I saw a commercial the other day that got me excited.
“Am I a big dork that I really want to go to the Harry Potter theme park?” I asked my twin sister, Joy.
“Yes,” she replied.
Perhaps Joy isn't the best person to ask about Harry Potter. She doesn't get the wizarding appeal in general, so an entire theme park (opening in JUNE y’all!!!) is the last place she'd go in her free time.
Joy did not scramble to read each Harry Potter book like I did, staying up late to read just one more chapter to see if Harry was able to escape the dementors. Yes, dementors.
Harry Potter books read like a movie, with drama and suspense and humor and characters that are consistent throughout (as a writer, I understand how hard this is to accomplish).
I often tell people who haven’t read a book in awhile to start by reading a Harry Potter book. It's easy to get hooked.
I was so hooked that I pre-ordered the final two books and actually considered going to the store at midnight to get my copy.
When (spoiler alert!!!) Dumbeldore died, I was actually depressed for the rest of the day.
“Dork,” Joy said.
It was quite the disaster when I took Joy to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix on opening night.
I had bought two tickets thinking a friend/Harry Potter enthusiast would want to go with me, but no one could make it.
The tickets were non-refundable and really expensive because they were for the 3-D IMAX screening.
“Joy, you have to come with me!” I told her.
“No. It’s going to be a bunch of losers going on opening night.”
“But, I got tickets on opening night.”
After much convincing and a promise that we would eat at her favorite vegetarian restaurant downtown before heading to the movie, Joy reluctantly agreed to go with me.
(Joy and I are each other’s “go-to” dates for events, work functions, weddings, etc. She really had no choice).
Dinner was delicious, and we split a bottle of wine before heading to the IMAX.
When we arrived 15 minutes early, we saw a line snaking around the building.
“Oh, GAWD, really?” Joy said aloud. “People are in LINE?? HONEY, LET'S NOT BE LATE TO HARRY POTTER!!” she mocked.
Shhhhhhh! I told her. You are embarrassing me!
“Oh, I’M embarrassing YOU?” she asked.
We walked up to the line and Joy kept on making fun of everything, which ended up being hilarious, and ridiculous, and we got into a giggling fit right there in front of everyone. I'm pretty sure the wine had something to do with it.
Joy's incessant bitching about Harry Potter was very funny, along with her eye rolling and gesturing to those in line that were dressed up as wizards for the occasion.
The velvet ropes were unhooked and we all spilled into the theater, 3-D glasses in hand. Then, almost as if it was planned for Joy specifically, a man tapped her on the shoulder.
“Excuse me….but, did you cut me?” the grown man asked. He was a mouth breather.
“Are you with that large group over there?”
”Well, then you cut me,” he said. “Only that group was in front of me.”
Joy and I started giggling again.
“OH MY GOD, it’s just Harry Potter,” Joy said. “Don’t freak out.”
We took our seats in the center of the theater, still laughing and avoiding the man, and I gave up defending Harry Potter fans.
Things got worse when, in the middle of the movie, SOMEONE STOOD UP AND STARTED CLAPPING. (Even I will call “dork” on that one.)
What happened was Dumbledore turned into a phoenix (a bird whose tears can heal all wounds!) and he disappears in a cloud of smoke, leaving a group of wizards behind, their mouths open in amazement.
“Say what you will about Dumbledore, but the man’s got style!” one of the wizards said.
That’s when the person in the theater started clapping. Because of Dumbledore’s “style.”
Other people joined in the clapping, too, and I swear Joy looked like she was about to lose it. She started to say something but I shushed her.
That was the last time I've brought Joy to see Harry Potter opening night. Or, ever.
I do have friends that appreciate Harry Potter, and the opening night for the most recent Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince this past summer was a much smoother experience.
No one was bitching in my ear about how we were surrounded by dorks. (Although, even if people had been, I wouldn’t have heard them because my friend and I spent the movie comparing it to the book.) Joy would have been mortified.
The best part of the Harry Potter books is that it’s easy to get lost in the magical world and the magical school where ghosts and dragons and time travel and unicorns and evil men in dark black robes feel very real.
When I studied abroad in Spain in college, I brought along and re-read Harry Potter books as an escape. Sometimes the wizarding world made more sense than Espanola. It was comforting.
The theme park is the closest ever I'll get to being in that world. They've got rides on a hippografff (half horse, half eagle)! You can pick out your very own broomstick! They serve butterbeer!!!!
My friend, April, is visiting Orlando next weekend with her mom and brother.
“Ya'll should wait until June 18, so you can go to the Harry Potter theme park!” I told her. “They have dragon rides!”
“Dork,” she said.