The other night I went and saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 for the second time. Sitting a few seats down from me was a girl who was at the theater all by herself. As the movie reached its most emotional moments I realized she was crying. Crying the same way I was as we saw these characters that we know and love conclude their journey. I couldn't help thinking to myself...this is what it's all about. Now I don't know what was going on in this girl's life; only that she needed an escape for a couple of hours and Hogwarts was somewhere she wanted to be.
I started thinking about getting emotionally involved in something that we know is not real. How is it that Harry Potter, a boy who never even existed except in the mind of JK Rowling, is able to have such an impact on the entire world? Why do we care about someone we will never truly see because they never truly lived? I came to the conclusion that it's quite difficult to put into words; but I'll do my best.
We need to escape once in a while. There's so much pressure and so much darkness in our world everyday, that sometimes we need to visit a place that has a happy ending. First there's school, then work, then a family and so on and so forth. If we didn't have things like Harry Potter, I'm pretty sure we'd all kill each other before the week was through. Look around you and you'll see everyone constantly finding their little escapes. From my seat in the airport terminal I can see a man reading a book, a woman doing a crossword puzzle, a mom playing with building blocks with her son and so much more. Most of the people here are finding their escape for the moment. Yes, one woman has her bluetooth glued to her ear and is talking business next to me; but I bet you anything she'll get home tonight, have a glass of wine, and escape. Without these things that take us away from the world we live in, I think we'd feel trapped.
I remember sitting on my bed in my room at home reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince when it first came out. I arrived at the scene where Snape kills Dumbledore and as I was reading tears started to fall on my page. I think it was at that moment I realized how much I actually cared for these people. People, like they exist, like I could fly to London and possibly run into Harry at King's Cross Station. They're not real! None of them have ever drawn breath and yet we shed tears for their loss! There's a wonderful line at the end of Deathly Hallows: Part 2 where Harry asks Dumbledore if what's going on is real or if it's all in his head. Dumbledore answers, "Well of course it's going on inside your head...but why should that mean it's not real." I don't think you can say it much better than that. These things that we love all stimulate our imagination. And that is where our escape truly lies. One of my favorite quotes comes from Albert Einstein, it's short and simple stating, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." He truly was a brilliant man don't you think?
I think we all need to find our escape whatever it may be. I've seen a lot of people who take this life way too seriously; and while that might lead them to "success" or whatever their definition of the word is, will it lead them to happiness? I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think these escapes are important. I think they keep us sane, keep us grounded in reality in a way since we can distinguish the difference between reality and fantasy. Yes, I feel powerful emotions when I watch certain movies or read certain books, but they are fleeting. I'm not still mourning Dumbledore's death, I'm not still celebrating Frodo destroying the ring. We go to these places for a few hours to find a bit of happiness.
So find your escape. Whether it's at a school where young witches and wizards go to learn the ways of magic or something else, take some time and simply imagine. Trust me, it's magical.