I'm going to confess something: I've never reread this series. I've just never had time. I'm hoping I can at least begin rereading the first one later this year and read the others sporadically. But let me tell you why this series means so much to me.
I read when I was younger. I liked it, but it wasn't something that defined me. When I first heard of Harry Potter, I was too young too hear much about it. The cover looked weird to me and I wasn't sure I wanted to read a book about a guy. But I finally read it, and then read the rest of the books. Again, this is a little fuzzy, but I definitely remember waiting for The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows. It was the first time I had truly begun to hate a villain. It's one of the first series where, while everyone believed Harry was the chosen one, it was Harry and his friends and family that banded together to save the world from Voldemort. It was also the first series where I look back now and realize how much mythology Rowling integrated into her books, and it honestly blows me. It makes me as writer want to integrate at least some piece of mythology that makes my reader go "A-ha!" or want to look up this awesome lore. Rowling is truly a genius!
There was a moment, though, where my mom almost forbade me from reading the series. When these books started getting real attention, the church basically (and wrongly so) said that it was devil-worship because the author was making magic seem cool. Luckily, I had gotten my dad to start the series too, and he could attest to the fact that it was just fun and wasn't doing anything wrong. But it was the first time where I realized the power of literature; that it could create so much controversy being a children's series. That just made me want to read it more, and I think the people that actually grew up with the series and grew up with the characters can attest to that. A lot of people in the US look down upon reading, but I think it's because they don't have the ability to just sit still and leave their own world for a while. It's not like I had real problems (like these books didn't help me with a divorce or death or anything like that), but it made me realize what people can create. I accredit these books and a few others to sparking my writing career. I hope to re-read them some day soon!
What have the Harry Potter books done for you? Let me know in the comments!