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How to talk to that one person in your life who hasn’t read Harry Potter

Even the most diehard Harry Potter fan probably has a friend who hasn’t read the books.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Now, you can lock that friend in the cupboard under your stairs and never speak to them again, or you can face this issue head-on.

We encourage you to do the latter.

Here are five dos and don’ts when talking to that special person in your life who has never read the books. Good luck.

Don’t: Judge them

We’re kicking off with a big one. Take all of those ethical lessons you learned while reading the books (the power of love, the need to fight for good, the person you thought was quite hopeless at the start will probably end up beheading a snake) and apply them here. Love your mates, no matter how behind they are.

Do: Try to find out why your friend hasn’t read the stories yet

There has to be a reason why someone you consider to be your friend hasn’t read the books. Did their sister nick their copy? Did the dog use it for gnawing practice? Find that out and you will be one step closer to understanding their questionable life choices.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Don’t: Try to impress them with your incredible knowledge

If you’re the sort of person who sees skywriting over a football stadium and screams, ‘It’s the Dark Mark! Run!’ this might be a bit of a challenge for you. Of course, your knowledge of the series is on point, but there’s no point joking about whipping up some Amortentia for your friend’s crush if your witty textual reference is going to fall on deaf ears.

Do: Go for references with simple and literal meanings

Of course, you may want to pepper your vocabulary with references to the wizarding world when in conversation. Start off with some simple examples like:

• Invisibility Cloak (does what it says on the tin)
• Wands (avoid saying ‘Like a fairy!’)
• Anything that features in Muggle mythology (werewolves, centaurs and the like)

Don’t: Be a book snob

Of course you’ve read all seven books ten-plus times. But a person who has seen a couple of the movies should still be celebrated as a potential fan.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Do: Accept that you might need to use the movies as bait

Next time Philosopher’s Stone (2001) is on television, arrange a night in at your house with your friend. And when it finishes, it’s simply a matter of pointing at your bookshelf and saying, ‘Do you want to know what happens next?’ It works.

Don’t: Spoil things

Your friend might (and, if you follow these steps, hopefully will) still read the books! Imagine what your experience of the series would have been like if you read Philosopher’s Stone for the first time knowing about the Snape-Dumbledore alliance, or that Harry was speaking Parseltongue at the zoo, or that Hermione would end up marrying Ron? They may be a Harry Potter novice, but your friend is still your friend and they deserve to discover these things for themselves.

Do: Assume some knowledge

You can probably assume that even a person who has never seen any of the films or touched one of the books knows there is a wizard called Harry Potter who attends a school called Hogwarts.

Harry showing his scar to Ron on the Hogwarts Express
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Don’t: Lose hope

It’s frustrating, yes. But, like Marcus Flint in his O.W.L. exams, you will get there!

Do: Find out what your friend is into

It definitely won’t be as good as Harry Potter but, you know, it might be, um, interesting?

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