The first time I walked into The Three Broomsticks, I felt something really special. It’s a really corny thing to say, but any Potterhead will get what I’m talking about. Universal Studios Hollywood did a great job recreating the interior of both Hogwarts and The Three Broomsticks, but the latter is more breathtaking inside in an “absorb everything at a glance” kind of way. You walk in and look up to rustic, wood vaulted ceilings that appear three stories high in a quirky, pitched rooftop. Funky chandeliers hang between twisting and crooked corridors that lead to rooms only the imagination can explore.
From the moment you enter, you feel like you really are in Hogsmeade, and the Butterbeer you’re about to drink is the same Butterbeer you might have with Hagrid over a conversation about hippogryphs. It’s a happy, place that feels quiet in a queer way even though it’s packed with crowded patrons. So when the hostess sat me at a table next to a veritable Pansy Parkinson, I was left muttering levicorpus through the entire meal.
My first time experiencing Potterworld was in the middle of a California winter, so the park was pretty empty. It was great because we felt like the place was ours to explore on our own timetable. We established our own little traditions and enjoyed a relatively muggle-free experience. But yesterday, we sat down at this table with our delicious Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken, and this girl next to us did not stop yammering from the moment we sat to the moment we left.
And “yammer” is the right word, but I guess “gobsmack” would work too. It was the verbal equivalent of open-mouthed gum chewing– and what she was saying was no better than how she talked. Just a lot of petty hogwash about past grievances and slander about people she didn’t like. While her deep interest in the catty issues she addressed with her friends did give me a nice reminiscence of teen Harry and the gang from the Book 5 era, for some reason my meal tasted a little bitter.
Now, my goal is not just to vent about this girl, and I’m a full believer in the zone of influence where you choose your attitude and you don’t let others control how you react to conditions. But, it was interesting for me to reflect on how one person took me completely out of this beautiful fantasy world for fifteen minutes. In my last post, I talked about the importance of maintaining the illusion of the fiction world for storytellers, and this was a great object lesson for me that really hit the mark on the head. Interestingly enough, Harry, Hermione, and Ron probably dealt with people like that girl while they were at Hogwarts all the time and felt really similar feelings of frustration. While those feelings humanize their characters, as a real person entering into a fantasy world, feelings of anger and frustration took me right out of my suspended disbelief.
It’s just a reminder that this relationship we have with stories is one built on love. Even when we hate a book, we really love hating the book. As soon as we really hate a book, we leave the book behind.
I guess my other Aesop moment for this is “you never know who is listening”. You may argue or recite, “I don’t care what people think about what I say” or “I just do my own thing”, and that’s nice for you. Put it in a pre-designed quote filter for your Instagram account. I’m sure you’re followers will love it.
Words are everything. Or am I crazy?
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PPS Next week I’m kicking off a fun, free, fan fiction mini-series. No, it’s not about Harry Potter. Insert cliffhanger here.