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Adventure 6: Hawthorn and Phoenix Feather

February 27, 2012

Canadian novelist Douglas Coupland once said, “Adventure without risk is Disneyland.”

Although Coupland is technically recognizing Disneyland as a kind of adventure, I doubt the purpose of this quote was to glorify the thrill of vacations to the theme park. After all, it is a popular destination for children under the age of thirteen. Is Disneyland a risky adventure? Not in any way, shape, or form. But hell, it sure is fun.

I fell a little behind schedule on my blog posting last week because I was scampering around Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure (come on, “adventure” is in the title) in order to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

When I was twelve or thirteen, my grandpa gave me Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for a Christmas gift. I read the whole book on the plane trip home and fell in love with the series immediately. Back then, I was in the ideal age group for Harry’s adventures. Every year, Harry and I got a little older together. The 4th book came out in stores when I was 14, the 5th book when I was 15, and so on. I really grew up with it. And to make things even better, I got two brothers and my stepdad to read the books as well, so we all enjoyed it together. We even camped out at Barnes and Noble to get the last two books at midnight, sitting around for hours daring each other to eat puke-flavored Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans.

The day the 2nd part of the last movie came out, the whole family went to see it together. When we came home, my mom surprised us with a Harry Potter feast, complete with Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, and candles hanging from the ceiling. It was a wonderful, warm memory that I will treasure forever. It was also, however, a little sad. The journey was over. We were all grown up. The books and movies were there from my earliest teen years to age twenty-four. We were all sad to see it end, but, we reminded ourselves, there was always The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to visit.

So last Sunday, sticking true to my twelve-year-old-boy personality, I went to Orlando, Florida with my parents to see the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. My alarm went off at 6am every single morning we were there, and my stepdad and I would practically skip down to breakfast. We joked around while waiting in line to get into the parks and laughed our asses off on the rides. We drank Butterbeer, went shopping at Ollivander’s (a nice Hawthorn wand with a Phoenix core chose me, ha!), and ate a traditional English breakfast, discovering that black pudding is an adventure all on its own.

It was an excellent vacation, and I’m thankful every day to have such a great family. Would I call it an adventure? I’m not entirely sure…It’s hard to justify a children’s book series as an adventure, but the amount of time we spent reading it together made it feel like a journey, if not a real adventure.

I have three nieces and nephews now. And I know both of my brothers can’t wait to read the books to their kids too. I like knowing the fun will continue through the next generation. I’m not sure what it is, but something about that feels like an adventure.

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