They were two friends whose tastes and opinions I respected, so I was intrigued. I don't know if it was that night, but soon thereafter, I picked up my brother's copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I thought it was a good book, though I wasn't blown away, and I wasn't moved. But never had I been able to finish a book so quickly, and never had I been so engaged as a reader.
I picked up the second. By the third I was hooked. Forever. Reading the fourth was a milestone for me -- by my first reading, it was the longest book I had ever read, weighing in at 734 pages.
Something magical happened after I read Harry Potter. I began devouring other books with the same passion. Prior to Harry, I had never considered myself much of a reader. Sure, I read here and there, but never with any consistency, taking months at a time to finish a single book. Through Harry Potter, I discovered that reading was not only enjoyable, but that it moved, inspired, and effected me in ways few things can.
So the least I can do is say thanks. Thank you, Harry and friends (and enemies) for so many great years, all seven of them. Thank you for helping me develop a love for reading, without which I would have missed out on so many great books that have influenced me so positively. Thank you for the movies too, which don't really compare to the books, but have nevertheless provided a way for my friends and me to grow closer as we celebrate you, the Boy Who Lived -- the boy who will always live on in my imagination and heart for years and years to come.