When at Home

Painting Words on Your Wall

Now, I hate painting, based on the one and only time I did it after shamelessly procrastinating. But if I were to do it, this could tempt me.

Author Meredith McCardle painted the first page of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on her wall in three weeks. There is something about the sheer purity and the simultaneous richness of words on a white page that is accessible as an art object, especially if it’s words from a beloved book that still makes your skin tingle.

Speaking as a fellow Harry Potter fan, great choice of wall coverage! Glancing over at my own shelves, I confess I would take a page out of the same book (pun!) My own choice would possibly be the passage describing Harry finally casting his first, real Patronus in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: “And then it hit him – he understood. He hadn’t seen his father – he had seen himself

Harry flung himself  out from behind the bush and pulled out his wand.

“EXPECTO PATRONUM!” he yelled.

And out of the end of his wand burst, not a shapeless cloud of mist, but a blinding, dazzling, silver animal.”

The memories make me tear up. Another choice would be Jane Austen’s immortal Pride and Prejudice, which I feel I can open at any page. Actually, I just opened it at Mr. Collins’ proposal to Lizzy – no, not for my wall. How about this: “They walked on, without knowing in what direction. There was too much to be thought, and felt, and said, for attention to any other objects.”

Ray Bradbury’s special prose from The Halloween Tree is also a good idea for some word painting: “And Ghost and Mummy and Skeleton and Witch and all the rest were back at their own homes, on their own porches, and each turned to look at the town and remember this special night they would never in all their lives ever forget and they looked across the town at one another’s porches but especially on and over across the ravine to that great House where at the very top Mr. Moundshroud stood on his spike-railinged roof.”

I’m so lucky that the works I’ve quoted here so far also have great film adaptations to underline their brilliance. How about playing an audiobook or the movie in the background as you paint?

I am very tempted. Very.



Alice, Newt, Sing Street, Romeo and Juliet

Not only did I really enjoy watching The Jungle Book, but the trip to the movie theater rewarded me with several interesting film trailers that provoked feelings of either curiousity or excitement.

Alice Through the Looking Glass

As with The Jungle Book, more memories surface of literary classics from childhood not read again for a very long time. This one looks to be a glorious, bright, basically psychedelic Tim Burton/ Disney extravaganza, hopefully promising, especially with the acting talents of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, not to mention Alan Rickman’s familiar baritone. I’m ready for another parallel universe with creatures who are either fantastic or crazy or both. Most everyone’s mad there, anyway.


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

To be honest, I had almost forgotten about this one. I know, how could I, as a self-proclaimed devoted fan of all things Harry Potter? But my own Potterverse was very much contained within the seven books and seven movies, and it took a lot of emotional processing to sort out my feelings once both installments were finished. So maybe for reasons relating to fan self-protection I have adapted this cautious stance, instead of jumping and screaming. However, everyone in the audience, myself included, sat up straighter as soon as whispers of “Lumos, Maxima!” floated towards us. Who am I to refuse an invitation to return to the wizarding world?


Sing Street

This was completely unfamiliar to me, but it looks like it might be pleasantly nostalgic, funny and the accents are of course irrisistable to someone who leans towards the American accent herself. Plus, it’s spring, a movie about (what looks to be) teenage outcasts forming a band and ultimately arriving at all sorts of profound discoveries might be just the thing. And while I’m not a Game of Thrones fan, that’s Littlefinger sitting calm as you please at some kitchen table in 1980s Dublin! I’ll have to watch this just to make sure everyone is OK in the end.


Romeo and Juliet

And finally, this delectable, hauntingly beautiful tidbit. True, it’s a theater production, but if I’m lucky I will catch a live broadcast at my local cinema, thanks to a fantastic project they have going on with some of England’s most prestigious theaters. By coincidence I had been nostalgically checking out clips from the gorgeous 1968 adaptation directed by Franco Zeffirelli, and now this! Lilly James and Richard Madden are certainly a wonderful pairing, and I love how the pace changes from slow to charged in a heartbeat when he twirls her around. How much one wants to believe they are not doomed, even if one knows they are…

‘Tis going to be a good season!




Happy Birthday, Hermione Granger

I’m slightly late with this, but then what are belated birthday wishes for? And I join the Pottersphere in saying Happy Birthday to a heroine beloved by myself and many others – Hermione Granger!

September is proving to be a particularly enjoyable month for Potter fans, as J.K. Rowling has yet again tweeted about an important date in the life of a cherished Potter character. Hermione’s birthday was on September 19th.

I too am looking up my favourite gifs and Youtube videos of one of the smartest witches around. But in terms of my own tribute to Hermione I reminiscently turn to the books and remember why I like this character.

While Hermione’s smarts and intellectual abilities are justifiably admirable, she has a host of other qualities that make her very real to readers. Beneath her initial briskness she is a kind person, which is obvious from an early age. In her first year she is the only one to jump up and free Neville Longbottom from the full body-bind curse while the rest of the Gryffindors laugh (although later in the same book she herself puts it on Neville. Oh, well. Happens!)

She is an extremely hard worker and wants to get as much as possible out of her years at Hogwarts, without forgetting her values or trying to throw other people over. Hermione is constantly conscious of her fantastic opportunities and she invests her energy accordingly. Not without mishaps – see the Time Turner experiment in book three.

She shows her feelings, be it crying after Ron first called her a “nightmare” (which ultimately lead to him and Harry saving her from a mountain troll, and subsequently friendship and love for life), shouting at Ron after the Yule Ball or being visibly frustrated when Harry is suddenly and suspiciously better at a class than she is.

After both normal teenage experiences and the final, epic journey to destroy Lord Voldemort, it’s clear to see that Hermione’s inborn sense of loyalty, developed emotional maturity and courage blend together with her own unique intelligence.

Wingardium Leviosa, Hermione, and Happy Birthday!


James Sirius Potter, We Are Pleased to Inform You

What a day. James Sirius Potter is starting at Hogwarts!

As reported by Mashable, J.K. Rowling tweeted a request for good wishes and the Pottersphere predictably exploded. The Potter fans are numerous and their Potter emotions are strong, and I think ever since the books (and later the movies) ended, these emotions have become even stronger. OUR emotions have become even stronger. Because when you love a work of fiction that much, reminders and actual calculations of dates relating to characters from the book are a smile-inducing trip down memory lane.

It also has a curious effect of making you feel like the books are not finished yet after all. You remember about the scarlet steam engine departing from platform nine and three quarters. You remember one of your (many) favourite parts in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – when happiness fills Harry up as he finds out he can visit Hogsmeade with his friends. “His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad/ His hair is as black as a blackboard…” “Just because you’ve got the emotional range of a teaspoon…” Your eyes wander to the seven book set always within reach and you know that you will open them again, and again, and again.

All the best, James, have a magical start at Hogwarts.

My Travel

Harry Potter: The Exhibition in Paris

I did not discover the Harry Potter books first. I went to see Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Captivated by the story, I wanted to learn more, and the rest is history. The books have become fixed tenants in my library. Waiting for the next book in the series was a very special experience which every fan will remember for life. We also remember that slightly forlorn feeling, mingled with excitement, when the last, seventh book came out. But hey, there were still a couple of Harry Potter movies left to make. Anticipated, discussed and debated, they too came to an end.

In-between all these daily occupations of a Harry Potter fan, another significant development took place. Harry Potter: The Exhibition made its debut in the US in spring 2009. I remember how excited many of us were, and also rueful that not everyone could make a flying visit to the States. But sometimes magic just needs a bit of waiting, and a bit of patience.

After touring the US, Canada and Australia, the exhibition has finally made its way to Europe. With Sweden and Germany already ticked off the list, the exhibition’s current location is in Paris, France. A glorious 1,400 square meters of Harry Potter film artifacts and costumes from all eight movies await fans at the Cité du Cinéma.

I was fortunate to be able to go and can confirm: it’s amazing! Without giving too much away, to be able to see what has become so familiar through the big screen IRL was another absorbing Harry Potter experience. A combination of dimmed lighting around the brightly illuminated exhibits, careful arrangement and the magical soundtrack from the film playing in the background (ah, those opening bars at the beginning of Sorcerer’s Stone) all create a goosebump-inducing atmosphere.

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus!

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