MOST of the women my age with guilty little obsessions had a thing for teen/YA shows or books/movies such as 1. Twilight 2. Fifty Shades 3. Bachelor/Bachelorette - or something of that ilk. What was mine? Oh, it was a few years earlier...Harry Potter.
If you've ever read my blogs – especially Blogapalooz, like tonight's post (one hour to create a write-up with a given topic) – you may well know I'm a bit dorky. I enjoy stuff that's kinda nerdy, and I have an interest in Halloween, fantasy and science fiction books and movies.
Despite these interests, I did NOT expect to have a "thing" for the Harry Potter series.
I sort of starting reading them on accident.
I loved reading books but for years, I was too busy with work, and then a new baby, to have any time to read novels.
When I was pregnant with my son, I had opted to stay home with my daughter and I traded my insanely busy corporate life for the insanely busy life of raising a toddler.
It was a good thing I didn't have to get up early and be ready for work in the morning because for some reason, I found myself staring wide awake at night a lot when I was pregnant with that boy.
One night, having tried everything I could think of to sleep short of a shot of whiskey, I left my bedroom and wandered downstairs on an occasion when my preteen nephew was visiting. He was up, too. But he was listening to music.
"Do you have anything to read at all?" I asked him, since I really had no good books. I was going to settle for anything, because reading books had been my pleasure and a wonderful way for me to relax and fall asleep for most of my life.
"Well...I have Harry Potter," he said sheepishly. "I'll take it!" I said.
I had some interest in the book series because I worked with several people whose school-age kids were reading the books and loving them. I was bit a curious, because I was guessing I would have loved the books if I was a kid.
I also wondered about the controversies surrounding the series. Why did some people say it was bad for kids? Were there really "hidden agendas" in the stories – were they in any way teaching them anything harmful? There were critics for sure.
I was really skeptical of all of this, but I wanted to know what the stories were like so I could have an opinion based on experience.
SO...I started reading. Fell for them. Hook-line-sinker.
I loved the imagination of the writing, the well-developed characters, the use of creatures from other mythical writings, the personality progression of the characters – children AND adults.
I loved the environments Rowling created, both the dull, ordinariness of the Muggles and the fascinating charm of the Wizarding world. And when those worlds collided, it was always fun and interesting!
Then the movies came along. I thought they were pretty much always spot-on with casting. Who else could play Snape but Alan Rickman? And although I knew of the actor beforehand, that series of movies left an indelible mark on me in becoming quite a fan of the charismatic actor.
It was fascinating to watch these kids grow up in front of us and assume their adult roles in the movies (and to watch the actors grow up in real life).
I LOVED all the hype and news coverage of each book unveiling and each movie opening.
Heck, my hometown even had a huge party in the entire downtown each time there was a book launch! I even turned my kids into fans! They were little, but as soon as my daughter was able, she started reading the series, and in turn, so did my son.
We went to Universal and they bought specialized wands. We owned a Gryffindor robe/uniform costume. I made a Fleur Delacour costume for my daughter (and I don't sew!). We had Harry Potter games like Scene It and HP 20 Questions.
I even made her 8th birthday party Harry Potter themed. We ate her favorite snacks in the Great Hall (my dining room) where I'd hung tons of stars from the ceiling with fishing wire, served their food on platters and made homemade pumpkin juice and butter beer.
I had a Honeydukes candy shop in my kitchen, an Ollivander's Wand Shop with a craft to make their own wands, and a life-size Mirror of Erised in the darkened hallway, illuminated with fancy lights, on the way to the "Room of Requirement" (bathroom).
I made a Quidditch Pitch in the basement, created a Dark Forest with various Christmas trees and Halloween critters (mostly spiders) and also created Snape's Lab complete with test tubes and jars full of potions that kids had to guess the contents of.
Our front room became the Gryffindor Common Room, complete with the Fat Lady outside of it, and I made a mock fireplace with a continuous loop of a fireplace on a laptop computer.
Yes, I was a little nuts. It was a blast!
Do I think of HP much anymore? Not really. It's a bit sad, I suppose, but I don't. I'd love to revisit the Universal Theme park with its new areas – I've heard they're awesome! And I may re-read the books. I'll always watch if the stars of the films are on TV. And I'll watch at least part of the movies if they're on.
But alas, although I do think that HP will be a lasting cultural phenomena ala Star Wars, without new HP movies/books coming out, it just isn't something I think about so much anymore.
But I'll have to agree with Ron. All the memories of those years having fun with Harry Potter, through books, movies, parties, costumes and more were simply – "Brilliant!"
In conclusion, check out this YouTube of "Harry Potter Puppet Pals" – it's hilarious – and "Riddikulus!" Enjoy!
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