A little earlier in the month, when I was looking into some cool Harry Potter-inspired merchandise to spotlight in this article, I started to think about how powerful a story the Potter series really is and the kind of impact it’s had on fans all over the world. While scavenging the Internet for photos on Google to support my top picks for the editorial, I noticed an image of a girl submerged in Potter merchandise and quickly dismissed it. Looking back on it now, I’m not even sure why—it would’ve been a perfectly fitting addition to the article.
Her name is Katie—the girl sitting in a pile of what looks like Harry Potter throw-up. And she’s the #1 Potter fan in the world… officially.
To give you all the short version (since I’m sure I’m quite possibly the only fan discovering Katie’s story now…) Katie submitted to and won a contest called “101 Reasons I am the Greatest Harry Potter Fan in the World”—and rightfully so. Her room is 100% (yes, one hundred percent) covered in Harry Potter memorabilia and merchandise, down to every last spare inch. I won’t go into specifics on how she beat out the thousands of other submissions, but you can read the article for yourselves here.
I feel inspired by Katie’s story—she’s had a love for Potter since the age of eleven, and the now 25-year-old continues to thank J.K. Rowling for what the story has done for her to this day. She and her sister, who used to fight quite often, have found closeness due to their shared love of the series. Her younger sister even says that she finds it difficult to put into words what Rowling has done for them—“she gave us purpose, power, strength, friendship, magic and love.”
I can really identify with that. I find myself relating so much of what I go through in my life to Harry Potter, and I really believe that Rowling has inspired a generation of people and given them something to relate to and to come together over. “Some girls buy makeup and clothes; I buy Harry Potter stuff” was Katie’s answer to an interview question with the the Star, and I don’t know if that response could have come from a more honest place. She also said that she’s always wearing something Potter-related, and she’s got a tattoo of a Golden Snitch on her wrist.
People like Katie are, to me, a really accurate representation of the word “courage.” I think that, to give in to and follow and seek the things that make you happy regardless of what another person may say or believe (like Harry) is completely courageous, and it’s truly something to be stirred by.
Another article that’s been widely read is about Richard Hutton, the wand collector. Hutton is 43 years old and has stated that he’s faced quite a bit of scrutiny for “still playing with toys in [his] 40s…” Although generally a typical response to fandom collections, I’m slightly surprised and sad to hear that anyone would ridicule his. As an obviously huge Potter fan myself, it makes me super happy to hear that even fans of the series that are considered to be part of the “older” generation can give younger fans a run for their money (and in Richard’s case, literally!). Hutton loves his collection so much that he hired a local framer to build a display for him (something I can totally see myself doing). The framer ended up displaying the collection and unique frame in their shop in Derbyshire, and someone offered 10,000 pounds for the entire thing! (For us Americans, that’s $16,750). I’m glad Hutton rejected the offer—he plans to keep the collection for his now three-year-old grandson, which to me is a testament to just how much he loves the books.
Memorabilia has given people who truly love and connect with a particular field of interest a way to tangibly obtain a piece of the magic. They’re called memorabilia for just that reason—they are things that are remarkable and truly worthy of remembrance. And in the same way that photo and video have become a method of documenting the beautiful experiences we’ve had in our lives, memorabilia can allow people to document the experiences, or feelings, they’ve had in their hearts.
If you guys were to start a Harry Potter collection, what sort of memorabilia would you collect? If you’ve already got one, share below!