of your life. That's an entire childhood! Those of you who were with Harry from 1997 to 2007 know that Rowling's books — like Dunkaroos and Ecto-Coolers — are inextricably linked with your memories of being a kid.
Of course, maybe you weren't in elementary school when Harry Potter hit the scene. The series has been enjoyed by people of all ages, in all corners of the world. Even though Harry Potter is a shared experience, it means something different to every Potterhead. No one forgets the first time she boarded the Hogwarts Express, and the age you were at the time has a big impact on shaping the role Harry Potter plays in your life today.
If You Were Younger Than 8...
Harry Potter took up your entire childhood. Someone else might have read the first book or two to you, but that doesn't make the series any less impacting.
To you, Harry Potter represents everything a small child should learn, from the value of friendship to the importance of working together to do what's right. If you ever have children, you'll make sure to start them off young, because there's no way you can imagine a childhood without Harry Potter.
If You Were 9-13...
Whoa. You were practically the same age as Harry, so the books were 100 percent real to you. Even though you were too old to think that Hogwarts wasn't actually going to send you a letter, you were still young enough to hold out hope that maybe, someday an owl would arrive for you. Reading Harry Potter as a preteen let you tap into the same confidence Harry and the gang eventually developed in themselves.
If You Were 14-17...
So you were a little bit older than Harry at the start of his Hogwarts journey, but that's OK. Beginning Harry Potter in your teens probably made the later books less challenging to read. Just like reading Harry Potter as a preteen helped some people build self-confidence, enjoying the books in high school gave you an assurance boost as well. After all, if 11-year-old Harry could defeat Voldemort-as-Quirrell, you could at least pass geometry, right?
If You Were 18-24...
Hello, friend! We didn't read Harry Potter until college! Can you believe it? By that time, reading Harry Potter was like a rite of passage. All your friends had done it, and you were tired of the shocked faces and oh-my-god-you-have-to-read-its. Sure, you could have been paying attention in Comp I, but you had Harry Potter to read, and that was obviously more important.
All jokes aside, this is actually a great age to read Harry Potter. College is a rough time, and you need a way to escape all the stress. Today, you can still sit down for a Harry Potter marathon and instantly decompress.
If You Were Older Than 25...
Maybe you had kids who were reading the books, or maybe you put off reading for fun until after college. Whatever your reasons were, waiting until you're an actual adult to read Harry Potter isn't a bad thing. J.K. Rowling's books keep you young. A lot of us forget how to relate to younger crowds, but reading a book series meant for children is a great way to understand what the kids are all about, and that's exactly what reading Harry Potter as a grownup does for you.
Images: Warner Bros.; Giphy (5)