July 19, 2011

the boy who lived

My friends hosted a Harry Potter party last weekend and it was so fun! The hostess, Ariana (who took most of these fantastic pictures) and her husband, had tons of fun games. Every little detail was perfect.
I received the Hogwarts letter (aka invitation) by owl when we were in Orange County for the wedding but my sister sent me a picture of the adorable helium owl balloon holding the envelope with a Hogwarts seal. It really got me excited for the party! Invitations are such an important first-impression for a party.
When we arrived we were sorted into houses (go Gryffindor!) by an authentic looking Sorting Hat. Once in our houses, a Head Boy and Head Girl was nominated and then we started our contests as houses.
The activities included making our own quills, writing down prophesies, making dragons out of legos and tasting and naming the flavors of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans with our eyes closed. The houses were awarded points for each task we finished correctly and at the end of the night one of the teams would win the House Cup (a cute, little trophy) for the most points (unfortunately Slytherin won - BOO!)
I incorrectly guessed Dr. Pepper for my bean - 5 points from Gryffindor!
Then we had a potluck dinner. I brought shepherd's pie (with lamb even - it was a special occasion!) and pumpkin pasties. There was also butterbeer, roasted chicken, dinner rolls and for dessert, Hagrid's birthday cake for Harry in the first book. I won an award (the book "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" - mine was handmade of course) for "Best Food". Ari also made Golden Snitches to take as favors (which were cute little Ferrero Rocher with vellum wings).
After we ate, we drove to the movie theater and waited in line while we played Harry Potter Pictionary, matching quote games (who said which quote?) and I talked incessantly about how much I love the series. Looking back, I'm kind of embarrassed.
I was so emotional during the movie and I'm confident that I embarrassed a few of my friends when I was sobbing through the last half of the film. I'm probably a big nerd for saying that but I don't care. I almost felt the same emotions that I feel when I watch Shadowlands (my all time favorite movie) - this raw, complete rush of all the emotions that the characters make me feel. I re-read the last book the day or two before the party so that the story was fresh in my mind before I saw the last movie. I wept all over again from all the messages of hope, sacrifice, courage, standing up for what's right, the power of love of family and friends and general theme of good conquering evil. During the previews of the movie someone asked me if I liked Twilight too and it brought to mind the fantastic quote by Stephen King, "Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend." I think I actually guffawed when I read that quote for the first time because I totally agree. I've read all the Twilight series and I'll admit that they're an entertaining read and I enjoyed reading them but I would never, in a million years, compare the two series against each other. I'm sorry if I've offended anyone. That's just how strongly I feel about Harry Potter.

I've come to a conclusion about how my love for Harry Potter is a way to measure my relationships with friends. Here it is: If you love Harry Potter as much as I do, there's a good chance we will be BFF. If you haven't read the books but have seen the movies and liked them, we can probably be friends. If you've read the books and hated them, well . . . I don't even know what to say to that, but just assume, that there's no future for us. Ha!


  1. Loved this. I also cried through the second half of the movie, but mostly because it's just a beautiful example of courage and overcoming adversity--not to mention sacrificial love. What a neat party! My husband hasn't read all the books, but I think is going to revisit them soon...any series I love this much is surely worth a read. :)

  2. This looks like the COOLEST party ever! How fun! Seriously, I wish I had thought of throwing something like this. I'm a huge HP fan, as is my husband (and my six-year-old is currently reading the third book as I type this, which is as far as I'll let her go until she's old enough to handle the darker portions of the next four). I haven't seen the film yet (I just had a baby and it's taking me awhile to arrange babysitting for my older three), but we're going for my birthday next week and I am so excited!

    And can I just say--I really appreciated what you had to say about Twilight. I've read (laughed?) my way through all four, and as you said, there's no comparing the two series.

  3. I am jealous of this party! It looks like so much fun!! What an awesome idea, I wish I was creative like that!

    I cried during the movie. My love affair with Harry started at 15 when my mom forced me to read the 1st book. I read the first 4 books in a week, then the rest within a day of their release (except the 6th because it came out on my wedding day). This series taught me to read for pleasure and for that, Harry will always have a special place in my heart.

    I agree... Twilight can not hold a candle to Harry!

  4. so while i was reading Deathly Hallows after it had come out, my sister in law called me and told me i just had to read this book called Twilight. my mom bought it for me later that day and it sat on my dresser for months, while my SIL kept asking why i hadn't read Twilight yet! It took me a long time to grieve the end of Harry Potter! I loved those characters. and while i really like the Twilight books (obviously a little much while i was pregnant with the twins:) i agree they just dont compare!

    oh and how does one get friends like yours?! seriously the coolest party ever.

  5. We must truly be sisters, Liz, because I feel the exact same way about HP and JK Rowling. Liking Harry Potter is definitely a litmus test for me if you want to be my friend! And the movie was incredibly fantastic. (Although I didn't get to go to a cool pre-Potter Party!)

    I started crying from the moment that Snape died and I really didn't stop until the end of the movie. And I love the comparison to Shadowlands! (I'll have to tell you the story behind that when we see you at the ranch!) Harry Potter has been such a huge part of my life for so many years now, that it was incredibly emotional to see this last movie. I'm getting teary-eyed just writing this! I went to the first Harry Potter movie with Charity about a month before she died and so that's another added emotional element for me. I always associate the books with her because she loved them so much.

    Anyway, great post! I couldn't have said it better myself! :)

  6. The party looks AMAZING! I couldn't wait until my daughter is old enough for a party, but after reading this post, I think I'll just have a Harry Potter party for adults! The birthday cake is just genius!
    I also love the Stephen King quote - thank you for sharing! I found Twilight fun, but incomparable to HP on many levels.
    My husband & I haven't seen the last movie yet - we are waiting for my parents to visit so we will have a baby sitter. I can't wait!!!

  7. OK, so I've been kind of needing to geek out about this with someone, and I think I'll go ahead and take the opportunity to do it now. :)

    Firstly, I would have literally DIED of happiness to get to go to a HP party like that! I just love the books, and the whole world so much, that I feel like I can't get enough immersion in it to satisfy me! "Living" that many of the bits from the books would have been so.much.fun. I found that going to my events in costume was what really hit the spot for me.

    Secondly, that quote is awesome. I think I have it pinned on my Harry Potter Pinterest board (what, doesn't everybody have one of those?!)

    Thirdly, I was incredibly emotional about the last movie. I don't know why exactly, because my loyalty is primarily to the books, so it's not like my HP experience is "over" because the movies have all come out now, but even so - it's a bit like an era is ending. I totally know what you mean about experiencing those very powerful emotions: for months, just saying aloud "the battle of Hogwarts" or "the boy who lived" has been enough to make me well up with tears because the whole situation is just so powerful, and I knew this "end" was coming! And when I would see the movie posters with the tagline "it all ends", well...

    it wasn't pretty.

    Anyway, I have had to take a week or so and kind of distance myself a little bit from things HP, because it was just too overwhelming and I needed to recover. But I think I'm there, and we have put the first audiobook on hold at the library so my family is just going to go right back to the beginning and start the magic all over again! Plus, we get to look forward to buying the complete movie set when HP+DH2 comes out, because we don't own the movies yet.

    (I admit I do have a secret HP weapon: a curly 2-year-old who runs around the house wielding a stick and shouting "Esspelliamus!" is good for a hundred million galleons worth of warm fuzzies!)

  8. Oh my goodness. Just stumbled onto your blog and am DROOLING over the fantastic party pics. I too am a Harry Potter nut. I went w/ my sisters, and at one point got all excited about the Cornish Pixies and she whispered (my name is Liz too), "Really, Liz? Really?"

    I must admit going to the Twilight midnight release parties, but looking back on it, I was just trying to fill the Harry Potter void. It didn't work! :)

  9. This looks like the best party ever! The golden snitches are perfect! I saw the movie last night and bawled my eyes out starting from when Harry was wathcing Snape's memories almost to the end. So good. I think the movie did a great job rounding out the series.

  10. This party is pretty much my idea of heaven!

    I'm a huuuuuuuuuuuge Harry Potter fan!

  11. This? Super FREAKIN' RAD!!
    I mean seriously!

    Do you people even KNOW how much money one could make off of a pre-made party kit with some of these elements?

    I would TOTALLY buy one.

  12. Oh and me? Cried like a little girl starting when McGonagall spoke the words "Hogwarts is threatened!" and couldn't stop. . .

  13. what a fun party! I'm a HUGE harry potter fan (I went to mugglefest for the release of the last book). I havent seen part 2 yet but cant wait!

  14. What a ton of work! Molly sat for a long while looking at all the pictures. She was wishing she was there. This looks like a great party!

  15. oh my goodness. i am seriously dying over this fabulous happy harry potter party. what amazing details. glad you had such a wonderful time.

  16. This party is amazing! I am planning an HP party for my soon to be 9 year old and I would love a tutorial for the own balloon invites! Did she draw the faces on after they were blown up? Did she use some kind of stencil? Any chance of some tips from your friend? Thanks! :)

  17. Wow! Amazing! Not sure whether you know but any idea where the owl balloons came from?

  18. Aaaaah!!! Where did the pictures go?? I tagged this on Pinterest in 2014 and now the photos are gone! :'( I'm beyond sad...


Comments are moderated to eliminate spammers and internet bullies.