This afternoon, our little family went to see The Nashville Symphony perform the score of Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone in-sync with the movie. I don’t use this word to describe a lot of things, but it was truly …magical.
We were wayyyy late to jump on board the Potter Train (or should I say, Hogwarts Express). Quite honestly, we had no interest until hearing a friend talk so passionately about reading the books with her daughters. Shortly after, we stumbled across a copy of the first book at Goodwill and thought, why not?! Little did we know the journey we were stepping into.
If you’ve read the books, then you already get it … they’re “bloody brilliant” (as Ron would say). We were quickly hooked to family story time, cuddled up in our daughter, Maddie’s bed every single night. Having never seen the movies, we decided to watch one after reading each book. We even went as far as to make our own Chocolate Frogs and do a themed craft during the first viewing party (yes, we invited friends over – the same friends who turned us onto the books to start with, actually). And I’m not at all ashamed to admit that I was equally, if not more excited to see the movie as Maddie was.
Seven books, 8 movies and about a year and half later, we were done. Well, done reading. We celebrated our completion with a trip to Universal Studios Orlando for the annual Harry Potter Celebration. (FYI – that’s a Christmas present that’s really hard to top.) It was our first visit to the Wizarding World and a chance to drink “real” Butterbeer, select wands, ride the Hogwarts Express and even sit in on a Q&A with the actors who played Ron, Neville, Ginny, Luna & Cho. I was on permanent Geek Out the whole time.
A year, almost to the day, since walking the streets of Hogsmeade, Harry and the gang are still as much a part of our lives as they were then. This month alone, in addition to the symphony, we’ve gone to see the new movie spin-off, Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them, and have reservations to attend a Yule Ball at our local library. Collectively we have more Potter-themed apparel than there are days in the week and, while writing this blog, I paused to search and add Ravenclaw wallpaper to both my phone and desktop.
Obsessed much? No, just your average “Pott Head”. And that’s where I’m finally getting around to making a point. We are not alone in our love for the story about the boy who lived and there is certainly no shortage of events and merchandise out there to appease our obsession. It’s been almost 20 years since author, J.K. Rowling, released Harry upon the globe and look at the EMPIRE it has become. Look at the IMPACT it has had on so many levels – most obviously on families, like ours, who have grown closer through making these wonderful memories together.
What a way to find success in this world. To share a unique and creative piece of yourself and have it become a beloved piece of someone else’s life. To make money by making people happy and engaging their imaginations. I think we all long for J.K.’s story to some extent. We all want our contributions to be recognized and appreciated. We all wish we could do what we love and get paid for it. And who wouldn’t mind having even a small percentage of her financial security? But most of all, I think we all want to be remembered for having done something worthy of remembering. To leave our mark.
I noticed something in the movie today that I hadn’t paid much attention to before. In the opening scene, while Harry is just an infant, his future professors have this to say about him:
“This boy will be famous. There won’t be a child in our world who doesn’t know his name.”
I wonder if J.K. knew just how right she was when writing that line. May we all begin our journeys with such an affirmation.