It may be hard to believe, but the Harry Potter series is now 17 years old, something which means that if the magical series was a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry it would now be able to legally use magic outside of school grounds.
However since the series was first released, in book form in 1997 and then in movie form from 2001, the wildly successful franchise has proved that you don't need to be a witch or wizard to bring a little magic into peoples' lives, sometimes the power of words used to create such an accepting and welcoming universe is all you need.
Take a look at these 10 heartwarming stories fans of the Harry Potter series have shared about how the franchise has helped them through some seriously tough times by bringing a little magic, friendship, and wonder into their lives:
1. When it helped one of its own
While most of you know Evanna Lynch for her flawless portrayal of Luna Lovegood, the quirky Ravenclaw witch obsessed with Nargles, one thing you may not know about Lynch is that before she was cast as Luna, Harry Potter and JK Rowling literally saved her life. Speaking to The Western Front she revealed about how the series helped her:
I wrote to her [Rowling] when I was 11, and I was sick at the time. I had an eating disorder. I wrote to her because Harry Potter was the only other thing I really cared about and that helped me take my mind off it, and I just wanted to thank her for that and say how much it helped me. Especially how much Luna helped me. It was basically just a big fat, “thank you, I love you” letter.
I kept expecting her not to write back, but she’s just such a caring person that she really wants to help with whatever wisdom she has. We wrote for years, and she helped me through recovery and everything.
I was still writing to her when I got the part of Luna. But it happened in such a short space of time that I didn’t get to tell her. The producers told her because they just mentioned the names of people. She was really shocked. We still keep in touch.
The whole reason it [the eating disorder] started was a struggle with identity and wanting to have something. It was this thing, and this is why Luna sort of helped me heal so much—the feeling that I was too odd and different and wanting to cover that up.
Thanks to Harry Potter and JK Rowling Lynch was able to make a full recovery, and we were able to see the most perfect Luna Lovegood make it into the films:
2. When it got someone through their a death in the family
I was ten when my grandfather died...he was the first death of someone who was close to me. Naturally, I was inconsolable, and I was a crying mess for a while. One or two days later, my parents gave me Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, in an attempt to cheer me up a bit. (It was back when this book was first published, so I’d been waiting for it for a while.) I remember reading it all, closing the book, flipping it over and starting again, to the point that, fourteen years later, I still know most of it by heart. Eventually, I stopped being a sobbing mess, and, to this day, I think of that old, beaten-up book as the one which helped me through the saddest week of my childhood.
3. When it helped someone be true to themselves
I devoured the Harry Potter series when I was a kid, like most of us did, and reread them throughout adolescents. It wasn’t until I was coming out in college that I clang to them like they were part of me. I’d be crying in my dorm, wishing I wasn’t gay, and the only thing that would get me out of that dark place was J.K. Rowling and her writing. The moment that gave me the strength to be myself was in Goblet of Fire when Hagrid talks about the prejudice he has met from being a Half Giant: “There’s some who’d always hold it up against yeh … there’s some who’d even pretend they just had big bones rather than stand up an’ say — I am what I am, an’ I’m not ashamed.”
4. When it taught important life lessons and gave long lasting gifts
Everyone’s reason for loving Harry Potter is different, and they are all profound. For me, Harry Potter taught me the weight of my choices—that anyone can be good depending on what they make of what they’re given. This was a lesson that I took to heart, and have remembered over and over again throughout my life. Friends, philosophy, and social change—these are all the beautiful gifts JK Rowling and her creation, that gawky student at Hogwarts we all grew to love, gave to me without her even knowing it.
5. When it gave someone friends even in their loneliest days
I was bullied through school so Harry Potter was my escape. Through it I could have friends and be brave. Thanks JK Rowling for writing a series of books I still cherish to this day.
Shared by Buzzfeed community member allisonb48cce850e
6. When it offered a much needed escape
Every time I needed to escape from reality, I could always immerse myself into the realm of Harry Potter. I am so attached to the series and with every trial, it got me through it. I could not have gotten through my childhood or early adulthood without those books.
7. When it helped someone through their illness
I spent my teenage years coming to grips with the realities of a life with chronic illness. In many ways that struggle threatened to consume my identity, so that I was in danger of allowing my illness to become my life. For a child or teenager, someone who is at the beginning of their journey of self-discovery, the capacity to imagine, to dream of realities beyond what we can see right in front of us, is a gift of incalculable value. Harry Potter helped me to look beyond my own fear and pain, beyond my life that seemed ready to crumble to pieces, by immersing me in a story larger than myself.
8. When it helped someone through a quarter-life crisis
I will always be thankful for my therapist for non-intentionally giving me the idea to read the entire “Harry Potter” series again as an adult. (According to age groups that’s what I am although I don’t really feel like it; I’m probably an adult cat still needing supervision.) The two weeks reading it have been an emotional rollercoaster — I noticed things I certainly didn’t notice as a child and think I enjoyed it even more! But most importantly it was the best way I could help myself and make myself understand that change is totally okay and acceptable, and that fear is also normal yet manageable and growing up is just a part of life itself.
9. When it helped someone survive bullying and a school year from hell
I survived by every minute of every day imagining how Harry Potter must have felt every time the school turned against him. When he claimed Voldemort was back, or when his name got entered in the Goblet of Fire. How Harry ignored bullies and circled his friends around him. I created my own Order of the Phoenix, and my friends took the challenge willingly, fighting more battles for my reputation than I care to admit. And by the next year, people had started to leave me alone. The whispers never truly went away, but without Harry Potter in my life, I never would’ve survived that year. I don’t think I’d be alive today. And that’s the story of how Harry Potter saved my life.
10. When it simply made someone a better person
They’ve changed the world. They’ve changed my world. I am a better person because Harry Potter exists. Hail to the Queen J.K.Rowling.