I’m an unashamed Potterhead – one who went as far as to paint herself entirely gold in order to perfect a golden snitch outfit if that helps give a more wholesome picture. My road to this was an unconventional one.
I only read the first Harry Potter in grade 7 (that’s South-African terminology for 12-years-old, the year just before heading off to high school and not, regretfully, Hogwarts). The late start did not slow me down though, and I feel I’ve surpassed at least some of the people who were having it read to them before they could even read.
Some people can be quite snobby about what constitutes as canon when it comes to this magical world, but I tend to be of the variety that is so eager for more that I’ll lap up just about anything – including a slightly far-fetched play where Harry turns out to be a reasonably terrible father. But I’d probably invest in a copy of J.K’s shopping list if I’m being perfectly honest with you. It’s border-line fan-fiction, but it’s decent and it’s enjoyable. And it won’t take you longer than three hours if you’re a fast reader.
If you’ve been resisting it and I’ve softened you up even somewhat, why not give it a read? I can’t assure you that you’ll love it, but I can assure you that it won’t, despite what the melodramatists will tell you, “ruin your childhood”. You’ll take it or leave it and if you leave it, it will have no lasting effect on your love of Harry Potter. If anything, you’ll find it so far removed from the original seven that you probably won’t even think of them as of the same family.
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The play is pretty dang awesome, too. I had only two major gripes, which I’m about to list so if you don’t want spoilers, I recommend you stop reading now.
My first issue is that it didn’t include Hedwig’s Theme (as in, the Harry Potter theme song, for anyone who doesn’t know its actual name, which I only know because once a year I decide I’m going to learn to play it on the piano and then give up when I see how many accidentals there are). Surely it must have been an active choice, rather than the creators not being able to buy the rights for it or something like that? And if so, WTF? I am a really big fan of Imogen Heap, but hearing Hide and Seek during the play was very jarring.
Secondly, why didn’t they have a full Quidditch match? Or at least more flying? It seems like flying would be a great stage technique to really jazz up the magic. Does anyone have a suggested answer? Is it expensive? A health and safety matter? Are the cast too heavy and the strings that usually get used in theatre too weak for more than a swoop? I’m all ears.
On the magic note, though, the apparition was perfect. The only reason I eventually figured out they were disappearing through a hole in the floor was that I was focusing on their feet so intently, convinced I was witnessing the first display of actual magic and desperate to be the first to write about it.
Now I’ll love and leave you with a picture of some HP-themed snacks that my friend and I made for a birthday party.