Pass Me an Owl and Broomstick: All Aboard the Hogwarts Train

My brother, who is eight years my junior, started reading the Harry Potter series when I was in college. I remember reading the first book on-and-off when I was home on breaks. We saw the first movie on my Christmas break. But as many people experience in college, I didn’t have a lot of time for fun reading, so I never finished the series.

I also maybe kind of just a little bit had no interest. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Sassymonkey says it’s because I lack whimsy, which is also likely why I hated The Night Circus. She has a point. I don’t get very excited by faeries or unicorns or magic or mystical otherness. My mind seems unable to go there, wherever there happens to be. Apparently this is a sad life to live, but I know no other. I’m all logic and reason and pretty-much-boringness, occasionally thrown into a tailspin by silly things like feelings and emotions. I figured, as I had no interest, that I’d never have to read the series.

Silly me.

I watched the kids of my friends fall in love with the series and slowly came to the realization that my time would come as well. At some point, I’d be forced to read it and, if not like it, endure it. Sassymonkey even, ever-so-kindly, bought my boys the whole series with the Britishisms (jumper for sweater, bogey for booger, etc). It sat on BigBrother’s shelf untouched. For awhile.

Late this summer, he finally asked the question.

Mommy, can we read Harry Potter soon?

I looked at him and sighed. Do we have to? I thought it, but I didn’t say it. I said that we would definitely read it soon. I made it out to be a big deal, because when a kid wants to read, you want to be excited about it. I figured if I could endure the potty humor of Captain Underpants, I could probably muster up some whimsy and make it through many, many pages of wizards and magic and who knows what else — all of which make me roll my eyes.

Our time began a couple of weeks ago when we finished off another series and were left with nothing else to read. Even my husband agrees — the series starts out slow. I wasn’t sure the boys were going to keep interested at the beginning, slow pace and weird words and whimsical concepts can be a turn off. But ever so slowly, things started to happen. Giggles could be heard at bedtime as we turned another page, all snuggled in BigBrother’s bed. We’ve always read at bedtime, and so this is nothing new. And yet, it is.

Last week, BigBrother asked to read for a bit by himself after we finished as a family. He does this regularly, so I told him that was fine, but he had to put the bookmark back where we were so that his brother didn’t get left behind in the story. I thought he was asleep about an hour later, but heard a noise and turned my head.

There he was, standing in his old man pajamas and a wizard hat.

What are you doing? I thought you were asleep?

I’m a wizard!

He came out to say goodnight after reading some Harry Potter. "I'm a wizard!" #raisingreaders

And my heart melted a little bit.

I shuffled him off to bed, grin on my face and happiness in my soul. Less so about magic and more about the magic of raising a reader. There are no guarantees, even with two parents who love to read and generations of various grandparents who love a good book. A love of reading is individual, so to see him falling in love with a book — oh, my heart. It is happy. I tucked him in and told him I loved his wizarding ways, but even wizards have to sleep.

Later that night, I tip-toed into his room to give him kisses, tuck him back in as he’s a flip-flopper in bed, and I found him asleep — wizard hat still on his head.

Omg. He fell asleep in his wizard hat. #dieofcute

I had to take a picture. I needed to remember the moment. I needed to be able to show it to him someday, to say, “Remember when you fell in love with a story about a boy who was a wizard? Remember how that made you feel?

A few days later, he and his younger brother were playing in the yard, buying things for their trip to Hogwarts. They had sticks as magic wands as they walked from one tree to another, pretending they were all separate stores. LittleBrother picked out a green owl of course. I laughed and quite possibly blinked back a few tears. Oh, to keep that kind of imagination forever.

I didn’t expect to feel this way, to look forward to reading this series. But, oh, I am in love with the magic — and it has nothing to do with the kind found in the books.

14 replies on “Pass Me an Owl and Broomstick: All Aboard the Hogwarts Train”

I love Harry Potter! I’ve read the first 3 books to Jackson. He’s not allowed to see the movies until he’s read all of the books. I’m mean that way. I’m glad Big Brother and Little Brother are getting into it. Oh, and if you need any Harry Potter birthday party ideas, that was Jackson’s 4th birthday. :)

That was one debate I was having yesterday. Do we book movie, book movie. Or all books all movies. Because there’s darker stuff ahead. I don’t know right now. Hmm. And no, party is Star Wars.

Star Wars rocks too :)
We’ve decided he could have book 4 read to him, but that’s all ’til he’s older. The movies are so vastly inferior to the books (at least IMO) that I don’t want them to be his canon. I want him to imagine all the wonderful characters and scenes.

That said, I did let him watch some movie trailers so he could see Hogwarts and Quidditch. Personally, I never really saw Quidditch in my head until I saw it on the big screen.

While I have no desire to read this series, we have all 7 books.
Miss Gremlin has attempted to read the first book on her own, she’s 8, but really was just skipping through because she knows the movie so well. I know it’s coming, I can feel it and when it does, I, like you will have to endure it but to know our children are readers and love books is a great thing especially now when technology is taking over our lives.
Long live Harry Potter, the books that are still captivating millions of children worldwide :)

I just started playing a sappy HP fanvid right before I went over to this blog. I’m a proud member of the potter generation, I had a really hard time with the series being “over” with the movie releases. This post made me tear up a bit because I know the magic will never really die as long as we have it inside of us. <3

I love this post, too. I personally love the Harry Potter series and can’t wait for Riley to be old enough to read it. I’m so glad your boys discovered the magic of it, and I’m so glad you’re happy that they’re excited about reading it. I can only hope for the same when my time comes.

Love, love, love this post!!

I’ve read both of your blogs for sometime now, and I just have to say that you are really an amazing writer. I never had much experience with the adoption world until I read your other blog. I’ve wanted to say…something…for awhile now. I have an 8 year old daughter, and I had her very young. I couldn’t figure out why I was so drawn in, then it hit me. Your story is mine. Well, mine if someone had directed me to adoption. I went on to marry my daughter’s father and had two more little boys. I also lack whimsy. Now, I’m rambling. I did recently follow you in instagram. So now that I’ve introduced myself I don’t feel like a total stalker.

You’re writing is amazing, keep it up and keep sharing!

I read them for the first time this year. A friend sent me the set (with a note that said, “once you make it through these you will want to read them again with your daughter”) and I rolled my eyes until the day I had nothing else to read. And then I started. And I fell in love.

Now I’m reading them with my daughter (isn’t it awful when friends are right?) and she is in love. My husband (who is not at all a reader) is in love with the movies. We have become a Potter family. I never expected it to happen.

I read them with my oldest daughter, they were the first novels she read. She was five when the first book came out, and I think we started reading them when she was in second grade.

We started by reading them aloud together, and then as she got older and the other books came out, she would read the book herself and then I would read it.

It is an amazing thing to see your children become readers. I love that my love of books is being passed down to my children.

Gracie begged and pleaded for the HP series, mostly, I think, because she knew I loved it. She got the first book for her 7th birthday. It was wonderful to read it with her and have something to bond over. Even more magical was the moment she fell in love with the story for all her own reasons. It was the book that taught her not to shrug off a book just because it looks long and has tiny words. Last night we finished the second HP book, and that look on her face when she figured out who was opening the Chamber of Secrets? It was a reading moment I will never forget. I even pretended not to notice when she snuck the third book into bed with her. I hope you and the boys have so many more magic moments ahead of you!

(P.S. – FWIW, we did book, movie, book, movie. There’s nothing like seeing the book you just read acted out in front of you, but then again that was just what was right for us. Any way you decide will work out.)

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