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From Harry Potter to How I Met Your Mother Reflections on My Childhood Comforts

2021 has graced us with many cast reunions spinoffs and re releases. In May the Friends cast assembled for Friends the Reunion. In July Gossip Girl returned in an HBO Max reboot. Just last month Taylor Swift released the latest of her re recordings Red Taylor s Version .

I ve patiently waited my turn for something I really liked to come back. In January my dream will finally come true doubly as I m reunited with my two favorite worlds Harry Potter and How I Met Your Mother. On Jan. 1 the Harry Potter cast will be reuniting for an HBO Max special the first time they ve come together since the final film release in 2011. And on Jan. 18 the first season of the How I Met Your Mother spinoff How I Met Your Father will premiere on Hulu. The anticipation has inspired me to reflect on my relationship or rather obsessions with both.

As a younger child I was terrified of Harry Potter.My mom tried to get me into it but for whatever reason the idea of a wizarding world scared me so much that my five year old self requested that all the Harry Potter books be removed from our house. It wasn’t until first grade that I took the leap and decided to try them for myself. As soon as I did I was transfixed. I quickly read all of the books grateful that the seventh book came out just as I started the first so I could truly binge the series. But I didn’t stop there. In second grade I was Hermione for Halloween fashioning myself a wand out of duct tape. The same year I insisted on a Harry Potter themed birthday party complete with a sorting ceremony a potion making class dormitories for each house and a Hogwarts like common room which to this day is the term used to refer to the room between mine and my parents.In elementary school I constantly cycled through the books writing down the spells in a notebook as I went along as if they were a list of vocabulary words. The wizarding world of Harry Potter provided an escape for my young mind. It was the first book series I ever truly enjoyed and it inspired a love of reading that followed me through my childhood.

I wasn’t allowed to watch the movies until I read all the books my mothers rule but when I did, I found a similar fascination with the films. Additionally I happened to be reading the series as the films were coming out. To me the books and movies were interchangeable. Daniel Radcliffe was Harry Emma Watson was Hermione and Rupert Grint was Ron.As I grew up Harry Potter still had a place in my heart but I soon started to turn to TV shows. In sixth grade I started watching How I Met Your Mother.It was the first sitcom I d ever watched and though I was dubious at first I soon became obsessed so much so that my Bat Mitzvah giveaways were boxer shorts sporting Hannahs Bat Mitzvah was Legen Wait for It Dairy a reference to character Barney Stinsons famous catchphrase.

Since then, it has become my go-to show. During my first break up it was How I Met Your Mother and Ted Mosbys failure of a love life that got me through. The series provided comfort as I adjusted to life at Wesleyan especially given the many Easter eggs only a true Cardinal would understand the series was created by alums Craig Thomas 97 and Carter Bays 97. And as my 22nd birthday last week came to an end the only course of action I could fathom to help cope with my thoughts of growing older was to watch the series finale. I’ve watched the show enough times that I can easily summon episode titles after hearing a quick description and vice versa.

Although both are unrealistic in their own ways Harry Potter is about child wizards defeating a dark lord and How I Met Your Mother really had me thinking I d meet my soulmate the first day of freshman year they both have been a source of consolation for me throughout my life. And in the end I have both to thank for bringing me to the University. I was officially introduced to the University through How I Met Your Mother since creators Bays and Thomas met here and constantly weaved their Wesleyan experience into the show and its characters. As for Harry Potter it was Emeritus Professor of Psychology Bob Steele course Myth Magic and Movies that made me choose Wesleyan over the University of Michigan. After all only at a liberal arts college would I get the opportunity to take a class where Harry Potter was the sole required reading.The returns of both of these worlds will be very different from the originals.The Harry Potter special will not include series author J.K. Rowling a decision likely stemming from public censure in response to her trans phobic comments. As for How I Met Your Father the creative team is the same but the characters will be completely different. Despite these changes there is a certain nostalgic joy to reinvigorating a love for a certain universe a feeling I anticipate come January.

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