One of the first books I owned as a kid was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling. I was too young to read it then, but it didn't stop me from becoming a Potterhead. Naturally, when I found out that there was a Harry Potter elective literature in De La Salle University, where I was studying, I couldn't contain my excitement and wanted to enroll immediately. But since the literature department only offers it once a year, I didn't get in until my third year of trying.
Fast forward to our first day in class when I was seated in the classroom and eagerly waiting for the class to begin with my fellow Potterheads. Our professor, Prof. Anne Frances Sangil, arrived wearing a purple, velvet robe that greatly resembled Professor Minerva McGonagall's in the movies. She said her speech and we were all moved by it, but she immediately warned us that we had to work extra hard because she had high expectations from her students since we are all big Harry Potter fans.
Even though the subject took most of my time and effort (to the point that I almost forgot about my majors and other classes), taking Prof. Sangil's class was one of the best decisions I've ever made, and dare I say, the best one I took in my entire stay at the university. It gave me a lot of wonderful memories and made me realize a lot of things, which I wrote about below.
- "Your house will be like your family."
What Professor Minerva McGonagall said in the first book and movie was proven true in our class. Like the start of the school year at Hogwarts, we were all sorted into the four Hogwarts houses. I was sorted in Gryffindor and my bond with the people in my house has gone beyond being Potterheads. I couldn't be more thankful to be blessed with new best friends (shoutout to the Gryffs of Batch 12!).
- Nothing worth having comes easy.
We all thought we knew HP so well but we were wrong! We had to come prepared, so even if we've already read the book and watched the movie, we had to re-read the ones we were going to discuss for the week. That's if we wanted to ace the trivia questions which were our quizzes; weekly parchments, which were our essays; as well as the characters, spells, and the events that happened per chapter in every book. And we certainly wanted to get a perfect score, because it meant earning points for our house to win the House Cup!
- Harry's story is just like every other hero's tale.
Prof. Sangil discussed Joseph Campbell's The Hero's Journey and how it is the basis of almost every known literary hero's tale ever told. This has helped me analyze stories better and widen my consciousness in different literary pieces. It also made me realize that you don't have to be a certain age to be a hero. Case in point: Harry!
- Have constant vigilance.
Reading between the lines is to have depth in understanding and promote critical thinking, and this class has reinforced that on me. When reading Harry Potter, one must go beyond the surface to carefully understand what J.K. Rowling is trying to impose.
- Don't forget to have fun.
We all compete for house points, but being competitive shouldn't be cause for drama. The class exists so we can learn all about and beyond the magic of the wizarding world and have fun along the way. And I think that's what brought us together, aside from our love for Harry Potter, that is.
Would you enroll in this elective? What have you learned from reading J.K. Rowling's books?