Escaping Reality Through Our Fantasies

October 24, 2017

Going to Hogwarts was my dream when I was younger, and I’m sure I’ve shared that dream with many of you. Magic is something that is so fantastical and so completely opposite from reality that it draws everyone in. It’s easy to use stories like Harry Potter to escape our own struggles and reality. When I was a kid, I basically lived in my Harry Potter books. I used to play “Harry Potter” with my friends in elementary school. Even when I switched schools, my friends and I used to write letters back and forth to each other pretending to be certain characters from the books. My connection to the world of Hogwarts, as well as my connection to all of the characters was, and still is, extremely strong. I felt that I could relate to all the characters in some way because I was growing up as they were growing up. Additionally, I felt that I could escape my world with their world.


 Photo: Jay on Unsplash


 I think this idea of using fantasy and supernatural worlds as an outlet to take a break from our own struggles is a healthy way to forget our problems for a little while. For me, Harry Potter was that outlet. I channeled the different personalities of the characters in different situations. For example, I tried to be like Hermione when I was studying for a test or writing an essay. If I was upset or sick, I would turn straight to the books or the movies as a way to escape my feelings. It gave me some perspective on my own life. If Harry Potter could go out and face Voldemort, then I could face those mean girls at school.


As I began to get older, I was maturing alongside my favorite characters (Harry, Ron, and Hermione). I was going through normal teenage stuff with them. When I was a senior in high school and it was around the time everyone was writing college essays, I found that everyone I knew was writing about some big personal struggle that they had overcome. I didn’t feel that I had overcome any huge struggles at this point, so I didn’t know what to write about. I ended up creating an essay centered around Harry Potter, which sounds a bit crazy. My essay basically talked about how my own coming of age story coincided with the characters. I grew up with them, and all of them were a part of me in some small way. The ending of the series was devastating for me, and it symbolized the end of my childhood. The characters had grown up, and now I had too. It was time to move on and jump into the reality of adulthood. Of course, I tried to let my obsession die down a little bit as I went into high school because that’s the healthy thing to do, but I never let Harry Potter go. I still love it and it’s still a huge comfort for me to turn to when I’m upset. It feels like another home to me.

Whether it’s Harry Potter or not, I feel as though everyone has a way to escape their realities through different fantasy worlds, whether it’s through TV shows, books, or movies. Everyone had that childhood series that they were absolutely obsessed with, and that impacted their childhood. Magic and the supernatural is a great escape from our world. Even if you’re all grown up, it’s comforting to return back to a little piece of your childhood. As Albus Dumbledore once said in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, “in dreams, we enter a world that is entirely our own”.


My name is Emma Berry, I'm 20 years old and I am a junior at the College of the Holy Cross. I'm an English major with a concentration in Creative Writing. I also joined the Pre-Business program, as I hope to get a job in the publishing field after I graduate. I basically run on iced coffee and when I have free time I love to just read or watch Netflix (and Game of Thrones). ​


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