Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Nerd Alert

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 backI 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 Harrywhen 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 yearsRalph 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. 

The Lion arch was filmed as the entrance to Hogwarts,  

and the Outer Bailey Courtyard is the location where Harry first learned to fly.

Geared more towards a younger audience, the castle was full of cheap touristy attractions and silly theatrical quests and toursbut I loved every crazy minute of it. Plus I learned how to fly a broomstick which made my day. 

I'll teach you real quick. First, hold your broomstick at your side, then in a swift motion throw yourself into the air, mounting your broom while screaming "MOUNT!" You should now be standing in a crouched position with one arm out, ready to fly. Next you need to run forward, zigzagging side to side making sounds like zoom zoom, or wiiizz wiiiz. 

As you can expect, we looked real cool out there.

Though nerdy and ridiculous, the day was full of laughter and "HOLY COW, YOU'RE TRUE" moments, as I remembered scenes from the movie: we saw the shack which Hagrid's hut was built around, the forbidden forest that is actually quite small in real life, and the courtyard where Harry and Ron crashed the flying car into the Womping Willow. 

All day, I was brought back to those first moments when I sat by my mother's side, listening to her smooth voice, and I realized that we're never too old to have a little fun.  

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