Five Ways Something Ruined My LifeFive Ways ‘Harry Potter' Ruined My LifeErin Mallory Long

I almost wanted to take out the quotation marks and just have it be the character of Harry Potter but sometimes I want to punch him so I don’t think this would have worked out for the spirit of “life ruining.” But no, this is just an overall Harry Potter Life Ruining thing. The books, the movies – I mean, even sometimes the actors themselves. (Like how Neville is super hot now.) But my relationship to the Harry Potter universe is weird in my world of Life Ruiners. I could have gotten into it as early as 1999 (in the US) but I was too busy watching Dawson’s Creek and being in high school. My 5-years-younger brother, however, was REALLY into Harry Potter and since he wore glasses and had dark, mop-top hair, he even dressed up as Harry Potter for Halloween. I distinctly remember my parents reading the books with him and saying, “Erin, you’d like them.”

But I just kind of ignored them until the summer that (the book) Order of the Phoenix came out. I had gone with the family the previous year to see the Chamber of Secrets movie, and besides hating the excessive use of spiders, I thought the kids were cute and I was curious enough to read the books. That summer I was home from college and decided to tackle all the books so I could have fun with the release of the fifth book and get it at midnight with my brother and dad and like, what else was I doing?

Let’s just say, I don’t know when I ate during this time, because all I remember is sitting on the couch on the landing going to the second floor of my house reading. All day. Every day. This lead to many things, such as me dressing up as Hermione for Halloween at my work study job at an elementary school (because, yes, she’s a literary character), as well as attending numerous midnight book releases and movie showings, along with several Harry and the Potters concerts, and going to last year’s Quidditch World Cup. I also very recently got in a conversation about Harry Potter tattoo ideas. (My favorites are the Deathly Hallows symbol and “All was well.”)

So, here are some ways the Harry Potter series (and I mean books AND movies, people) has ruined my life:

1. I Can’t Stop Asking, “Where’s My Letter to Hogwarts?”

I mean, this is pretty standard. I don’t understand how you can read anything about witchcraft OR wizardry without immediately wanting to have magical powers. If you’re not a delusional mess waiting for your letter to Hogwarts after getting into Harry Potter you’re doing it wrong.

Who hasn’t dreamed of discovering a secret magical destiny (or Slayer strength) after having a bad day (or four)? Harry was having a difficult time growing up and then suddenly he finds out he’s VERY important in this crazy, awesome, scary world that he never he realized existed before. It’s awesome and I’m forever jealous of him.

Plus, I mean, I’d love to be able to make stuff levitate and throw things at people. Though I like that even in the magical world, being able to change your hair color is a special talent only a few people have. Clearly The Craft lied to us all.


Most of these deaths I was way more affected by while reading the books (meaning I was sobbing the first time AND the fourth time I read them, even if I was on the subway) but I don’t think a picture of words would have the same impact for this, so here we are.

In no particular order here are some heart-wrenching deaths from Harry Potter.

SIRIUS NOOOO (This actually does come across better in the books, sorry)






Well, great, now I’m crying. Thanks a lot, J.K. Rowling.

3. Makes Me Think Normal British Things Are Magical

This one is particularly embarrassing for me. Okay, well maybe not embarrassing because I sort of knew some of the stuff in Harry Potter is just normal British stuff but like, some of it isn’t, so it’s just confusing, okay?

My friend was going to grad school in England and she got so excited telling us that she had to get dress robes for school “just like Harry Potter!” This was the first indication I had that maybe everything is Harry Potter wasn’t centered on the magical. (Whoops – guess I need to do more British Things research). So then I was like, “oh, I guess prefects and stuff aren’t just a made up magical word either…” (I’m serious here, people). I mean, I’ve only been to London once and for like, a day and a half so yes, I did take a picture of a King’s Cross sign BECAUSE of Harry Potter but I also took a picture of a guy selling hats like the one Joey buys on Friends when they go to London!

I mean, like, they go to King's Cross, come on!

"Joey Top Hats"

And yes, when I bought my Cambridge Satchel bag I ALSO got this amazing item which is currently displayed on my jean jacket just like when I was 7!

I RUN Hogwarts!

I’m just saying, if prefects and dress robes are real, why isn’t magic?

4. Makes Me Feel Like None of My Extracurricular Activities Are Good Enough

Just like Cher, once she realizes her feelings for Josh, I just don’t feel like what I do in my spare time can stack up against what these kids do in their spare time.

I mean, I read and watch TV, I write, I do cross-stitch and stuff, but I do NOT fight evil on a daily basis. Voldemort ON THE PAGE terrifies me. And guess what? I’m a scaredy cat! I’m not sure I’d even be IN the story of Harry Potter because I’d be one of the Hufflepuffs who never talks or gets involved in anything.

(Actually, I’d like to think I’d be Ravenclaw but whatever).

The point is, everything they do is so much more important than anything I do!

5. I Want A Pet Owl

I know, I know, “owls are so hip.” This is going to sound weird but I’ve always associated myself with owls. I mean, some of the best characters are owls:


1...2...3. CRUNCH. 3!

X the Owl!

But then also my maiden name is Huth (like truth) and sometimes when I was young people liked to make hooting sounds at me because they are very hilarious and clever. But in Harry Potter they get to OWN owls. Like, have owls as pets and have them help them and stuff. So awesome. Now, to be fair, some people have frogs or rats or cats but I could have that in normal life. I can’t have an owl in my normal day-to-day life. That would be crazy.

Realistically, I do understand that actually owning a pet owl would be a terrible idea (for me and it) and it’s really very sad that people actually bought owls because of Harry Potter and then abandoned them but I totally get the impulse. Those people just didn’t realize Harry Potter ruined their lives!

I last re-read all the books over the winter of 2010-2011 so I’m probably due for a re-re-re-re-read (just estimating here) pretty soon.

(Main image from the DVD with me added, all character death pics from here, Owl from here, Tootsie Pop Owl from here, X the Owl from here)


  • Nichola Emsley

    Haha! I used to be a prefect, I must be magic :p

  • Jenny Davison

    It is too cute that you thought robes and prefects were magical things :) I am from England so I take these things for granted when watching Harry Potter. I suppose for you it’s like me watching an American film and not knowing what a corn dog is… I am still baffled! I recently found out that you guys call Aubergines an Eggplant.. Mind. Blown.

    • Erin Long

      Haha, yeah that makes sense! mm corndogs….I’ve had a lot of British co-workers and my favorite game to play is “What Did You Just Call That?” which came up when my friend told me to grab the “kitchen rolls.” Though, I was the only one who figured out he meant paper towels. Everyone was baffled. eggplant, yeah! I could seriously talk about these difference for…hours. I exclusively spell grey “grey” tho and I think that’s British!

  • Alma Brosnan

    I was living in America when the last book came out. I was trying to act cool and hide my geek side and decided to get it the morning of the release rather than go to a midnight book release. Walking back from the cinema with a group of friends, one of my friends got a phone call from her sister at home (Ireland). She then proceeded to ask her evil little sister what happened at the end of the book…. (time difference – Ireland is 8 hours ahead of San Francisco so the brat had gotten her book already!) This supposed best friend of mine laughs down the phone and looks at me with an evil glint in her eye. I walked away as fast as I could with my hands over my ears and did not talk to her for a week. I finished the book in a day but could not talk to her over the seething anger I had for her being tempted to do something so so cruel.
    I still get angry when I think about it! I had to spend the whole next day with headphones on!
    Also, Team Pacey – right there with you!

  • Clementine Tangerine

    I love love love Harry Potter, I went to England when I was like 15 and accidentally took a bus to King’s Cross and my friends wouldn’t go inside and I SO wanted a picture in platform 9 3/4 I hate their guts, haha. But seriously I do … and also have a Deathly Hallows tattoo with the “all was well” line. I try not to think it’s over because I will get depressed.
    I need to go to park right now!

  • Antonia Cecilia Castro

    I grew with the books and movies and, right now at 22, sometimes I feel that no one will get me like they do, haha. And I think Deathly Hallows tattoos are amazing, I have one behind my left ear and I love it when people recognize it.

  • Meredith Palagi

    I just want to let you know that I am one of those harry potter geeks that date back to the 90s, and i couldn’t agree more with this post! I miss the midnight parties I would throw with friends for midnight releases of the books and movies and realized this is the first summer that there is NOTHING Harry Potter coming out! Also Neville is freakishly hot now, the movie death of cedric made me cry openly in public and the Harry Potter theme park made me feel slightly better about my muggle existence.

    • Erin Long

      OH GOD THE MOVIE DEATH OF CEDRIC! I mean, I said it once and I’ll say it again, “so many deaths, so many tears.” WOW.

  • Gillian Ladley

    Did you not take a photo of platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross?! It’s there you know!

    Harry Potter is fantastically British. Hogwarts isn’t actually all that bad a depiction of UK private schools. I went to a state school, but we did have houses and points and house cups. And then I went to Glasgow University which definitely looks like Hogwarts, and Diagon Alley is either based on Ashton Lane near the Uni, or based on Cockburn St in Edinburgh. American students loved it. Still waiting on my letter too though…

  • Ashley Berry

    Wait, wait, wait… There are muggle dress robes??

    And I totally cried again when I saw the death scene pictures… I don’t even want to talk about how much I cried when I actually read it… Blubbering idiot…

    And you should totally do more in Pottermore. I could have sworn [out of pure fear] that I would be in Hufflepuff, but *phew* I’m a Gryffindor.

  • Jade Gotcher

    I wish we could be BFFs. I know all of these feels. I have always fan-girl loved the movies but didn’t discover the MAJESTY OF THESE BOOKS UNTIL I WAS 20! I WASTED SO MUCH TIME. But then my life was ruined by them so maybe it’s a good thing. Did you sign up for Pottermore? are you a Ravenclaw? I’m a Hufflepuff. AINT NO SHAME!

    • Erin Long

      I’m Hufflepuff – which I like because I enjoy badgers. Duh.

  • Heather Babin

    I have to admit that I first read the books in 10th grade because I boy I liked was into them. Then when the last book comes out several years later, this same boy (who I didn’t like anymore) “accidently” tells me the ending before I finish reading! Wanted to punch him in the face!
    Oh and I just gave my boss all seven books to read. Told her Harry would keep her company after her surgery! I tell everyone who hasn’t read them to do it quick! It has a lot of meaning in them.

  • Ashley Lynn Cook

    YES GIRL! LOVE this article! Everyone I knew was so into the HP books for so long, and at first (in my silly silly naivety) I strived to stay away, but when hurricane Ike came through and we were without power for weeks, I gave in and started reading the books and FELL IN LOVE…seriously whooshed through them non-stop. Out of all the deaths, I think I cried over Lupis the most, I mean, come on, he’s downright ADORABLE <3…and Snape as well -_-…..I always fall in love with the strangest of characters, but how can you not just fall head over heels with that deep baritone voice, amiright? XD

  • Molly Newcomb

    Um, can we please be best friends? Okay, this is my first comment ever on a HelloGiggles post, but I just had to, because of how much I love Harry Potter.
    This article perfectly captures some of my feelings towards Harry Potter, although there are definitely a few more things I would add to the list, especially the fact that everyone I meet is judged based on whether or not they like Harry Potter. I just spent the majority of my year in English writing a paper that connected Harry Potter to the Odyssey. In short, I’m obsessed.
    Like the comment above (below?) me, I feel as though I’m about to burst from writing about this, and I’m going to stop and go read some HP.

    • Erin Long

      :) That’s awesome! Sounds like a good paper.

  • Maria A. Hernandez-Venegas

    This is my life. I read the books a few months before I turned 11 and, I am not joking, all I wanted for my birthday was a letter from Hogwarts. I thought, “What if?!” To this day, not getting a letter has been one of my biggest disappointments. Have you seen my HG bio? I call my degree in chemistry a “degree in potions.” I want to be a witch so bad, and be friends with Hermione. Speaking of, I related to Hermione so much as a child (and still do). This past January I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and I could not even. I lost my ability to even. The only reason I didn’t cry during the Ollivanders show was because I didn’t want my sister laughing at me for eternity. J.K. Rowling is a British national treasure. Oh my God, can you feel my love for Harry Potter? I feel like I’m about to burst, so I’m going to stop now.

    • Erin Long


  • Brittany Onesti

    I am judging you by not including Snape’s death. What is wrong with you?!

    • Chynna White

      I think it was the 6th book? But there was the time that Molly Weasley stumbled upon Ron DEAD and I absolutely sobbed for 20 minutes before turning the page, where it was explained that dead Ron was simply a boggart… ugh.

    • Erin Long

      See, I knew I’d forget one! I asked my husband, “these are all the deaths I cried over right?!” UUUUGGGH. Of course Snape!

  • Stephanie Howell

    Just reading #2 I started tearing up…

  • Lauren Montemurri

    I feel like I could add so much more to this list. <3 HP

    • Erin Long

      Tell me! I want to know!! :)

  • Kaela Gagliardi

    Hey future bff, I’ve been waiting for this one. Harry Potter has actually ruined my life more than anything ever. I’ve been a golden snitch for Halloween three different years now, and I’m seriously considering getting a snitch tattoo. Also, sometimes I think things like, “at least when I die I’ll get to meet Harry, Ron, and Hermione in heaven” before I remember they’re fictional. Also, I made a rule for myself to only re-read the books every five years, to help preserve the magic. 2 more to go.

    Would you like to come to my annual Yule Ball party this Christmas? :)

    • Erin Long

      Haha amazing. I’m SERIOUSLY considering “All was well.” as a tattoo at some point. I just love that so much. Obviously want to go to a Yule Ball. Duh.

  • Brandy Cheyenne Davis

    Everytime I want to get out of work I always wish I had some puking pastilles. If only…

  • Liz Craig

    When you finally get to see London properly you must stop by the Leavesdon Studio Tour! It’s Potter Nerd Heaven!

    • Erin Long

      Oh my goodness, that looks amazing!

  • Amanda Alguire Vredenburgh

    First loved this post.
    Second, this wedding had an owl ring bearer. My husband did not agree to a harry potter wedding. However, we did go to Harry Potter park (and Disney for our anniversary).
    Third, go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter….immediatley!
    Fourth, JOEY’s HAT! I’d so buy one.

    • Erin Long

      That owl ring bearer is nuts! Thanks!

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