Surprise! I am now four and twenty years old. I have survived for two dozen years despite all efforts to end my existence, including (but not limited to) a boxer-Rottweiler mix that got over-excited about chipmunks while I held the leash, a pony named Princess who thought I should have a formal yet forceful introduction to the arena wall (think bug meets windshield), a speeding minivan that committed a stop sign violation whilst I was using the crosswalk, and a bag of dirty laundry hurled without warning down a flight of stairs when I was at the bottom.
You know who else has freakish, nearly-fatal accidents all the frakking time? Harry Potter. Yeah, you knew this post was coming. It was inevitable. There’s way too much whimsy in there for Jabberwocky Anonymous to pass up. Why do it on my birthday? No, it’s not because of the bizarre brushes with death, but because Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was given to me in 1999 for my tenth birthday. The giver was one of my mum’s friends; her name was Sybil Wolf. She passed away shortly after, and I would like to honour that kind woman who gave me something that has had such an influence in my life. I had always loved reading, but I wasn’t much of a fantasy reader until then. Sybil created that spark for me by being a thoughtful friend and reaching out to a child, and her memory prevented my mother from snuffing it out.
I have a confession to make. Rowling and I were not love at first sight. I was rather sceptical about this new book. At the time, I was absolutely head-over-heels in love with Gail Carson Levine’s Cinderella parallel, Ella Enchanted. I read it over and over and over again, and I was a bit hesitant to put it down…especially for some book about a boy. When I finally cracked it open, my first reaction was, “Meh…” I had no idea what was going on in the first chapter, so I put it away until I was assigned an outside reading book report for school. I gave Harry another chance, and the love has not ceased…though it may have wavered a bit in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I have been a devoted Potterhead for fourteen years. Here’s a basic rundown of my Harry Potter experience.
Favourite Book: It is a close tie between Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. My ill-advised book report had alerted my teachers (I went to a Christian school that I have fondly renamed HELL) and mother to the “dangerous material” I had been “dabbling in,” and I think that incident made my mother a bit reluctant to let me get more of the series. So, for a while, I only had access to Book 1, and I became very attached to it. Like with Ella Enchanted, I read it over and over and over. To this day, I suspect that I had a hand in my school’s ban on Harry Potter. I was such a wicked little brat; my mum worked in the school office and had to come in on the last days of summer, so when I had to go with her, I took the dust jackets from Book 3 and Book 4 and fitted them over my summer reading books (The Last of the Mohicans and Treasure Island). Anyway, Book 3 is a close favourite mostly because it is further exposure into the wizarding world. Book 1 was the first step, something I can never forget, and Book 3 delves into wizarding culture through Harry’s stay at The Leaky Cauldron and illicit visits to Hogsmeade. It is also a moment when we learn more about Harry’s past. I felt closer to Harry and to the wizarding world.
Least Favourite Book: I think most Potterheads would agree with me that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the most frustrating out of them all. Teenage angst. Enough said.
Favourite Film Adaptation: Definitely Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Rupert Grint really got to shine as Ron in that film, and his shenanigans are hilarious. I don’t think I’ve laughed more in any of the other films.
Favourite Hogwarts Student: I’m not going to lie. Hermione has always been my favourite. She reminded me so much of myself through the first few books because I was very devoted to my studies and to school rules (except for certain bans…). I thought she started to get a little nutty around Book 4. Her thing with S.P.E.W. was just weird. Yes, the liberation of house elves is a noble cause, but she reminded me of those annoying people who stand on street corners handing out leaflets. Their cause might be awesome, but they’re still frakking annoying. She got her groove back, though, in Book 5.
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist…Actually, I’m not sorry at all!)
Favourite Hogwarts Teacher: Again, this is a tie. It’s between Minerva McGonagall and Remus Lupin. McGonagall is the kind of professor that I would hero worship in college: no-nonsense and high standards. Bring on the homework! Also…she’s Scottish! <3 I picked Lupin, even though he only served for a year, because his Defense Against the Dark Arts class was one that I would have absolutely loved to have taken. I mean, an obstacle course for the final exam?! I know what you’re all thinking, “What about Snape?” Well…because as a professor, he sucks. He’s an amazing character, and I love him (and Alan Rickman’s portrayal of him), but he’s just not a good teacher.
Which House Would I Belong To: I have taken a few quizzes on house placement, and my results most often come up Slytherin. Let’s face it; I look awesome in green. ~_^
So, what about you? What was your Harry Potter experience like? Fill in your own answers to these categories, or any further questions you’d like to ask, in the comments! On Wednesday, we will continue with my Disney Conspiracy Theories.