I Have A Shameful Secret

I have a secret. A dark, shameful secret that I have kept locked away for years, deep inside of me. I never thought it would see the light of day for I feared, to do so, would turn me immediately into a social outcast, a literary leper who would be mocked and ridiculed wherever he went. But, today, the world must know the truth and I will take whatever society chooses to throw at me. It is time for you all to know….

I’ve never read a Harry Potter book.

There I’ve said it. Are you still reading? I hope so for I will need all the support and counselling I can get in the coming days and weeks. What’s more I’ve never watched a Harry Potter film from start to finish. And believe me I’ve tried. I so want to fit in with the rest of the reading universe. Yet something holds me back. It leaves me cold. I just don’t get it. I change the channel always about half way through the quidditch game. Is that even the right word? Sighs….

I should love Harry, adore him and Emma Watson and the other one; you know, the annoying ginger bloke. Robbie Coltrane is in it. He was brilliant in Cracker. And Young Adult Fantasy is my favourite genre. Hunger Games? Loved it. Twilight? Read them all before they made the movies and everyone decided they weren’t cool anymore. Divergent? Yes, Yes and three times Yes. I was raised on a diet of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. This should soooooo be my cup of tea. Yet I retch on it like yucky coffee.

We hatezzzzz the coffeeeeee…..

It’s not as if I’m a literary snob either. I’ll give anything a go and am not one to be put off by a bucket of hype. After Game of Thrones exploded into our consciousness I watched the first season, became hooked and then read all the books before Season 2 came out. I stalked the cast all over Belfast city centre, cornering the Starc girls in jewellery stores, accosting Samwell Tarly in a coffee shop for a selfie. I had no shame.

I even gave the First Fifty Shades book a rattle to see what all the fuss was about. I found Christian robotic and Anastasia well….a bit annoying if I’m honest. Fun fact. My office colleague, Claire, used to play tennis with Jamie Dornan when they were teenagers. She said he was a bit quiet. Just thought I’d drop that in there. You’re welcome. So you see, I’m not one to be put off by fads and gimmicks. I’m as gullible as they come, a marketing dream.

As an aspiring author, J.K. Rowling should be my hero. The whole writing the first book in a coffee shop in her spare time, getting rejected by how many publishers before she got signed. It’s the rags to riches that keeps so many of us returning to our keyboards, day after thankless day. I haven’t even given Harry and her a chance. It’s as if I have a mental block when it comes to all things Hogwarts.

This troubles me. Should I seek professional help? Harry hypnotherapy? Are there support groups out there that I can attend? I’m willing to give anything a go. Anything to avoid the social alienation of being ‘that guy who hasn’t read the Harry Potter books.’ A social pariah of my generation, pointed at by people in the street who protectively usher their children away from me as I pass them by. The man who puts the Dumb into Dumbledore.

I write this post from my knees, a broken and desperate shadow of my former self. Please help me. Tell me I’m not on my own. Is there anybody out there who feels my pain? Who share my guilty secret? And if not, what do I have to do to become a PotterHead? Is there a magic potion I can take? Or perhaps one of you can wave your wizards wand and that will do the trick. I’ll try anything.

Are you a Harry Potter addict? Or does he leave you cold?

What are your ‘guilty secrets’ when it comes to your book collection?

150 thoughts on “I Have A Shameful Secret

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            1. That’s because HP is a propaganda book, intended to perpetuate the story of the victors — ie, England and the allied forces. If you hate England, or otherwise believe that what Hitler was doing was right, then I suppose you’d shy away from that series.

              But you can’t know that because you haven’t actually read the book yourself.

              Then again, maybe, if you’re good at gestalt, you can get the gist by piecing together accounts from other people who have read the book. But nobody has mentioned anything about that part, you say. So maybe the gestalt thing won’t work for you.

              Anyways, my point is that it’s not about witchcraft. It’s about perpetuating bourgeois values.

              Liked by 1 person

                1. Gestalt… maybe it’s a bit like witchcraft. It’s like trying to form a logical conclusion with only half of the premises.

                  Anyways, I’m a big fan of the “mind” and “reason” too and think that it’s good to “obey” one’s reason more than engage in wishful fanciful metaphysics, but one realizes that it all needs to be grounded in something — structure doesn’t produce content. Non-contradiction is relative.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Wow. You’re very passionate. I like to do Logic puzzles. I am very grounded in my faith. While I struggle to stay when reading anything lately, I still try to make sure I get it read. I am copying it a chapter a day to try and keep me awake. “

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      1. My course is Journalism, Creative Writing and English, so I do a lot of poetry! I haven’t got my modules for this year yet, but I think it’s maybe Victorian Literature

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  1. 😀 I was anticipating a different secret, but this works.
    I think reading the HP books at a younger age helped me, plus reading them at the recommendation of a friend instead of at the proliferation of their popularity.
    Some in the series are better than others. I would recommend reading them because of their commercial success and because Rowling is wonderful at characters. If the books turn your stomach every time, though, there’s no mangled-Latin spell that can change you.

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  2. 🙋🏻‍♀️I am addicted to Harry Potter series. You know why? Coz I believe all this is true. It is a story of some other dimension !!!!! There are wizards, fairies, spells, magic schools ! I don’t know the reason behind my belief but I can feel the sensation running through me when I watch such stuff that all this is not fictional.

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  3. I read them on the London Underground, commuting to work (was it REALLY that long ago…?)
    As a child, I never gave up on a book I had started reading, however er… challenging it was. That has kind of stuck with me through life; I hate to give up on a book that bores me. (Hell, I’ve read Lord of the Rings three times since my teens – although one time I was in hospital with nothing much else to do.)
    I do now stop reading something that I know isn’t going to do it for me (one was Eragon – and I thought I liked dragons. Most are self-published… ’nuff said). Life’s too short.
    The first Harry Potter film I went to see with two of my kids and their friends. It was fun. The second, I watched on TV – also the third; I gave up after that. It was getting a bit predictable (even though, once finished, I rarely recall the details of stories I read – or watch.).
    But I seem to recall I enjoyed the books at the time. Tube journeys have to be endured somehow.

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  4. I have never read more than the first chapter of the first book, nor have I ever seen any of the movies. I was an adult when they came out & even though my son did read a few of the books, he was never a big fan either.

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  5. My son was exactly Harry Potter age when it all began…so we read them aloud together. It was rather like my children grew up with Harry and so I think I loved them for that reason….I shall confess my deepest darkest literary…I’ve never read The Lord of the Rings trilogy….gasp…May I continue to follow your site anyhow? 😉. Doesn’t really matter if you like Potter or not. That’s why there’s so much literature, something for all of us. Take care, suzanne 🌷

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Harry Potter series is like an acquired taste. You have to be drawn to them. I have both the books and movies. I enjoyed both, but you know the books are better. If you’ve not gotten into them then don’t sweat it.
    P.S. fifty shades series is horrible. I’ve read better Sex books then them. Ana is annoying and Dorian is a confused child. I read the books and it was horrible.

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  7. This post had me howling (on the inside, of course, as any outward projection of the sort might be cause for concern from others – hahaha). I have never opened a Harry Potter book nor have I watched a second of one of the movies. I can say the same for the 50 Shades and Game of Thrones series. I think I actually tend to avoid what is popular/expected. For shame…

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  8. We have to be related. Never read the books and never saw any of the movies all the way through. My kids and husband love them so I’ll join you in outcast land!!

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  9. ha ha ha I’ve learnt not to judge after Game of Thrones was all the rage and for the life of me I just couldn’t get into the books or the series. It’s a shame because I really wanted to be part of the fandom… Each to his own 🙂

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  10. You’re probably not missing much. I’ve read all the Harry Potter books and seen the movies and while I like them I’m not rabid fan like some people I know. The wizarding world in her books just leaves me with lots of questions. Hermione is a good character, but I also tend to like the darker characters like Snape who gets quite good lines and has this wonderful dry sarcastic humour (he is played quite well by Alan Rickman in the movies).

    Guilty secret? Hmm… I have been reading a few Young Adult fantasy novels lately. Some of them are quite good and almost indistinguishable from the “Adult” books. What I like about them is that they often have strong female lead characters, and it would be nice to see more of that. Actually Harry Potter falls into the same category…

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  11. I read book 3 first (just worked out that way). Going back later to read read 1 and 2, I don’t think I would have got through the beginning of book 1, so that was a lucky thing for me. 3 through 7 are great in my opinion.

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  12. I too have to confess, I’ve never read HP in spite of being given a hardback copy of the book by a taxi driver in New York after spotting it and enquiring what he was reading, way back before it was a religious movement. He’d literally just finished it and was so impressed he felt compelled to give me the book. I’ve never had a random stranger give me a book, and to my shame I still did not read it! In fact I left it in my hotel room because I couldn’t fit it in my luggage, shunning this random act of kindness.

    I have no doubt one day I’ll discover it was a rare first edition, it’ll probably be the first printed copy accidentally left in the cab by JK Rowling for which she’ll happily pay a kings ransom. That is how my HP story will end.

    I’ve tried the films and fallen asleep during every single one. I’m a huge film buff and I DON’T fall asleep watching films, no matter how bad they are and I’ve sat through some absolute stinkers. But for some reason HP is like ketamine for me.

    Like yourself, HP vexes me! I love fantasy fiction, I absolutely crave lovingly hand crafted worlds that give me an escape from the hum drum and a new perspective on life. I’m also a keen gamer and I immerse myself in these types of worlds for days on end given half a chance, I must have spent a good 10% of my like in Skyrim by now.

    But I just don’t get it and I don’t know why! I should be naming all my pets after HP characters and be able to recite swathes of dialogue and nonsense incantations. I was at a charity quiz at a school recently, my team had nailed every category (geography, sport, history, music) and we were poised for a solid win. Until they drop a HP round in and some 8 year old girl on a mid-table team answered every single question, and of course they played their joker catapulting themselves to victory.

    I’ll admit it, I have never hated a child as much as her, but it wasn’t because she beat us, but because she had done it using knowledge that I should have had. Pointless, nerdy, fantasy knowledge!

    All my friends (especially those with kids) are desperate for me to get it! It used be the case, not drinking was the thing that people would pity me for; how is he getting through life completely stone cold sober? Why don’t you just try . At least I could tell them I was a recovering alcoholic or it was a “religious” thing and they’d back off.

    It doesn’t work for HP, it doesn’t matter how many times I tell them I’m an alcoholic or it’s against my fictional religion they won’t give up! Don’t ever try the “I don’t read kids books” line, it’s likely to alienate you completely from society. They never give up, there’s always some new angle I should be trying to get into it, and they’re always so sincere with very real concern in their eyes that I’m just not getting it. Poor thing!

    I do have a theory though, I think it’s HP popularism that put’s me off. I’m going to have to admit I’m a fantasy snob(*), when my friends and family start telling me that I need to get into a fantasy novel/movie, because it’s “really really good” when it’s practically the only thing they’ve ever read/seen in the genre, somewhere deep down part of me resents them for not having put the time in to place HP in its proper place. It is NOT the best thing ever, if it was I’d be telling YOU about it and you’d be feigning interest, that’s how this is meant to work! Get out of my stuff, you don’t know what your doing, arggh!

    I can only thank my lucky stars that I got into Game of Thrones before it really took off, it would have been a shame to deny myself that as well.

    My apologies for the length of this comment, what can I say you touched a nerve.

    * – Fantasy Snob – just like fantasy football but you have to buy a set of novels with a limited budget and scores are related to book sales every quarter. Of course I would never win, because HP (and derivative work) tops all the bloody book sales and I would never allow myself to buy one!

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    1. No problem re: the long comment. It read like a blog. I’m honoured! My 11 year old niece is a Potter fanatic. She would have won the quiz as well. I totally get your point re: fantasy snobbery. It’s heartbreaking when one of your beloved niche series is adopted by the great unwashed public lol.

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  13. Haven’t read Harry Potter, either, and apparently we’re in good company. 😉 However, I HAVE read the Chronicles of Narnia at least ten times – to my own children (every summer for five years), to nieces and nephews, to friends’ children, and to my students. (My cup of tea overfloweth…)

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  14. I have not read any of the HP books but have seen one of the movies… which I found entertaining. In spite of my personal lack of enthusiasm about them, here is what I appreciate about the Harry Potter empire: 1. they encourage the act of READING by young folks, and 2. I have seen them serve as a real communications bridge between youthful and grown fans.

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  15. I actually quite enjoyed the Harry Potter books – more so than the movies. But it doesn’t make you a pariah for not joining in…loved this write up, so entertaining. You certainly have a gift!

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  16. I’ve never read them either! At first, it was because my parents are really careful about entertainment with dark magic kinds of things, because it can be demonic or something? Lol, I read Eragon and watched the LOTR and the Hobbit… Which have magic, good and evil!
    I am a big Lewis, Tolkien, and Hunger Games fan as well. And I laughed out loud at your Gollum reference. My little brother can do amazing impressions, and he can do the Gollum body language and voice about as well as Andy Serkis! He’s hilarious 😂

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  17. I’m with you regarding Harry Potter, but I feel no shame. We like what we like and there’s no need to defend that.
    Thank you for sharing your secret. It would do me some good to share mine, I suppose…

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  18. I liked the series! Have the books and dvds in their original language (uk English — not Americanized).

    But if you don’t like the books no problem.

    I find it to be a wonderful fantasy of good vs evil.

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  19. It should be group counseling because I’ve not read them either and my kids don’t like Harry Potter. They watched one of the movies and didn’t care for it.

    I recently watched… Or rather suffered through… All the twilight movies. Awful. Horrid. Worst acting ever. Anyway I’ve not read the books.

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  20. I’m a very serious potterphile. I actually have a post in the queue about jk rowling for tomorrow. But I dont judge people by their potter love alone 😉. I read anything with a hype too. Including the abomination of 50 shades. (All of them as I must finish series I start no matter the quality. By compulsion) if you ever decide to join the wizard if world donuts read the books. I don’t know that the movies make sense otherwise.

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  21. I have been trying to read them for years because like you mentioned I feel like I should look up to Rowling. I received the entire set for Christmas in 2013. I have read….the first book, and the 2nd sits on my night stand still.

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  22. No, not read a single HP book or seen the films. Thanks for sharing your secret; I’m glad I’m not the only one! Though I’ve just started reading “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti, which seems to be in a similar vein.

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  23. This made me giggle. I love all of the Harry Potter movies and will, to this day, sit and watch them with my grown boys who I took to see all of them at the theatres when they were young. Yet …I have zero interest in reading the books. So there …does that make you feel a tad better? 🙂

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  24. My secret is that I have never read a Tolkien book all the way through. I have tried multiple times but just ended up putting it down. After watching one film I decided it had something to do with being female. Whatever.

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  25. I love HP. The thing that was so cool about ‘Potter mania’ was the hype,the anticipation for the releases. I honestly doubt we will see kids,teenagers or adults alike sleeping outside bookstores waiting for a book release on that level maybe ever again. Kids and teenagers are too busy on their mobile devices these days.

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  26. I’ve never read any Harry Potter either. nor, indeedums, watched any of the films all the way through. I’m proud of it, too.

    I even tried the first of JK Rowling’s ‘adult’ books (the one she published as a man) after all the HP was dying down a wee bit (that’s comparative, of course). I gave up on that, too, after only a few pages. Didn’t like the language.

    There is plenty of good writing out there (historical, crime, fiction is my thing) with no swearing or blaspheming, that I do not need to put up with the @*$&#y swearing (!).

    Liked by 1 person

  27. You are not alone! I too have never read a Harry Potter book. Even though my two daughters love them and tell me I should. Even though I keep thinking I will get one and read it. But somehow I always find something else that seems more interesting when I go to the bookstore.

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  28. This made me chuckle. 🙂 I love Harry Potter. I have all of the books and movies. It really is a great series!
    I did try to read her series that she wrote under a pseudonym but for the life of me couldn’t get into it. I will stick to Harry Potter, I suppose! 🙂

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  29. I’ll never forget what one pastor’s wife told me: “Christians need to stop “shoulding” on each other.” You don’t want to read them, you don’t have to. There are too many good books to read and too little time to read them and non-megastar authors who need support. I’ve been told, “You need to use this daily devotional” or “everyone is reading this one”. I prefer my Martin Luther daily devotional. I’m amazed how his words from 500 years ago still speak to my life and our world today. God’s word is truly timeless. I don’t know anyone else who uses it but it works well for my weary, non-morning person brain before I race to get ready for work. Those other devotionals are their preference; I’m free in Christ to read my preference. The goal is the same: to be reminded of Christ firstly in the morning.

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  30. I finally read the first one with my son. It was cute, but I did not love it. I’ve heard I have to continue and the character of Potter will grow on me. Weird. Like, I loved Twilight from the very first book. So, for the record I’m not a fan and feel guilty about it often. I also let my kids watch all of the movies already, so they have no desire to read them either.

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  31. I was teaching in primary school when HP Mania hit the streets. The children loved the books so much so I read the first two, after which I was very bored. I didn’t think they were particularly well written. BUT those books introduced so many children to reading that I have to thank JK Rowling for that. Even struggling readers got through the books because they loved them so much. But what I don’t understand is the adults who are still HP Maniacs. I mean, they’re children’s books. For children. Who cares if a 35 year old is a Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff? You’re an adult!

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  32. As one Harry Potter virgin to another, there’s nothing to be ashamed of: I’ve decided to leave the entire series alone until I’m on my death bed, and then I’ll read the last book. Me and Harry, we’ll be going together!

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  33. I also belong to your secret shame society. I cannot read anything related to Harry Potter, even reviews. I cannot watch the movies. They bore me to tears. I can’t even fake adoration about them. I, therefore, am completely unredeemable. Don’t let this happen to you!!

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  34. I read and loved all the books you mentioned except Twilight. Isn’t that about vampires? (Ooh yucky!) I read and write fantasy, but with a lot of Christian-leaning spirituality. Although most people I know have read and loved Harry Potter, there are still plenty of others who haven’t or won’t. My daughter has ten children and she never let them read or watch the series. That’s okay. It’s best not to offend your tastes or your conscience.

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    1. Thank you Brenda. I’m currently working on my first YA adult novel. It’s not overtly Christian but it has spiritual themes. I’m more of a Lord of the Rings fantasy fan but my novel is set in modern day Belfast. Work than one out 😂

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  35. Well? Maybe, Perhaps. Who knows? But maybe you should give the Bible another chance? Hahaha! Not sure if that could or not help you. It depends on Who are you consulting with while you read the Bible?

    Anyhow? Visiting a blog with so many ‘dark secrets’ exposed? It’s a step in the right direction if you start drinking that ‘pepper water’ of my new discovery! Hahaha! That might make you throw up and get rid of all your burdensome secrets. lol

    Just having fun. Glad you visited. Glad I visited. Much love, thia 🙂

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      1. Thank you. That’s all? You not going to try my pepper water discovery? Com’on! I really did get the gist of your secret among book readers, but!

        Being an ex-book reader? I did not want to touch that subject. Lately? Humor instead of anger is my motto.

        It’s helping me to build sound relationships. Hope to connect this time. 🙂

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  36. I like how ironic it sounds. I was smiling ear to ear while reading your post. You have a unique voice that I like. PS: I read Harry Potter because of my sister, read Twilight because of my best friend. My shameful secret is I don’t read the rest of the books you mentioned above (because nobody has handed them to me). Oh, and I don’t watch Game of Thrones!

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  37. I’ve read them, but to be honest, I don’t like them that much. The first book is great, because it’s all shiny world building and I love all the little details. But I don’t like the element of social injustice or the notion that the rich and the powerful can behave as they please to a large extent. Also, I found Harry in books 5-7 to be intolerably annoying. With the films, I think I’ve seen the first five and the first one is the only one I like, because, again, world building.

    JK Rowling is undoubtedly an inspiration to many of us and I love all the charity work she does these days. But she’s just another author, not a goddess to be revered on a pedestal.

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