If you walked past our house last fall, you may have heard shouting.
To the tune of, “USE YOUR WAND!”
This is not because the dark days of 2020 caused Jenny and me to turn to incantations as a last resort. The shouting was due to watching Harry Potter stand open-mouthed in the face of danger instead of actually using magic.
We know this because we decided to watch all eight Harry Potter movies for the first time ever, thank you 2020.
It all started with a movie list.
One of those mildly annoying but also mildly helpful lists of “25 ESSENTIAL fall movies” that make their way around the internet every season. In the beginning, I was just looking to expand our fall movie repertoire beyond You’ve Got Mail. We stayed in that genre and watched When Harry Met Sally. We moved far outside of that genre and watched Halloweentown on Disney+. That was a journey. But the low-key MVP of the movie list was a suggestion to watch the Harry Potter movies. Neither of us had seen all of them, so we thought it could be a good fall movie marathon.
The first and second and third movies were a happy distraction from being in the middle of a pandemic and a contentious election. But by the time we got halfway through, the movies were more of a lifeline. They not only offered a world full of magic and wonder, they presented a world where good really does triumph over evil. Where love really does win.
So now, at the ripe old age of Not 12, Jenny and I are both reading the entire series.
I read the first book in my Adolescent Lit class in college and loved it, but never kept reading. Mostly because it always seemed like there were more important books to read. Books that teach a more practical lesson. Books that are bigger, more intellectual works of fiction.
But here we are in 2021, nearly a year into Pandemic Life, and you know what I want most from the books I’m reading?
An emergency exit.
I’d like to spend a few hours a week forgetting that I can’t have dinner with my friends or travel or see my parents without quarantining for weeks ahead of time. I’d like to take a break from the very real but very heavy problems of the world. And the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is exactly that: an excellent escape from the bleaker parts of reality.
PLUS delightful characters and charming British phrases like, “having a lie-in.”
PLUS soul-crushing honesty that gives voice to ALL CAPS ANGST.
“I DON’T CARE!” Harry yelled at them, snatching up a lunascope and throwing it into the fireplace. “I’VE HAD ENOUGH, I’VE SEEN ENOUGH, I WANT OUT, I WANT IT TO END, I DON’T CARE ANYMORE!”
“You do care,” said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached. “You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.”
All of it is exactly what I’ve needed at this stage of the game, which goes to show that any book can be an “important” book, depending on when and how you’re reading it.
Even if Harry refuses to ever use his wand in a timely fashion and makes us hang on every word as a result. COME ON, Harry! Expelliarmus! Etc!
I ordered a Galentine’s Day box from Lake Champlain, because holidays are always worth celebrating. Especially with chocolate.
We are knee deep in tea season. A box full of options sits in the kitchen, but I tend to opt for a familiar few: Earl Grey, Peppermint, and Stress Relief. And recently, in honor of Valentine’s Day, Raspberry Hibiscus.