Earlier this year, I decided it was time for Little Thing to finally get her Harry Potter on. I would have introduced her to Hogwarts sooner, but she’s only recently begun showing interest in books that don’t feature kitties. And lacking the motivation to read it herself, I knew I would have to tackle reading book one out loud to my Little Muggle.
(Even though I am an English teacher, I abhor reading things aloud. I suck it up buttercup and do it for my students occasionally when I can’t find a better, free audio version, and I always read to Little Thing before bedtime, but acccckkkkkkkkkk.)
And HP aloud poses all kinds of issues:
- Have you ever tried to read Hagrid’s brogue out loud? YEEESSSSSHHHHH. So hard. I’d rather wrangle baby Norbert the dragon IRL and have him singe off my-coronavirus-ignored-overly-bushy eyebrows (Holy shit. I have Hermione-Granger-book-one eyebrows right now.) than botch Hagrid’s dialect.
- I had to think to myself Quirrell rhymes with squirrel every damn time Quirrel’s name appeared in print.
- Was I pronouncing Wingardium Leviosa with enough conviction to make a feather lift off a table? Would it make Hermione Granger proud?
- Should I read all the dialogue in a British accent?
- HOW AM I GOING TO READ SNAPE WITHOUT GIVING EVERYTHING AWAY? HOW AM I GOING TO READ SNAPE WHEN EVERY TIME I THINK OF SNAPE, I THINK OF ALAN RICKMAN, AND I’M STILL NOT OVER THAT HE’S NO LONGER AMONG US.
Anyway, Little Thing and I finished last week, and she’s now obsessed, even practicing enchantments with her American Girl dolls.
I kept track of some of her observations while we read. I only wish I would have kept track from the beginning. Here are her best ones:
Little Thing: You know Snape sounds a whole lot like snake.
Little Thing: You know what’s fun to say–Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff.
Me: What about Gryffindor? Or Slytherin? Aren’t those fun to say too?
Little Thing: Nope. Not as fun as Hufflepuff. It satisfies me. Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff. HUFFLE-PUFFFFFFFFFFF.
Me: [reading the part where Malfoy steals Neville’s Remembrall and the subsequent Malfoy and Harry broom scene; looks up, and sees Little Thing plugging her ears] What’s wrong? Why are you plugging your ears?
Little Thing: Harry’s gonna be in so much trouble. I don’t want to hear it. He might get expelled. [pauses] What’s expelled mean again?
Me: [when Harry tells Neville] “You’re worth twelve of Malfoy . . . The Sorting Hat chose you for Gryffindor, didn’t it? And where’s Malfoy? In stinking Slytherin.”
Little Thing: Stinking Slytherin! Stinkin Slytherin!
Little Thing: [ten minutes later] Stinking Slytherin! Stinkin Slytherin!
Little Thing: Do you know what I think has been killing the unicorn? A four hundred head dog. He’s got the sharpest claws. And the biggest teeth. And 500 legs.
Little Thing: I don’t think Fluffy is a bad dog. He might look like a bad dog on the outside, but on the inside he’s a good dog.
Little Thing: [in a British accent] Why would anyone want to hurt Harry Potter? He’s famous.
Me: [reading] “It was the unicorn all right, and it was dead.”
Little Thing: NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Me: [tucks her in, and says with a British accent] Good night! Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow!
Little Thing: Is that from Harry Potter? [in her own British accent]
Me: No. It’s from Romeo and Juliet.
Little Thing: Then WHY did you make it sound like it was from Harry Potter??????
Me: [considers all of the possible explanations but my brain is about to explode because it’s the end of the day, coronavirus, distance learning, end of the school year, etc., and settles on] Nevermind.
Me: [reading when Quirrel says] “All the other teachers thought Snape was trying to stop Gryffindor from winning, he did make himself unpopular . . . and what a waste of time, when after all that I’m going to kill you tonight.”
Little Thing: [gasps then pauses] I wish Harry had a never-die potion. [pauses] I wish my family had a never-die potion. I wish the whole world had a never-die potion.
Me: [gets misty-eyed]