For the Love of Harry Potter

 

Oh my gosh, it’s so good.

I mean, really good.

So good, in fact, I want to lock myself in the bedroom and ignore everything but the book until I finish it.  But then, what kind of mother would I be?  Can I argue that a good mother gets on board with her kids’ obsessions as long as she reminds them where the peanut butter is?

No, of course not, but I’m coming to realize why my kids are totally taken with all things Harry Potter.  And J.K. Rowling herself.  My daughter, who did a report on this most-famous writer for school,  lights up when she can tell us all about her female hero.  And no wonder:  here is this woman who wrote a little story about a young wizard with a scar, struggled to sell it, and when she finally did she was told to not expect too much of it.

But back in 2001 when first movie came out, I didn’t think too much of the Harry Potter hysteria.  My husband and I went to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when it hit the theatres and I totally didn’t get it.  In fact, I fell asleep.  I never do that in movies.  (Later I learned I was pregnant and maybe that fueled the drowsies more than the boredom did.)  But a couple years later Sorcerer’s Stone was the in-flight entertainment as my husband and I were headed on vacation and again, I was out.  So imagine my dread when my kids chose this movie to watch on our weekly movie night.  Dread, in that I would feel just awful falling asleep for a third time but this time in front of my kids who adore Harry, Hermione and Ron.  However, we rolled the movie, and I managed to stay awake by messing with my phone.  Nice, Mom, really nice.  Worse than falling asleep.

Over the course of several months we would watch every Harry Potter movie, after my older son finished reading the corresponding book.  So we became further acquainted with Moaning Myrtle (my daughter can do a spot-on impression of her) and greasy Snape and Draco Malfoy (what a little jerk…).  We feared the snakelike he-who-should-not-be-named and screamed  when the basilisk attacked.  But still, I was hard-pressed to understand these stories and missed many important details (stop trolling Facebook, Mom) until the final, two-part movie.  Deathly Hallows was amazing.  To me that’s the best movie of the lot…gripping, well-paced and visually captivating.  It was a self-contained masterpiece, even someone completely unfamiliar with Harry and friends (and enemies) could follow this movie and love it.

Movies that spring from books really need the book to be appreciated.  I’ve known that most of my movie-watching life but for some reason I didn’t think Harry Potter and the seven books were worth my time.  They’re kids’ books, right?  And I’ve never been much of a fantasy buff, so this series was off the table before it even hit the bookshelves.  I have read books my kids loved, usually in the ballpark of 200 pages, but the thousands of pages that embody Harry Potter seemed too much of a commitment for a busy mom.  So what convinced me to dig in?  My older son, who is absolutely smitten with these books, and whose obsession with the stories and characters rivals his love of legos.  That is saying something.  So when he pleaded with me, Mom, you have got to read Harry Potter!, and he willingly handed me his dog-eared, cherished copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I accepted.

Hold the phone.  Drop the laundry.  We are ordering takeout for the next year.

These books rock.

I love it when I am wrong like this.  Especially when it brings me closer to my kids.  The dinnertime conversations that often revolve around Harry and company I can now follow and contribute to.  We “gossip” about the characters we love and love to hate.  My kids and I joke about not being able to remember which book is which (except for my son who can recall all of them fully, in order, without missing a beat) so we have developed a simple nomenclature:  just call the books Harry Potter and the (insert volume number here) Book.  And is it silly I feel a little proud suggesting we hang a crest on our front door that proclaims “The Most Noble and Ancient House of Black” in scroll-y, guilded writing?

I’m not getting a whole lot of feedback on that one.

Guess I need to perfect my Imperius Curse…

 

 

 

5 Comments

  • I love the Harry Potter books too. Not only is the storyline and character development intriguing, but the social justice commentary is quite pertinent today as well. I also heard that if you read all of them that you will have read over 1 million words. Kind of a cool accomplishment for kids to be able to claim this.
    You should definitely do the crest. Long live the House of Black 🙂

    • Over one million words…I’ll have to pass that along to the kids! That’s a big deal.

      The social commentary is an excellent point and it’s a great example to use when trying to talk over what’s happening in today’s world. Thanks for the reminder. I think about the term “mudbloods” in Harry Potter and its implications. These books are more meaningful than we could ever have thought.

      Thanks for the positive feedback…I have this vision of a crest and family tartan:)!

  • Isn’t it sad that some groups have tried to ban Harry Potter, but if one asks them if they have read the books, they look at you with this “are you crazy”” look on their faces and will say “NO”!!
    I LOVE HARRY POTTER books. These are the only books that I have stood in line at midnight at Barnes and Nobles to get my” hot off the press copy”! These are truly great turn on books!! As a former reading teacher, I wish that there were more volumes.

    • I love how this series has inspired so many people to crack open a book, or several as the case is! I’m as addicted as my kids are…talking about Harry Potter World for a vacation:)

  • Isn’t it sad that some groups have tried to ban Harry Potter, but if one asks them if they have read the books, they look at you with this “are you crazy”” look on their faces and will say “NO”!!
    I LOVE HARRY POTTER books. These are the only books that I have stood in line at midnight at Barnes and Nobles to get my” hot off the press copy”! These are truly great turn on books!! As a former reading teacher, I wish that there were more volumes.

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