Some books are special due to the life circumstances in which they are read, other books are special due to the life affirming circumstances created by reading them; rather than being ‘of a time’, they are books of all time. To millions, the Harry Potter series are such books. To me, they are both. I didn’t read my first Harry Potter book until I turned 34*. I was a few months out of cancer treatment and scarcely able to refocus my attention enough to enjoy reading fiction. Life and my future were uncertain. I’d always thought I’d get around to reading them but I remember literally thinking, I guess I should start these, just in case I don’t make it. I read The Sorcerer’s Stone in two days while on vacation, but rather than binge the entire series, I pledged, to myself, to read one every summer for the next 7 summers, finishing the year of my 40th birthday. Reading each one became a small reward and private acknowledgement to surviving another year. There were a few setbacks, in reading and life, but my 40th summer has passed, my health is stable and I’m finally finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (Of course, who knew 7 years ago there would be a continuation of the series in an 8th book?)
So yes, it’s another Harry Potter focused post. In celebration of the conclusion, because life is short and it helps to surround yourself with possessions which bring joy and meaning, I’ve picked up a few more Harry Potter items since my first shelfie post in March. Unfortunately, Funko Pop Fred is still George-less, as I focused on more portable, practical(?) merchandise to exhibit my HP love.
Starting with the stunning piece of miniature art in this enamel Wizard School pin by Happy Hello Co. I showed off my HP-inspired bookmarks from this etsy shop last time and when this pin debuted, I knew immediately it was needed. Only 1.5 inches round, the crisply detailed enamel and gold plating create a scene filled with dimension, beauty, scale and movement. I adore the polish, the crescent moon and tower spire peeking over the top edge, and especially the perfectly captured owl in flight (did everybody tear up over the loss of darling Hedwig, or just me?). This pin is in stock for $12.39 US and ships in about 2 weeks from Canada.
J.K. Rowling brought such richness to her novel world and I appreciated the merging of magical facets to the classic boarding school story line. Hogwarts classroom settings are a favorite aspect from the books, making this 6 class sticker set a must. Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes based in Glasgow, Scotland, is the whimsical little shop behind these stickers and the Auror Office notepad in the flat lay photo above. HOYFC specializes in patches, pins, jewelry and stationary sporting geeky, retro and always colorful designs.
The attention to detail in the stickers grabbed me and I’m delighted with them. Each vignette is saturated in color and features objects significant to that course of Hogwarts study. Defense Against the Dark Arts (a story point favorite) depicts animal relics under glass, a mirror, skeletal hand and stag patronus. Potions portrays a bubbling cauldron, half-filled beakers, toadstool specimens, bright vials of liquid and a splattering spill. Astronomy illustrates stars, scrolls, telescopic instruments and glowing armillary with the shadow of Hogwarts spires in the distance.
Herbology, another favorite from the novels, houses terrariums, curling vines, mortar and pestle, spiky and dangerous looking flora and every student’s must for handling mandrakes, pink fuzzy earmuffs. Care of Magical Creatures warms the heart with glowing lantern, peering snowy owl, pumpkins, feathers, colored eggs and curious critters. If you caught the mention of 6 classes in the set but notice only 5 stickers, that’s because my husband chose Transfiguration and made haste in applying it to his laptop before I could photograph it! It’s shown in the top left corner above, adhered to the back. I can’t blame him, it is cool with its perched raven, slinking cat and glowing globe. (I always wished for more story time in Professor McGonagall’s classes). These were £10 and shipped with the notepad for £5. Sally, the designer, also offers Hogwarts class notebooks.I prefer non-house specific merchandise but have my character favorites. No collection would be complete without an ode to hero/anti-hero Professor Snape. The pattern above is featured on a book sleeve by Book Beau. Book sleeves are designed to protect your books from damage and wear when transporting them. Working in a library, I’m a constant book borrower and have paid for a few due to clumsiness. I protect them in ziploc bags but these fabric beaus are much more fun.
The doe patronus pattern was actually my substitute choice. I supported Book Beau’s Kickstarter campaign in April with a $22 pledge originally selecting the design in Quirky Wizards (cute cartoonish versions of HP characters/symbols). There was an email at some point during the campaign that the Wizards pattern was no longer available and this Always doe was being offered instead. Disappointed at first, I’m now satisfied with this elegant tribute pattern. Two issues to consider if ordering a book beau: the manufactured versions have some fabric wrinkling which I attempted to iron out, but returned when sliding the book inside. The indie size is too small to fit most hardback books. Ironically, no Harry Potter novels fit inside except The Cursed Child. (Not sure if that counts, I have mixed feelings on reading that one). The Book Beau on the right is the hand sewn version, also indie sized, which is smoother. If I reorder, it will be in the XL size.
I met Benita at Book Con in NYC this summer and she was cool and smiley. I’m excited she’s put her dream to work and successfully launched her BB website.
When it comes to bookish merchandise, bookmarks are irresistible. The selection and materials are mind-boggling. Marked by Mary has achieved positive fame with her wood-burned designs. I liked the idea of a more permanent showpiece bookmark to commemorate the series conclusion. It arrived smartly packaged with two stick supports wrapped in tissue paper, packed inside a sturdy padded envelope.Regularly $19, on sale for $17.10 with free shipping, Mary’s shop restocks every Tuesday at 6 pm. Other than the Kickstarter, this bookmark took the longest to ship after ordering, about a month. As much as I enjoy its stark graphics and iconic symbols, I’m a little hesitant to use it because I’m afraid the balsa wood could break. Currently sitting in a place of honor on my HP shelf.My Hogwarts house watercolor print was ordered several months ago from Lucy in the Sky Creations. Lucy’s etsy shop features literary gifts of unique art. I admire her artistic watercolor renditions of classic characters, authors and quotes. My only complaint being, it was packaged in a thin manila envelope without any cardboard backed protection, therefore, the corner was bent in transit.Recently, articles in the Huffington Post and other publications reported some research questioning the impact Harry Potter has had on encouraging reading. “For instance, research by the National Endowment for the Arts in the US has found no increase in children’s reading levels in correlation to Harry Potter.” I’ve read arguments posing rather than reading more books, children keep reading the same 7 books over and over.
Trends can be measured, but impact upon individual readers cannot. I know what Harry Potter means to me as a reader and to those I come in contact with daily in the library. As I’m sure I’ll go on to re-read the series in time, it’s a wonderful feeling to think Hogwarts will always be there to welcome me home.
*A dear friend did read some of The Deathly Hallows to me during a week long stay for treatment at the Cleveland Clinic. I believe it was the story of the three brothers, but my memory is foggy.
Share any collection additions, Hogwarts or otherwise, and your thoughts on HP’s legacy below.