Monday, December 15, 2014

Adulthood, a Fairy Tale

When I was a kid, I thought I was going to change the world. I though I was going to touch a million lives and change the way others think and have my own ways of thinking be changed. I thought I would shape the world for my peers and the generations to come. I had these grand, sweeping ideas of-- I don't even know what. I did not know how I was going to change the world. I did not know who I was going to change, or who was going to change me. I just hoped with everything in me that I would be enough of a force to do it.

I do not know when it was that I lost that. I am not sure when I lost hope that my presence in this world would make a difference.

Life is not at all how I imagined and planned it would be as a kid.  I guess that is a part of growing up. You grow up and you lose that part of you that was so sure and confident that, no matter how life seemed to be, no matter how terrible things looked for adults, when you are a kid, you are so sure that things will be different for you. Your life is going to be wondrous and amazing and not at all the bleak hopelessness that seem to enshroud the lives of the adults you come into contact with.

But that's not true.  Those adults so beaten down by life were once those same children who believed that their lives would be more grand and more... just more. I do not know what it is about growing up that makes us all lose that spark of assurance. I truly do not. I do not even remember it happening to me and I am barely an adult.  I guess I just woke up one day and realized that my life would never be the way I had always imagined it to be. I would not go on any grand adventures. My life was not meant for adventuring.

Perhaps a part of this is because of how afraid I am. Maybe that's really what happens to us as children. We lose not a spark or hope, but our fearlessness. As a child it is so easy to imagine going out in the world, going new places, meeting new people, trying new things. There is no limit on your wondrous thirst for more, when you are a child. But as you grow older you start to realize that there is more than just a world out there. There are dangers. Bad things can happen to you. It's easier to stay home, to stay surrounded by all that you know, to never leave the safety and comfort of all that you know.

Except that I yearn for more in my soul. I need to find out how to get back to that childish hopefulness, to shake off the fear of the unknown, of the maybes that I build as a wall around me which keeps me shackled in place. I feel this restlessness, this tugging; I just need to go, to get away, to see, to feel, to experience. I just need to figure out how.

"When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. my hope is to leave the world a little better for having been there." -Jim Henson

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." -St. Augustine 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Surprises and Sweaters Galore

I'm never going to be a good blogger. I was talking with a friend last night, complaining that all I've ever wanted to do in life is travel. I want to figure out some job that would pay to send me places and I'd get to see the world but still have money. He suggested I start a travel blog, thinking that I could become a professional travel blogger or something. Only two things wrong with his line of thinking: (1) I never go anywhere. I guess I could start talking about the local places, blog about beautiful northwest Arkansas, but I don't want to stay local. I want to see India and Ukraine and Botswana. Who wants to read about Devil's Den or the Ozark Mountains when there is so much more world out there? Which leads back to the fact that I never go anywhere so I can't blog about places I haven't been. Do you understand my line of reasoning here? (2) I am so so so terrible at blogging. I mean to keep up with it, really I do. And when I sit down to write it, I love it. But life happens. I get distracted with friends and work and figuring out how to have a career where I get to travel the world at little to no cost to me and I forget that I have to talk about my knitting and my life. I'll never make it as a successful, paid blogger simply because I'm so horrid at doing it.

But that's okay. I'll just keep updating every three months and the six people in the world who read it can be happy that I've even remembered to talk at all.

I've got stuff going for Christmas.  Since my sisters and aunts and parents TOTALLY read my blog, I'm not going to talk about what I've got going on for them just yet. You can hear about it in March when I update again. Maybe. If I remember. I've also got orders for lovely infinity scarves for others for Christmas. I can talk about that. I'm trying to break into the sorority scene here in Fayetteville.  As such I've been making scarves with sorority colors. Hopefully that takes off for me. It'd be a pretty lucrative niche market.

I can talk about the sweater I'm making myself sporadically, when I have the chance to sit down with it.  It's the Pomegranate Sweater by Bonnie Sennott.

I purchased the sweater pattern almost a year ago, the yarn almost two years ago, and I'm finally getting around to getting it on the needles. I had meant to get it started back last February to have in time for a nice spring sweater, but I made a mistake in the first set of decreasing I had to do in the ribbing and I unraveled two skeins of yarn's worth of work.  That was really discouraging and so I put it on the back burner for a while. And turned off the heat. And stuck it back in the fridge.

But I decided to recast on a few weeks ago.  I have decreased correctly and I started the lace panels last night.  So far it is all going so super swimmingly. The lace is way easier than I thought it would be when I first read the chart and it goes by so quickly.

The only thing I'm worrying about now is whether it will fit or not.  I've lost about twenty pounds since I started this project and while it's supposed to have positive ease, I don't want to be swimming in sweater. I guess if it comes down that I've lost so much weight that I needed to go down a size I can finally learn about tailoring a hand knit item. I've always wanted to know (that's mostly sarcasm with an underlying thread of truth right there).

I've still got a ways to go: I'm only on row 10 of the first repeat of the lace panel. But I've got it all neatly organized so that I never get off pattern. Hopefully. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Moonu: A Tamil Language Indian Film Which Still Has Me Reeling Emotionally

So I watched this movie:

3.  Moonu.  Over the course of the past three days.  It's an Indian movie. It took three days because, I don't know if you know this, but Indian movies are pretty long. Like, they have an intermission built into the movies. And Saturday there was food waiting me in the middle of the movie. So I went to eat tasty food with my Indian friends instead of finishing this movie that I knew wouldn't have a happy ending since they start at the end. And yesterday I just couldn't bring myself to continue watching after work after I had already watched a chunk of it on my dinner break. So I finished it today and... wow. Just wow.

I guess there needs to be a little background.

I have a bunch of Indian friends. I'm not quite sure how this came to be since I'm so awkward about becoming friends with new people, but it is what it is.  Last Friday, at a birthday celebration, a song was played. And it just got stuck in my head. It's a very catchy song and I spent hours after I got home singing the chorus. So I looked it up because of the scientific fact that if you have a song stuck in your head you should listen to it a million times to get it unstuck. So I did.

Super catchy, right? It's sung in a hybrid of Tamil and English (colloquially known as Tanglish). I was written for a Tamil movie, so naturally I decided to look up the guy singing the song because he's kind of a big deal and I found the movie that the song was written and sung for. 


Jeez, this movie. 

(I guess, at this point, I should mention spoiler alert for anybody who is remotely interested in watching this movie. Which you should. But also read my feelings about it. Because I have a lot of them).

It's been hours since I finally finished this moving and I'm still having trouble organizing my thoughts and emotions about this film. That's saying a lot since I couldn't find it anywhere with English subtitles, so I understood about half of a half of a percent of what was going on. I've a friend who I'm pretty sure thinks I'm completely insane since this is the second time I've exclaimed to him after watching a Tamil movie which I had no idea what was being said for most of the movie. 

It's a love story. Between Ram (Dhanush) and Janani (Shruti Haasan). But it's more than that. So much more. 

Oh, it's so tragic, you guys. You start off knowing that this movie is not going to have a happy ending because it opens with family and friends mourning Ram in his home and poor, poor Janani just lying on the couch, dazed shock written all over her face. 

The thing about this movie, at least the first halfish of it, is that you forget that you are 100% dealing with a tragic movie.  Because after you have the mourning, after you see her listlessly roaming her home, you go back. You go back and you get their love.  You completely forget about that funeral scene which opened the movie. It's cute and sweet and funny.  It's beautiful and romantic.  It did not matter that I did not understand their dialog. I found myself laughing out loud at interactions between the two of them simply because being a teenager in love is so universal.  Being a girl ignoring a boy even though-- or especially because-- you like them is the same across the world.  You have to laugh because even a world away, a boy will do a ridiculous thing to get a girl to notice him. He'll drag his best friend to a different school to try and get a girl to notice him.  He'll park every day at the same place, just to have that girl ride by, not giving him the time of day. 

Then it cuts back to present day.  It cuts back to the broken-looking girl bent double sobbing as those around her try and comfort her. 

And you remember. 

It is listed as a psychological thriller on wikipedia and I did not understand how this happy go lucky romance about two teenagers beating the odds could be classified as such until the second half of the movie.  After Ram and Janani have come together. After they are blissful as a young, happily married couple.  Ram slowly starts becoming more erratic. The film loses its sweetly innocent romantic aura. Instead you are left on an emotional roller coaster as Ram struggles more and more to suppress his rages and mood swings. His friend Senthil tries desperately to help him, sticking by his side, continuing to love and support and be there for Ram, all through the highs and the lows and bodily harm.  But it's not enough.  

He's not about to save Ram.  Janani is not able to save Ram. 

The ending scene, when Ram takes his life, is so powerful, and it is totally credited to Dhanush's skill as an actor and how well he was able to play the polar opposites of Ram's personality that I think makes this scene so tragic.  You do not need to understand Tamil to understand that his suicide is not selfish, as so many believe suicide to be.  Absolutely not.  In fact, it is the complete opposite of selfish. His struggles. His pain. Everything he has done has been for the love he has for Janani.  Taking his life was, in his mind, at that very point, the only way he could save her from the man he was becoming.  

I think the beauty of this scene, just from an admiration of  a man's acting ability, is that he did not need to use words to convey to the audience what he was feeling and seeing and experiencing in those last moments of Ram's life.  Ram's heartbreak is real, as he tries to say goodbye to his wife one final time.  Dhanush's portrayal of Ram's final manic spiral is superb and heartwrenching, as he trembles, writing his letter to Janani. The mirroring of the movements between Ram writing his suicide note and Janani listening to Senthil tell her what was going on with Ram was a subtle, yet brilliant, way to continue to connect the two. 

This was agonizing.  This was torture.  This shattered the both of them.  

Even though you know from the very beginning that Ram die by the end of the movie, you hope that something, somehow, as he drops the knife the first time, he'll be spared.  That the scene from the beginning, the scenes throughout of Janani's palpable grief, was something else. A red-herring.  Because Ram was not a bad guy.  Ram was sick, and he tried to the best of his know how, to get better.  Ram loved his wife more than anything and you just hope and pray and wish and plead with the movie makers to just let them be together.  

But no.  

Tears streaming down his face, erratic pleas falling one on top of the other as he spirals more and more, Dhanush shattered the hopes of my romantic heart, his final, whispered declaration of love loosing tears down my face as he draws Ram's life to an end.  

I sat dazed, my face wet for nearly half an hour, trying to comprehend what I was feeling and why.  I understood nothing really outside of the two telling one another that they loved each other, and the Tanglish song that originally brought me to this movie. And yet I sat on my couch, despair for these two people (fictional people, I might add).  After reading wikipedia, finding out that he had bipolar disorder, I despaired because Ram's illness was so treatable, with the right dosage of medication.  It broke my heart because he felt so helpless and alone and as though nobody would be there for him, as though he would be a burden to his wife, even after Senthil's unwavering support.  It broke my heart because people feel this way across the world when faced with their mental illnesses.  It touched me, a girl from a world away, knowing nothing about what is going on, because Shruti Haasan and Dhanush brought their love and their pain to life in ways words could never describe.  

I do not know if I would watch this a second time, simply because Ram's spiral out is so completely gut-wrenching. Or I might do as one review suggested and stop at the intermission, and pretend that they go on to live happily ever after with seven babies and die together at the ripe old age of 104.  

So yeah.  I have a lot of feelings about this movie.  You should definitely watch it, in spite of my downer of an explanation of the movie, because the performances by Dhanush and Shruti Haasan are phenomenal.  Or just listen to the song and get it stuck in your head and live a blissful life where you don't have to remember how horrible and hard it was to listen to Janani's wails as she learns the truth about her husband.  

Movies really get to me. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

I'm Dyeing to Get That Yarn

I'm sorry for that title. I just couldn't help myself.

So I've started dyeing yarn, in addition to knitting and crocheting and selling and designing.  I'm just really going to go all out on this venture. If I'm going to do something, I might as well give it 150%, right?  For my dyeing, I am just using some food coloring I had up in the cabinet as my dye and white vinegar as my acid.  When I've started selling I hope to branch out to different types of dye, maybe something a wee bit more professional. But for getting started, this totally works out.

Now I dyed my first hanks of yarn a couple of weeks ago.  I actually had to dye them twice because I was dumb and stuck the yarn hank in the dye bath without untwisting it. Silly, silly me.  So when I unwound it after the dyeing, it was just white wool with blotches of color.  I figured if it turned out ugly or something, I could just use the wool for myself.

But it turned out beautifully!

It is truly a lovely batch of yarn that I am sure will produce a lovely stripe when knitting or crocheting.

Yesterday, I had nothing better to do with my day and decided to dye some more wool I had hanked up.  

The picture truly does not do the color of this yarn justice.  Using a mixture of green and blue dye, in actuality this yarn is almost a sea foam green.  Just gorgeous.  

Finally, this one.  I had really hoped for a deeper, truer blue, but I can't say I'm too upset with the results.  The color is somewhere between a light denim color and periwinkle.  The small patches of white will keep things interesting when knitting or crocheting with this.  

Now I need to decide when/if to put these up for sale and how much and if I should go ahead and ball them myself.

I found two more balls of wool while I was reorganizing my yarn tub.  What colors should I go for next?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Rainy Days and A Yarn Filled Haze

It's a dreary, overcast, rainy day. In a word: perfection.  These are the types of days I love. Seriously. I am never more elated than when I wake up to endless grey skies and the promise of an endless sea of rain cascading down upon us. Well, maybe not endless. But enough to keep things cool and beautiful.

Yep, days like today are my time to shine as I spend them...being lazy, rereading the Hobbit and making things.

You didn't think I was just going to talk about the weather did you? Tsk tsk.

I sold a blanket! For a fair amount of money! You should've seen me. I was all squeal-y and jumping around and dancing. I truly was a sight to behold.

After selling, I finally finally realized that there were, in fact, people in this world that would pay money for the things I find so much joy in making. I talked to the friend I'd sold my blanket to, a friend who knows about knitting and crocheting, and yet she still bought a blanket from me. She told me that I was good at creating, that my quality and level of work was what would sell.  You have no idea how happy that made me. I am so self-conscious and sensitive about the things I make. I put a piece of myself into everything I create, especially since so many of them are my own original designs. I've never wanted to put it out there because I worried that if nobody liked it, if nobody thought my stuff was good enough, then it meant that I wasn't good enough. She helped me to see that that was foolishness. She bought a blanket from me that I designed and worked on for three month. She gave me the confidence to really step up and work, because I've not been quiet about wanting to potentially get to a point where I make a living off of what I sell. I gotta stop being so sensitive and just crank out a bunch of product.

As such, I've started two more blankets! These aren't full sized like the one I sold. I want to get things moving quickly so I decided to start two baby blankets. I'm crocheting one and knitting the other. I figured that would keep my brain active, having to switch back and forth between the two crafts, as well as give my poor, arthritis-ridden hands and wrists a break when the crocheting became too much. If I work diligently, it only takes me about a week to make a baby blanket. Along with the blankets, I'm going to start up again on making hats. I hope to have 20-30 made over the next 4-6 weeks, to have ready for sale in time for colder weather to really start up. Luckily, I can crochet a hat in about 45 minutes, so those should be a piece of cake.

The crocheted blanket will be a simple half double stitch with a bobble border. It is modeled after the full sized blanket I designed and sold.

My knit blanket is a basic stockinette stitch with seed stitch border. I'm not as confident designing knitting patterns yet since I've only been knitting for a little over a year. But it's simple, practical and of quality work, if I do say so myself.

So yeah. That's where I'm at. I hope that if I truly do become successful, if I sell a bunch on Etsy, by this time next year I want to start enter in stuff in craft fairs, and even potentially start thinking about renting a space at the farmer's market and selling to live people. Or finding a small store, locally, to sell in. I'm feeling pretty optimistic.

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." -Rumi

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sock, Socks, Socks For Career Girls

Wooooow, it has been a long time since I last blogged. Now that I'm a real grown up, I am trying to dedicate my new found free time to my more creative pursuits, so expect more updates here. Probably.  I've said it in the past, but sometimes (every time) I went back on that promise to my faithful readers.  I'll try and be less of a liar this time.

Okay, since the last time we spoke, dear reader, I have decided that the #1 most glorious, wondrous thing to knit is SOCKS. Did you know that that was what I was going to say?  Was it the title? Is that how you knew?  I need to work on being more subtle.

I made my very first pair back in December right before a massive snow/ice storm moved into beautiful northwest Arkansas. And by right before, I mean I cast off and slipped them on literally just before snow started falling.

These are a super simple pair of toe up socks.  Because I am a silly child, I used two different kinds of yarn, with two different weights, made out of two different materials!  To be fair, I really like the combination of the cotton DK weight purple-y grey (the photo doesn't do this yarn justice) yarn and the pretty wool/silk blend fingering weight aqua-ish green yarn.  But this is America and I can do what I want.  And it actually turned out pretty well.  My toes are always cold so it was really nice to have the heavier weight yarn there to keep them extra toasty while I sat in my freezing apartment as cruel Old Man Winter lashed my domicile with unforgiving wind, pounding sleet and ice, and unrelenting snow. 

But there was something amiss with these socks.  I, fool that I was, knit them one at a time. I know, I know! Fie on past me.  It took forever (like a week) to knit them separately.  I didn't have that kind of time.  Polar vortex was coming!  It was going to be cold (holy God, did it get cold!). I needed to be an efficient sock making machine. So I watched a whole bunch of videos on youtube and learned how to knit two socks at a time.  

I made these with two balls of yarn I got in a sampler from Etsy.  One, her yarn is absolutely lovely and at pretty decent prices, so definitely check her out.  Two, making two socks at a time is sooooooo easy.  Like, ridiculously, I-don't-know-why-people-still-knit-socks-one-at-a-time easy.  I'm sure having two different colored yarns helped keep things in order, but I like to think it was because of my nimbleness with the long needles and my cleverness with being able to follow simple instructions.  

I decided to try my hand at a more complicated pattern for two-at-a-time toe up socks for my mom.  I bought the Serpentine Socks Pattern because it was pretty and I figured it was something ma would like. I knit them in the same green wool/silk yarn that I primarily used for my first pair of socks. 

They turned out lovely! Except for the fact that I accidentally held the yarn too tightly as I was binding off and they're too small for her to pull them up.  So as soon as I get brave enough to ball another hank of this yarn (it was on sale for a steal and it was pretty and I bought ten hanks and don't judge me!) since I only have a ball winder and no swift and trying to wind a hank without a swift is a NIGHTMARE I'm going to make her another pair but be more mindful of my tension. Or try them on BEFORE I bind off.  

Finally, I have been working on a pair of wool socks for my beloved grandma who constantly has cold feet.

I've taken forever with these mostly because it's gotten hot and working with wool while it's hot out is positively dreadful. Also because grandma's feet aren't hot right now because it's hot, humid summertime. I think I've gotten to the point where I start to turn the heel, but her feet are tiny and I don't want to make them the wrong size because I've gustimated her size incorrectly.  I just need to remember to grab my project bag the next time I go and see her so I can make her try them on because turning the heel and knitting the leg is a buh-reez for me.  

So yeah, socks. I love making them. I love wearing them. And I'm starting to look into new sock yarn to buy and patterns to undertake since cold weather is gloriously, blessedly just around the corner. Hopefully.  Or  I'll have to look into knitting summer socks. Is that even a thing? 

"One can never have enough socks." -Albus Dumbledore

Thursday, May 8, 2014

20 Reasons to Read Harry Potter

So as a legitimate final for a legitimate college course, I had to write 20 reasons to __________. It had to be about something modern and something British.  So, naturally, I chose 20 reasons to read Harry Potter. And I wrote almost 9 (double spaced) pages.  And I got an A on it.  So here's what I wrote.  I got lazy on some of these, so no judging me for weak reasons:

20 Reasons to (Re)Read J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series
1.      It delves into far deeper and more emotionally traumatic themes and situations than any traditional children’s literature.  For example, just in the first book, Harry Potter deals with constant mental, emotional, and physical abuse from his guardians, his aunt and uncle, along with their son.  He has never known a moment of affection in the ten years under their care.  He is at best ignored, tossed in the cupboard under the stairs (even with adequate room to house him in a regular bedroom).  At worst he is held prisoner and physically abused.  His uncle withholds food from him after the vanishing glass. He is often locked in cupboard as a means of punishment and his uncle often threatens physical violence against him.  When his uncle is not the one acting out frustrations on him, it is his cousin, Dudley, with whom Harry must defend himself.  Harry is known to all as Dudley’s punching bag.  Dudley’s parents do not do anything to stop the boy’s abuse against Harry, even going so far as to encourage it—“Poke him with your Smelting stick, Dudley.  Being Dudley’s know favorite target has alienated Harry, not just within the only home he has ever known, but also at their shared school, since none of the other student’s wished to attract Dudley’s attention.  Harry is totally alone, until he discovers the magical world of Hogwarts.  A far more horrendous example of Harry’s abuse at the hands of the Dursley’s come in the second book, when he is literally held prisoner in his bedroom.  He is fed only cold scraps, through a small hole in his door. 
2.      If you are expelled from school, you are essentially kicked completely out of this wizarding world. Everything that allows you access to the wizarding world is accessed through the witch or wizard's wand. Hagrid is kept a part of his magical world due entirely to the benevolence of Dumbledore. He is given the gamekeepers job, and even allowed the remnants of his wand. But it is through the example of Hagrid that you understand why a witch/wizard is completely ostracized from the magical world upon their expulsion from school: snapping the wand does not completely expel the magic.  Hagrid is given an even bigger break by Dumbledore by being allowed plant his wand in his pink umbrella.  We understand through the use of the umbrella that there are ways around the snapping of the wand. But not everybody is Hagrid.  When a wizard is not championed by Dumbledore, they lose all parts and have no access to magic. To warrant expulsion from Hogwarts means you have done something so completely awful that there is no coming back. To warrant expulsion from Hogwarts means to warrant expulsion from your entire world. 
3.      The fickleness of fame. Year in and year out Harry has to deal with the rollercoaster ride that is the fickleness of his fame.  His first year’s experience with his fluctuating fame is probably only the most reasonable example.  Kids were riding high on him being the Boy Who Lived, but that quickly wore off after losing oodles of points for Gryffindor after being caught out of bed.  During his second year, he really has to cope with gaining and losing his fame at Hogwarts, and later in the entire wizarding world.  He gets a real taste of how fleeting fame can be when the Chamber of Secrets is open and there’s a Basilisk running around petrifying muggle-born students.  People become distrustful when it is revealed that Harry is able to speak Parseltongue.  They’re downright hostile when they believe he is the heir of Slytherin.  And so it goes until Harry is fourteen.  Then he really tastes how fleeting his fame really is when the entire wizarding community, save for some pockets of outspoken supporters, turns on him and Dumbledore.  They do so, not because of Harry, really, but out of a desire to keep their heads buried in the sand.  They do not want to believe that Voldemort has returned.  They so want to keep believing the lies of the Daily Prophet and the Ministry of Magic that they villainize the young Harry and Dumbledore.  I believe that it is this turn of events that really disillusions Harry to his supposed fame.  He knows that the adoration and love he receives can be gone in a minute the moment he says or does or thinks something outside of what the witches and wizards around him believe to be true. 
4.      The way Cornelius Fudge treats Harry completely reflects how Harry’s views and actions line up with Fudge’s agenda.  Going hand in hand with Harry’s fluctuating fame is the way Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic, treats him.  Third year, Harry blows up his aunt?  Fudge sweeps it under the rug.  Accidents do happen.  Fourth year, Harry is mysteriously entered into the Tri-Wizard Tournament?  Pull out the press junket: Harry’s going to do interviews, sell papers, and be the Champion Hogwarts needs.  Except at the end of that press tour, Voldemort makes his triumphant return and Fudge so does not have the time to deal with that.  Fifth year, Harry performs the Expecto Patronum charm to ward off Dementors intent on sucking out his and his Muggle cousin’s souls. Performing wand magic in front of a Muggle is strickly forbidden. Performing magic outside of school and underage is extra forbidden.  Full criminal trial to determine if Harry needs to be expelled. 
5.      They’ll make never want to watch the movies again. Seriously.  You’ll read the books then wonder how they let the movies be made into what they are.  The casting may be pretty much spot on, but you’ll be driven crazy by how much of the necessary plot they left out.  Or in the case of the travesty that is Prisoner of Azkaban, how they let somebody have so much “artistic license” to add in the complete drivel that took over that story (Prisoner of Azkaban happens to be my favorite book and I am very bitter that it was not made the way I was seeing it in my head).
6.      Hagrid is Harry’s true father figure.  Who gives him his first birthday present?  Who takes him shopping for his school things?   Who does Harry turn to when he has a problem?  Hagrid is the real father that Harry never had, not Sirius or Lupin or even Mr. Weasley (although he might be the closest runner up). Their relationship is so special, because, like a father-son relationship, nothing Harry does, none of the trouble he gets into, will make Hagrid turn away from him and stop loving him.  Perhaps Sirius could have one day developed this relationship with Harry, but I doubt it. Sirius, it seemed, always looked at Harry as a replacement for James.  I think Hagrid would always be the one providing Harry with that paternal caring.
7.      J.K. Rowling created such a fantastic and deeply detailed world; it is so easy to imagine it and get lost in it.  She is just a master at twisting and turning everything around on you.  She has detailed family histories for all the important wizarding families, and when you hear her in interviews you know this isn’t just something that she has written down somewhere once.  This is something she’s memorized, that she’s put so much work into because, in a way, it is a real history.  And that’s nothing to say of all the beasts and feuds and laws and history.  When you reread the books you discover something new in them every time because she has just packed them so full of detail.
8.      It teaches you that sometimes what is right isn’t always the easiest thing to do.  A seventeen year old kid sacrifices himself to the darkest wizard in the world.  Students living under Nazi German conditions at school go against the whole government and prepare for the coming war.  Draco Malfoy helps Harry Potter.  It is always easier to just going along with whatever is happening.  You just duck your head and hope nobody notices you as you go about your business of not want to get involved.  There is never a time when that is not the easier choice, the choice that most everybody takes.  But there comes a time when somebody must stand firm against the injustice and tyranny being brought down upon the people.  There comes a time when somebody has to make the decision to stop the death.  To stand up and not take anymore.  It is a hard thing to do, but it is done and seen countless times in Harry Potter.
9.      When you go back through and reread them, you understand more of the little things that maybe didn’t make sense before. Whoever would have thought that three years after defeating Tom Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets, destroying his journal, that Harry would discover that he had actually destroyed a piece of Voldemorts broken soul?  Rowling is truly a master of weaving a complicated story, of laying the groundwork for connections and things that make you go “Aha!” when you think back on what you read before. 
10.  You find yourself sympathizing with the supposed bad guy.  Tom Riddle never had a chance.  Being born under the effects of a love potion, being abandoned by both of his parents, means that he is unable to understand the concept of love or empathy or sacrifice.  He just cannot fathom what it means to be so completely selfless, to willingly sacrifice everything you are for those that you care about.  In this way, Harry Potter is protected from him for so many years.  Because he cannot understand love, he does not even think of the protection Lily Potter gave to her son when she sacrificed her life for his.  While Voldemort is a truly reprehensible person, it is difficult to fully say that he is the most hated character, the biggest villain of the series.  Actually...
11.  ...Dolores Umbridge is the true villain and everybody who has ever read the books knows that. If Voldemort is Adolf Hitler, Umbridge is Heinrich Himmler. She is truly ten thousand times more evil and reprehensible and dreadful and hate-inducing than Voldemort ever could dream of.  Umbridge eats ten guys like Voldemort for breakfast every day; she’s that evil. 
12.  The underlying Nazi illusions Rowling creates and uses in Order of the Phoenix.  Voldemort and his followers are all about ethnic cleansing.  They believe that the only magical people worth anything are Pure Bloods and that any other and any sympathizers to “less” magical or non-magical, can all be eradicated.  This is, of course, ironic since Voldemort is a Half-Blood, which goes along with the Hitler having a Jewish mother.
13.  It introduces and deals with real world issues.  It teaches us about abuse, about jealousy, about madness.  It points out the injustice of the class system of this supposedly superior race of beings.  It teaches us about sacrifice, about standing for what you believe in. 
14.  The pleasure of reading Harry Potter doesn’t change, whether you are 12 or 25.  I began reading these books when I was ten years old.  I worked to save birthday and Christmas money for when the finals books were being released, the last one of which came out when I was 15.  As a child I probably reread the books that were out probably once a month, sometimes more.  As an adult, while I may not read them as frequently, I have not lost the joy and pleasure of reading them.  The story is one that is compelling to all age groups for so many different reasons.  Reading as an adult, I don’t feel like I’m being a nostalgic person, trying to reclaim something of my childhood.  Instead, reading them as an adult, I find more adult lessons that I have perhaps missed when I read them as a child.  I’ve probably read the series in its entirety thirty or forty times, and I still pick it back up every few months.
15.  Harry, Ron, and Hermione are not your typical heroes.  You have a weird skinny kid with glasses, a red head, and a book worm nerd girl with buck teeth and bushy hair.  Others include the round boy with a toad, the odd softly spoken girl who sees Nargles everywhere, and the annoying little sister.  These aren’t cookie cutter perfect teens with perfect skin and hair and bodies.  These are just everyday kids who are eventually able to be and do extraordinary things.
16.  J. K. Rowling just keeps giving out more tidbits about what life after the Wizarding Wars is like, and it’s amazing. I love finding a new interview with Rowling because she always has so much to offer fans of her books, new information about what happened to Harry or the Weasleys after the books ended.  The books series was completed seven years ago and she is still telling us things. 
17.  J. K. Rowling— even though the story is about a boy wizard who is to defeat Voldemort— creates some of the strongest female characters.  Minerva McGonnagal?  Certified badass.  Hermione Granger?  Harry would have died getting off the train the first time he came to Hogwarts if it weren’t for Hermione.  Bellatrix Lestrange?  She’s a bad guy, but she’s Voldemort’s right hand woman.  Dolores Umbridge?  Most hated character of any book ever, but still a strong female character.  MRS. WEASLEY? She has SEVEN kids, nine if you count how she embraces and mothers Harry and Hermione, and she still kicks ass.  She has everybody terrified of her and it is amazing.  
18.  You get an important backstory and character development for Neville Longbottom reading Order of the Phoenix than you would understand just watching the movies.  You only get a brief mention of what happened to Neville’s parents in the movie, and it is so much more detailed and fleshed out in the book.  It really keeps Neville as a one-dimensional character in the movie, not understanding his backstory and what happened toh is parents. 
19.  It makes you wonder how magical people get along in the world without Muggle stuff.  Like, birth control. Is that a thing?  Do wizards go to the Apothecary for the Pill?  Do girls have to pack a year’s worth of feminine products when they come to Hogwarts.  These are questions that need answering.
20.  Severus Snape. What is an adequate way to pay homage and respect and showcase how wonderful and complex and deep and wonderful again a character Severus Snape is.  All Snape wanted was Lily’s love.  All of his actions are for Lily.  He turns spy for Lily.  He saves Harry, the image of his most hated rival, for Lily.  I am so inadequate at describing exactly how wonderful of a character Snape is because it is so hard to capture what he really was besides tragic and wonderful.