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Harry Potter, an updated reading

First a little disclaimer: When Harry Potter first came out, in my high school senior social studies class we had to select a book and write a report. We were in social studies/history, so I of course chose a very appropriate book (The Killer Angels). Another student had the audacity to choose a children’s book, Harry Potter. I was quick to let them know my disapproval of such weak literature.

Fast forward only a few years and I was one of those anxiously awaiting the arrival of the final book on July 21, 2007. My how things change. I will gladly admit how wrong I was.

Overall take away…. From all 7 books. Aside from the obvious lack of moral imagination (the premise of a story, in which the good guy never does bad things and always follows the rules etc), I have once again thoroughly loved these books.

While they are stuffed with magic, obviously, they touch on so many situations that very real people experience. Hard situations with family dynamics, grief, poverty, privilege, a plethora of -isms, and a variety of people and situations being redeemed.

While it certainly isn’t on par with the works of Tolkien and Lewis, the Harry Potter books speak on a variety of important lessons, if one is willing to listen. From the discrimination that Hermione and Remus face, as well as the Weasley family, to the abuse of power by the Malfoys, the media, and the ministry itself. There are countless examples of the individual experience and how others can greatly affect, for better or worse, the people around them.

All in all, I still heartily recommend this collection of stories. 

Just finished the Harry Potter series. I’m not sure if it’s the 2nd or 3rd reread…the kids got me confused with having started reading it to them. But I read them. I had debated just turning off the light at 10:20, at the beginning of the Battle for Hogwarts. I knew the sadness that was coming. But I read on. Finished it  at 1:40am.

So many things to flesh out and think about. Coming to this book as a 39 year old mom of 5, ranging from 6-12 years old, is much different than as a college, early 20s individual.

First of…Snape. We all know that famous line, Always. That everything he did, and put himself through was because of his love for Lily. Hold up. Whatever he did, at Dumbledore’s request, he was still a complete ass to Harry. Yes, he was willing to do whatever was asked to protect her son, but he still treated him like crap.

Not to mention that he was a creeper level 10 in his unrequited love for Lily. He doggedly followed her for years, because he “loved” her, but yet was willing to sacrifice their relationship after Lily had repeatedly expressed that she didn’t like who he was hanging out with (death eaters). His having begged Voldemort to spare Lily was rather lame, because he was asking Voldemort to do that which he himself wasn’t willing to do: Change his actions for the love of another. So dumb.

There are a lot of plot holes, especially in book 7. Either I’m misreading and skipping spots or there are a lot of missing explanations as to what happens to Harry, or at the very least why it happens.

Mrs Weasley and Narcissa Malfoy. One thing I think these books get right is the power of a mother’s love. We hear to the point of no end about Lily’s love for Harry, how it protected him. We see Narcissa’s concern for Draco, Molly’s concern for each of her children and Harry, and even Aunt Petunia’s {albeit distorted} love for Dudley and if not Harry, his mother.

We all know the famous line that Molly says when she’s battling Bellatrix LeStrange, “Not my daughter, you Bitch.” But there’s a line quickly after it: “You – will – never – touch – our – children – again!” Oh my goodness. So much power in that! She’s not only protecting her own children, but tells everyone that tries and comes to her aid to stand back, that she’s doing this alone, for them all. She is single handedly stepping into the role of every mother.

Just writing that has me sobbing.

I was to the chapter, Battle of Hogwarts at 10:20pm. I knew I could stop there, that all the heartbreak could be delayed. Just knowing all that was to come, had me verklempt. I soldiered on, low-grade sobbed through the last chapters of the book.

So many things that I knew were gut wrenching, a few things that I had forgotten. Like Kreacher rallying the house elves to Harry: Sobs a new. The reconciliation of Percy to Fred and George, only for Fred to die minutes later. Neville and Nagini. Throughout all of it I couldn’t care less what’s happening to Harry. Honestly, he’s a less than stellar character. Particularly in the last book.

All the members of the DA come to Hogwarts defense. McGonnagall and Flitwick taking charge, and leading the charge.

Setting Sail for Adventure

Boys' Nautical Bedroom

This past fall was filled with projects. The kids’ rooms haven’t been done since they were babies and it was really time to move away from the monkeys and elephants, particularly since all three boys are now in a room together, and the girls each have their own spaces.

I’ve long planned on doing a nautical themed room for the boys. Henry and James are the only two of my children for whom I actually made their quilts, the rest are all in limbo.

Boys' Nautical Bedroom

I still have to make Peter’s quilt, it’s on my list. We went with 2 bunk beds nestled together in the corner. We need 3 and having a fourth seemed prudent given the very real possibility of having guests.

I picked up the nautical pillows a few years ago at Ikea, in preparation of someday. The book ledges were repurposed from other projects that I just repainted to match quilts. The letters I ordered on Etsy and just painted them.

The walls were a mess from all the thumbtacks used to hang things and I refused to deal with that again…oh the hours of hammering, spackling, sanding….it was a nightmare. We used command strips this time.

We went with Behr’s Shipyard for the walls, aptly named.

Even Peter has his little spot…now if only he’d STAY in his FREAKIN’ bed. We’ve been trying this for the past 4 months…and we’re not getting any closer. He sleeps in the bed, he’s up wandering the halls or climbing in the beds of everyone else. He’s the worst. If he climbs in our bed, he smacks us in the face and tells us to sk-u-tch over.

I didn’t want a bookcase that was going to take up floor space, there really isn’t that much space in a room once you put in a wardrobe, a dresser, a chair, and 4 beds.

The ledges were simple enough to make and we managed to fit 4 of them on the wall behind the door. Illustrators put so much energy and beauty into book covers, that it’s an absolute shame to just hide them.

The lamp I got at a thrift shop and painted it to match the ledges. I felt like the turned wood really lent itself to the nautical theme….it reminded me of a ships wheel, captain at the helm.

A lot of the pieces we managed to steal from storage at Matt’s parents or picked up at thrift shops and yard sales. I think a lot of people want to do nautical themes, but very quickly outgrow them.

My friend Katie did the vinyl letters for around the anchor, which turned out perfectly! The anchor was through etsy.

The curtains are actually shower curtains that I bought from Amazon and added a thermal drape to the back of, then clipped with some curtain rings. I still need to make curtain rods for them; why ARE curtain rods so expensive?!

After I got them up I realized that they were maps of Cape Cod, they even have the bay that Matthew’s college (Mass Maritime) was on, Buzzards Bay.

Boys' Nautical Bedroom

We didn’t do anything with the floors. They desperately either need to be repainted, refinished, or replaced, but none of that was in the budget for any of the rooms.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. There’s still some work that needs to be done, some pictures that need to be hung, but I like it!