Sunday, March 5, 2017

5 of 31: My Niece...the Harry Potter Hater

So I'm the aunt who buys her nieces and nephews books for every occasion.  Books for the holidays, book for birthdays, books when I visit, books before we go see the movies. I'm an English teacher and I love books, and I want all eight of my nieces and nephews to love and own books, too. In fact, just this past Christmas, I couldn't wait to deliver the entire Harry Potter collection to my niece Audrey. You see, Audrey is now in fifth grade and I felt like she was ready for the enchanting world of Hogwarts.

As she ripped the green and red striped paper, she looked at me eagerly anticipating the quite heavy books underneath until she spied Harry's name. Audrey has grown quite accustomed to receiving books any time I visit, and she's always enjoyed them. However, I was not quite prepared when all her joy vanished from her face only to be replaced with horror and disgust as if she just consumed a dirty sock flavored Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Bean. She grimaced and pulled herself up as only a fifth grader can do, set the entire collection down rather harshly on the coffee table, and chastised me in her haughtiest voice, "Aunt Liz, you know I hate Harry Potter." There was Slytherin venom in those words.

I thought I was prepared, for she had previously shared her views on Harry Potter with me over the phone despite my numerous protests. Deep down, I just knew that if I could get her started, she would be hooked. This fall, several of my adorable seventh grade students discovered Harry's story for the first time and completed geeked out. They write fan fiction and argue over which wizarding house is best, and it's just absolutely endearing. I wanted that for my Audrey, too.

Plus, I secretly plotted to have Audrey finish the series before June so that we could visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter together in Orlando. It would be perfect because Audrey lives in Florida and thus would provide the perfect cover as my sidekick so that I would not have to brave Diagon Alley alone (even though I would...and happily).

Well, long story short I sweet talked her into letting me read the first chapter to her before bed that night. She snuggled up next to me and patiently listened as I did my best to bring the magic of Harry Potter to life on the living room couch. In fact, we made it through the first two chapters before her eyelids grew heavy.

As I sipped my coffee this next morning, Audrey stumbled out of her bedroom and came to sit next to me. She shyly pulled out the book from underneath her blanket and with downcast eyes asked me to continue reading. My heart swelled and I wanted to scream, "I knew it! I knew it! I knew it! You do love Harry Potter!!!" but I had to play it cool, so I nodded keeping my smirk to a minimum and simply started reading. We made it to chapter six before I had to return home after the holidays, but she solemnly vowed she would continue reading.

Just this morning, she called me to tell me that she had just finished the third book. She couldn't believe the ending and she couldn't believe that she was actually going to heft the enormous fourth book everywhere so that she could find out what happens next. I know this will be the longest book she has ever read to date, and I also knew she was a little nervous about it. I reminisced with her and told her that when I finished the third book, I had to wait an entire year for the next one. As a Netflix junkie, she couldn't even fathom having to wait for the next episode. I informed her that there used to be midnight release parties at bookstores where people would dress up in long black robes and wire rimmed glasses and children would get their hands on the latest book and fall right to the floor to start reading. She giggled at the thought.

Victory is sweet. That is the power of books.

Now bring on the butterbeer ice cream!


  1. Yes! Another convert...I like how you added Harry Potter references throughout this piece. Now to find out what house Audrey would be sorted into...

  2. Oh, a perfect convert. And now you'll get to make that trip to Orlando together. The power of books!