Five years ago today, Deathly Hallows was released in bookstores all over the world.

Five years ago today, we held in our hands the last and final installement in the epic tale of Harry Potter. 

Five years ago today, kids and adults alike began their final first reading of a Harry Potter book.

Five years ago today, we lost Charity Burbage, Mad-Eye Moody, Hedwig, Rufus Scrimgeour, Ted Tonks, Dobby, Fred Weasley, Severus Snape, Remus Lupin, Tonks (no first name out of utter respect), Colin Creevey and countless others, named and unnamed, who died fighting for the Wizarding World. 

Five years ago today we laughed. We cried. We gawked in awe at the twists and turns that only Jo Rowling herself could pull off. 

But most importantly, five years ago today we thought this series was over. But in this last half decade, we’ve grown stronger than ever. In the last five years, we’ve even picked up thousands of new fans along the way.  

In this last decade, we have learned something crucial, that she herself put best:

The stories we love do live on in us forever, so whether you come back by page or by screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home. 

These books taught us life lessons that we never could have dreamed of. Dumbledore taught us that the battle of good versus evil is not always cut and dry, and that sometimes we must pick between what is right and what is easy. 

We learned that there are bad people in this world, but as long as there are people willing to fight for what is right, and to fight for love, the world can still be a good place. 

This is an especially important lesson in light of the Colorado shooting early this morning, July 20. Sometimes our faith in humanity is shaken. Sometimes, in fiction and in real life, it comes in the form of masked men unleashing terror on unsuspecting, innocent bystandards. But if ever there were a time to draw parallels to Harry Potter, this might be it. We have to remember that there is light in this world, as long as we are willing to seek it. 

So thank you, Jo. Thank you for making these books relevant in our lives in ways we never could have imagined. Thank you for giving us a childhood that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.

Thanks for all of it, Jo.