13 May 2010


Warning: I am saying things based on the assumption that you have read all seven Harry Potter books. If you have not yet read all seven you may not want to read this post.

There have been several times in my life where I feel like I am actually a part of Harry Potter. There are other times when I wish I were.

The first, of course, would be Mrs. Roeding’s fifth grade class. She read the first two books to us and I fell in love with Hogwarts, Chocolate Frogs, Quidditch, and Oliver Wood. If I close my eyes and remember my seat in her classroom I can still hear the voices she did for each character. She made those books live.

Another was the first time I appreciated J. K. Rowling not for her ability to create a powerful story, but her ability to tell it. She uses beautiful turns of phrase, “a distraction appeared in the form of Ginny,” and the magical language she creates is incredibly tied to our own: Pensieve, Occlumency, Diagon Alley, the Mirror of Erised.

I cried with Harry when Sirius died and when he buried Dobby. I laughed out loud at Fred and George. I was annoyed with Lockhart, confused by Snape, and livid at Umbridge. I wished I had my own Maurader’s Map, or a Room of Requirement. Especially a Room of Requirement.

I lived for a semester in a magical environment: the BYU Jerusalem Center is Hogwarts. We lived with our teachers, we had incredible adventures, our Great Hall was the Oasis, and there were even secret passage ways. And I won’t begin to describe how the people matched up.

I saw Order of the Phoenix with Megan at midnight, and as Harry and Mr. Weasley walked into the lobby of the Ministry of Magic I was suddenly there with them—physically disturbed by the massive picture of Fudge looking down on them in an obvious reference to 1984. That filming choice more powerfully illustrated the political situation than any dialogue could.

For every book from four to seven I read all day and into the night until I finished. Then I waited impatiently for my siblings so I could start again.

Because of all this experience, it is easy for me to make Harry Potter comparisons, references, and allusions in my day to day life. The one that has been coming to mind the last two days is the scene in Half-Blood Prince when Hermione conjures canaries that circle around her head. It reminded me of a proverb but I couldn’t place what it was. After discussing it with a friend, we think it might be this one:

That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.  ---Chinese Proverb

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