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Muggle Memories

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:31 a.m. HST, Jul 14, 2011

Party gets into character for Potter

“We had 70 guests that we invited with a handwritten Hogwarts acceptance letter on parchment paper. Many of the guests came in costume! Our meal included Golden Snitch Cake Pops made by my 15-year-old daughter (and Harry Potter fanatic) Michelle, and butterbeer. We had a huge outdoor screen poolside and some guests floated in the pool with popcorn bags while others grabbed chairs on the lawn for ‘Deathly Hallows Part 1.’ The party helped us to get even more excited to see the final movie on Thursday night at midnight! We’re planning on being first in line. … We have a large group that will come later, all in costume, including Bellatrix, ‘the fat lady in the portrait,’ Dobby and Voldemort. We’ve been working on the costumes for months!”

— Linda Tsai and Michelle Tsai, age 15, Honolulu

Children grew up alongside characters

“My three children, Chris, 22, Molly, 21, and Bridgie, 18, have grown up devouring the Harry Potter books. The fact that Harry matched their ages within years made the journeys through each book more meaningful. As a mom, I sat in parking lots waiting for bookstores to open, hoping they weren’t sold out of the latest, greatest tome; I bought a sorting hat and wand for Halloween costumes; watched my girls sponsor Harry Potter movie nights ‘just because,’ drawing Harry Potter scars on their foreheads. Even when they got older they went to midnight openings for books and movies, sporting Harry Potter glasses proudly. My youngest forced me to read the series, and I realized it was to include me in her world of favorite literature, and I’m glad I know what butterbeer and a snitch is now.

“Now that I’ve moved to Hawaii and leave my young adult children behind in Virginia and my youngest is off to attend George Mason University, the end of the Harry Potter series is natural, of course. It means more to me than the passing of just a book and movie series; it means my Muggles are all grown up now and I’m proud and very sad at the same time.”

— Bridget H. Townsend, Kailua

Books capture many hearts

“Alohamora! Any book worth reading is a form of escape from our mundane lives. The real magic about Harry Potter, though, is that its reading experience transcends escapism and becomes reality. Whenever I read Rowling’s books, I cast aside my muggle identity and become a true witch (or perhaps a squib, if we’re being honest). The books have a subtle way of embedding themselves into our lives. I know this because they have become such a large part of me and of many of the young adults in my generation. We may be the generation of technology and the Internet, but most of us would trade in our iPods without a second thought for a chance to defend Harry from the Dark Lord (or critics). These books foster faith and loyalty in those abandoned; kindle ambition in those uninspired; and spark love within those with the slightest bit of vacant room inside their hearts — something I suspect we all have, even if it means using an Engorgement Charm first.”

— Camile Muth, Kailua

Reader immersed herself in tales

“When I was 5, my father brought home the first Harry Potter book to read to me for a bedtime story. I literally grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione. Every night, I’d hear a little more of their adventures. When I was old enough to read them myself, I got even further immersed in the spectacular story. From reading (and rereading) the books, I got into the movies, then HP trivia, fanfic and beyond. Several days after I turn 13, the final Harry Potter movie will be released. It may sound silly, but with that film, my childhood will be over.”

— Melissa Hamblet, Manoa 

Devotee hooks friend on books

“My other half, Bill, went on a long driving trip with his brother and sister-in-law, and they listened to the first book on tape. He went on and on about it when he got home, and then we saw the first movie, which he said captured the book perfectly. That got both of us (then in our 50s) committed to scarfing down each book (often just over a weekend) and movie as they came out. He passed away in 2008, but showing the author’s ability to also write for adults, I got a friend (now 66) from the gym into reading the first book. He then borrowed the whole series from a friend, pored through each, and has become a ‘let’s see the next Potter movie’ devotee. We then patiently wait for the DVD to come out so we can watch with closed captioning and catch all the stuff we missed in the theater. While excited for the last one, there will be a certain sadness to know it is the last.”

— Lance Bateman, Kalihi Valley

Magic inspires 73-year-old

I am nearly 73 years old, and I want to be just like Harry Potter when I grow up. Why? Because I have longed for a magic wand for years. When I go out walking, I pretend I have such a wand and I ‘fix’ broken sidewalks, remove bugs from ailing plants, remove weeds from empty lots, all with my magic wand. When I swim, I make the ocean cleaner with my magic wand, I quiet the waves down a bit, I go a little faster, and I look a lot better in my bathing suit. When I cook, nothing fails, all is good-tasting and good-looking. My house has no dirt, my appliances do not need repair, my car has no dents. A simple wave of my magic wand does it all.

Once when I went to a craft art show, there were items in wood, and, lo!, lovely wooden wands. I, of course, purchased one and eagerly rushed home to test its magical properties. Alas … despite my efforts, sidewalks are still broken, my swim times are slower, my appliances don’t cooperate, and the dents in my car are getting rusty.

Still, I believe in Harry Potter. Look how he has magically pulled a young 73-year-old girl into his orbit and kept her believing in the possibility of right, of never giving up. Mahalo, Hogwarts, for turning out such fine students, for having (some) fine teachers, for keeping the magic alive for young and old.

— Geraldine DeBenedetti, Honolulu

Potter lingo carries over to life

“Whether it is reciting spells when unlocking a door (alohomora!), expressing a sentiment (‘Ah, I wish I could apparate to you’), or using Harry Potter pickup lines (‘My name may not be Luna, but I sure know how to Lovegood!’), I am always ready and excited to insert HP lingo in daily conversations, even at age 22. When I find out someone loves Harry Potter as much as I do and gets my weird references, it’s like we have an instant bond. Thank you, Mrs. Rowling, for capturing my imagination since age 10!”

— Jordan Ozaki, Waikoloa

Stories spark passion for reading

“I started ‘Sorcerer’s Stone’ when I was 6. At the time, I could read but didn’t necessarily want to. Within a year, I had finished the first four and gone to the midnight release of the fifth. Now, almost nine years later, I’ve read the series 17 times. It was six years between when I started the first book and finished the last book — the same amount of time Harry was at Hogwarts. Reading ‘The Deathly Hallows’ was like reading about the deaths of my closest friends. … The series made reading my favorite pastime and fantasy the dominant genre in my library. The world of Harry Potter made me a reader, a dreamer, and a believer.”

— Phoebe Fox, age 14

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