An Ode to “HP”

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Alright, well, I might reveal myself to be the geek I am this week. And it is all because of my seven-year-old nephew’s love for Harry Potter, or “HP” as he calls him. 

I traveled with my sister, brother-in-law and my nephew, Kiran, in their old station wagon to Charleston, West Virginia to attend my cousin’s wedding this past weekend. Including stops and a long wait at the border, it’s a ten-hour trip each way. How did we pass the time? We listened to five double-sided audio tapes of Harry Potter borrowed from the St. Catharines’ public library. The set contains 19 double-sided cassettes, so there was no danger of us running out of Harry.  Before this road trip, I didn’t have much appreciation for Harry Potter. I’d seen one of the first movies years ago and thought it was entertaining. I witnessed the craze develop, heard about JK Rowling’s amazing success as a writer, saw my younger siblings getting hooked on each subsequent book. Now I understand what all the fuss was about.  I think what I enjoyed most was how JK Rowling sets up an richly descriptive imaginary world where inanimate objects come to life (those of you who have read early versions of Stealing Nasreen know about my love for magical realism). I laughed each time a wall-mounted head spoke, or people in photographs shifted over to make room for those just outside the frame, or when knick-knacks sprouted legs and walked away.  Earlier in the trip, around the time when we had driven only 20 minutes and Kiran first asked if “we were there yet”, he proposed to his parents that it was time they got a portable DVD player for the vehicle so that he could watch movies. The family discussed the cost of such a device and Kiran earnestly considered the option of getting a paper route to pay for it himself. Shortly after, the first “HP” cassette was popped in the tape player, and all of us listened, our attention focused on Harry’s struggles with his Muggle family, his rescue by a motley crew of wizards, and his icy-cold broomstick getaway. And the 20 hours in the car passed quickly enough.

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