Harry Potter – the failsafe series for stress relief

Kettlemag, Laura Noakes
Written by Laura Noakes

Whenever exam season comes around, I find myself reaching for Harry Potter time after time. It’s almost like comfort food, re-reading a series I know so well. Escaping into Hogwarts when the pressures and stress of constant revision and impending exams gets too much instantly relaxes me. Sinking back into a world of magic and mayhem (where the stress of defeating Lord Voldemort is COMPLETELY comparable to a two hour written exam) lets me escape from the boring hours and hours of dull reading that I have to do to pass this year.

Just half an hour of Harry Potter cheers me up, refreshes me and prepares me to knuckle down and get on with revision. Everything about the series is awe-inspiring – from the characters, to the setting, to the spells and the magic creatures.

Familiar and extraordinary

Hermione Granger, kick-ass female character and genius, has always inspired me to work hard, and prepare for exams. Hermione is perhaps the perfect exam time idol – she is the brightest witch of her age. Harry Potter himself always seems to pull a win out of the bag (I mean – he was twelve when he defeated that basilisk) and Ron just makes me laugh – and you always need someone to make you laugh when your stress level is high. The world of Harry Potter is somehow simultaneously familiar and extraordinary – and that makes it the perfect escape from exams.


Even Hogwarts itself is inspiring – its stone walls and candlelit library is perfect for getting me in the mood for learning – even if what I’m learning is nowhere near as fun as potions and charms.

The fact that the detail of the wizarding world is so in-depth and comprehensive is also helpful in remembering need-to-know exam facts – if you can remember the twelve uses of Dragon blood then you can definitely remember everything you need to know to ace your exams!

Childhood nostalgia

I’ve read the Harry Potter series so many times (probably about once a year since the entire series came out) and even though I am a bit of a Potter geek and know pretty much all of the trivia, every time I open the books I discover something else – something new that I hadn’t noticed before- and I come away from the world with a warm glow of childhood nostalgia. Maybe that’s why Harry Potter is my failsafe revision read – it reminds me of a time when I didn’t have homework, or worries or stress.  

The perfect read for stress relief

I think fantasy (especially fantasy with magic and wands and dragons) is the perfect form of escapism – it combines elements that are universal to the human experience like growing up, love and yes, exam stress, with elements that seem so foreign, and Harry Potter (unlike other fantasy novels – I would NOT want to escape to Westeros!) is set in a world that seems inviting and appealing. That’s why the movies grossed so many millions of pounds and that’s why the theme parks and studio tours are so successful (I’ve been to the studio tour three times) – the world of Harry Potter is almost intoxicating, and that’s why it is the perfect read for stress relief.