Posts Tagged ‘harry potter’

…and wanted to stay.  Really Badly.

My father, being the genius that he is, thought that when I visited over Christmas I really needed to go to the Harry Potter tour in London.  He was not wrong.  Since my good friend, and founder of Reading for Life, Alesha was going to be around too, I thought she needed to join me.  See, Harry Potter was the inspiration for the pilot project that Reading for Life was based on.  So honestly, Hogwarts has played a huge role in the almost over 400 lives that have been changed.  But I digress.  Dad got us tickets and we made it in the nick of time (with no thanks at all to the British Rail). We queued for a while, all the time getting closer and closer to Harry’s under the stairs bed room on Privet Drive.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

That whet our appetites good and proper, but then we were ushered into a room with a movie screen and theater chairs.  I was not happy.  I wanted to go to Hogwarts, not watch some ‘making of’ film.  Oh me of little faith.  The film ended, the screen rose, and there were the doors to the great hall.  The guide called all the birthday people to the front, and as it had just been Alesha’s birthday she got to go.  The birthday people got to push open the doors to the great hall.  I thought Alesha’s head was going to explode.  From that moment on my jaw was on the floor, and I was just in heaven.  Seriously.  It was the most amazing experience. I was literally in the place I had dreamed of visiting.  I could almost convince myself it was real.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Great Hall was all I’ve ever wanted it to be, except for minus the characters, and sadly without the enchanted ceiling.

We moved on through many lovely artifacts.  Memento’s of the Yule Ball, Costumes, the Gates of Hogwarts, the giant clock, Umbridge’s Decrees, The mirror of Erised just to name a few.  It was quite amazing. Every time I ooohed and ahhed over something I turned a corner and something else caught my heart.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Everything, from the creature gallery, to the Weasley’s kitchen spoke of all the craftsmanship that went into these moves.  These sets were amazing.  I so wanted to just stay.  Go visit Dumbledore in his office, and pet Fawkes, hug Dobby, curl up with a good book next to the fireplace in the Gryffendor Common room.  If the Mirror of Erised had worked, that is what it would have showed.  The Potions room and the Weasley kitchen had some of the moving parts that played roles in the movies, automatically stirring cauldrons, self-washing dishes, and a garment that was knitting itself.  I even got to chase a snitch on a broomstick and fly in the Ford Anglia.  good times.

Then you round the corner, and are in the Ministry of Magic. It was surprising how disturbing it was.  We walked through, outside, and then experienced some more lovely sets.  The Knight Bus, Privet Drive, Godrick’s Hollow,  Tom Riddles grave, and BUTTER BEER! MMMMM.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As we entered the second sound stage I knew that we were in for a treat.  After making our way past models and figures you turn the corner on to Diagon Alley.  It was just amazing.  I kept thinking “I want to go to there….here… and stay”  Really.  It was so very cool.  The street even sloped upwards.  Real cobblestones.  The craftsmanship was outstanding.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After spending way too long here, loitering, and trying to see if there was a face on the back side of that odd fish and head fountain, I ventured on, through a gallery of art, paper models, architect sketches of the different dwellings.  It was so amazing.

Alesha’s son, who had wandered on ahead came back and found us saying “You guys are just going to die when you see what’s coming up.” I had no idea what to expect.  Let me give you a clue.  It was all decked out for winter, and it was probably a good 40 ft square.  All my life I have wanted a Lego room with different sets all laid out.  A veritable playground for imagination and fun.  This blew this dream out of the water.  If I could have this in my house…..

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

They kept cycling the lights from day to night.  I loved it there.  So very VERY cool.

All in all this was a Magical place to be.  On the real sets, experiencing the wonder and beauty of Harry Potter world.  I highly recommend the experience.  Pricey, yes, but oh, so very fun.


Read Full Post »

In my ongoing attempt to catch up.  Here's the next installment.

In Your Dreams (Holt, Tom)
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey
Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2)

In Your Dreams is the next in the 'Portable Door' series.  Again following Paul as he begins to learn more of his heritage.  Poor Paul.  He tries so hard, but keeps bumbling through.  Sadly that's not very safe in his world.  His uncle has left him an unusual legacy, he's learning the methodology and paperwork of monster slaying, and tangling with Grendel's Aunt, all while coping with a girlfriend who has left him for good.  Paul has the weirdest dreams, a car that is spirited, literally, and a reputation that is accidentally quite good.  He does figure it out in the end, and all' well that end's at J.W. Wells and Co. 
Stargirl was an unexpected gem to find.  It is the story of Leo, a high school student in Arizona who's world is turned upside down by the arrival of a decidedly different girl, who calls herself Stargirl.  Stargirl marches to her own drum and (well actually Ukulele) and, surprisingly, captivates the imagination of the entire High School.  Leo is smitten, and Stargirl returns the affection, but then it goes awry.  She takes too much attention away from those who actually seek it, creating enemies, and even goes so far as to cheer for opposing teams, which tips the scales of public opinion against her.  Leo has to choose, to be the best kind of man, or bow to the pressure of popularity.  A GREAT read.  I cannot recommend this, and it's sequel (to be reviewed later).
The Perilous Journey
is a sequel to the first Mysterious Benedict Society book.  I enjoyed it almost as much.  You met up with old friends, and made new ones, as the Benedict Society heads overseas to find their dear compadres, Mr. Benedict and Number 2.  LaDroptha Curtain has kidnapped them, and the MBS has to combine their strengths in order to solve the clues and save the day.  One of the most poignant moments for me was when Mr Benedict had to manipulate S.Q. Pidallion, and wound his honest heart.  It was very good to see a book show the consequences and remorse that surround such actions. I liked this book, and how it uses my mind in the process of the story.  I'm looking forward to the sequel.
When in the course of human events it has been more than a year since I have read the Harry Potter books I begin to get, well, Itchy.  Of course the anticipated arrival of another in the movie installments is always a good reason to venture forth into Rowling's world once again.  Hey, lets be real.  I don't need an excuse to go back to Hogwarts! This time around two things struck me.  One, how much fun it is to read this series as one of your close friends is reading it for the first time. Two, how much what you are going through affects the way you read them.  I was expecting to feel like I was coming home.  Enjoying old friends and remembering good times. Instead I began to read from a perspective I've never seen before.  A couple of close friends have been going through some rough times with trust issues.  I have been so intrigued to see Dumbledore from this perspective.  He really bore the brunt of Voldemort's choices, and was the carrier of that history. Then here comes Harry, he starts doing some of the same things. Keeping Secrets.  Speaking Parsletongue.  Not telling the whole story.  Thinking, sometimes, that he's above the rules.  Can you imagine the faith and trust Dumbledore must have had in order to believe that Harry was going to turn out different?  Especially as it becomes clear that the Scar and connection between He Who Must Not Be Named and Harry becomes more significant.  If you haven't read this series yet….What are you waiting for?  They are brilliant!

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Read Full Post »

Laura and I went to get some Harry Potter in 3D at the Imax action and got some great shots off of Navy Pier:

Hazy view from Navy PierReflectionsAdler from the PierShedd from the PierHazy from Navy Pier

Then we went to the Art Institute and toured the Modern Galleries (Circa Now!  So clever):

Cy Twombly Exhibit @ Art InstituteCy Twombly Exhibit @ Art InstituteCy Twombly Exhibit @ Art InstituteCy Twombly Exhibit @ Art Institute

I really enjoyed this painter/sculptor.   His work had such energy.  I wouldn't mind owning a few. 🙂

Then we went to Millennium Park and read with our feet in the water, and took great pictures of the Wildflower garden:

Wild Flowers @ Millennium ParkJuxtapositionOrganic and GehryWild Flowers @ Millennium ParkWild Flowers @ Millennium Park

Enjoy the beauty!

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Read Full Post »