My London Trip: Harry Potter and Shakespeare, Y’all.
“Yeah, but I can’t stop!!! Look at this building. And this cab. Awwwww, the double deckers!”
Click. Click. Click.
I’ve probably taken 200 pictures already, and we’ve only been in London for a few hours.
2 days after I returned, my excitement was still somewhere around Joey’s levels.
Obviously, it’s not just because it’s a cool place to be in. The truth is, I’m quite biased.
Let’s take the train back to when I was 12 to help you understand why.
Me and J. K. Rowling: Love at First Read
Most 12 year olds probably don’t hide under the sheets with a flashlight every night to read their books. They also don’t switch off the flashlight as soon as they hear someone coming to check if they’re really sleeping.
They probably also don’t turn it on again right after the danger’s gone to continue reading.
See, I didn’t have many friends before I became a teenager.
My books were my everything: I couldn’t sleep without knowing how a story ended and I couldn’t get dressed in the morning before I’d laid my eyes on the next one.
It was around that time when I dove into the world of Harry Potter and never looked back.
To this day (I’m 25) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, along with Ana Karenina, are still my favorite books. I know, they’re so similar.
I didn’t just read the Harry Potter books. I became obsessed. To me, they’re far from just books.
- At that age I was obviously as full of insecurities as Donald Trump’s secret room is full of wigs. Reading about people constantly overcoming their fears was elating.
- The idea that 3 kids with intelligence and good hearts can be more powerful than adults who think they know it all was inspiring.
- The characters were simply superb. Rowling did an excellent job at enabling us to really imagine how they look, act and evolve throughout the books.
- The details. This woman never seizes to amaze me every time I read the books. Everything is interconnected and sometimes it’s years before your eyes pop because you finally got the connection.
- The books have everything: love, friendship, romance, mythology, tragedy, pain, birth, death, action, wordplay and even awkward comedy – my favorite kind.
Rowling created a world so full of detail with such genuine characters that we can’t help but get lost in and even feel at home in.
Believe me, I could go on. I’ve been asked to shut up about Harry Potter more times than I’ve been asked what my natural hair color is. It’s cyan.
My point: all of this was born in London. Well, on the way to London, to be more specific. See, Rowling was on a train and…
Anyway, you can probably understand why I’ve wanted to visit London so badly.
And this wasn’t even the sole reason behind my London craze.
Me and Shakespeare: Shall I Compare Thee to My Harry Potter Obsession?
I do realize that comparing Shakespeare’s work to Harry Potter is absurd.
However, think about it this way: both Rowling and Shakespeare built an empire. They just did it in very different ways.
In fact, every single thing about them is different.
The obvious distinctions aside, Shakespeare wasn’t nearly as appreciated in his lifetime as he was after his death. Meanwhile, Rowling already has amusement parks built to never let her characters’ world be forgotten.
All in all – both are pretty impressive human beings.
I’ve always dreamt about visiting Shakespeare’s birth place and London was pretty close.
Let’s back up again.
Why Shakespeare? To be honest, I don’t even think I studied him in school (if I did, I wouldn’t know).
I’ve got one word for you: STORYTELLING. Story.fucking.telling.
Bring me someone who can do it better than Shakespeare – I dare you.
This man could cross the limits of time, age, gender… in a way no one else ever could. He was the master of storytelling and even though a few haters use the fact that his stories were unoriginal to throw shade, this is not even an argument.
Yes, he drew his stories from history and even from other literature – but what he did with them afterwards is what made them brilliant.
His characters are real. Much like J. K. Rowling’s.
They are three-dimensional and human – and they always question the world around them.
This is what got me so attached to his writing – there hasn’t been a single time when I started reading one of his stories and I didn’t forget everything around me.
It’s like I’m in a different time plane, fighting for oxygen and finishing his story is the only way for me to breathe again.
Did you know he created over 1700 of the words we use every day?! He’s an insanely important contributor to the language I am writing in right now.
To this day, Shakespeare makes people laugh, cry, awe and feel. To this day, he influences every single generation of writers.
Don’t you ever ask me why I love Shakespeare.
Being in London at the 400th anniversary of his death, walking around the streets and seeing the huge screens showing his plays was magic.
This, my readers, is why I was biased towards London – and why I always will be.
Thou this be madness, yet there is method in it.