Monday, December 12, 2011

Tea for an Elephant

Anyone that knows me even a wee bit knows that I heart Harry Potter…like a lot…like a lot a lot. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is now on my list of “go to” books. Also on that list are The Chronicles of Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time Series (or its proper name the “Time Quintet”), The Power of One, anything by Jane Austen, The Princess Bride, and a few others. See, I don’t mind rereading books that I love. It is like visiting an old friend. Books are a constant. The world that exists in them is always there when you pick them up. It’s one of the reasons I love the book The Neverending Story. I love the idea behind that. That the story still goes on after you close the book. You become the story within the story. That I can pick it back up and be flying on the back of Falkor fighting the Nothing. I am one of those quirky people that have read The Chronicles of Narnia in the order of publication and also in chronological order. I own three separate copies of those books. I’m such a dork.
When it comes to Harry Potter every time a new book was going to come out I would read the book before it leading up to the release of the new book. So that means, in theory, I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone seven times…um, yeah, in theory. In actuality, I read it many more times than that. For you see I also reread the books when each of the movies came out. Not to mention the times that it was a slow month for new book releases and I read them again. There is something so magical about those books.
When it came to the movies, of course, they will never be the same. I mean how could they be?  But you know what? I loved them. I think they are pretty awesome. Some were better than others but still I love them. The first one is my favorite and I know a LOT of people will disagree with me on that. Here is why. There is the great reveal of a whole new world, not just to Harry but to me too. It’s the first time Harry finds out he is different in a whole other way. He finds out about magic. Diagon Alley…just the way I pictured it. It’s all a wonder and still innocent. New friends are being made and they are the people who become his family…people who love him.
When I went to Edinburgh, Scotland in January of 2010, I went with a single purpose in mind. Ok, I went because it was part of my job but I knew exactly what I was going to do when I got there and I wasn’t interviewing college students. I was going to go The Elephant House café. It is one of the cafés that J. K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter in. In the back of the café there is a sitting room with a wall of windows. This room has an amazing view of Edinburgh Castle. I wanted to go sit, drink tea, eat a shortbread cookie the shape of an elephant, and write. Lucky for me, I got to do that. I went twice. The first time was with people from work who were also HUGE Harry Potter fans just like me. We even decided to assign characters from HP to ourselves and our co-workers back home…and that is all I am going to say about that activity. I managed to sneak back to the café later in the trip. Both times I got to drink tea (Darjeeling/Oolong), eat a most delicious elephant cookie, and look out at Edinburgh Castle. Dipping that Elephant cookie into my tea thinking maybe I should read the tea leaves at the end but why borrow trouble just in case I had the grim. I tried to picture myself as J.K. wondering if she ever would have imagined that she would go from unemployment to unimagined riches while sitting in that café. Magic. It is hard to explain the euphoria that existed for me at that moment even if it was the second time I had that feeling while in Scotland. A sense of rightness, of home, and déjà vu for it is a magical country.
So here I sit in Elkton, VA, drinking tea, eating a Walker’s shortbread cookie, and writing about J. K. Rowling…funny, right?
Write side of happy tonight.


  1. Kathi fails to mention is that while shopping in Barnes & Noble one day, she was stopped and asked to recommend a book for a child. Kathi was so helpful and had given this lady ideas on more than just one book! The lady gushed thank you's over Kathi and thought that she was a store employee and couldn't say enough nice things about her! I just thought she got lost in her own world when she gone for a half hour... Books = Crack in Kathi's world!

  2. I forgot about that day and in all honesty, it wasn't the first time that happened to me. Too funny. Yes, it is true, books are my crack. Hahahaha.