As my eleven and eight-year-old sons approached the end of the Harry Potter series, I noticed that the rate at which they were reading the books slowed down. Not surprising, since they were so immersed in their fictional world that they didn’t want to leave Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and even Primrose Lane. Imagine their relief and delight at discovering Whimsic Alley, a Harry Potter store. This store, however, isn’t simply a store. It’s a way of life much like Tiffany’s is for romantic young women who dream of marrying a prince.
The inside of Whimsic Alley replicates Diagon Alley, repleate with wand and potion shops. My oldest, Spencer, consulted a very serious and knowledgeable wand salesman about which wand would be best for his personality. Spencer tried out each wand, whipping it around to get an idea of its weight and balance. He also bought a broom there — with his own money, I might add. Since this wizard’s mother is still a muggle who doesn’t know a spell that would make money grow on trees.
The kids and I stop by Whimsic Alley periodically to pick up a chocolate frog or Bertie Botts at the Candy shop. When my sons discovered that the Harry Potter themed jelly beans really did taste like snot and soap, they used them as gags.
Whimsic Alley hosts an array of events in the Great Hall which, of course, looks exactly like THE Great Hall with floating candles and long tables. The hall is available for birthday parties, meetings, film shoots, and fundraisers. They even offer high teas and summer camps. And apparently, all this make-believe fun isn’t just for children. My boys and I once witnessed a group of older women, robed and wearing witches hats, meeting in the Great Hall. Were they a book club? Charitable organization? Or maybe, just maybe, the world of Harry Potter wasn’t as fictional as I believed.
Brett Paesel is the author of the LA Times bestseller, ”Mommies Who Drink”. and the blog,”Last of the Bohemians” as well as the fictional blog, ”Meagan Mcphee A.D. (after divorce)”. She has been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Salon.com and numerous national magazines. Brett has also developed shows for HBO, ABC, Fox, Comedy Central, WB, Lifetime, and Nick at Nite.
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