hope and harry potter

He wanted it to be true.

He read all seven books.  He watched all eight movies.  He needed Hogwarts to be so.

He got his parents to take him to the train station in Chicago.  It was the closest one to Detroit.  But there weren’t any platforms.  That didn’t stop him from running headlong into the wall.  He ran and hit and fell.  He ran and hit and fell.  He ran and hit and fell until his dad told him he must stop.

He pulled out his wand, his exact replica of Harry Potter’s wand, in the same box that Olivander pulled from the shelf that first time in Diagon alley.  He took his wand and said “Expecto Patronum!” at his father, but nothing.  Just like every time.

No Patronus.

He needed it to be true and it wasn’t true.  He knew that.  He sort of knew that.  He thought he did.  He didn’t know that at all.


He thought maybe he should crack his wand in half.

He told his mother that and she asked him not to.  She told him his wand had cost them a lot of money and she’d prefer if it remained in one piece.

But if there is a Phoenix feather inside, mom, if there is a feather in here, then I’ll know it’s real.  I’ll still have a chance of getting to Hogwarts, mom.

She sighed and looked at the small brown boy beside her.  This boy of hers that wanted to be a wizard and for the wizarding world to be true like nothing else mattered.  She thought it through, if she allowed him to crack the wand in half that would be the end of it.  The revelation of no Santa Claus.  It would be over, just that much closer to ending and he’d have no wand to wave around.

But if she said no.


Fine she said.  Fine.  Go ahead and crack it in half if you want to.

And he hadn’t expected that.  He didn’t have the feel of deciding bigger matters for one’s self quite down yet.  But he saw that she was serious and that he was allowed to give it a crack if he wanted to.  He wondered why she’d said yes.  He looked at the beloved wand, last year’s Christmas present.  He thought of its inability to produce even the simplest charm.

He wanted to know, didn’t he?  He took its weight and balanced it between two hands. He felt it give and before he could over think it, he snapped it hard over his knee right in half.

It all happened so quickly.  His parents felt the shock of the act like violence in a loved one they’d never thought possible.  They moved to console him but then they stopped.

Slowly, he drew it out like a message in a bottle.  Slow and steady the barbs fanned as he withdrew the feather from the wand.  His eyes were smiling and his face was smiling and it was true.

It was true!

He looked at their astonished faces and laughed.  He stood then and looked again at the grey stone walls holding up the station and got up and ran like he never ran before.  They called to him; afraid he would really be hurt this time.  And they were right.

He hit the wall and he was gone.

5 replies on “ hope and harry potter ”
  1. Zena! What a interesting and thought provoking piece of prose today! I shared it and I had two responses from people who were like, “oh, I just taught by kids the idea of real and pretend.” Maybe I am reading too much into it, but this seems much deeper than that. Here was my response to them: ” I think this post is so much more complicated than that. If it’s a true story what do you think she meant by the last sentence, “he hit the wall and he was gone?” Did he hit the wall and DIE?? Or is it about what it looks like when boys grow up and learn the truth about fairy tales? And the sense of loss a parent feels when the fairy tales are over? Is it about child like faith? Is it a cautionary tale, or is it call to have faith like a child. Willing to run into (metaphorical but sometimes painful) walls with abandon out of our great faith that the lord might be back there!? Is it about how misplaced faith can hurt (for real and for true) no matter the age? This is a really meaty blog today. I feel like I want to sit down and chew on it with some good friends for a LONG time!”
    I think the for real deal is that I just wanna chew the fat with Z. Sooner than later.

  2. hey laurel,

    the kids and i are listening through the hp series again on our many drives so it was on my mind one day while writing…

    i was thinking about how stories of hope come wrapped in different metaphors than the straight up jesus message these days. hp is a hope story – the hope that there’s more to the world than what we see, that’s there is real evil and real good – that the supernatural is real.

    this is more of a small mediation on what hope looks like in a kids world today. that’s about it…

    love you!

  3. The story implicates the reader at the end. You’ve been drawn along in agreement, and when it turns around, you realize your prejudgments for your kids — your instinct to protect them from the pain and failure possible when they take a risk — might be limiting the range and power of their faith.

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