Rose Weagant

Life in the Methow Valley

Din Mutha

Din Mutha
Location
Methow Valley, Washington, US
Birthday
December 31
Title
Rose Weagant
Company
Feral House
Bio
Rose Weagant relocated from the Gulf Coast to the little town of Twisp, WA, in 2011 and has since written about her adventures in the wonderful and strange Methow Valley. Rose has been published in Hip Mama Magazine, Gonzo Parenting and the Methow Valley News. She lives with her daughter, son, three-legged dog, and two cats in what is affectionately known as Feral House.

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Salon.com
Editor’s Pick
JULY 14, 2011 10:44AM

How Harry Potter Changed My Life.

Rate: 10 Flag

The final Harry Potter movie comes out tonight, so I figured I'd offer my two cents. Before I began reading the Harry Potter series, I was damned-near illiterate. I now have a BA in English. 

 

When J.K. Rowling’s world of Harry Potter collided with the world of Barnes and Noble, a surge of children raced out to buy the book. And the world was quiet. The TV’s, Nintendo’s, and computers gathered dust. Children no longer played in their back yards. They were all too busy learning the proper way to enunciate Wingardium Leviosa in their own magical minds. 

Little did those aspiring wizards of the suburbs know that late at night, when they dreamed of gigantic spiders and patronuses, the parents of the world stole away into the closet…to dive into the magical world as well.

That’s right. I love Harry Potter. And I know I’m not the only grown-up to fall in love with the book series. Harry Potter found its way into many grown-ups' purses. At my daughter’s playgroup, the mothers would pass around the different books and squeal with excitement each time a new book would arrive. 

  Every time a new Harry Potter book came out, it seemed as though the world stopped. Time stood still. The real world seemed to fade away. At least for me. 

“Mom! I’m really hungry!” 

Apparently, my non-reading toddler thought otherwise. 

“Ten more pages, sweetie. Ten more pages.” 

Harry and I walked through Hogwarts for the first time, hand-in-hand, awestruck by the new fantastical world of magic that surrounded us. I wanted to say that I hated Malfoy first, but I think we came to the conclusion at the same time. 

There I was, a twenty-something when I read the first book, having a pack of eleven-year olds as my best friends. I relied on Ron to tell me the ways of magic. I tasted a “bogey-flavored” Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Bean. I held my breath through the tri-wizard tournament. Yes, I was vicariously living the greatest pre-adolescence ever.  

Throughout reading the first few books, I lived each day looking forward to my daughter’s naptime, when my Harry Potter book would come out. I would soak every page up, loving each experience Harry, Ron and Hermione would go through.  

When my daughter would wake up, the book went away, but the images still flitted in my mind. If I needed a diaper I’d mumble, acio diaper to no avail. I’d giggle at my silly incantation. 

I suppose it was when I began casting spells on my husband that I realized that I might have had a problem. 

Muffliato!” I’d shout, staring ominously. 

“What?” my baffled and non-plussed husband would ask. 

Hmmm, wrong inflection

Muf-flee-a-toe!”  I’d shout again. My husband would groan.

“When you finish up that Harry Potter book, will you ask me to turn down the TV like a normal person?” He snorted. 

I turned my gaze toward him and focused. “Muffliato!”

It worked. He rolled his eyes. Silently. Maybe Howarts does exist! 

Everytime I ended a book, I cried. Not because of the book, mind you, but for the loss of a friend. I’d feel lost and separate from the world around me. It was the bleak acceptance of reality that was the hardest to realize. 

The truth is, I hadn’t been much of a reader until Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone had found its way on to my lap and into my mind. I had forgotten the complete joy and exhilaration I experienced when I took the first steps into a new book, and into a new world. I had forgotten how easy it was to become immersed within a story. 

After my emotional recovery from a lack of new Harry Potter books, I began to dive into other worlds. I was part of a Leprechaun hostage scandal in Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series, I traveled to strange and obscure American landmarks in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and strode the Piazza San Marco in Cornelia Funke's The Theif Lord.  The experiences continue to this day. 

My daughter, now 9, has started to read chapter books. The first “big kid” books I brought to her nightstand were Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  At night, just before I tuck her in, we take turns reading. We are half-way finished with The Goblet of Fire

There is something completely wonderful about sharing this world with her. With every page, she giggles with anticipation, and I giggle with anticipation for her.  Now I'm given a whole new experience in seeing my daughter learn to love reading. Now I’m no longer concerned with living vicariously through the characters, but I’m more involved with living vicariously through my daughter’s experience. Her first gasp at he-who-shall-not-be-named, her first loud burst of laughter at the Weasley twins.  It feels like I’m reading an entirely different book. 

Yes, I believe that Harry, Ron and Hermione have found a new buddy.  I’m sure my daughter will fit in to Hogwarts quite well. 

 

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Comments

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I love the continuity here. I also understand how it is to get so caught up in a magical world. Those who can, are truly lucky. I'm so glad you can share this with your daughter now!
Several years ago, on a flight from Berlin back to the States via Paris, I ended up sitting next to an American woman and her two pre-teen, dark-skinned children. It turned out that she had married an Iranian some time earlier and lived with him and their children in Teheran. The charming daughter, who was perhaps 12, wanted to become a children's author. I was intrigued, because I am one myself.

Their favorite book? Harry Potter! I learned that the series has been a huge success in Iran. Unlike the US, where Christian fundamentalists bizarrely claim that it's "pagan" (even though it is clearly focuses on Christian issues), the Iranians have a long tradition of fairy tales and magical stories and thus the Muslim clerics who dominate that authoritarian society have no problem with Harry's "witchcraft" whatsoever.

Ever since then I've thought that Harry Potter, and other creative works, are a far better way of finding common ground with the Iranian people than Hellfire missiles. And whenever I hear of American and Israeli politicians fantasizing about "doing" Iran, I always think about that charming family that loved Harry Potter, and wanted to continue loving both him and life itself.

Rated.
Thanks Alysa! It's been a fun watching her. And the quiet is an added bonus ;)
Alan-
I like the fact that these books don't revel in any sort of religion. There aren't Muslim or Christian witches or wizards, and people are divided by their choices in life: The death-eaters or otherwise.
If you look at anything too close, it could fill a political agenda, and I think that is the problem with folks that fear certain books. They're just books, folks! At the very worst they're insipid at the very best they bond otherwise "different" people together with a magical world. Thanks for sharing!
Really funny writing...I haven't read Harry Potter yet, but you describe the magical allure of reading, and how all time stands still, so perfectly. I remember when my daughter first came home in 1st grade and said they started reading "chapter books" (Junie B. Jones)...I had never heard that term before...I wish my kids still read for pleasure, but mostly they are online. Hope your daughter keeps reading...and how great to enjoy the books through her now. :)
Thanks, Clay! We keep reading. Every night. When I see my daughter's desire to read wane a bit, that's when I read to her and get her going. We also listen to a lot of books on tape--er, audio books while driving. You should try the HP series! Super quick reads, but they are fun. And nothing as vapid as Stephanie Meyer's vampire books.
It's so wonderful that you got your daughter into Harry Potter, too! That's what I what I hope to do with my future kids IF & when I have them. Or maybe I'll just lead story time at the library.
Just like Daniel Radcliffe said at the World Premiere, "Each and every person who [has followed Harry Potter] will carry this story with them through the rest of their lives and it will affect what they do."
evidence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBEaUZujOlc
**Harry Potter Forever**
Thanks, Isalina! I couldn't agree more.