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Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Boy Who Lived (And Will Probably Die A Virgin)

What do you think? 
Disclaimer: I haven’t watched the last Harry Potter film yet but if you already have and you’re the type who keeps on blabbing about it and spoiling other people who haven’t seen the movie yet, may a hippogriff trample on you while a dementor sucks your worthless soul.

Do you still squirm at the mere recollection of your Marvin Agustin notebooks or M2M song lyrics scribbled with glittery purple ink at the back of your slumbook during elementary school? If yes, consider an emotional connection between us existent.

And though I certainly wasn’t as “jologs” as you were back in the day, I’ve also had my share of eccentric/socially-frowned-upon behavior during the elementary years, and it involves no less than the greatest fictional character in contemporary literature…Edward Cullen. Kidding! Twilight’s not literature, duh, I meant Harry Potter.

In reality, being a Potter fan in the socially tumultuous era known as the late elementary/pre-high school years could lead to only two outcomes: Harry Potter becomes a status symbol to make you seem cooler and smarter than your classmates who lack the attention span to even read the alphabet or it turns you into a social pariah, ostracized from the Pokemon-watching, Britney Spears-listening majority who thinks that you’re too weird to even be mentioned in a casual conversation.

I ended up being (Yep, you guessed it.) part of the latter category.

Probably me in a few years. Once a Potter fan, always a Potter fan.

But I’m very thankful that I turned out to be one of the nerds nobody talked to. If I hadn’t been through that social rollercoaster back in the day, I wouldn’t be as driven as I am right now to make everybody else seem insignificant. Whoops, that’s a story worth saving for another blog post, or a counselor.

Going back to Harry Potter, being a fan didn’t make me popular among my classmates and it only amplified my being a geek whom everyone taunted in school. But all of that didn’t seem to matter to me whenever I experienced that sense of wonder flipping through those pages gave me.

Reading Harry Potter was my only channel for escapism in my otherwise dull and emotionally scarring childhood. I owe my life to JK Rowling for creating the only beacon of hope us kids have in a bleak and meaningless world.

One thing great about the series is that I basically grew up with Harry Potter. When I transferred to yet another school, he was a freshman in Hogwarts. When a giant basilisk was out to kill him, my English teacher skewered me for not being able to buy a costume for our school play. When Harry and Cho Chang had their first kiss, I was dropping old figurines that I stole from our sala set into paperbags to give to my crush on Valentines.

In short, a reason why I was engrossed with the series is because I identified with the protagonist in so many ways. We were the same in lots of aspects except that his world was far more magical than the crummy one I had in which, in that time, Erap was still president.

My evolution as a human being: from this slightly obese, socially awkward child... this slightly obese, socially awkward, shades-sporting Randy Santiago wannabe.

Harry Potter activated my untapped power of imagination and made my existence a little bit more magical. Even now that I’m 21 years old and basically old enough to raise little Harry Potter fans of my own, I still see myself and life as enchanted. And nobody, not even my age or my pot belly could tell me otherwise.

So if given the chance to choose between becoming popular back in the day or staying a loyal Potter fan from then on, this would be a no-brainer because I would still prefer being a fan. The Boy Who Lived has contributed volumes in making the successful person I am today that being well-liked in school wouldn’t have been able to offer me.

I mean just look at where I am today - I’m an AB Journalism senior, former Scrabble and Quiz Bowl champion and an academic scholar with a 75% tuition fee discount. I’m rolling with the big leagues now.

My growth had the trajectory of Neville Longbottom at first - repulsive, unnoticeable in a company of three and irrelevant to any storyline. Then it shifted to Draco Malfoy's - still repulsive, a douchebag and had bad haircuts.

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