By Wendell Berry
I part the out thrusting branches
and come in beneath
the blessed and the blessing trees.
Though I am silent
there is singing around me.
Though I am dark
there is vision around me.
Though I am heavy
there is flight around me.
I spent the second day of my pre-Thanksgiving celebration weekend in Baltimore with my family and perkypaduan, who came to meet us at the Maryland Science Center for Harry Potter Day. My kids complained that it was not age-appropriate for them -- everyone in costume was either half their ages or twice their ages, and I think they were more embarrassed to be around adults dressed as wizards than eight-year-olds -- but it was quite entertaining for me! We went first to the Potions presentation, which was a bit of a disappointment since the museum had promised a sinister professor but instead had a chirpy woman in a lab coat who claimed to be Snape's cousin (I could forgive the Muggle technique but not the lack of snark), then we headed to the planetarium for a presentation on characters named after stars and constellations and the appropriateness of their names with regards to mythology. We also went on the horcrux hunt through the various museum galleries, where my kids were more interested in the crabs and dinosaurs than the horcruxes, unsurprisingly! Plus we visited the shipwreck exhibit, which has a lot of stuff about pirates even though most of the artifacts are from merchant ships or warships -- I guess pirates are better for recruitment and fundraising!
Here, for instance, is Ravenclaw's diadem in an Acrocanthosaurus footprint. The clue said that if we'd taken Care of Magical creatures with Hagrid, we'd have known the print really came from a dragon, not a dinosaur.
And here is Slytherin's locket in the TerraLink exhibit on tornadoes, which had a warning to keep happy thoughts in our minds so a Dementor couldn't drop in and suck out our souls.
perkypaduan was sorted into Gryffindor, as was I, even though she usually sorts into Hufflepuff and I usually sort into Ravenclaw.
We did not help plant mandrake roots (actually seeds in socks) in Herbology, but we did check out the aerodynamics of paper airplanes at Flying Lessons.
We were sorry not to get a Potions lesson from Professor Snape, even though we did get to find out how glow sticks work.
And of course we had to
Our astronomy lesson was all about character namesakes -- Sirius, Regulus, Arcturus, Draco, Andromeda, Bellatrix (which I did not know was in Orion), et al.
And although the horcrux Nagini was a rubber snake beside an explorer's spacesuit, we did get to meet a friendly real snake.
We made things up to my kids by having Paul take them to get snacks while I got in line for Deathly Hallows on IMAX -- we already had tickets but people were waiting to stake out seats nearly an hour and a half before the sold-out show. There were plenty of people in costume there, too. I think I enjoyed the film more this time around, in part because it was a wildly enthusiastic audience that laughed a lot (and people were sobbing aloud over various deaths, including Moody's). One thing I forgot to mention yesterday that was a change from the book, which I liked in one regard and really did not like in another: the way Hedwig died defending Harry. I was really glad she went out fighting instead of trapped in her cage, but it was such a big plot point in the book that the Death Eaters recognized Harry because he used Expelliarmus, and here it's because of the owl -- we never get Lupin yelling at him for using such a peaceful spell, which later ends up being the spell that saves his life and kills Voldemort. I only read the book once, so it's possible that I'm misremembering, but in the film don't they also let Ron figure out several things that Harry or Hermione did in the book? If I must resign myself to Hermione and Ron as a couple, can I mention that Harry/Luna would also be vastly preferable for me to Harry/Ginny?
We didn't get home till after 8, which made dinner a rushed affair, then we watched the Maryland/Florida State game, in which the Terps played pretty well until the interception that put the game (and possibly a bowl invitation) out of reach. Ah well, at least we didn't hit traffic for the stadium on the drive home from Baltimore.