Tag Archives: Harry Potter

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

29 Dec

This holiday season I was lucky enough to head down to Florida to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It – was – awesome! Walking up to the gates, we began to hear John Williams’ score from the movies, and then the Hogwarts Express came into sight.

And then of course, Hogsmeade.

They had everything—from Zonko’s to Honeydukes, and of course the Three Broomsticks…but we had a different plan. First off, we went to Olivander’s where we got to see a special kid get chosen by a new wand, and then Hogwarts!

The ”castle ride” had a bit of a wait (2 hours!), but all the while we were in line, we got to walk through Hogwarts. There were mandrakes in the conservatory and Harry, Hermione, and Ron even paid a visit to let us know what we were getting into (lots of flying and action, it seemed). We actually passed by the entrance of Dumbledore’s office!

And they were kind enough to give us warnings early on:

Once we got out of Hogwarts, we of course had to try Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice! And then it was straight on to Honeydukes and Zonko’s!

There were Ton Tongue Toffees and Cauldron Cakes, and Extendable Ears and U-No-Poo tablets!

We headed back to Platform 9 ¾, where the conductor and a Weasley twin were kind enough to take a picture with a friend. (As you can see, the twin is still a bit of a prankster).

Sadly, we did have to leave The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, our own money bags a few galleons lighter, but our eyes full of wonder and magic in real life! I have to be honest, I bought a wand.

Overall, the experience was wonderful and it really was Harry Potter come to life. I just wish I could live there! I suppose I’ll just have to reread them yet again!

Muggle Quidditch!

22 Nov

Also known as “Squib Quidditch” and “Real-Life Quidditch”

On November 14, Trevor and I attended the fourth Annual Quidditch World Cup! And just in time for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (and you know how excited we were about that)! It came to NYC that weekend, it was free, and we got to go. I have to admit, I was a little hesitant to be truly excited. I didn’t know much about real-life Quidditch, but it did sound a little silly. This all changed within five minutes of being at the makeshift stadium in Dewitt Clinton Park. As I sat on the curb waiting for my friends, a girl dressed in a yellow jersey, gold sequined shorts, and yellow socks ran by me at top speed. Moments later, her pursuers flew by, identical looks of determination on their faces and brooms in hand. I had just seen the two opposing Seekers attempting to catch a Snitch. It was awesome.

We ended up watching several of the matches, including both the semifinal and final games. As the day wore on, we were more and more excited. Of course, this Quidditch differs quite a bit from the Quidditch in J. K. Rowling’s world. We’re still not witches and wizards (much to my everlasting disappointment) and so we can’t exactly, you know, fly.

Players run with brooms between their legs, the Snitch is a human being who taunts the Seekers until one of them grabs a small ball tied to the Snitch’s waist, and Bludgers are closer to dodge balls than lethally fast balls that could break your arm. Other rules remain the same: The Quaffle is still the ball that scores the points, Beaters still protect the Seekers, and the Keeper still guards the three rings at each end of the field.

The college where Muggle Quidditch was invented took the cup home, once again. Middlebury College beat out Tufts for the trophy, in what was a very exciting and well-played match. And we were screaming and cheering just as hard as any seasoned Quidditch fan!

Here are some of the pictures we grabbed that day:

If I wasn’t already rereading the books for the movie, you can bet that this event would have pushed me right back into this wonderful series.

You can find the complete Harry Potter set on Lucky and Arrow this November!

Muggle-less No More

19 Nov

That’s right. Sticking to the deadline I set for myself, I have finished all seven of the Harry Potter books just as the movie releases today! I am Muggle-less no more!

We were going to do another riveting video with our amazing puppets, but some people went to the midnight showing last night and came into work a wee bit tardy (cough, Preeti, cough). Not to worry though, I am here to entertain you with my thoughts on the series for the next hundred or so words!

Like everyone, I received my honorary scar on my forehead after turning the last page—wait, what? Not everyone gets that? Um…maybe I should head to Diagon Alley to have that looked at then…. Anyway, I loved, LOVED, LOVED the last book and am equally excited to see the first installment of the movie this weekend. For me, the best thing about this book was that I didn’t know what was going to happen. Like I said before, I had seen the movies previous to reading the other six, so there wasn’t much of a surprise to any of them, whereas in Deathly Hallows there was a twist and turn on every page. I can’t believe I waited this long to read them, and yes, this is a series that I will read over and over again.

Time for some awards without spoilers:

Favorite character: Severus Snape. He’s just fascinating!

Favorite moment: The ending, but of course!

Favorite charm or spell: Patronus or Stupefy. (I really like saying “stupefy”!)

And last, but not least…favorite book:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I loved all of the books, but the third one, for me, was where I really got into the world Rowling had created and started to really care about the characters.

All right, I better get back to work so I can leave on time to catch the movie. If you haven’t read Harry Potter yet, I highly recommend it. You can find the books in November’s Holiday Gift Books catalog.

Muggle-less Muggle: On to Deathly Hallows!

4 Nov

Oh man! I am so excited! I am finishing the Half-Blood Prince today and will be vaulting directly into Deathly Hallows, so there won’t be any video today because I am too busy getting my read on! I mean, we only have two weeks until the movie comes out, Muggles, so I have to be ready!

Now, before I launch into how excited I am to read Deathly Hallows, let’s take a moment to reflect on Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince. Rather than go on some long rant about each book, I will give you my favorite and least-favorite thing about each one:

Order of the Pheonix:

Most Fave: Dumbledore’s Army. Man, that is just awesome! This (for me, anyway) is when the books become more about kids doing something to save the world. It’s not just Harry, Ron, and Hermione. It’s everyone coming together to take on evil and make the world a better place!

Least Fave: Dolores Umbridge—need I say more? She is a vile woman and, for me, one of the greatest moments in the series is when she is relieved as the headmistress of Hogwarts! Man, I hate her!

Half-Blood Prince:

Most Fave: Probably Harry doing a curse on Draco. Great moment for many reasons.

Least Fave: The Half-Blood Prince (I’ll refrain from using names so as not to spoil it for anyone). That was a huge twist that wasn’t, ya know? I mean, I expected something to be revealed like that eventually—but this far into the series, the fact that it didn’t happen sort of lulled me to sleep about that character. UGH! I can’t wait for Deathly Hallows.

Now, on to Deathly Hallows! The main reason I am excited about delving into this finale is that this is the only book that I have absolutely no knowledge as to what will happen. I had previously seen all the movies for the other books, so while I enjoyed reading them, there was that missing element of uncertainty So I am going in with clear eyes and expecting the unexpected.

I’ll be back with a video recapping my thoughts on the final book, the series, and my excitement about the movie in two weeks. How excited are you for the movie? I’d love to hear about it. I know a few in our office have already bought tickets for the midnight showing. They’re going to be some tired Muggles at work that day.

Don’t forget, you can relive the magic or live the magic for the first time! All the Harry Potter books are on November’s Holiday Gift Books catalog.

A Little Less Muggle, a Little More Wizard

21 Oct

I would be lying a little if I did not say I’m loving these books. I keep imagining my 12-year-old self reading these and they would completely blow my mind. I said this in the last post, but I will say it again: The world that J.K. Rowling has created is just astonishing and continues to be my favorite aspect of these novels.

Now on to The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire: For me, The Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite thus far. It’s the first time we meet the Dementors, which, for me, are one of the most interesting creations of Rowling in the whole series. The third book also has one of my favorite teachers thus far, the only Dark Arts professor to not (at least so far) try to kill Harry: Professor Lupin. For me, this book is really when the series begins to take off in the plot and makes it more than just books about wizards and magic. I’m not saying that the first two are not great, but they are a bit lighter and have more of a comedic side to them. The Prisoner of Azkaban really starts to immerse the reader in the issues of the world in which Harry and other wizards live, and that is why it is my favorite so far.

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to (a) ruin it for those other Muggle-less Muggles like me who have yet to read these books and (b) this post could go on forever if I don’t stop myself now. Check out the video below to find out what broom I recently acquired. At this point, I feel that I am becoming a little less Muggle and a little more wizard.


Want to relive the magic with me or read it for the first time like I am? You can find all the Harry Potter books in November’s Holiday Gift catalog.

A Little More Muggle…

7 Oct

My life is a little more magical and Muggle-filled than it was last week. I have finished the first two books in the Harry Potter series and boy, are they good. My Book Talk cohort Preeti interviewed me about reading the first two books and it went a little long, so the video below is just some of the highlights of that interview. I will say here that one of my favorite things about the series thus far is the world that J.K. Rowling has created. It’s enthralling. The characters are great as well, but I found myself just captivated by everything from Hogwarts to the different landscapes to Diagon Alley. My other favorite aspect of the series is the beginning of Sorceror’s Stone, when we meet the Dursleys and Harry. The Dursleys, for me, were very Roald Dahl-esque. I immediately recognized who these awful people were just as if they were relatives of the Wormwoods (Matilda) or Spiker and Sponge (James and the Giant Peach). Rowling does a masterful job of establishing a framework for escapism in these novels. I can only imagine my 12-year-old self reading this. It would have blown my 12-year-old mind, and I would have applied to Hogwarts—literally, I would have written Albus Dumbledore and begged and pleaded for him to accept me as a student.

Anyway, those are just some of my thoughts. I am really enjoying the series and can’t wait to see what happens in Books 3 and 4. To find out my favorite characters, teachers, and what my owl’s name would be, check out the video below:

Don’t forget—you can find the whole series on November’s Holiday Gift Books catalog or find each book in Club Shop on our online ordering site.

Muggle-less Muggle

1 Oct

OK, so we all know that today Oprah is going to interview J.K. Roooooooooooooooooooowling! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist an Oprah impersonation). This, of course, is bringing a lot of buzz, especially with the second-to-last movie coming out in November. So I am taking this opportunity to confess something…I…oh man, this is hard to say…I have not read Harry Potter (bows head in shame).

Gasp! What! Can it be?!?! How is this possible!?!? Oh, the HUMANITY!!!!

Yes, yes. I can hear the collective doubt from everyone. You may be wondering the following questions: How did he even get hired at Scholastic? How does he get up in the morning? Why, WHY?!?!

I will answer these questions with a simple answer: It’s on my to-read pile and has been for a few years, but I have so many other books to read for work that I just never get to them. However, I would like to point out that I did read the first book a few years back, so I am not completely in the dark.

Outrage, anger, sadness, sympathy—these may be some of the feelings you are having while reading this right now and some of my coworkers are right there with you.

It’s a burden I have carried all these years and today—today!—I am proclaiming my commitment to HP. I am going to read all seven books before the movie comes out in November. I will need an outlet to discuss all things HP, and I would love for you all to share in this experience with me. Reread them, or if you are like me and have been hiding this secret and want to say to the world, “Yes, I have not read Harry Potter, but I am going to now!”, here’s your chance.

I can’t be the only one, right? I am, aren’t I. No, it can’t be! I am a Muggle-less Muggle. There MUST be others out there. Join me!

I am starting the first book today and will be giving my thoughts next week as one of my coworkers will interview me about the first two books. And who knows, maybe we’ll have some giveaways in the future (hint, hint!).

Happy Reading!