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12 August 2012 @ 01:21 am
Harry Potter Tea!  
It was National Bookshop Day today, and my lovely local bookshop held a Harry Potter Afternoon Tea, which was BRILLIANT!

The staff made the snacks, and, as they said, 'We were going to have butter beer, but all the recipes we found on the internet were disgusting and the owner thought firewhisky was taking things a bit far, so it's champers and 'butter' (really ginger) beer floats, plus snacks! Pumpkin pasties were too hard, so we have scones, egg sandwiches, little cakes and cockroach clusters. Which are chocolate covered biscuits and dates.'

I should have taken a camera, or remembered that phones have cameras. Alas, I am a failure at the 21st century. However, there were about 18 people there including the two staff members and after a nervous start (Adult Harry Potter fans? Are these people weirdos or PLU*? seemed to be the general unspoken question) everyone started to chat about Rowling and the series, the films and what they had read since.

It was FABULOUS! I loved listening to their comments on what they loved and did not love. Everyone was a Rickman fan, no one understood people who had only seen the movies and not read the books ('My friend did that, and by movie six she was all "I have no idea what's happening!"' said one.) EVERYONE wanted more of the world, three people suggested chasing down good fanfiction – two of them boys ('Oh, there's a lot of it out there on the internet, you just have to wade through the rubbish.' To which I replied, 'Really? I might take a look.' *Nods innocently*) Dumbledore was seen as a very dodgy bastard, especially by the youngest in attendance (who were both awesome, and one of them plays the ukulele) – I loved the fact that the baby teenager, who looked all of 15, was the one who pointed out 'Dumbledore is happy to sacrifice them and play everyone like pieces for his own ends, and he sends Harry into the forest, all "only one of you can live" and then when Harry gets to the afterlife he's all "Oh, actually, you can totally go back. Up to you. You're not that dead", which just makes me think that he's horrible and that Harry's huge sacrifice, which is totally real because he thinks it's forever, is immediately devalued.'

They make 15 year olds clever in Newtown (their Dad was ACE).

There were five men there, as well as the bookshop boy, and they were well into it all. Most of the boys liked Book 4 the most (me too, I think, though it's subject to change) and one of them was able to explain why it's so satisfying really well: 'The Triwizard tournament gives it a natural structure at the same time as expanding the world beyond Hogwarts. And then in tandem you have the expansion of the problem beyond Harry being in danger to all of the wizarding world being in danger, but it's all happening behind the scenes, like the mechanics of the tournament.'

One of the women, who was small, dark and intense, so, naturally, I loved her, wanted to know more about the politics of what was going on. 'I was really cross when it got to 19 years later: I wanted 'Six months later' to see how they all got over the actual war!'

Conversation continued along this line at length. It really reinforced what I have always believed about the Potter books: there is so much more world indicated than what is filled in that it works to engage the reader, creating strong and close connections, whether they result in people keen to talk about the books with others or write and discuss fanfiction … We seriously could have formed a Potter book club then and there and I'm half-regretful we didn't (but where would I find the time? I already fail at fandom.)

And one of the TV girls (three of them worked for a telly station) confessed that she thought JKR was a brill story teller but not a great writer, which led to us all confessing that we were anxious about The Casual Vacancy. Ms Looks 15 was the only one who knew the release date. Super cool and organised kid!

In terms of book tips, I pimped Frances Hardinge, because the bookshop was already pimping Ben Aaronovitch, and left with two books by Patrick Ness, who came highly recommended. I'll let you know how that goes! I hope my bookshop does this again because Harry Potter people are just the best.

And I have birthday wishes to catch up on for all of August and the end of July, but I have a cold, which is not surprising because everyone in my office has a cold and they have given it to me (the same cold most of Sydney has had. It's passing quickly, I am just snotty and disgusting), and I am knackered after spending 9 hours on Friday editing two chapters of a book I had never seen before, which was a fun challenge but possibly more of one than my febrile brain really needed. So I will catch up on some sleep and then finish the freelance story I was going to hand in on Monday (could possibly still happen …) and then catch up on birthdays with my brain engaged!

* PLU = People Like Us
Jocelyn Lavingroolover on August 11th, 2012 03:28 pm (UTC)
That sounds like so much fun!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 11th, 2012 03:33 pm (UTC)
It WAS! And people said 'And you know that there's a big market for Harry/Draco on the internet!' to which we all went 'Really?!'
Jocelyn Lavingroolover on August 11th, 2012 10:29 pm (UTC)
oakstone730oakstone730 on August 11th, 2012 03:39 pm (UTC)
Give me a time turner, quick!
I would have loved to taken part in such an event. I'm inspired to see if my local library might be inclined to do a Harry Potter tea...
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 11th, 2012 03:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Give me a time turner, quick!
HEE! That was one of the conversations: 'So, Time-turners. Used for getting to extra classes: OK! Used for saving Hippogriffs and godfathers: OK! Used for defeating Dark Lords and saving the world from widespread suffering and death: unthinkable!'

Do see if you can get one up and happening. I think 15 and older was a great age mix, and not too large a group worked well, too.
la_marianela_mariane on August 11th, 2012 04:02 pm (UTC)
That sounds so cool... I'm kinf od jealous there is nothing like that where I live.
Emmaemmacmf on August 11th, 2012 04:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, that sounds fantastic! Hurrah for intelligent teenagers!
E McGeemelusinahp on August 11th, 2012 05:23 pm (UTC)
Oooh, that sounds fun. :D It's a whole different and fun experience discussing HP with book fans.

"Dumbledore is happy to sacrifice them and play everyone like pieces for his own ends" -- I kind of wish more people would read the interviews so they'd realise how intentional that is on JKR's part. Dumbledore represents God, and Harry's interaction with him in DH symbolic of the frustrations we all (or specifically Christians) have trying to be "good" people in the face of an absent but dictatorial deity.

I'd have suggested they read the section in In The Forest Again where Harry is walking toward his encounter with Voldemort. It all becomes pretty obvious what she was trying to do.

Curious what you'll think of Patrick Ness. I hated The Knife of Never Letting Go rather passionately and found it terribly written on a whole variety of levels.
inamac: Bookinamac on August 11th, 2012 07:18 pm (UTC)
You are wicked! I wonder whether you were the only fan there playing innocent?
Kittykitty_fic on August 11th, 2012 09:37 pm (UTC)
That sounds awesome! I wish there was something like that in my area! :D
Sin: text - quick! look normal!sinden on August 11th, 2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
Sounds like it was awesome. Sorry I missed it.
embolinaozembolinaoz on August 12th, 2012 01:20 am (UTC)
Soooooo jealous
Sounds grand! I wish there were a bookshop based Harry Potter tea locally - to talk books, philosophy and cross-generational connection via the potterverse over a pot of decent darjeeling sounds like my idea of heaven!!
Joanne2amconversation on August 12th, 2012 05:14 am (UTC)
I work in a bookshop. I wish very badly that my boss was actually committed to books as a culture. What's the shop? Do you think they need more staff??
xchubbycheeksxchubbycheeks on August 12th, 2012 06:42 am (UTC)
I loved reading about this!
turnonmyheels on August 12th, 2012 12:13 pm (UTC)
sounds like a ton of fun
AMY 凛☆ラブ☆アタックtomatoe18 on August 12th, 2012 06:31 pm (UTC)
*takes notes*

This is why I want company other than the one I have in this city when it comes to Harry Potter. A lot of people here can't get into discussions like that. The most 'in-depth' we ever got to discussing Potter was about Rowling's treatment of Snape. When I brought up theories about Dumbledore, they went, "You're over-thinking this."

But this is a great report! I am going to do my best to have this sort of event happen, even though I don't have a bookstore to back me up anymore.
Nennenenne on August 13th, 2012 01:14 pm (UTC)
That sounds just great! I would have loved to be there.
Nico1908nico1908 on August 13th, 2012 07:48 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a very enjoyable afternoon!