Stories. Stories encompass us right from when we barely grip on to feeding bottles till when we clink beer bottles open with our mates. From Goldilocks and the Three Bears to high-school drama, we spend our lives delineating, listening and believing stories. Some radiant, some appalling, some delusional, while some - some are ethereal and elegant. Those ethereal and elegant stories are the very ones we wish would never end. They are so gripping that we’ll go without sleep just to see a little bit more. They are so emotional, that we’d shed crystals upon crystals just for that tingling sensation of satisfaction. Yet isn’t that what a bewitching story does? Makes you feel? Stories that are so powerful that they are with us forever. Rather, always!
For me, The Wizarding World has been that ethereal story, that comfort, that pillar of support, that go-to option when I am heartbroken and in dismay, that feeling of completeness. Even without an owl-delivered letter, Hogwarts has become my home. Whether I come back by page or by movie, Hogwarts will be a home where I am welcome at all times (which really makes me question what Mr Filch or Peeves are up to when I choose to sneak in!).
As I step into the mystical and enthralling world of Hogwarts, everywhere I glance at holds an abundance of mementoes. At the lakeshore by the castle, I can almost hear the Merpeople singing from the bowels of the lake and visualize Harry, Hermione and Ron having their first Care of Magical Creatures class with Hagrid. Closer to the archaic castle, the sun glints off the gloriously gorgeous greenhouse roofs, where I particularly remember Neville fainting during the third year when they studied Mandrakes. Flashes of Gryffindor’s Quidditch practices come into mind as I see the six hoops soaring high in the clear, cerulean sky. As the sky turns a beautiful crimson hue and the sun peekaboos behind the castle’s pinnacles and parapet, fireflies begin to emerge from the forest, where some shady things are probably wakening. Yet, today, that doesn’t scare me anymore! The forest is now a shelter of myriad memory.
I look across the rippling water, where the fading orange glow diffuses over the waves; interrupted as a Phoenix flies across the clear sky, flames following its path. A sweet song escapes its beak as it makes its way into the sunset, and a smile etches onto my face. I walk through the grounds slowly stepping on the dewy grass, past the little hut by the forest, where a few innocent eyes of novel creatures follow me, up past the greenhouses and through the large oakwood doors of the castle. Its rambling, complicated, diverse combination of turrets of varying styles, heights and architecture, still never fails to amaze me. As I walk past, the portraits are smiling and gossiping with one another about The Fat Lady and her opera episodes; while the Fat Lady, well, she is just singing her opera!
As I enter the Great Hall, it is lit by trillions and zillions of luminescent, hovering candles above the long tables which are laid with glittering, germane, golden plates. Long, satiny, tablecloths run along the ends of the table with several pairs of hands resting on it, cutting steaks, lowering goblets, making beats, doing homework or even trying to practice some unmastered magic. Laughter and gossip echoes from the far ends of the Great Hall, as both students and teachers discuss the events of the day, the upcoming Quidditch match, Snape’s potion class or worse how to get past the Three-Headed Dog.
The house points hourglasses glimmer and shimmer under the light of the lanterns positioned right above it. Gemstones fill in and out of the hourglasses adjusting the house points for the day: flaming, fierce, flawless carmine rubies for Gryffindor; sparkling, scrupulously sensational, svelte diamonds for Hufflepuff; translucent, tantalizing, titillating teal emeralds for Slytherin; and victorian, valorous, valiant azure sapphires for Ravenclaw. Dotted here and there around the students, the ghosts shine a misty silver and glide right above their heads as I silently stare into the depths of the velvety, stygian ceiling dotted with salient, scintillating, sedentary stars that form a galaxy especially for Hogwarts, just as Hermione had enlightened us, "It's bewitched to look like the sky outside, I read it in Hogwarts: A History."
As dinner time rounds up, chatter reverberates and chaos ensues in the Great Hall. Cacophonous shuffling of several tiny feet commands being thrown into the air by Prefects, cutleries cluttering to the ground as students hurry to their feet, Snape throwing snide glances at the Gryffindors, Colin Creevey snapping photographs, Hermione piling up her hoard of books to return to the library, Luna putting away her upside down Quibbler, Neville clutching on to his Remembrall, Harry massaging his scar, Ron and Lavender ogling one another with hearts for eyes; and I, I just stand amidst all the frenzy, taking in every last detail and acknowledging the fact that when they retire to bed, I have to go back to my Muggle world, back to reality. As I yearn for just a few minutes and question my presence here, I take one last glance into the turquoise depths of Dumbledore’s eyes and suddenly recollect what he once told Harry, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
Ten years ago, a chapter closed after more than a decade of warm memories and experiences; shared by millions around the world. Tears were shed through bitter smiles. Farewell to a magical era - but we never said goodbye, nor will we ever. Now, years later, the boy who lived remains deeply attached within us all. Stories do live with us forever, especially those that allow us to feel every emotion that composes our humanity. It’s incredible how, indeed, the magic never ends. Anytime I am low, sad or just lonely, I know deep down that all I need to do is return to Hogwarts, be it through the screen or pages. Hogwarts will forever be our home. After all this time. Always.