Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Passion for Potter...Harry That is

Several month ago, I found myself dressed in my best professional red business suit, seated at a round table inside a small conference room at a classic Hilton Hotel in Charlotte, NC.
I quickly noticed the assortment of outlandishly decorated gift bags placed strategically in front of each person in the room.  I wondered what sort of role these bags would play in a meeting about providing home care services to children with physical and developmental disabilities.   I would soon find out.
Our lives are filled with daily interactions, but how well do we really know one another?  The decorated bags would help answer that question.  On the outside of each person’s bag were photos, drawings, buttons, stickers, and assorted memorabilia representing things people already knew.  However, I eagerly waited for my coworkers to spill the contents of the interior of their bags.  For therein revealed classified information that hardly anyone would guess about each person’s life.
I watched with interest as my colleagues described their families, commitment to their faith, volunteer activities, travel, pets, etc.   I wondered, if I had been asked to join this “get to know you” activity, would I have had the courage to admit my…. …. 
Alright.  I’ll use a stronger adjective.
Yes!  My OBSESION with Harry Potter!  
Could I, as a middle aged woman, admit to my colleagues that I am obsessed with a children’s tale.  Would I have the nerve to tell them that I know the spell for summoning objects (accio), the town closest to The Burrow (Ottery St. Catchpole), Hermione Granger’s middle name (Jean), or the best method to destroy a horcrux (a basilisk fang).
          No, probably not.  Good thing I only held the title of spectator, not participant in this little game.  They’d never have to know that I’ve read all seven Harry Potter novels more times than I’ve read new, original material.  They’d never have to know that I log onto Potter websites every day and interact with fans half my age.  They’d never have to know that my secret dream is to join J.K. Rowling for a cup coffee and ask her, “How did you create it all?” 
          But then, something amazing happened!  One of my colleagues, Jessica, pulled out from the depths of her bag a tiny, golden colored ball with wings.  I nearly leapt out of my seat and shouted, “It’s the snitch!  It’s the snitch!” (a small ball used in the game of Quidditch) 
Oh, sorry, I forgot, this is a blog for Muggles. 
(Quidditch is a wizarding sport, too complicated to explain in a short blog, read Sorcerer’s Stone for more details). 
Oh sorry again. 
(Muggles are non-wizarding folks, like you and me)
          But back to the Charlotte Hilton.  As every face in the room turned to look at me, I sunk back into my chair, my face matching the color of my suit. I returned my posture and expression to one of polite interest, and counted the minutes until lunch when I could chat with Jessica, a kindred spirit, a fellow, middle-aged woman with a passion for Potter!
          I have tried to pinpoint the exact moment when my love for all things Potter evolved into an obsession.  The truth is, I’m really not sure. 
          The beautiful, detail-rich story takes the reader on a vivid journey where pages cannot be turned fast enough in an effort to learn Harry’s fate.  Now that I know what happens, I take my time during each subsequent re-reading.  I savor every nuance, every plot twist, every subtle detail that I may have missed during the first, second, or third time that I devoured each page.   I find myself, once again, rooting for Harry, the underdog hero who had leadership thrust upon him; and cheering the virtues of pitting good against evil for the final, breathtaking, suspenseful showdown.
I waited with anticipation for each movie, and patiently stood in the theater ticket line surrounded by a gaggle of teens.  (No, I did not attend the midnight premiers, I am 46 after all - bedtime is 10 pm!)  Perhaps I, like many other Potterholics, suffered so much after the last book ended that we had to cling to every little thing in the Wizarding World.  If there were still more movies to make, then the story really hadn’t ended.  At least that’s what I told myself.
          Now that the final movie has come and gone, there is nothing left to look forward too.  So…….. I’ll open up the pages once again to a fascinating world, created by an ambitious writer, who had an idea, while riding on a train, about an orphan boy, who learns he is a wizard.
And I’ll relive the magic, once again.


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  1. Oh, when you going to meet JK Rowling, I will come with you! I have so many question! ;)

    Thank you so much for this words! I feel the same way. Sometimes, I think I am to old for a children book, than I think it´s not "only" a children book - it´s much more!
    In my blog, there is also a story about Harry and me, but in German. Maybe, I try to translate it - that you can also read it ;)

  2. me too with Mrs Rowling please!!!
    ok, i'm not a child, but i love in a special way the eternal child by my what often keeps me going in life. and Harry and all his friends and his enemies are the best representation of that side of me so I am proud to be an Harry Potter's fan. and I'm not ashamed to admit. every time I reread a book I discover a new detail, a new gradient and that makes me happy. and if you really want to know I am a "devouring" of fanfiction: I love to stay attached to that world and fanfiction show me aspects that I had not seen, or new aspects that I would never have imagined.
    ok, now I'll stop. I have a bad custom of talking too much :)
    Brigitte i would like to read what you had wrote

  3. I would love to read it Brigitte!

  4. Every time I look at my Golden Snitch now I think of you!! I was very nervous about sharing that tidbit of information about myself in a room full of my professional peers. I did not think anyone was going to know what the heck a "golden snitch" was but you saved the day. By the way, what would your Patronis be?

    1. Jessica, my Patronis would be a cat, because every time I look at my cat, he looks so content! What would your's be!

  5. Thank you for sharing this story with me Lisa! Trust me, being a middle-aged man in a world full of oblivious Muggles, I know exactly what you are saying. But I am not the quiet, sit in the corner and hide my obsession type at all. In fact, every single person that spends more than 2 minutes of time with me, knows that I am this 'Potter'-crazed know-it-all fan, and I'm proud to be that.

    People I work with think I'm nuts (although, there are several people here that I convinced to read the story and they would talk to me everyday about what was going on and by the end of their reading...they understood the magic of JK Rowling)!

    Yes, I am one of the lucky few that gets to put my 'Potter' obsession online every day for thousands of people to read, I get to go to events and meet other obsessed fans, and speak to the cast that brought the series to life, but the best part of it all...I get to interact in not so dramatic ways with other 'like-minded' you!

    Thanks for sharing your story Lisa, and tell Jessica I said she rocks!

    Keith Hawk (age 45)

  6. My husband and I just last week sat down to watch a marathon of Potter(without the children, as they went out into the sun to enjoy the day) - we love the stories and the movies and we both like to imagine that, somewhere out there in the world, magic does exist and Dumbledore's Phoenix can and will swoop in to save the day should we need it! Another great post, thanks for sharing!!

  7. I have lost count as a 37 year old as to how many times I have now re-read Potter, and Potter Maratons are a monthy occurance.

    There is a precious magic to keeping young at heart, and Potter is a perfect place to start.

    I know you will understand this, when I hear the words "I Love you" It is an automatic responce now to say "Always".

    thank you for sharing your Potter Pride, may it be spread far and wide. :)
    Chrystal Pax.

  8. Oh, Lisa, a kindred spirit indeed!

    I've been a Potterfile since book 4. Can't get over the things they leave out of the films, but do understand they are a totally seperate animal.

    I am such a Potterhead that I have crafted 2 Christmas Trees for auction of Harry & his world. The first one had a flying Nimbus 2000 suspended over 2 flaming plinths, the second full of memory bottles, mini partoni & a 23 foot dragon I handstitched around the base.

    No explaination needed. A Potterfile has VERY good taste in reading material!

    I too, would have jumped up & yelled 'snitch!'

    And no idea how many times I have reread the series - but recently aquired a back up set for when my first falls apart!

    Thank you!
    Karentia/Karen King