One night when I was 11, my mother took me to the local library to browse through the collection of films for our movie night. Indecisively, we stood for a half hour, staring at the titles and shrugging off each pick, until mom pointed at a movie I never thought to suggest: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. We went home that night, popped in the disk and sat down with a bowl of popcorn. But only 20 minutes into the movie, the disk skipped and froze from the giant fingernail scratch on the back—I don't know what we expected from a library DVD.
Disappointed by the ruined evening, I was more upset with not finding out what Hagrid was going to say to Harry about this 'he who must not be named' character. "Why don't we read the book?" Mom cleverly suggested, and so we sat in the dark hours of the night, reading aloud the first 4 chapters. From that night, I was hooked.
I practically grew up with Harry—when he was 11, I was 11; when he was 12, I was 12; when he was 13, I was 13...etc.—so naturally, this Saturday's day-trip was a huge excitement, as we hopped on our Ingleby coach and rode to Alnwick Castle, the filming location for the first two Harry Potter films.
Alnwick Castle is home to the Duke and Dutchess of Northumbria of which the Percy family has carried the title for 700 years—Ralph Percy is currently the Duke. Besides the rich history of the ruling family and the cultural history of the British class system, the castle is most famously known for the Lion arch and the Outer Bailey courtyard, both locations for the Harry Potter films.