The Life and Times of a Geek

I never mean to get obsessive about fictional universes.

To a certain extent, I sort of hate when I do. I hate it when I become a woman possessed, telling everyone around me “hey, did you know this fact about Batman?” or quoting Buffy the Vampire Slayer at every chance I get, even if it just barely relates to what’s going on. I hate the feeling that I get when I realize that I’m boring the other person, or that they don’t find this as interesting as I do. I always feel slightly ashamed whenever I bring up Disney or Harry Potter and someone laughs and says, “I knew you were going to say that”. Am I really that predictable? That boring and single-minded?

But I can’t help it. It just happens, over and over again.

It always starts the same way: as a casual interest, much the same way that anyone watches a TV show or movie or reads a book. I’ve had hundreds of casual interests in my life. Maybe someone recommends that I check this thing out, or maybe I see images of it online and think it looks interesting. Either way, I don’t dive in head-first. I dip my toe in, get a feel for the thing. And at first, I like it okay, but it isn’t my life or anything like that. It’s just a movie, a TV show, a book that I enjoy. Nothing special.

Then, something happens that changes all of that.

In the case of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it became attached to a memory. I started watching it when I was very young because my mother was obsessed with it herself, and so each episode reminded me of camping out in her bedroom when I was a little girl and watching it on the tiny TV she had in there, laughing along at the jokes that I understand and asking about the jokes I didn’t (“it’s a grown-up joke”, my mom would always say).

In the case of Batman, it was the characters that I became attached to. I fell in love with Harley Quinn, with the Riddler, with Two-Face, with Batman even, and suddenly they became friends that I needed to check in on every once in a while, just to make sure that they were okay. And when they weren’t okay (because they never are), it made me want nothing more than to wrap a blanket around their shoulders and comfort them (even though I know they’re fictional and I can’t).

In the case of Disney, it was a message that rang true. Because Disney films assert the belief that dreams can come true, that if you fight hard enough, anything can happen. And I’ve heard people say that this is a very reductive message that doesn’t hold true in some people’s experiences, but I don’t see the harm in believing in it. Because believing in it motivates me. It gives me a reason to keep fighting, to keep trying. Whenever I feel like giving up, I can just pop in a Disney movie (pretty much any Disney movie), and it will remind me that my dreams are only possible if I keep going.

Any combination of these things can make me obsessed with a fictional universe. One good character, one good scene, one good message, or one good memory is all it takes to make me need to look into the entire history of this universe – who made it? Why did they decide to create it the way they did? What inspired them? What did they go through in their own lives? What was the context of this story? And the next thing I know, I can’t shut up about it. It consumes me – not to the extent that it gets in the way of my daily life or anything like that, but to the extent that I think about it often, that I pick it apart, that I need to know more.

And as much as I hate it sometimes, I have had moments (particularly when my depression is bad) when these obsessions just go away, and I don’t care as much. And that terrifies me more than the possibility that I might bore someone with my stupid, useless facts. Because my obsessions are a part of me – they help to make me feel alive and they give me something to get excited about. They aren’t the only part of me, of course, but to lose them would still leave me with a great, gaping hole inside. I enjoy being obsessed. I enjoy reading these facts about them and I enjoy the feeling I get when I indulge in them. I even enjoy raving on about them whenever I find someone who will let me. Truly, I wouldn’t give them up for anything.

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The Value of Uncomfortable Art

As a writer, one question that I frequently find myself questioning is what, exactly, can and should be put into fiction.

And as consumers of media, I think this is a question that comes up often, as well. For years, people have made the claim that violence in fiction is dangerous, because it teaches impressionable people to act violently, and therefore, it should be avoided at all costs.

I’ve had people – particularly very spiritually-inclined people – tell me that I should avoid violent or negative media, like horror films, because they create negative energy in the consumers, that then turns into negative feelings, uncontrollable anger, bouts of depression – things like that.

And as someone who is very concerned about women’s rights, I’ve been told repeatedly not to watch this movie or that movie or support the interest in this character and their story arch because it’s sexist, or it promotes harmful stereotypes, or it delivers a message that ultimately oppresses women.

And I understand all of that. I totally support you if you personally do not want to partake in this movie or that genre, or if you are offended by the message that you read into this narrative. But does that mean that the story should not have been written in the first place? Just because somebody says that this narrative is (quote-unquote) ‘bad’ – or, hell, just because the majority of people say it’s bad – does that necessarily mean that it is wrong?

This isn’t a question that can necessarily be answered in only one way, because there is no right or wrong answer. There are only opinions. And while one person might say that a story shouldn’t be written if it includes violence or if it demeans a particular group of people or if it supports immoral behaviour, I personally disagree.

Personally, I believe that anything and everything should be used if a story if the author wishes it to be so.

Let’s use the example of violence here (because it’s the example that I think will get me in the least amount of trouble). Violence exists in our world, and it has long before the invention of film or visual media. That is just a simple fact, proven by the very existence of war and history textbooks. And while I don’t want to get into any factual discussions about the correlation between rates of violence and rates of violence in the media, I will say that art reflects life. Violence exists in fiction because violence exists in reality, and it works the same way with everything else that we see as a negative in art.

We tell sexist or racist stories because we are a sexist and racist culture.

Some stories support immorality because some people support immorality.

Whether we like it or not, it’s there, and leaving it completely unexplored and ignored is as good as shutting our eyes and covering our ears and going ‘la-la-la, it’s not happening’. That’s not to say that you need to immerse yourself in it. If you’re uncomfortable watching a horror movie, then good – don’t watch horror movies. But at the same time, you cannot deny that there is some value to what they do.

Because, in my personal opinion, the negative aspects of society need to be confronted and explored if anything is ever going to be done about them, and art is one of our safest (and, let’s face it – more fun) vehicles of being able to do that.

I’m going to use a specific narrative as an example – the storyline of Harley Quinn in DC Comics, and her abusive relationship with the Joker. As a feminist, I have two choices when approaching this storyline – I can either look away because watching a woman being physically and emotionally abused by a man makes me uncomfortable, or I can keep watching and use it as an excuse to better understand this issue without actually going out and putting myself in an abusive situation. I’m not saying that either choice is a bad one, I’m just saying that there is an opportunity to take this narrative – one that reflects a very uncomfortable part of our society – and learn something from it. Something that you can then take into the real world and use to help or better understand someone who is actually dealing with domestic violence.

Uncomfortable art has value. It raises questions, makes you think, forces you to think about things from another perspective. Maybe it doesn’t always do this – there are most certainly some films or books or music that uses violence or sexuality or controversy for the simple sake of being shocking or appealing to a certain crowd. Some horror films hold up the violence against certain people as nothing more than something to take pleasure in. But even that has its place, even if its place is nothing more than simple, barbaric enjoyment, and if we say that that form of uncomfortable art shouldn’t exist, then what’s to stop us from saying that the uncomfortable art that we can learn something from shouldn’t exist either? Where do we draw the line, and how can we say which forms of uncomfortable art can or cannot teach someone a valuable lesson?

So if you are personally offended by a particular piece of art, for whatever reason, and you don’t want to take part in it, then don’t. But don’t deny that it has value. Uncomfortable art exists because life is uncomfortable, and if we’re ever going to learn to deal with that, then we need to open our minds to other perspectives.

Top 5 Books From This Semester As An English Major

You guys.

You guys.

This is the last full week of classes.

I’m still sort of reeling from this semester, to be totally honest. It’s been a whirlwind of activity and excitement and stress and tears. I feel less relieved to have it done and more shook, like I just get released from a tornado and now I need to find my footing on solid ground again.

Still, looking back, I’m glad I made it through. There’s been a lot of laughs and reading and progress and reading and learning and reading and reading and reading and reading…

So, as part of looking back on this semester, I figured that I’d make a list of the top five most interesting books that I read. These aren’t necessarily my top five favourite books – some of them I don’t even like at all, to be honest, but they are the top five most impactful, the top five that I definitely won’t forget reading. And so, if you’re looking for something interesting to read, feel free to look through this list and decide for yourself!

1. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

This book makes it on the list simply by being my favourite book from this semester. Read for my class on Gothic literature, this novel tells the story of a young woman who longs to become pregnant, but once she does, begins to suspect that there might be a plot to cause harm to either her or her child. You might be familiar with the 1968 Mia Farrow movie that this book inspired, and the book actually isn’t all that far off. The writing is very cute, doing a great job of capturing real moments between Rosemary and the people around her, and managing to make certain characters very endearing (Rosemary and Hutch in particular), and other characters very despicable (Guy in particular). And plus, come on, how could this book not make my list? It’s a Gothic text with a feminist slant, of course I was going to choose it!

After reading this novel, I’m definitely interested to check out other work from Ira Levin. But for now, what else can I say besides it’s a good read and you should definitely check it out when you have a chance.

2. In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate

This book might be slightly closer to what you thought of when I said that I was going to list off my favourite books from my university classes this semester. Written by a Canadian doctor who works intimately with patients who are homeless and addicted to hard drugs (particularly cocaine and heroin), this book describes real-life stories between him and his patients, and then continues on to discuss the science behind addiction. I read this book for my class on Writers and Drugs, and I can’t say that this class takes a particularly scientific approach to the issue, so I’m no expert on whether or not the science found in this book is entirely sound. But I will say that this book does an excellent job of humanizing people who I’ve honestly never spoken to. The people who Mate works with are people who I’ve seen before, of course, just passing by them on the street, but their perspective has always been so alien from mine, so difficult to understand, and this book did a lot to help bridge that gap for me. I don’t think that this is a book that I’ll soon forget because of that. It really taught me a lot about addiction as well, it being a topic that I’d never really thought much of until then (I honestly just took the course because it sounded like the most interesting one that fit in my time table). And so, if you have some time to kill, are looking for a new book, and want to learn more about your fellow man and/or addiction, I’d definitely recommend this one as a great read.

3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

To be totally honest, this is a book I’ve read before, two summers ago for fun. And then again last year. And then again this year. I kind of like this book, if you can’t tell. Another one from my Gothic literature class, this novel tells the story of a young woman named Eleanor who’s invited out to a supposedly haunted house as part of a scientific exploration of ghosts. To be honest, a good part of the reason that I like it is just because I like the writing style. I think that Shirley Jackson has a good, dry sense of humour, and I find her characters very fun and likeable (shout out to Theo, who I plan to be when I grow up). Not only that, but a good part of the reason that I’ve read this book so many times is because it’s taken me that many readings to even just think that I understand what’s going on in the book. A lot of it is sort of left up to interpretation, and not necessarily in a what-the-hell-is-going-on-I-don’t-understand-any-of-this sort of way. More in a what-does-this-mean-it-has-to-mean-something sort of way.

While I don’t know if I can say that this is a feminist story (that was a discussion in my class, and I have to admit, the very fact that it was written in the 1950’s does make it suspect), I find that it does deal with issues that feminists weren’t talking about at the time, but would later (in my class, I tried to make the argument that a lot of the conflicts in the novel arise because of Betty Friedan’s The Problem That Has No Name). But whether or not it does discuss these issues, it’s a novel that’s most certainly focused on issues around mental illness, and it’s discussion in that regard is definitely interesting.

If you’re looking for a fun little ghost story that you can definitely read more into if you want, check this book out. You don’t have to read it three times if you don’t want to, but definitely try it at least once!

4. Naked Lunch by William Burroughs

Oh boy. This one.

Let me preface this by saying: I don’t like this book. I think this is a book that is easy to not like. Read for my Contemporary Literature course, this one is more just an amalgamation of different little, half-sensical stories that Burroughs wrote while he was high off his ass and experimenting with the cut-up technique. It discusses in explicit detail sex (particularly homosexual sex), violence, drug use, rape, murder, pedophilia, and sort of reads like a twelve-year-old boy’s attempts to be shocking. Really, it’s the sort of book that a kid would pick up, read, and become obsessed with just because he can’t believe that something like that could actually exist.

But then I started doing research on William Burroughs himself and… I didn’t like him. Honestly, the guy was an unapologetic sexist who murdered his wife (yes, I know that there are some speculations that it was an accident). I found both him and his book just unpleasant, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and I kept trying to find excuses to talk about it. Maybe that’s just the effect that something as grotesque as this has on a person. Or maybe I was just fascinated by how much of an influence something as stupid as this had on society. After all, this was one of the very first explicit explorations of homosexual sexuality in literature, and it has to deserve some respect for that. And so, as much as I hated this book and will never read it again, it definitely earns a place on this list for the sake of being just so influential. And if you want to read it, even after everything I’ve said, I say go ahead. It may not be a good read (in my opinion, anyway), but it’s definitely an interesting one.

5. Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart by Chretien de Troye

So I took a class on Arthurian literature this semester, and I’ve sort of loved all of the reading equally. It’s almost difficult to pick out just one for this list, but I told myself I would, just because a lot of these stories are very similar, all of them being about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and all that.

So if I have to pick out just one, which one?

Well, how about the love story where Queen Guinevere totally cheats on her husband and it’s barely even regarded as a deal?

Perfect!

Honestly, if you’re looking to read Arthurian literature, I think this one would be a good place to start. It’s very similar to what you’d expect it to be, as the entire story is focused solely on Lancelot, the perfect and daring Knight, going through all manner of trials and tribulations in order to rescue his lady love. And, fortunately, it has just enough of that Middle Ages weirdness to it to make it funny for the contemporary reader (for example, when a woman asks Lancelot to sleep with her, and he has no choice but to agree because he’s a knight, and knights aren’t allowed to say no to a lady).

If you want to read it, this is one that you can find online through a simple Google search, but make sure you look for it in translation. Nobody wants to have to deal with Middle English.

 

Why Harley Quinn and the Joker are Not ‘Relationship Goals’

I became a Batman fan roughly five years ago, when a passing interest in the cultural icon that was the Joker prompted me to pick up a couple of comic books and to watch the old Batman the Animated Series show. It wasn’t very long before I was hooked – not on Batman in particular, to be totally honest, but on the villains. I fell in love with the Riddler, both a massive dork in his own right and a very interesting man plagued by a plethora of mental illnesses. I fell in love with Poison Ivy, a woman with an entirely unique perspective, having been human at one point but now existing just beyond that boundary, on the outside of society looking in. I fell in love with Scarecrow, just because he was a fucking jerk who enjoyed tormenting people with their worst fears.

But above all, my favourite character in the Batman universe was Harley Quinn.

I found her to be a very fun and unique character, full of contradictions. She was strong, but also hyper-feminine, with her blonde pigtails and her bubbly personality. She’s one of the very few people who Riddler has confessed to being (nearly) as intelligent as he is, but she dumbs herself down, either for the sake of the Joker’s ego or for her performance – it’s never really been explained either way. And then there was her relationship with the Joker – something that I found highly intriguing.

On the one hand, their relationship could be fun – almost sweet, even. They could be the dangerous lovers, holding hands and dancing through the death and destruction around them. They could torture children for the sake of making them their own. They could celebrate the end of Gotham with a kiss. I liked this side of their relationship, the contrast between romance and death. I’ve always been a sucker for villainous couples, and this one certainly had its moments.

But then there was the other side of their relationship – the abusive side. The side that made me, as a Harley fan, want to hunt the Joker down and punch him in his stupid grinning face and then pull her into my arms and tell her that she deserved better. It was the side that humanized a woman guilty of murder, the side that made readers everywhere see her as a fragile, complex individual who needed help. I liked this side of their relationship too, but for entirely different reasons. I liked it because of what it did for Harley’s character, how it fleshed her out and made her more than just a cut-and-dry bad guy. She was a woman in a situation that many before her have experienced – a lost, desperate lover who wanted only to find her happiness through any means and any sacrifice.

Because of the complex nature of their relationship, my personal feelings about it shifted often. Depending on the comic I had most recently read, I could either be looking up goofy fan art of them, or I could be fantasizing about the Joker’s brutal and totally justified death. Sometimes, I liked them together. Sometimes I didn’t. But even when I liked them together, it was never with the assumption that they were an admirable or even healthy relationship.

Because here’s the thing: I love Harley Quinn. If she were a real woman (and wasn’t guilty of quite so many murders) I would want to seek her out, give her a good, long hug, and then spend all night explaining to her how she needs to get herself help, and that I will be there for her through it all. But she isn’t a real woman. She is a character in a fictional universe, and in order for me to keep on enjoying her, she needs to keep on having a story. And in order for her to have a story, she needs to have conflicts, demons, suffering. If there isn’t anything wrong with her life, then there isn’t really a story there. So when I say that I enjoy the storyline of Harley and the Joker as a couple, it isn’t because I think that any real woman deserves to be treated that way, or even because I think that their relationship should be emulated by real couples. It is because Harley and the Joker exist in a contained, fictional universe where these issues that I find intriguing can be explored to their fullest extent without anyone actually getting hurt.

And when I started to notice other people being interested in Harley and the Joker’s relationship, I assumed that this was the case for them too. They had to know about the abuse between them – how could they not? It was Harley’s primary story arch, for pete’s sake! And if they didn’t know about it, well, then they couldn’t possibly have known their characters, and they just liked the image of them together. They weren’t actually ignoring the most important part of their relationship in order to praise the other, less substantial side, were they?

It was around the time that the Suicide Squad movie was released that I began to see it more and more often, however: fully grown, socially competent people who were actually holding the Joker and Harley Quinn up as a relationship to emulated. The pictures were all over my Facebook feed, tagged with phrases like ‘relationship goals’.

jokerharley

I almost couldn’t believe it. It seemed impossible that so many intelligent, critically-thinking adults could look at Harley and the Joker and forget the time that he pushed her out of a window because she dared try to do his job better. Or the time that he shot her just because he was tired of her being around. Or, hell, even just all the times that he yelled at her until she cowered beneath him. I mean, sure, there have been times where I liked their relationship, particularly in the moments where they were sweet and in love, but I never forgot the other side of their relationship. I never held them up as an image to be emulated.

And as much as I tried to tell myself that these people who ‘wanted a relationship like theirs’ were fully aware that there was a whole other side to it that they didn’t want, that they were just holding the more endearing side up as something desirable, I saw no evidence of that. In all the pictures of couples dressed up as Harley and the Joker, marked with countless people describing them as ‘cute’ and ‘relationship goals’, I never once saw someone even mention the abuse. In all the fan art that called them the perfect couple, I never noticed anyone pointing out their flaws. So as much as it might be harsh to say that these people are condoning violence against women, I will say that it doesn’t seem like they care all that much about it. Somehow, Harley being punched in the face and endlessly manipulated for years doesn’t stop them from being ‘relationship goals’.

So I’m still a fan of Harley Quinn. I’m still going to actively seek out comic books and video games and movies/TV with her in it, because she and her story are still incredibly intriguing to me. I still think that her story has value, being a reflection of issues that real women unfortunately go through in our society. But the side of her and the Joker’s relationship that I used to like, the side that everyone praises as being ‘sweet’ and ‘perfect’, has been tainted for me. This side exists for a reason – it is what keeps Harley from leaving. These are the good times that she always remembers when she’s wiping the blood and the tears away, telling herself that it’s her fault and that he’s a good guy, honestly, he just gets a little carried away sometimes. This side is just as ugly as its reflection, and we need to stop praising it. Because, no, Harley is not a real woman, but there are plenty of real women (and men) like her, and they are just as present as anyone else when you point to an abusive relationship and call it ideal. You normalize their abuse – you tell them that the other side of their relationship, the happy side that keeps them there, is totally worth everything else. And that most certainly is not the case. It isn’t the case in the fictional example of Harley and the Joker, and it isn’t the case in real life.

This needs to stop. The normalizing of abusive relationships through Harley and the Joker needs to stop. And if you are in an abusive relationship currently, you need to get help, please. You need to reach out to someone and get yourself out of that situation, through whatever means necessary. Your health and your happiness is so much more important than that.

What Harry Potter Means To Me

I’m not going to say that I moved around a whole ton when I was a kid or anything like that. One place as an infant, one place as a child, one place as a teenager, that’s about it – enough, at least, that there’s no one geographical spot in this world that I consider to be my home. No, there’s only one thing that gives me that sense of belonging, of warmth and childhood familiarity, and that’s when I hear Hedwig’s Theme playing.

I don’t really remember my life before Harry Potter. It seems to me that I was born the moment that the book was first opened, the new spine cracking audibly and my world filled with the smell of fresh ink on musty paper. And that simple act, that simple book borne from the mind of a woman who, chances are, I’ll never meet, changed me in ways that I’ll never fully understand, because really, I’ll never really be without it.

For a long time, when people asked me why I wanted to be a writer and when I was still desperate to come up with a story to explain it, I’d tell them that it was because of Harry Potter. Now, whether or not that’s true is hard to say – my mother tells me that I loved books and storytelling even before J.K. Rowling came into my life, but I do remember there being a large part of my childhood where I didn’t just think “I want to be a writer” – I thought “I want to be a writer and create worlds like Harry Potter”. And to a certain extent, that has always stayed with me, to this very day. Fantasy has always been my calling. It’s the genre that I most enjoy writing, and it’s the genre that I actively seek out as often as possible. I idolize people like J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, C.S. Lewis – people who took the fantasy genre and made it their own, adapted it to tell the stories that they were meant to tell. To a certain extent, I get almost offended when someone refers to fantasy as “low-brow” or a “non-academic genre”, as though their saying so is a personal attack against a very important part of myself. Because at this point, it is a part of myself. Fantasy came upon me with the very first reading of Harry Potter, and it nestled into my heart and soul.

I remember reading an article a few years back, as well, reflecting on the generation of children that were raised on Harry Potter and making the claim that these kids were raised to be much more compassionate, much more understanding, and much more open-minded. At the time, I hadn’t really thought of the ways that Harry Potter had changed my mind as well as my life. After all, it had always been there. I couldn’t even say that I was ‘obsessed’ with it, really, because it was just a part of my life, something that I lived with the way that I lived with having hands, or breath, or a face. I just couldn’t imagine my life without it, so I didn’t consider the ways in which it had changed my thinking. But looking back now, I definitely think it did.

Hermione Granger taught me that if there was something I believed in, whatever it might be, I needed to stand up and fight for it. She taught me that ignoring problems and simply letting them be doesn’t fix them, and even if your voice is nothing more than a small shout in the wind, at least it’s a voice. At least you’re doing something.

Severus Snape taught me that even the cruelest, most unpleasant people in our lives are still people. They have still loved and hurt, and they are simply trying to do the best that they can in a world that can be so cruel at times, even if their best doesn’t always come across as enough.

Ronald Weasley taught me that it is totally possible to be important, loved, and wanted even when you don’t feel like you are. You might think that you are nothing more than one in a large set, easily lost and forgotten amongst the rest, but that doesn’t mean that everyone sees you that way. There is no way that Harry would have defeated Voldemort without Ron’s love, friendship, and support, and yet Ron saw himself as the disposable member of the team – which is something that I think all of us need to remember when we start to feel that way ourselves.

Albus Dumbledore taught me that even our heroes are little more than human. Not even greatest person on this earth is infallible – every single one of us have made mistakes, said the wrong thing, even hurt people at some point, but that doesn’t necessarily make us bad. So it does no one any good to put people on pedestals, but neither does it help anything to pretend that someone’s shortcomings undoes all the good that they are simultaneously responsible for.

And Harry Potter – sweet, flawed Harry Potter, the boy who grew up alongside me – taught me that this world is an imperfect and difficult place, but you cannot allow it to kill your light. You need to fight for your happiness, refuse your hatred, look for the good in the world because it most definitely exists despite it all. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”.

Harry Potter teaches so many lessons that I agree with that it’s almost difficult for me to say for sure if it was my original teacher, or if all of these things would have come to me eventually, with or without it. As I said before, I just can’t imagine a life without Harry Potter, or a me without it either. It’s just built so much of who I am. I can’t help but imagine that to remove it from me completely would be to pull the losing peg out of a game of Jenga – it all comes crashing down from there, and there’s nothing left.

And as much as that’s probably an odd thing to say (“it’s just a book”, I’m sure a lot of you are thinking), it’s also sort of awe-inspiring. That’s what I love most about stories – the power of them. Their ability to completely shape and reshape who we are. Nothing more than the right combination of words, uttered or read at the right time, is capable of changing the way we think completely. Stories can save lives, can reorder society, can pull tears from your eyes or place smiles on your lips. Not every story will do that for everyone, of course, but every story has that potential to do it for someone. And when you really think about it – one woman who I have never met, who lives in an entirely different country from me, has played an enormous role in shaping who I am today. And that is one of the most beautiful things in this world.

So stories are my passion, and Harry Potter is responsible for a lot of that. It’s a part of me, something that I will never truly be without, and I think that that’s true for a lot of us today. We are the generation that grew up on Harry Potter, and so many of us have been changed by it. Whether that article that praised us for our open-mindedness and compassion is true or not, we are still different people today than we would have been, all because one scrawny little boy with glasses and a lightning bolt-shaped scar entered into our lives.