Mindee Arnett

teamTEENauthor September Topic: Harry Potter

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Oh Harry Potter, where to begin? My undying love for Harry Potter is a topic I could on about for hours. My debut The Nightmare Affair would not be the kind of book it is without Harry Potter as an influence. But that’s a topic for later, perhaps. Instead I’ve decided to come up with the top five signs you might be a Harry Potter addict (hint: I’m guilty of all of them!)

 5. You ritualistically listen to the audio versions of all 7 Harry Potter books.

Yes, I do this. Over and over again. I have a long commute to my day job, and audio books are the only things that make it bearable. Now, while I do listen to other books on audio, I always frame those listens around Harry Potter. I can’t help it. I have a compulsive need to hear the story. And every time I listen, I catch something new. Oh, and can I just say how much better Lord Voldemort’s name sounds in the first 4 books when the “t” is silent the way JK Rowling initially intended it to be? Um, yeah, we can blame the films for that awful change.

 4. You called in sick to work to finish book 7.

Yep, I did this (and don’t worry, the boss knows). When book 7 came out, I was at a horse show, but my husband went out and grabbed the book for me. As soon as I got home, I spent the next two days in my favorite chair tearing through it and avoiding the internet and potential spoilers. I cried and cried in so many places. And burning up an entire day’s worth of PTO, was completely worth it.

3. You describe your child’s educational career in Harry Potter terms.

 Yes, again, guilty. And here’s the proof:

Now to be fair, an entire conversation broke out among my twitter friends about the goodness that exists in Slytherin. And I totally agree. Snape is awesome, no doubt. But the first day of preschool my daughter exhibited some of the more negative traits of Slytherin. And really, she belongs in Gryffindor (for the record, I’m a Ravenclaw). Firstly, she’s incredibly fearless, at least when it comes to any kind of social situation. To give you an idea, when she was 2 we took her trick-or-treating, and she walked right into a stranger’s house! Seriously, she just burst through the door and into a dinner party. Everyone thought it was funny. Me, I thought it was a bit scary. Secondly, she’s a bit of a show-off, always wanting to be the center of attention.

2. You understand that the reason why the movies pale by comparison is because they left out all the whimsy.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the movies. But for the longest time I couldn’t figure out why they were so “meh” when compared to the books—I mean beyond the usual “the movie is never as good” thing. I finally figured it out one day while listening to the audio books. The filmmakers cut out all the funny and whimsical/magical moments that really give the books their special flavor. My favorite example of this comes from book 6 when Dumbledore picks up Harry at the Dursleys’. In the book Dumbledore offers the Dursleys something to drink by conjuring glasses out of thin air. But of course, the Dursleys refuse to accept the glasses which then spend the rest of the scene knocking them in the head. It’s hysterical and the kind of thing that would’ve been visually funny. In the movie though, we go straight to the scene with Horace. I understand why the filmmakers did this, but it still makes me sad. This is also why I harbor a deep hope that someday there will be a cartoon version of Harry Potter that includes ALL the whimsy and magic.

 1. You bought your house because of the cupboard under the stairs.

Well, this one isn’t entirely true, but it definitely didn’t hurt our decision. Rest assured—none of my children have ever been forced to live inside it. Although, more than one cat has spent a couple of hours locked up on accident. I have a feeling they didn’t mind. And no, unfortunately, none of them are named Crookshanks. But I might remedy that someday…

So what are your signs of Harry Potter addiction?

And check out these other teamTEENauthor members talking about HP!

Julie Cross

Janci Patterson

E.C. Myers

Elizabeth Amisu