Last night, after completing a close reading of the book, The Godric’s Hollow Group gathered to watch the film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. We called out the spells in unison–with nearly perfect pronunciation, thank you very much– it’s LeviOsa, not LeviosAR–one of us brandishing a knitting needle as a wand as she did so. Many of us could quote line for line Snape’s impressive entrance into Harry’s first potions lesson. “There will be no foolish wandwaving or silly incantations in this class…” and could describe how the speech differs slightly from the one in the book. There were those who could spot every continuity error in the movie but love it nonetheless and we all had both quibbles and delights with the early logic of the Wizarding World.
As for me, a grownup who some would say should know better, I was reminded of all the ways the Wizarding World is real. It is real because we make it real. What are myth and literature for if not to teach us to live by their values, to become heroes ourselves, to live more authentic, compassionate, fun-filled lives? People come to know themselves better when they immerse themselves in the Wizarding World.
Some of us have been sorted on Pottermore. I am a Ravenclaw. That is what I was told and I know it to be true. We have at least one Slytherin (and would welcome more in the interest of diversity) and at least one who has never been sorted but strongly identifies with Hufflepuff. None of us have been given a patronus but we can almost all identify a potential candidate. (It will be interesting to see if, with the release of The Prisoner of Azkaban on Pottermore on Thursday, we are offered one and if we are officially correct.)
The Wizarding World gives us a way to know ourselves and we cannot help bringing that implicitly or explicitly into the world. The Harry Potter Alliance (“The Weapon We Have Is Love”) has done a great amount of good. MyHogwarts and Avistrum Academy offer the wizarding education experience that we all crave and quidditch has become an international sport to which many devote their sweat, blood and broken bones.
My niece happens to be a beater for Michigan State so I felt a little conflicted when I attended my first match, part of Quidpocalyse 2012, trying to root for my home team, the Denver Dementors. It did not take long for me to be completely won over, however. The Denver Dementors, playing the roles of Azkaban prisoners who were unexpectedly forced into playing quidditch as a form of physical exercise, provided their audience with all the satisfaction of watching a traditional sporting match with the added benefit of very clever theater.
The Golden Snitch, basically a person in yellow shorts with a ball hanging out of his/her pants, ran around amusingly within certain boundaries, engaging in acrobatics and giving someone who has no ability to register the actual nuances of the game something to watch. There were plenty of times when a seeker caught the snitch and I still had to ask who won (even Hermione was better at following quidditch) but I was never bored. The Dementors themselves, always in character, provided additional entertainment. I have no idea how they could do this and still function as athletes but they did. Very impressive!
The Denver Dementors seemed particularly dedicated to thrilling the crowd, throwing themselves, as this video shows, into their parts. I am willing to bet, however, that these were more than parts. I am willing to bet that performing their remarkable shouting, horn-blowing, romping but nevertheless athletic quidditch duties did not take them out of this world but brought them more into it, revealing hidden talents of a kind that do not always impress one’s parents or make the local news but that are even more astonishing for that. The Wizarding World helps us to recognize that we all have something immeasurably precious to offer. Thank you to the Denver Dementors, not only for your talent, but for reminding us that we are all capable of more than we thought possible. You are more than athletes; you are heroes!