Harry Potter. Those two words have made more people more money than one hundred thousand clones of you could ever dream. What was once a simple series of books has now grown into an immense franchise, with theme parks, action figures, movies, lunch boxes, and whatever else executives can conceive. The entire franchise is worth $15 billion. You could take a coffee pot, slap a fuzzy jpeg of ol’ Harry on there and make money.
The books have been translated into 67 languages, including Latin. Latin. The language used for flora and fauna classification, because it’s dead. Who translates a book into a dead language? Seriously.
So, Harry Potter’s a huge deal. Huge enough to make it all the way over here to the unofficial middle of nowhere? Yes, thanks to our local library and some eager volunteers. On Friday, Oct. 18, the Nakusp Public Library held a Harry Potter party, complete with wands, houses, potions, and snacks, of course. Organized by Linda Van Immerzeel, who’s about as crazy for Harry Potter as I am for cars, and Cindy Schroff (Hi mom!), the party was a roaring success. With help from all the library personnel, and a few others out of the goodness of their hearts, it was just as magical as its subject matter.
First of all, there was the matter of sorting. Everybody got a house, be it Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, or the popular Gryffindor. After that, the kids could go see Linda’s husband, Jerry, as Garrick Ollivander, the wand maker, the ever-important snack table, or mean old Professor Snape, played by yours truly. Well, blonde Snape, but Snape all the same. I even had an assistant in my friend Jessica Jones-Hannah as Dobby, who helped counterbalance my absolute failures at dealing with kids.
Due to the costs of shipping exotic magical paraphernalia to a backwoods Canadian town, we were only able to make two potions; Exploding Elixir and Fleeing Spiders. The first was the old standby of “put some baking soda and vinegar together and watch it fizz,” but the second was more interesting. Apparently, if you put dish soap in water with pepper in it, the pepper scatters like a roomful of people after a particularly noxious fart.
If they tired of my horrible Alan Rickman accent, they could go to Linda as Professor Trelawney, or Paula Rogers as McGonagall. Most eventually settled into the tried-and-true standby of getting hyped up on sugar and running around with pointed sticks. Thankfully, no one put their eye out, and all the kids seemed to leave happy. Whether it was because they liked Harry Potter or liked free sweets, we may never know.
The party was a big success. The kids had fun, the adults had fun, and everybody got to be a wizard for an hour or two. Though no actual magic spells were cast, it was about as close as you can get. And hey, kids have good imaginations.