En­joy­ing the sum­mer of Harry Pot­ter

South Shore Breaker - - AUTO - HEATHER LAURA CLARKE THE MOM SCENE heather­lau­r­aclarke@gmail.com

It was funny to ad­mit that, at 34, I had never even at­tempted to read one of the Harry Pot­ter books.

It’s sort of like how I’ve only ever seen one of the Star Wars movies. (I call it “Star Wars” but peo­ple tell me it’s “A New

Hope.”) I didn’t re­ally care. I also have not seen The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, In­di­ana Jones, X-men or any of the Rocky movies. (But I reg­u­larly get Doris Day songs stuck in my head and saw Spice World in the theatre seven times, so my taste is ques­tion­able.)

It seemed most of my friends and much of my fam­ily had read all of the Harry Pot­ter books and loved them deeply. They hadn’t re­ally ap­pealed to me, I sup­pose. I’m not big on fan­tasy books or movies — um, ex­cept for that brief ob­ses­sion with the Twi­light se­ries in my mid-20s.

I had only seen one of the Harry Pot­ter movies and that was purely by mis­take. I had been heav­ily preg­nant and per­suaded to tag along to the theatre, re­ally only in­ter­ested in the air con­di­tion­ing and but­tery pop­corn.

What I knew about Harry Pot­ter could fit on the head of a magic wand. I knew there was a wiz­ard school called Hog­warts. I knew there was a fly­ing sport called quid­ditch. I knew peo­ple were di­vided into “houses” ac­cord­ing to their per­son­al­i­ties or some­thing. And I knew when one of the books was re­leased, peo­ple kept spoil­ing it by shout­ing “Snape kills Dum­ble­dore!”

Our son re­cently turned eight and one of his best friends ab­so­lutely loves Harry Pot­ter. She’s read all of the books and watched the movies, but he never seemed in­ter­ested. Like mother, like son. But I could see he was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the same nig­gling feel­ing of maybe miss­ing out on some­thing. I felt it, too.

Two days ago, I was brows­ing in the book­store and de­cided it was time to hop on the broom­stick — or what­ever it is they ride around on at wiz­ard school. I bought a pa­per­back copy of the first book, Harry Pot­ter and the Philoso­pher’s Stone. My sis­ter was with me and she’s a huge Pot­ter­head (ap­par­ently that’s what they’re called), so she was giddy with ex­cite­ment.

Our son wasn’t im­pressed when he saw the book and was con­vinced he wasn’t go­ing to like it. I said I didn’t know if I’d like it ei­ther, but it was time we gave it a chance. I sat be­tween both kids on the couch and started read­ing the first chap­ter aloud, de­ter­mined to read with plenty of ex­pres­sion and dif­fer­ent voices to make up for the fact it didn’t have any pictures.

I’d like to say it was my en­thu­si­as­tic nar­ra­tion, but I think J. K. Rowl­ing gets full credit for cap­tur­ing all three of us by the end of the first chap­ter. It re­ally was just as good as ev­ery­one said. The writ­ing was ex­cel­lent — which I’d ex­pected — and it wasn’t over­the-top witchy/wiz­ardy, which I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have en­joyed.

Al­ready, I think I’ll re­mem­ber this as “The Sum­mer of Pot­ter” — curl­ing up with the kids on the couch and read­ing Harry Pot­ter aloud. We’ve al­ready de­cided we’ll watch the first movie once we’re done this book and then move on to read­ing the sec­ond book. It’s a new world for all three of us and one we’re im­mensely en­joy­ing to­gether.

As soon as I fin­ish writ­ing this, I’ve promised the kids we’ll read Chap­ter 5. It’s called Di­agon Al­ley and I think it’s where Harry is go­ing to go ‘shop­ping’ for school sup­plies like a magic wand. I hinted this last night when we fin­ished Chap­ter 4 and the kids’ eyes lit up as I said some­thing about how “the wand chooses the wiz­ard.” I had no idea how I even knew that. It was one of those ran­dom Harry Pot­ter quotes that gets em­bed­ded in your brain with­out even read­ing the books.

I still may never watch The Lord of the Rings, but I’ve learned to never say never.

“Snape kills Dum­ble­dore!” meant noth­ing to me when I laughed about it all those years ago, but now I can see how sad it’s go­ing to be when that hap­pens. The kids and I will all be cry­ing, wear­ing our match­ing ma­roon and gold scarves and sob­bing “Noooo! Not Dum­ble­dore!”

Heather Laura Clarke is a free­lance jour­nal­ist who mar­ried her high school sweet­heart. They moved from the city to the coun­try, where they spend their days mak­ing messes and mem­o­ries with their eight-year-old son and six-year-old daugh­ter. Fol­low their fam­ily’s ad­ven­tures over at www.heather­shand­madelife.com.

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