The Magic of Harry Potter

In elementary school, I received my first Harry Potter novel and the first in the series. Then I remember picking the second out of the scholastic book catalog along with a ruled journal that had an illustration of Platform 9 3/4 on the cover which I still have to this day. After that, I was hooked. I remember watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at my dad’s house in VCR format and being so excited to have a visual to the books. And then they kept coming. Every release date of a book or movie would make my stomach flip-flop, my heart and breath would stop, and I would be beyond giddy with excitement. 

After that, I constantly expressed my love for Harry Potter to my family. My mother always bought me the movies and my father always bought me the books. He'd always go and drive 40 minutes to bring it to me. Always on the release date and I'd spend the next day reading and finishing it no matter how big it was. The last movie my father and I saw in theaters was the final Harry Potter movie, Deathly Hallows Pt. 2, the summer before he passed away. Looking back, it is so horribly fitting due to the melancholy and mournful nature of the ending. In one scene, the essence of  Harry Potter's loved ones come to bring him strength. Harry questions, "you'll stay with me?" and his father, the same name as my father, James, says, "until the very end" and 4 months later, on December 20th, he passed away. 

Although they couldn’t see the hype, they knew how important it was to me. My brother and I are not close, yet he purchased almost every Harry Potter item in Barnes & Noble for me one Christmas. I took a train to New York City for the Harry Potter exhibit at Discovery Times Square that my sister purchased tickets for one year for my birthday.

When my parents divorced and my mother and I moved into our new apartment the summer before 6th grade started, the Order of the Phoenix was on top of the fridge as we unpacked everything. I can still see the fresh, vivid blue book jacket that was my favorite cover to date. 

When Dumbledore died in the sixth book, it was midnight for me and I came downstairs to the kitchen, crying my eyes out. 

I remember when they announced they were creating a Harry Potter world in Florida and I cried. Countless hours of roleplaying Hogwarts in forums in my pre-teens, taking Harry Potter classes like Potions and doing homework, getting graded on it, and receiving housepoints. And then pretending my living room was the Ravenclaw dorm and pretending school was Hogwarts.

I remember dressing up as Bellatrix and going to the midnight movie premiere. I had an argument on our way with the person I was supposed to be going with so I wound up going on my own. Normally, I may have left and sought out a resolution. However, I stayed. Alone, in costume, feeling only ever-so-slightly ridiculous. 

I read them and re-read them and re-read them. I always owned books I had yet to read but I continuously re-read Harry Potter. I remember being made fun of for being so obsessed. And for always having my nose in a book. And for re-reading them over and over again. I remember being told once that Harry Potter was evil witchcraft and children shouldn’t be reading them and I was appalled. How could something so wonderful and helpful and important to my youth be considered anything less? Could be considered.. evil. When it was the farthest thing from it. It highlighted, so perfectly, the war between good and evil. It showed normal human flaws. It mirrored the real world aside from the creatures and the magic and the very obvious fiction. 

After high school, it seems people became more vocal about Harry Potter. Whether it was a mild interest or a large one. I became quieter and stifled the love and adoration I have for Harry Potter. I had always been protective of Harry Potter, I knew the kids in my grade in high school that were large Harry Potter fans and the ones who were only minor ones. When it seemed everyone started discussing it after high school or sharing memes, I always had this large desire to yell that they don’t even know how incredible Harry Potter is. The depths it breaches for some people. The amount of growth it has caused some people. Which was an unfair and a ridiculous egotistical flaw in my personality.  So instead, I took a step back and let people love what obviously deserves all the love and recognition. In the smallest and largest forms.  

When things were rough at home or at school or my parents were fighting, Harry Potter was my comfort, every single time. I found strength and friendship and love in those books. They helped me grow into the woman I am today and I am a woman I love and am proud of. JK Rowling, even now, inspires me to write and continue writing. There are few fandoms that make me this giddy. Harry Potter, The Tolkien Universe, and Star Trek. I love Star Wars, and Doctor Who and Sherlock yet they don’t have the same impact. I didn’t grow with them like I did the others. They didn’t shape me like they did the others. Something I am forever grateful to J.K. Rowling. For creating such characters that taught me the pros and cons of human characteristics and the potential consequences of our actions. 

If anyone feels like sharing their own personal Harry Potter story, feel free to share in the comments on here, the blog, or by using the hashtag #myharrypotterjourney. What does Harry Potter mean to you? When did you find interest in it? How has it helped you?

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Shayna Shattelroe

25 years old. Mama to Maddox. Word weaver. Lover of love. Coffee addict. Psychological science student. 

A woman of curious nature, my name is Shayna. I am wild & reserved. Humbled & proud. Quiet & clamorous. Strange & familiar. I live in the trees of New England typing away as lifestyle blogger. You can always find me with a coffee cup in one hand and a book in the other.

Blogging since 2005, I’ve had an innumerable amount of blogs on a vast number of platforms. Finally, I’ve found one to call home: The Lovely Cicada. This blog is a piece of myself I extend to you.

Coffee and Books #01

The Lovely Cicada |

"You must love her because many have tried and failed. And she wants to know that she is worthy to be loved, that she is worthy to be kept."

Junot DÍaz creates masterpieces with words. He forms stories that are raw, delicate, and delightful. This Is How You Lose Her is layered with the main character's, Yunior's, inability to keep a relationship while showcasing the evocations of immigrant life. The stories are dynamic and real, each providing the reader with tough times and showing us the consequences of choices. It was a compelling story although not for the faint of heart. It's littered with sexual content and language but DÍaz's prose is beautiful and has you diving headfirst into the story.

The Lovely Cicada |

One of my top favorite novels is Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. Naturally, I felt compelled to read more of his books. I was excruciatingly disappointed by this one. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (which is an exceptional title and about the only thing I liked about the book) is about a woman with abnormally large thumbs who embraces them as a gift and hitchhikes her way to New York. In between there is some drug use, molestation, lesbianism, animal rights, and all the nonsense of Tom Robbins. 

It wouldn't have been bad but it was just a weird male fantasy overly objectifying and fetishizing women. At the end, Robbins interjects his male sexuality by having lesbians hook up with men. No purpose and was altogether boring. 

The Lovely Cicada |

I'm such a sucker for young adult novels and this one is my new favorite! It has everything I love: psychics, a sensible girl as the main character, ravens, tarot cards, dynamic characters, and other mystical forces. I've already ran to the library to get the second one in the series. Each character has such a beautiful development and they're relatable. 

I hear a lot of reviewers complaining this is some sort of love story which is the farthest thing I took from the book. Blue is sensible, grounded, and strong. Romance was farthest from the main plot and was hardly there in the sidelines. Something is budding but there is more crucial parts to the story. All in all, a very strong series I'm looking forward to finishing.  

The Lovely Cicada |

This is unashamedly my 50+ read of this book and if you haven't read it at this point, I'm not sure how to convince you to except by merely saying this: do it because you won't regret it. This is my #1 beloved series and has been since I was a child. It has carried with me through horrible times and good times and I always go back to it. The first few books are fairly simple and quick reads, but as her readers grew, as Harry grew, and as J.K. Rowling grew - so did her books. Everything that happens in her story (well.. aside from the actual magical aspect, of course), can be related to real life. Each of her characters, the conflicts, the messages has something to teach us about love, loss, grief, family, friendship, cowardice, bravery, darkness, and almost anything you can think of. 

Loves of Late

The Lovely Cicada | Loves of Late

1. Fujifilm Mini Instax 8 Instant Film - Polaroid cameras make me so nostalgic. I have a bunch of images from my youth that my father used to take and I love how authentic and raw they are. I remember him taking a photo, me running up to him so he could hand me the film, shaking it to dry it, and then slowly watching the image appear. I still have his old Polaroid One-Step and Polaroid Pro-Pak. This Instax camera is compact and so easy to carry around in your bag. You can take photos with your friends and family while having a hard copy instantly. So much fun!

2. Macadamia Professional Ultra Rich Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner - I have curly hair meaning it's extremely particular, needy, and often dry. Before I started using the Macadamia line, I used both DevaCurl and Ouidad. They're wonderful products but after a couple months of use, my hair became so dried out. I recently tried this brand and I won't be turning back for a while. Curly hair needs moisture and this provides it while not weighing my hair down too much. Packed with macadamia, mongono, and Argan oils, it's sure to leave your hair feeling silky smooth and frizz-free.

The Lovely Cicada | Loves of Late

3. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Ugh. I have so much to say about this book and I'll try to make a separate post about it. It's exciting to see an additional Harry Potter story. I grew up with the books, fell in love, had them save me through hard times, and then cried when they ended. Whenever a book you love ends, it always leaves you with a feeling - empty or emotional or satisfied or craving more. It's always a mixture. Although I have my pros and cons with this book, I definitely recommend any Harry Potter fan picks it up with an open mind. Whether you end up loving it or hating it, it allows you a glimpse into Harry's future from the mind of the creator. Seriously, stop second guessing and buy it!

The Lovely Cicada | Loves of Late

4. The Rider Waite Tarot Deck - This is a classic deck but by far my favorite. For most people, it's their first but for me, it was my second and my most used. The great thing about this deck is the balance of simplicity and complexity. It's perfect for beginners yet complex enough for experienced readers. The images are beautiful and convey the meaning behind the card perfectly. I've hardly read since Maddox has been born but I'm getting back into the swing of it. If you're interested in tarot or even doing an occasional reading here and there, this is the deck to start with. 

The Lovely Cicada | Loves of Late

5. Fresh Rice Sake Bath - I received this from Dave as an anniversary gift last year and it was perfect for a new mother. It's a splurge, for sure, but well worth it. It helped soothe the stresses of the day, my achy muscles, and the scent of baby shit. I love that it uses natural ingredients and is free of chemicals. And anything sake related has to be good, right?

6. Animal Bones - These you can find hiking through the woods but I love using the rib bones of animals to create beautiful pieces of jewelry. There are quite a few etsy shops that create gorgeous, ornate works of art to adorn your body with I had to give it a try myself. And I'm sure with Halloween coming there are a few crafts projects I can use them for!

The Lovely Cicada | Loves of Late
The Lovely Cicada | Loves of Late

7. Hand Carved Shell & Brass Ear Weights/Hoops - I bought these hoping they would arrive in time for my trip to Richmond a couple weeks ago. Sadly, they didn't since it was from overseas but they were patiently waiting for me when I arrived home! And they're stunning. They're not even remotely heavy but they do have just the perfect amount of weight for stretched ears. They also work beautifully hanging from my tunnels. 

8. Nyx Cosmetics Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen - I'm obsessed with Nyx's matte lipsticks. They formula is always amazing and for the price, it can't be beat. This color is perfect for autumn and I'm in love. 

The Lovely Cicada | Loves of Late

9. Ouidad VitaCurl Define & Shine Styling Gel-Cream - I've been loving this gel-cream. It keeps my frizz at bay while simultaneously keeping my hair moisturized and my curls in check. They're the best mixture of wild and tame, staying that way throughout the entire day. The formula is light-weight and it keeps curls soft rather than the crunchy texture most products give off. Highly recommend for my fellow curl heads!