June 1, 2018
Fast Horse has a tradition for its new hires, a welcome breakfast where everyone mingles, grazes on pastries, downs coffee, and gets to know the person. The spread is fantastic. But the real reason people gather is for a round of awkward questions directed at the newbie. One of my favorites is, “What’s one thing you know way too much about?” About a year ago, I was asked this. I responded with, “Harry Potter.”
It’s true. I geek out on Harry Potter. I’ve read all the books, seen all the movies, stood in line at premieres, attended book release parties, studied the soundtrack. It doesn’t take a healthy dose of Veritaserum to get me to admit that I’m a total Harry Potter stan. I was recently even referred to as Harry Potter due to a well-placed forehead scratch that resembled a lightning bolt.
The other day in the office a few Ponies were chatting about the various Harry Potter houses and where each of us would be relegated. We opted to take the Sorting Hat Quiz rather than speculate who would end up where (it’s a sensitive subject for some). I was sorted into Gryffindor and the other two were a Slytherin and a Hufflepuff. None of us were surprised by the outcome.
The fun didn’t stop there. I kept exploring. The more I explored, the more I felt like I was uncovering new insights about myself. How so? Well, start with the Sorting Hat quiz. It is a completely unscientific personality quiz. It’s not a double-blind study. There aren’t placebos or controls. Yet the results felt accurate. After discovering my house, I inquired about my patronus, which I wasn’t happy with. I got a hedgehog. Completely put off by it, I did some digging. According to the leading patronus authority, mugglenet.com, a hedgehog patronus is more complicated than I first deemed. Cute and lovable, inside and out, those who possess a hedgehog patronus may thrive on giving and receiving love and may feel they need more of it than others realize. While upfront about their affectionate personality, hedgehogs are known to be anxious and overly cautious. They worry about their own and others’ safety. Those around them must approach hedgehogs with care and precision because when defensive and hurt, they are remembered not for their sweetness, but for their sharp spikes.
I don’t know about the love and affection part. But there were definitely bits that seemed to fit me. I shared my news with my family. They thought it was a good fit, and broke it down it for me. I may be small and seemingly harmless but people should not cross me or someone I’m protective of or face the spikes. All right, I could get down with that. Maybe hedgehogs are kind of bad-ass.
Next came the wand. The wood creates wands of consistency, strength and power. I liked the unicorn hair core because who doesn’t like unicorns? And it is the most benevolent of cores. The length felt good because I would be nervous that I would lose a short wand. Per Pottermore, the rigid flexibility suggests loyalty between the owner-wand pair, meaning neither is eager to change hands, which I liked. I don’t like change and I want loyalty from my wand. If someone steals it, I want it to hex them. All combined, my wand suggests an owner with ethics and loyalty.
There I was, an hour later with a new house, patronus and a wand. Each offering a seemingly arbitrary output. Yet there I was discussing and psychoanalyzing each of my answers, despite knowing there was an algorithm behind it. Did they make sense? Were those qualities reflective of me? If I took it again, would my answers change?
That’s what makes the world of Harry Potter so wonderful. Just like that, I was immersed in this imaginary but beautifully built world. A world whose detail allows fans to construct an identity and prescribe an entire value system to a house, patronus or wand.
In revisiting Harry Potter through the books themselves (which I’m currently rereading), the movies, the spinoffs, and J.K Rowling’s tweets, I’m reminded of all of the things I fell in love with about the Potterverse as a child.
Am I still a Harry Potter fan after all this time? Always.