For seven books, you came to know and love a variety of characters within the world of Harry Potter. As the plot unfolded, you shared in their joy, their grief, and their epic struggles.
But now you’ve been forced to abandon a wondrous fictional world, in favour of that awful thing we reluctantly call ‘reality’. Let’s talk strategy on how to deal with that crushing emptiness.
Step 1: Mourn
You have just emerged from what might be one of the most blissful experiences in life – falling in love with a captivating story.
As with the conclusion of all great things, you need to allow yourself time to grieve. Acknowledge and embrace the melancholy of knowing you will never experience the series through fresh eyes again.
Wallow in your pain. It will help you adjust. Eventually.
Step 2: Assess your immediate surroundings
When caught up in a truly great book or series, you may be guilty of neglecting your responsibilities and overall quality of life.
If you regain regular consciousness and somehow find yourself sitting in a shallow nest of snack wrappings, blankets and old socks, it might be time to check on your cat. Or children, if you happen to have any.
Step 3: Re-establish contact with family and friends
Though it might seem logical to forgo all social engagements in favour of immediately re-reading the series you literally just finished, step away from the books. Now is the time to reach out to those who are probably missing you.
Like your parents. Or your siblings. Your friends, who have probably forgotten what you look like. Possibly even your partner, who is probably sadly waiting for you to notice them again.
Step 4: Return to civilised habits
Now that you’ve finished the books, you have no excuse not to eat at a table, instead of lying on your bed, distractedly missing your mouth with poorly-aimed utensils.
Likewise, now might be a good time to re-learn how to cook, instead of living on snacks that can be opened with one hand. Wearing clothes instead of pyjamas is also considered socially acceptable in some circles.
Step 5: Re-introduce yourself to other interests
This one is admittedly a challenge. What do you even like to do, when you’re not devouring the Harry Potter stories? Hobbies? What are those? But seriously, you need to find new ways to fill that gaping hole in your life.
You could always take up a sport. Or a craft. Or get a dog (we recommend giving a rescue pooch a new home, in that case). But if all else fails, you can always take up Quidditch, and attempt to reenact the daring stunts of the books*.
*Please do not do this.
Step 6: Sleep
We’ve all delayed sleep to finish ‘just one more chapter’. Except you’ve been doing it for days, weeks, or even months, unable to tear yourself away from the story.
If you have a job, uni course, or regularly operate any form of heavy machinery, sleep is very highly recommended at this stage. Please go and do that.
Step 7: Seek out other stories
People are capable of loving more than one person in a lifetime. This can also apply to stories. Harry Potter weaves a spell that nobody can deny, but there are other fantastic stories out there, waiting to be discovered.
If they happen to feature an elderly wizard, a dragon and wonderful friendships, all the more reason to enjoy it, right?
Remember, the beauty of stories is that we can keep their magic alive in our thoughts, even when going about our regular lives.
‘Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?’ – Albus Dumbledore