There was a time in my life when I couldn’t speak a word of English. No reading in the language, no listening, and certainly no understanding. This was before the darling JK Rowling wrote her famous Harry Potter series, and from the first book, I was hooked.
I am not the waiting type, so being kept in suspense while the books get translated and published in my mother tongue was out of question. With the help of numerous dictionaries, reference books, and, of course, my vivid imagination, I scrambled my way through Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in English, and fell in love immediately. With the series, its characters, and the magical world of Hogwarts, wizards, muggles, and wands. Dobby has become and shall always remain my favourite.
When my friend Linda messaged me saying she will be in London for a few days, I decided to cram in as many Christmassy things for us to do as possible. You see, after spending nearly a year on her research fieldwork in the Middle East (she is really clever, that girl!), Linda was coming to Europe to celebrate the festive season with her family and friends. It was my duty to get her in the mood properly, and there is nowhere more magical at Christmas-time than Hogwarts.
But first things first — the Sorting Hat!
Whooohooo, I am a Gryffindor! As if there was ever any doubt.
Now time for the Christmas feast. But who would want to sit with Slytherins? Shudder!
Alright then, only if there is Christmas pudding involved. I am that fickle!
Back to business: time to master some moves!
Move one — for good Gryffindor witches, like us.
Move two — the sneaky Slytherin favourite, behind the back.
Back to the Yule Ball.
and on to our journey through Hogwarts rooms.
Gryffindor Common Room (it felt like home, honest!)
on to The Burrow (the family home of the Weasley wizards)
to see Molly Weasley’s magical clock that shows the whereabouts of every family member down to a second. Every Christmas my mother demands we get her one too!
Snape’s potion classroom
On to see some props
and magical animals
Did you know that four different cats played Crookshanks? All of them with equally squashed faces, apparently.
Getting tired but turns out, a glass of butterbeer is a great perk-me-up. It is just like drinking a cup of melted, sweet, golden toffee.
4 Privet Drive
and girls with attitude
A little dusting of snow around Hogwarts Bridge
Perhaps (and hopefully) my only snow this season.
Through Diagon Alley
To Ollivander’s wand shop
– Did you choose your wand? — Linda asked.
– It has to choose me! — I replied.
At the end of our three-hour tour, we walked around a giant Hogwarts model, which amazed us with its intricate details and almost-real towers, trees, and hills.
Without a hint of exaggeration, this was the most magical afternoon I had over the past year. Hogwarts is definitely one of very few places in our modern world that is capable of making two grown-up women forget all their worries, to-do lists, and exhausting travel plans, and walk around for a few hours, completely mesmerised and captivated by magic, witchcraft, and immense professionalism of everyone involved in the making of Harry Potter series.