I bet I'm not the only one who remembers what she was doing around the time Harry Potter first appeared? Tall and Small were still pretty tiny, I remember, and I had escaped on my own! into town for a rare bit of shopping when I spotted the first two books in our newsagents. I think the second one had just been published and as I'd skimmed a newspaper piece about its popularity with adult readers, I picked both books up and took them home.
|...and suddenly, on holiday this year, there it was in front of us: the new Diagon Alley at Universal Studios|
I sat out on our deck and read to the sounds of two small children in one tiny, city sized paddling pool. And I was enchanted. I've always been pulled in by a good school story - maybe that's back to the old parents-who-were-teachers thing? I set those two down satisfied, and I waited for the next one. We found it on holiday, pushing a buggy out of the rain into the respite of one of Edinburgh's big bookshops. Then the next, and the next, and by then our two were big enough to want to join in the queue in our own Waterstones, to be there at midnight for a new book, fresh off the first stack.
|We had thought the crowds would be too much, had even planned on giving it a miss...|
Then the films started coming and when I saw Harry in his new stretched, teenaged form, different shoulders, different voice, I thought - by the time the next movie is out, my boy will have done that too. Which is what happened. He grew, Harry grew, the books grew, fatter and fuller until the end, when the beginning of each summer holiday shifted just a little.
|...but you can see from the details I was able to capture that we were able to get close|
Not everyone who tries them likes them. That I get. But JK Rowling has plenty of important things to say about stuff kids need to know: about love and loss, especially, and I know that as a bereaved child myself, many years ago, I would have found help there, where she offered it.
But there's a lot of fun to be had at Hogwarts, too. And that brings us back to today and my photos of the new Universal Studios Diagon Alley. It opened on 8th July this year and we were lucky enough, more by accident than planning, to visit a few days later.
We didn't queue for four hours to get on the new Gringotts ride, but we loved the rest of it. Sometimes a book will always be better than a film; sometimes a film brings new meaning to a book and once in a lifetime a book comes to life before your very eyes.