Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Reading All Seven Harry Potter Books in a Row—Life in the Time of Coronavirus

Writer brain, braincation, thinking, story
Sweet Escapism my friend

Escapism is why I decided to reread all of the Harry Potter books in succession. It didn't take me very long to read them on account of the fact that I did little else, plus I didn't have to wait for J.K. Rowling to finish writing them this time.

The virus chaos has been taking its toll around here, so I decided to get OUT of that mess by going to Hogwarts again.


It worked. I'm happy to report the series by J.K. Rowling has as much magic as it ever did. I liked whatever book I was on better than the last, and I didn't want to do anything else while I was deep into them. If I had to do anything else the past two weeks, I did it with a book in hand. It wasn't easy. My copies didn't all hold up to the test of time. Broken bindings dropped clumps of pages in my path and so what if I burned more dinners than usual? Who can eat in the middle of a war against evil anyway?

Chocolate isn't food. It's magic. 

The most important thing about reading the Harry Potter books is that once you get to the third book, The Prisoner of Azkaban, you need to have a bar of chocolate! It's just WRONG to read that book without any chocolate. I suffered.

It's also wrong to endure a pandemic without any chocolate to ward off those Coronavirus Dementors. By the time I got to the last book, the Easter bunny—looking a lot like an Instagram shopper coming from Target—brought me a Lindt dark chocolate bunny (it's the only gluten free one I could find!).

After I finished reading all the books, I reread the last couple chapters of The Deathly Hallows (the seventh and last one) a couple of times. I did NOT want it to end. Despite all of the information provided I needed more! For instance, what happened to Voldemort's body? SPOILER ALERTS FROM HERE ON OUT! They left it separate from the other bodies at Hogwarts, but my mind kept going back to things like, they'd better be careful not to bury him somewhere so Death Eaters can make a shrine of it.

Details matter!

In my mind I decided to fan-fiction an ending for my personal satisfaction. It was much more satisfying than leaving Hogwarts only to return to Coronavirus. After much thought on how to get rid of Voldemort's body, I decided that Professor McGonagall should transfigure him into a toothpick, pick him up with a handkerchief (she wouldn't want to touch him even as a toothpick), toss both the toothpick and handkerchief into the air and cremate both with a flash of fire so hot that not even ashes would remain. It is a waste of a perfectly good hankie, I admit.

From there I thought about what Harry would do next. After everything he's been through, he's got to be worn out completely. Hermione will probably want to head for Australia and fix her parent's memories, remember she altered them by wiping all memories of having a daughter and sent them away to protect them from the Death Eaters? Maybe she could spend a year down under snorkeling the reefs and visiting New Zealand with Mum and Dad. Once I got thinking about these things I thought there's likely to be a reward from The Ministry of Magic for capturing Voldemort. I'm thinking a million galleons would be a tidy sum. Harry, being the fair soul that he is, would surely split it with Hermione and Ron. Let's face it, they helped and it would mean a lot to Ron.

Avoid Reality!

Something that stuck with me about the books is the wrap up chapter. Remember nineteen years later Harry and Ginny are taking their kids to catch the Hogwarts Express? Hermione and Ron are there with their kids. We all wanted that happily ever after ending, but after reading that I was left with feelings of hmmm. They all married their person from school? I get it. Even after investing a whole lot of time thinking about that I decided that ending makes sense.  After all the main characters have been through maybe no one else would really understand them after enduring that war on Voldemort. Harry, who's never wanted fame, would never be able to trust that future friends are real or influenced by his reputation. No one else will really get them.

But in my mind I wanted to give them time in those nineteen years before they wind up all together together, to think about things, explore options, and make sure it's what they want.

That's how I ended up deciding that Malfoy would run a chain of coffee shops.

Yeah, my Harry Potter friends are already ripping into me about that one. But once the name Starlucks hit me, it became Draco's financial empire. After the Ministry had their way with his family fortune based on ill-gotten gains, he had to do something for money. Sure, he may have stolen the idea from Luna Lovegood, but he's making a fortune on Butter Beer with a Froth of Felix Felicis.
S.R. Karfelt
It gives you about ten minutes of good luck and makes Starlucks stores popular to hang around due to their cheerful atmosphere. Even Hermione, who still can't stand Malfoy even years later, frequents the Starlucks off the lobby at The Ministry of Magic. She likes the non-magical but ridiculously strong coffee called the Muddud.

Draco came up with that one himself.

Yes, I've put a whole lot of thought into Malfoy's wildly successful chain of coffee shops. Several locations, Diagon Ally/Hogsmeade/Beaubatons have evening hours. They offer such popular specialties like the Parry Hotter. It's popular with young men because it makes men temporarily hotter than they really are. The Hairgrid is big with bridal parties. It gives the drinker a lovely unmanscaped face of facial hair for a couple of hours. Young women out for a night with their girlfriends like it because they get hit on less, and they can enjoy their friends' company for the evening.

Sometimes a writer brain comes in handy during a stay-at-home pandemic, even when we're not using it on our OWN stories. I could do this for the next two weeks, except I'm running dangerously low on chocolate and Froth of Felix Felicis is nowhere to be had what with all of the Coronavirus Dementors here in New York.

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