Late to Potter, but loving it


A list of Items that probably won’t show up on my children’s school supply list this year:

  1. Floo powder
  2. Spellotape
  3. Pumpkin juice
  4. Dress robes
  5. Nimbus 2000
  6. Vanishing cabinet
  7. Marauder’s Map
  8. Invisibility cloak
  9. Pensieve
  10. Potions, potions, potions

Can you tell I just finished reading the Harry Potter series?

I’ll admit, I was skeptical. The wild popularity of the books and films was what did it. I’m not quite sure how to say this delicately, but I usually look at pop culture phenomena (Harry Potter, Riverdance, American Idol, Oprah Winfrey, Georgia O’Keefe posters, Il Divo) as appealing to (a) the lowest common denominator, (b) the pseudo-intellectual in us all, or (b) our inability to look away from a train wreck. Let me be clear now: after Harry Potter I’m almost willing to give American Idol a shake.

Almost, but not quite. Back to Potter, shall we?

I am enchanted with Harry, Hogwarts, Hallows, and Horcruxes. I love to hate Snape, Draco, and Voldem— (but I’ll keep quiet about him). I wish that Professor Lupin was my college advisor, though he does bear a strong resemblance to Dr. Keith Schray, my actual freshman advisor. And while I will not incorporate them into my everyday life, nor do I support those who do, I think that the potions and spells are downright cool.

Yes, I may be 12 years late to the Potter party, but you can’t beat the fun of reading all 7 books in unbroken sequence over the course of 2 months. It’s another example of something fun kept in reserve until a time when it becomes lots more fun.

I think what I like most about the books is the galloping creativity of their author, JK Rowling. The cupboard under the stairs, for example—who hasn’t felt that unloved by the world? The sorting hat—thank heaven for a tool that distributes us into pre-made cliques so we don’t have to go through the trouble of doing it ourselves. The always being in the wrong place at the wrong time and getting in trouble while the real bad kid gets away with it—been there, done that, and haven’t we all?

The experience of reading the books has also given me a connection with my children that I wouldn’t trade for anything. While I may never master (in any way, shape, or form) the intricacies of Pokemon, at least I’ve got the Harry Potter narrative to share with them. It’s an opportunity that I’m glad not to have missed.



  1. Monica said,

    August 5, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Have to say that I’ve not read any of the books, but have seen the movies. Perhaps I would like them if I gave them a chance? I leave the sci-fi kind of stuff to my husband who is into that to share with Dominic. They started to read them together and then Dominic read one on his own and he is now on a break from them since I felt he was getting a bit scared (for lack of a better word). Anyway I’m sharing my love for nature and the outdoors with him so I’m ok if I’m not totally hip with Potter. 🙂

    • scheirmad said,

      August 5, 2009 at 4:44 pm

      I hear you. I think we have to all work with out kids to merge our interests with theirs.

      I was always surprised that Jake liked HP so much–he’s kind of a scaredy cat (not unlike his Mom!).

  2. Lorraine said,

    August 5, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    I was asked by my then school librarian to read Philosopher’s Stone shortly after it was published and long before Harry Potter took off! I enjoyed it and can remember saying to her something along the lines that while I could see “borrowings”/inspiration from The Worst Witch series, The Chronicles of Narnia etc that I thought it was a “ripping good yarn” and that kids would like it! Wish I’d invested with the publisher or somebody because a year or so later Harry made it to the “big time”. We’ve just seen the latest movie. It’s a filler-in but I though the book was too. I enjoyed it!

  3. Cheryl said,

    August 5, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Wow, Lorraine, you certainly called it! I’ve never heard of The Worst Witch series, so I’ll have to do some research.

    Yes, I agree that the last movie was a bridge more than anything else. I’m glad that I plowed through to the last book so that all my questions from #6 (actually my one big question: Is Snape a good guy or a bad guy…or both?) were answered and I didn’t have to wait for the movie producers to catch up.

    I’m reading “Pillars of the Earth” now, by the way. So far there’s been a hanging, a curse, assault, pig theft, death in childbirth, and an infant abandonment–an I’m not even on page 100!

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