Saturday, November 13, 2010

Poor Man's Orlando

Yeah, Baby, the countdown is on. To the launch of Mia and the Magic Cupcakes, naturally, but, even more urgently, to opening day of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! What on earth we're all going to do when there are no more HP movies or books is beyond me. Leave wistful comments for each other on MuggleNet, I suppose. Or report the odd Daniel-Radcliffe sighting. Like the other night when we were watching the Simpsons' amusing spoof on Twilight, and Scott recognized "Edward's" voice as Daniel Radcliffe's! Will Team Edward and Team Jacob be left in the dust by underdog Team Daniel???

In any case, while we wait, the fam and I visited the AMAZING AND FABULOUS Harry Potter exhibit now featured at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. We could not believe how well-mounted this exhibit was. For the cost of a movie ticket you get to see zillions of props and costumes from the movies, grouped by scenes and themes. Everything from Hagrid's hut to Snape's dungeon lab to the Quidditch pitch to the Great Hall. They even had a copy of The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore and Rita Skeeter's notebooks from the yet-to-be-released HP7! The first thing that strikes you is consuming envy that you weren't cast in any of the HP movies because the world the set designers created is so incredibly detailed. One tiny example: the Half-Blood Prince's potions textbook is on display, open to the recipe for Polyjuice potion--there's the recipe, and all over the margins and blank space are the Prince's handwritten notes! (Warning: if you haven't read all the books, do it now, before you see the exhibit. The poor (and foolish) woman next to me was checking out the little caption on the same Half-Blood Prince's textbook and said, "...And the Half-Blood Prince is Snape! Oh! Well, now we know. We hadn't gotten to that part yet" !!!)

Nor did I realize each character had his own distinct wand. I mean, when they're waving those things around in the movies on our diminutive TV screen, I couldn't make out the individual styling of each wand. Well, here they all are, from Harry's to Dumbledore's to Hermione's to Ron's Spell-o-taped wand in HP2. My personal favorites: Hermione's and...sorry...Draco Malfoy's.

There are nice little touches where you get to pretend you got enrolled at Hogwarts. In a brilliant moment of line-management worthy of Disneyland, small groups of 30ish enter the exhibit, meet a live robed gal with a lovely British accent standing by the Sorting Hat, and three fortunate children are "sorted." On this go-round, two of the fortunate three were my girls. Mostly because the accented gal said, "Could I get a vol--" and up shot the 11-year-old's hand with a speed that would have shamed Hermione. The 7-year-old noted this, and barely was her sister sorted into Ravenclaw than she had her hand up. Me, me, me--pick me! (One tiny area for improvement: I bet 90% of the kids want to be in Griffyndor, and the hat only has one Griffyndor speech, so we had to hear it twice. If you're doing three kids, better have three Griffyndor speeches.) No need to fear a lice outbreak of magical proportions, either, because the Sorting Hat just hovers right above each kid's head.

It's great fun, too, to read Umbridge's decrees and admire her "foul" kitten plates, and to see the Cedric Diggory buttons everyone wore in HP4 to show their disdain for Harry. To my disappointment, neither the plates nor the Cedric buttons were available in expensive/cheap knock-offs in the gift store. What a lost marketing opportunity. I also would have forked out for Gilderoy Lockhart's portrait of himself as Lawrence of Arabia and for Hermione's shoes at the Yule Ball and for Ron's afghan from the Griffyndor dorm room. And they probably could have charged a buck each for swooning girls to finger Cedric Diggory's school uniform or Quidditch robes. I'm just saying...

Anyhow, it's the perfect prelude to opening night. But be sure to buy ahead because if you just show up you might not get to enter right then. Better yet, go while the kids are in school--no need to elbow anyone out of the way when you want to scrutinize the sign-up list for Dumbledore's Army, and without any little ones along to steal the accented girl's sympathies, you might even be the one to get sorted.


  1. I will not tell my expat kids about this because they would be so mad to miss it!!
    I am jealous. Wish there was an alternate reality were we could all be witches and wizards.

  2. I can't wait to see the exhibit! And, I would pay a buck to finger Cedric's robes. Sigh.

    Okay, I have collected myself now. At least I still go for the tall, skinny, dark-haired types. I am so glad you blog, dearie. You give me grins.