If you grew up on Harry Potter, I'm willing to bet that you were right there with me on the last few seconds before midnight of your 12th birthday, waiting to see if that owl would finally arrive with your invitation to Hogwarts. And I know that you, too, after years of waiting for that late owl, had to finally, painfully, admit to yourself that maybe, just maybe, wizards weren't a part of our reality (because if they were, then it was simply impossible that you weren't one).
If this describes your teen years, then chances are that 2016 has been a bit of a dream year (aside from the world burning down around us, of course). With Harry Potter: The Cursed Child premiering in London and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them hitting theatres, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has resurged within popular culture, hitting us millennials right in the nostalgia bone. Seeing wands and Patronuses plastered across the media has been the saving grace of an otherwise difficult year, reminding all us Potterheads of a simpler time, when we believed that any day, our owl would arrive and sweep us into a limitless world of magic.
Here are 15 reasons to want to live in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
15 To drink all of the Butterbeer
Harry and his friends get this drink whenever they visit Hogsmeade, and boy, does it ever sound like the bee's knees. Frothy, frizzy and with beer part of the name, there's no way that this drink isn't delicious. And friends, when I visited the Harry Potter filming studios in London, England, I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to live out all of our wildest dreams, and put my lips to a mug of butterbeer. In simple words, it is everything you would ever expect, and more. A mix of butterscotch and soda, it was exactly what I'd imagined Harry, Ron and Hermione sipping while discussing their various nefarious activities over drinks at Hogsmeade.
14 To have a Patronus
Every Potterhead dreams of what their Patronus might be. From Harry's stag to Snape's doe, each person's Patronus acts as a defining symbol of their character. And also, they have the whole protecting you from soul-sucking dementor thing going for them, so overall, they're pretty darn cool. You can actually take a test that gives you a Patronus on Pottermore.com, but be warned—you can only take the test once per account, so make sure you're really ready to find out what yours is when you go to take it (but if you really can't deal with the one it gives you, just use another email and do it again—sorry J. K. Rowling, but my Patronus is not a salmon).
13 To ride the Hogwarts Express
Aside from getting to run head first through a wall to get to platform 9 and 3/4, riding the Hogwarts Express has so many childhood fantasies associated with it. Not only is the train itself beautiful, but the view of the British countryside Harry and his friends get as they chug along to Hogwarts is to die for. On top of that, they get to binge on the magic sweets the candy cart sells, from crazy flavoured jellybeans to those amazing chocolate frogs. All of this, while relaxing in a private compartment with friends, catching up after a long summer and waiting in blissful anticipation for your arrival at Hogwarts for another year of wizardry school. If that's not the dream, then I'm not sure what is.
12 To spend winter break at Hogwarts
As a kid, spending the winter holidays at Hogwarts seemed like the most amazing thing in the world. From the hand-knit sweaters of Mrs. Weasley, to the floating candles and beautiful festive decoration of the Great Hall, to throwing snowball fights on the iced-up grounds, there was something particularly homey about the idea of passing the holidays at the castle. Just the idea of the fireplace in the Gryffindor common room with a decorated tree next to it is enough to give us a holiday-gasm. Next to drinking ale in the Shire from The Lord of the Rings, passing the holidays at Hogwarts is one of my go-to 'happy places,' perfect to escape to whenever reality gets a little too, well, real.
11 To stir up some concoction in potions class
Aside from its being taught by Severus Snape, potions class seemed like one of the coolest classes you could take at Hogwarts. The closest I've come in my boring old non-magic schooling is taking a chemistry lab, and trust me, this is not close at all. From love drugs that can make anyone fall head over heels to Felix Felices, or "Liquid Luck," the possibilities in potions class were endless. By sticking a bunch of random and often highly unappealing things together, such as, and we quote, the "anemone-like growth on the back of Murtlap" (which you can see alive and un-chopped up in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them), the students were able to create some of the craziest potions, although personally, even "Liquid Luck" isn't worth having to deal with a Murtlap back anemone.
10 To let magic do all of the household work
Or really, to let magic do everything for you. Using a wand and a quick spell, there was really nothing wizards had to do by hand, from cooking a meal to mopping up the floor to fixing a broken piece of furniture (or block of New York City, if you've seen Fantastic Beasts). A wand was basically a free cook, maid, plumber and repairman, all in one. With magic, no more would we have to worry about tidying up the pillows, making the bed or dusting the house. With a flick of the wand, it'd be done without lifting a finger. Being a wizard was the ultimate dream for any of us with a lazy streak. With all household labour taken care of by magic, we would be able to attend to more productive tasks, like writing articles about Harry Potter.
9 To ride on a broomstick
Seeing Harry and the other Quidditch players zoom around on broomsticks caused a lot of jealousy for me as a kid, and not just because they got to play Quidditch, which is a whole other thing to envy in itself (although, not to brag, but my school has one of the top Quidditch teams in North America. Yeah, that's right). I still can't even imagine all of the opportunities that come with owning a broomstick, and I've spent years of my childhood thinking about it. You'd basically be able to fly, going wherever and however high you wanted. Heck, you could ascend Mount Everest on one of those things. If we had them in the modern world, they would probably replace cars, allowing us to zoom to and fro without a fart of exhaust. And there you have it: the solution to climate change is broomsticks. Get on it, Elon Musk.
8 To ride on a Hippogriff
To have the opportunity to experience the pure joy and freedom of riding Buckbeak around the Hogwarts grounds is worth living in the world of Harry Potter in itself. A sweet (and a little bit sassy) hippogriff, Buckbeak was one of the ultimate fantastic beasts in the world of Harry Potter, half eagle and half horse. Alongside unicorns, centaurs and the eerie thestrals, hippogriffs were one of the fantastic beasts that students of Hogwarts got to learn about in their Care of Magical Creatures class (why can't college offer this elective). But these creatures were described as immensely proud, and very dangerous if their respect wasn't earned, as certain villains had the opportunity to learn for themselves in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
7 To visit Diagon Alley
This street was the ultimate back-to-school dream. Where we muggles are stuck with Staples, witches and wizards get to gallivant through wand stores and potion shops during their pre-school season. From Fred and George's prank shop to Gringotts Wizarding Bank, I'm not sure where I'd go first if I somehow had the good fortune to end up in Diagon Alley. Ollivander's would be a must, as would picking out a pet from the Eeylops Owl Emporium (I'm just loading on the nostalgia, aren't I). Oh, and we can't forget Flourish & Blotts or The Leaky Cauldron (nostalgia hurts so good, don't it?). And to close, a back-to-school shopping trip wouldn't be complete without a sweet finale at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour.
6 To be assigned a house by the Sorting Hat
Although you can take the official test on Pottermore.com, there's no substitute for the actual Sorting Hat (although I may be saying this because the test somehow decided I was a Hufflepuff). Sometimes deciding the moment it hit your head and sometimes engaging in debates with its wearers, the Hat was one of the most intriguing items at Hogwarts, able to discern peoples' innermost desires. Its decisions shaped students' experiences of Hogwarts, as the house you belonged to often dictated who your friends would be, which role models you would look up to and generally, how your life would develop. Each house had its own merits, with the affability of Hufflepuffs, the intelligence of Ravenclaws, the cunning of Slytherins and the bravery of Gryffindors. So really, every house is a win (even Hufflepuff... right?).
5 To be able to meet Dumbledore
Honestly, I'd happily splice myself (apparation joke) to be able to meet any of the characters from Harry Potter, but for most people, one stands out above the rest: Dumbledore. Over a hundred years old and housing the wisdom of the ages, Dumbledore was one of the greatest headmasters of Hogwarts and even after his (spoiler alert) death, was able to continue working through his painting self for the betterment of both human and wizardkind. Infinitely patient, incredibly intelligent and with an office to kill for, Dumbledore was one of the highlights of the series and every student's dream professor. With one of my favourite quotes of all time, Dumbledore perfectly summarizes my love for fiction: "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"
4 To be able to apparate
Basically the ability to teleport, apparation was one of the coolest parts of being a wizard. Although it could go dreadfully wrong (splicing), when mastered, it was the most efficient way for wizards to get from place to place. With the ability to travel instantaneously through fireplaces, portkeys and Vanishing Cabinets, it's not like wizards really needed yet another method of high-speed travel, but they got it. If this were possible in the real world, just imagine the implications. No more would expensive plane tickets limit the places you could travel. Italy, China and South Africa would all be but a vivid mental image away. Screw cars, you wouldn't even need broomsticks to get to work. Seriously, Elon Musk (if you didn't know, he's basically the real-life Tony Stark). Get to work.
3 To play a game of Wizard Chess
Although I'm not the biggest fan of chess in the world (although when I start winning, I will be), I certainly wouldn't pass up a chance to be beaten at Wizard Chess. Even just the regular scale game would be amazing to play, with the pieces coming to life and smashing each other to to smithereens, but the ultimate dream would be playing the life-size chess game that Harry, Ron and Hermione get to play in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Forced to pick a piece and ride it throughout the game, the characters went down with their piece if it was taken by their opponent. Even if I end up buried under bits of smashed horsie (knight? Whatever), being able to have played in a game like that would have been completely worth it.
2 To meet one of the house ghosts
Is there anyone who doesn't want to meet one of the house ghosts? Described as the imprint of a departed soul on Earth, the ghosts in Harry Potter varied from pretty darn chill to terrifying. I probably wouldn't be as down to meet the Bloody Baron, but I'd eat a hundred vomit flavoured Bertie Botts Every Flavour beans to have the chance to talk to Sir Headless Nick. Wise and with a pretty sick back story, Sir Nick (full name: Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington. You didn't remember that, did you?) was the house ghost of Gryffindor and basically acted as a cool uncle and/or step-dad to the students of the house. With or without his head, I'd be down to have a chat with Sir Nick any day.
1 To have your own wand
Perhaps the ultimate dream of a Potterhead is to have your own wand. From Ollivander telling you about the makeup of your wand for the first time to learning about how to perform spells with it at Hogwarts, owning a wand is the defining aspect of being a wizard. Plus, think of how much easier life would be. Aside from the aforementioned maid-plumber-repairman-cook functions, owning a wand would mean locks would never be a problem again (hooray for "Alohamora"), everyone would have their own individual mute buttons (hooray for "Silencio") and Boggarts (or whatever other terrifying beasts/President elects you need to deal with) would be but a single spell away from banishment (hooray for "Riddikulus"; and no, I do not guarantee it works on President-elects but we may as well give it a try).