Apparently in some quarters of the internet (mugglenet? I think? I saw it trending on Twitter, anyway), this week is Back to Hogwarts/Pride Week. So I guess this is the week we embrace Pride Week and come Out of the Vanishing Closet.
I wanted to hate Harry Potter. Really, I did. I wanted to mock the adults who demanded grown-up covers for a childrens book so they could read them shamelessly on the Tube (OK, I still do mock those people. Grow a set. You're reading and it's not The Metro or 50 Shades, you can still lord the quality of your reading over at least 50% of Tube travellers). I didn't read the books. I watched the films because they were out and "it's free..." because we have cinema subscriptions (and my awesome BFF's equally awesome siblings worked at a cinema and got us into the midnight super secret staff screenings for some of the later films. If you've never eaten pizza in a 3D screening at a cinema in the middle of the night, find a way to do it, because it's AWESOME). But I REALLY didn't want to like Harry Potter.
But, this is it guys and girls. The time has come. It's time to take a deep breath, put on my big girl pants, and admit what my friends and family have known but never discussed for some time. I'm out and proud.
I like Harry Potter.
There. I said it. Last year, we were going to Florida. I was planning the trip. That Wizarding World of Harry Potter looked pretty cool. They had a frog choir. That should be enough really. But, singing frogs aside, it also looked like the first book, which was (is) my favourite film of the series. I decided that, before we went, I should probably try and read at least one of the books, because apparently crazy tourists in robes with wands stake out WWHP like nutters, and I didn't want to be a total noob. I put a digital copy on my iPod to read at work on my breaks. I finished all eight between Christmas and our trip in April. Technically speaking, I finished all eight by early March, and in the two weeks before our trip I read the first again.
I should have known I was fighting a losing battle. I grew up reading Enid Blyton books in a pretty much constant cycle, from boarding schools to the circus to varying farms and back again. The first book might as well be based off an Enid Blyton book (it probably was, to be fair, it's not like JKR can say "So, basically I ripped this bit from here...and this bit from there..This is Malory Towers, these guys are from LOTR..." is it? Because that's plagiarism, my dear children, and is in fact frowned upon in most societies). Boarding school, creeping around at night, feasts, quirky pets, kids saving the day...It's like Enid Blyton but with the addition of magic. And when does magic not make an awesome thing even more awesome?! Never. That's when.
So...Universal Studios. Islands of Adventure. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (or TortureLand, as my husband preferred). The rides are awesome, especially The Forbidden Journey, the shops are unbearably crowded, but awesome (hint: If you're a lil bit OCD, decide which house you are before you go. I saw so much cool stuff that I wanted, but couldn't decide if I really was a Ravenclaw/Griffindor/Hufflepuff and so I ended up not buying any of it. Because I'm a loser like that. I still managed to blow over $100 in Hogsmeade though). I found my singing frogs. True story: I got burned twice in Florida. Once in the queue for Characters in Flight at DTD when I leaned on a metal railing and burned my arm, and once in WWHP when I was so entranced by the frog choir that my bare leg stuck to the floor and I didn't notice. That's how hot it was. I had my bare legs on show. Do you know how hot it has to be for me to bare my ankles? Perspiring Victorian lady hot, that's how. I don't want to into WHY precisely I had bare legs, suffice to say it involved Bluto's Bilgerat Barges, wet pants, the second most expensive pair of trousers I now own, a stetson in a toilet bowl somewhere in Jurassic Park and the phrase "But I don't want to go to Hogwarts in TRACKSUIT BOTTOMS!" which may or may not have been delivered in a petulant voice (it was). Maybe one day I'll be able to tell the story. And also the point is the floor was so freaking hot that my leg stuck to it a little bit because, even at 28 years old, I was so captivated by a capella amphibians I didn't notice my skin melting.
Somewhere there was a point. I forget where, or what it was. But there you go. Harry Potter isn't as bad as I thought. Go to WWHP. Go to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, even though you have to book your timeslot in advance and it's ludicrously expensive. I took myself there for my birthday last year. It's amazing.
Also, Butterbeer is delicious, and you should drink it at least once in your life even if you despise Harry Potter. And if you don't want the souvenir tankard it comes in because you hate Harry Potter, well you can just give it to me.
* I know. It should be "cabinet". But that didn't work for the title. So sue me.