Having been alerted to the existence of this veritable wonderland of Harry Potter excitement, I immediately rationalized the $25 entrance fee as a small price to pay for the chance to pretend to be a witch AND go to England (Scotland? Is Hogwarts supposed to be in Scotland?), if only for a short amount of time. Luckily, I’m already in New York, so I won’t run the risk of splinching myself (my apparating skills are, regrettably, sub-par).*
While I would, of course, prefer the exhibit not to be an exact replica of the films’ takes on J.K. Rowling’s universe, I can also understand that any other sort of representation would be strange after the movies have so universally presented visual and tangible scenery, that now it’s really all anyone can imagine. Books-to-film always have that unpleasant effect on the mind during subsequent readings of an old favorite.
In any case, no one can deny the incredible effects that total immersion in a work of literature has on the mind, nor the almost impossibility of reading without some sort of picture, hazy or not, forming there. It’s no surprise that the Harry Potter series has been replicated in so many ways, but it gets me thinking about what other sorts of books I would love to be able to take part in. Of course, fantasies are the first that jump to mind, followed perhaps by historical narratives, but surely there are many much more familiar worlds that are enticing purely because of characters or events.
Off the top of my head, I would love to be able to visit, or I suppose, live in, Georges Perec’s Paris apartment in Life: A User’s Manual with all of the knowledge of its inhabitants, of course. Narnia, obviously I would go there, and I would probably pay money to be best friends with Jo March, Jessica Darling, Bridget Jones or Anne Shirley—I begged my parents for a vacation to Prince Edward Island just so I could be like Sara Stanley and Anne.
Or maybe the magic of books lies in the fact that the experience of living them, knowing the characters, is so wholly personal—whether or not the settings are fictitious. I can’t decide what I’d like better, in all honesty. Where would you go? Who would you befriend?
While you decide, I’m going to run off to Potions class—don’t want to be late for Snape, you know.**
*Bear with my Harry Potter humor.