I had been growing my hair for the previous four months in an attempt to look a little more heavy metal, and it wasn’t working. Instead of growing down, my hair was growing out, like a dandelion with the texture of a brillo pad.
But when I plunged myself into the clear waters of that rooftop pool that summer, my hair, freshly hydrated, floated down across my face. My sister, already underwater, turned to me and said, through gargled bubbles, “you look like Harry Potter!”
Who was this Harry Potter? It didn’t take me long to find out.
This was before the films had been announced, and only the first three books had been released. I guess the combination of my hair and the shocked expression on my face from the sharpness of the cold water made me resemble the young Harry on the front cover of the first book (UK edition).
I was reading The Lord of the Rings during that holiday, but after hearing about this Harry Potter character, I couldn’t wait to get hold of a copy and read about the boy who looked like me.
I got home, and I read the first, then the second, then the third.
By that point it was Christmas, and I remember drifting into a warm, fuzzy sleep one night, dreaming that I was soaring across the grounds of Hogwarts on my broom, catching the Golden Snitch and winning Quidditch for Griffindor. It was one of the best dreams I’ve ever had.
Something magical had happened to me whilst reading the books, something that had never happened to me before. In my imagination, I had become Harry Potter.
Reading other books, I had grown to like characters, be affected by their outcomes, and care about what happened to them, but never before had I felt as though I was the character himself. I felt his pain when he mourned the loss of his parents, and I felt his joy at receiving a woolly jumper from Mrs Weasley at Christmas.
When books can do this, it is a truly remarkable feat, and anyone that puts JK Rowling’s success down to luck and chance is wrong, and most likely has not read the books.
I imagine I am not alone in feeling this way.
The true magic of Harry Potter for me wasn’t in its spells or enchantments, but in its ability to capture my imagination and to never let it go.
The books and the films may have ended, but Harry still lives on inside all of us.
Little did I know at the time of picking that first book up, that Harry would become my biggest inspiration when creating a fictional world of my own, the world of Seckry Sevenstars.
I only hope that readers feel the same way about Seckry as I did about Harry. If even one person does, then I have succeeded.
You can buy the first book in The Seckry Sequence here: