Harry Potter

I was perhaps irrationally thrilled when Whit chose to be Harry Potter this year for Halloween.  Grace was a member of the US Olympic soccer team (you can see her gold medal), a choice that I loved also.

But my Harry Potter obsessed self was delighted when Whit decided to be Harry this year, his 2nd grade year, just as Grace was Hermione in 2010 when she was in 2nd grade.  I am thrilled that over the years we have had full Hogwarts representation in our house. Whit’s costume, in case you are confused, is Harry in his Quidditch robes.  This is an essential distinction for my son!

I’ve loved Harry Potter for a long time.  I read the first four books at the end of the summer of 2000, and distinctly remember walking to a bookstore in Boston the morning after our wedding to buy #4 in hardback to bring on the plane to Bali.  I already had #2 and #3 packed.  Matt joked that I was on my honeymoon with Harry, so obsessed was I.  So I read the series first alone, as an adult.  Then I read them again with Grace (we are on #6 right now; she could read them by herself these days but prefers that I read to her, so I do).  And now I am reading them for the third time with Whit (we are on #3).  I am pleased to say – and not surprised – that new facets of wisdom, insight, and humor reveal themselves with each additional read.  I think the first 2 Harry Potter books are the only books I have ever read three separate times.

I am smitten by almost everything about JK Rowling’s magical world.  I think Harry is a brave, honest, human character with tremendous inspirational power.  I think Hermione is a heroine for the ages.  I adore the way JK Rowling asserts that school can be refuge and home, a place we are known and loved, a place where we learn about our own power, interests, and passions.

I think of Hogwarts often.  I’ve written about how my blog is my own pensieve.  Albus Dumbledore is my absolute favorite character in all of fiction (and that, my friends, is saying something).  One of my life’s central themes, that of light and dark, is the animating trope of the whole series.  JK Rowling has much to say about the inevitability of light and dark in every life, about their intertwined nature, and about how one casts the other into relief.

Some of my favorite – of a long, long list – lines from Harry Potter are these:

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.

Of course this is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?

It is our choices, Harry, that show us who we truly are, far more than our abilities.

We’ve all got both light and dark inside us.  What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.


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13 Comments

  1. Hilary Levey Friedman
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    LOVE Grace’s matching soccer ball trick-or-treating “pumpkin!”

  2. Posted November 1, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I love your little ghouls’ costumes! I have not read any of the HP books (!!!), but I look forward to enjoying them with Abra someday. I hope it will capture the next generation of readers as it did yours. I think it will.

    Also, I didn’t know you honeymooned in Bali! It is one of my very favorite spots in the entire world. We stayed in Ubud, and I’ll never forget it. Hoping to make it back next year, in fact.

  3. Posted November 1, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I love Harry Potter deeply, and I love that you and your kids love it too. I’m jonesing for a(nother) reread and will probably start them soon.

    Great costumes! xo

  4. Posted November 1, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Lindsey, I love your take on anything. I also read those books, but my kids have never taken to them. Because of their dyslexia, reading is harder and everything (most things) is filtered through my reading it to them. My oldest is much too practical to imagine anything that CAN’T BE REAL. My son prefers….. the silly stuff. He is currently enthralled with Chomp by Carl hiason.

    Your description, your quotes helps me quantify why I love the books. I love the fact that Whit chose the quidditch robes. And I adore Graces’ soccer ball pumpkin – Did she make that? Wonderful.

  5. Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Wow. You just convinced me to read Harry Potter…. something nobody else has managed to do despite years of trying.

  6. Posted November 1, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    I love Harry Potter. My oldest two kids read them all, too, but the youngest daughter has chosen Katniss Everdeen over Hermione Granger. I liked The Hunger Games, but Harry Potter still wins in my mind and heart.
    I remember feeling so sad when I read the last words of book seven, not sad because of the way it ended, but sad that it had to end at all.

  7. Posted November 1, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Great costumes, guys!

    I love all things Harry Potter too. (Alas, I insulted our tweenage neighbor last night when, seeing her in her Gryffindor robes, I said, “Oh, you must be Hermione!” To which she responded, “No, I’m Harry!” My bad. In my defense, she did not have a forehead scar like Whit does.)

    I can’t wait till my eldest is just a bit older so we can start reading them together. xo

    P.S. I’m a little bit scandalized that Elizabeth has never read HP. The horror! 🙂

  8. Emily
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    If you haven’t already, I highly highly recommend Lev Grossman’s book The Magicians. Many of the themes of Harry Potter, but treated as a modern novel rather than a fable…

  9. Posted November 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Uh oh, @Kristen, am I going to get kicked out out the club?!

  10. Posted November 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Like you, I read Harry through as an adult before reading it with children. I then read it alongside a child for whom I nannied, having long, meaningful chats with him while walking the streets of Beacon Hill about the very things you bring up in the post.

    I’m reading it now with my son, aloud, and like you, reading it aloud is treating me to new insights and humor and wonder that I’ve missed in previous reads.

    Thanks so much for this (and I followed your tweet to get here, so thanks for that, too!).

  11. Posted November 2, 2012 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    beautiful children in their creative bliss. love that. and love harry potter with your same intensity. our family even had a little harry potter party two years ago with friends…smashing!

    http://melissarivera.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/a-magical-meal/

  12. Posted November 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    I love Harry Potter. I started reading them in 2000 also when I was living a fabulous single life in Amsterdam.

    Love your trick-or-treaters.xo

  13. Posted November 25, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    First of all it says what most movie industry insiders know.
    Among some of the choice responses:. However, for a Christmas treat, why not spoil yourself and take a Harry Potter walking tour.