“Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry” is a line taken verbatim from my resumé. Early in my teaching career, I taught a week-long summer camp focused on Hogwarts and the books. While I was teaching it, the books were still coming out, then the movies, and it filled quickly every summer for the nine years I was involved. Over time, it evolved from an hour-long class each day to an all-day camp with four instructors, all colleagues of mine at the high school where I taught, in addition to a dozen or so prefects (volunteer assistants). At one point, we had sixty kids attending Hogwarts everyday, and I was told by my friend Hagrid, whose real name is David, that the camp is still going strong every summer. It was amazing, and honestly, though they have begun to fade in time, these are among my dearest memories.
Over the course of the last ten days, Sonja and I embarked upon an eight-movie marathon, watching every one of the Harry Potter movies in order. We missed only two days to spend time out on the patio. For someone who watches about two movies a year, I wasn’t sure I could handle it, but the truth is it was amazing, and something I looked forward to every night after the kids went to bed.
As regular readers of the blog know, I’m currently reading the Harry Potter series to Titus. However, I don’t know that I’ve ever delved very far into my love of Rowling’s work. I regard this series as the single greatest series of fiction novels ever. When I used to work internationally, I would purchase a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the language of every country I was in. I was unable to find a few, and if you have a copy in Polish, I’d love one. (My Russian copy is actually Prisoner of Azkaban.) When I lived in England, Sonja and I visited the studios, and the parts of Oxford University where the movies were filmed. The Hogwarts Express, a gift from Sonja, rest along the top of the bookshelves in my home office. And when asked the other night who my biggest celebrity crush is, I was quick to say Emma Watson (who is thirty years old, thank you very much).
I recall a time when I was reluctant to read the books. I was in college then. I also recall a time when I was reluctant to drink wine that wasn’t white zinfandel. It’s okay to have been a fool, but it’s less okay to remain one.
Last night, we watched the final movie, Part II of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. By the end, I had tears in my eyes. This was less because of the events of the movie, none of which caught me off guard having seen it and read it all before. Instead, it was because it was over; I realized that I wouldn’t be watching Harry Potter again tonight, and while I’m eager to return to my nightly ritual of reading and, hopefully, to spend more time on the patio as it warms up, I will miss our Harry Potter marathon — I may even advocate for repeating it at some point, but not too soon.
I had a number of good wines, some great ones, over the past ten days, and all of them paired well with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the rest. Last night, I paired the final installment with a fortified wine made in Texas. A friend turned me on to this winery, Messina Hof, and while I’ve enjoyed several of their wines, none more than the port. Silky smooth and chocolatey, sweet, I sipped it slowly and relished every sip as I did every moment of the movie.
Tonight, we’ll enjoy the patio, or the front porch, or else we’ll read. Whatever we do, I know we’ll enjoy it. That said, I’ll miss my friends at Hogwarts immensely — save for the half an hour or so Titus and I will spend in Goblet of Fire tonight. I suppose, in the not-so-distant future, perhaps our little ones will join us for a repeat of this marathon, and perhaps even a trip to Universal Studios at some point. I can hope so anyway!