Thursday, 1 March 2012
For the Love of Harry Potter
You might think that the above cake belongs to one of my children, but you would be mistaken, that was my 40th birthday cake. At our house we love all things Harry Potter. I mean I don't take it to the extreme, you will not see any shrines. Before Elly was born, we had contemplated turning Gabe's room into a Harry Potter room, but that was more of a shrine to Gabe, rather than to our love of Harry Potter.
It all began when Gabe was 7. That was when the first Harry Potter movie was coming out. I am a firm believer that you should read the book before you see the movie, it's better that way. So before the movie came out, Gabe and I read the book. We would sit and read a chapter every night, most nights he would beg for more. One week-end we had the use of a cottage that had no television. We played games and read Harry Potter. We had invited my parents to come up and join us for the week-end. We put Gracie to bed (she was only tiny) and all sat in the kitchen and began to read Harry Potter. It truly was a magical time. There we were, all of the adults sat just as transfixed on the story as the little boy. There were times in the reading of the story where everyone was doubled over with laughter. I closed the book after two chapters and told Gabe it was time for bed, what came next was a surprise. It was not Gabe who begged for just one more chapter, it was my father. From that week-end on my parents would arrive religiously at bed time. It was weird how they would stop by just at the right time to hear a chapter of Harry Potter. Dad would cozy himself into the couch, an arm wrapped around Gabe "we're ready".
One night I could not read to Gabe, so Christopher did. When I read the story, each character has their own accent, and their own way of talking. When I got home that night Gabe looked at me disgusted, "Well, Dad's never allowed to read me Harry Potter again!" I was wondering how his poor father could have screwed it up. "He did it all wrong mom! He didn't even know how they talked!"
When the movie finally came out, Gabe and I waited in line for hours so that we could be the first ones in. We were so excited. He came out of the movie so excited. As we drove home we discussed the movie, and how was it different from the book. Did the characters look the way they did in his head when we read the book? His answer was "Yes they looked the same, but Hagrid did not speak properly!" My Hagrid had a Scottish accent. Gabe and I never missed a Harry Potter premiere.
When Gabe died, Harry Potter let me still feel like we were still connected. That might sound crazy, but grief is. I purchased each new book as they came out, and read them in a few days. I might not still have my little boy to read to, but I still could read his favourite books, we still had that. I could not take Gabe to the movie premiere, so I took his best friend instead.
When Gracie became old enough, I read the books to her. Now I read them to Riley and Rowan, and when Elly is old enough, I will read them to her too. I won't let them see the movie until we are done the book. I ask them the same question that I asked to Gabe, and the really funny thing was that they essentially answer the same way. Rowan even said that "Hagrid did not speak right" after he saw the film (all of "my" characters still have the same voices and accents). It has become a right of passage at our house.
I may have mentioned that we are going to Florida this March (only a thousand or so times), but what I did not mention is that we are going to Universal to The Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter. Not so much for the kids, but for me. I will also be bringing Gabe back a souvenir for the cemetery.
Who knew that a series of books could bring such comfort and love to a family?