Potterheads (Not) Anonymous–Not Even (Completely) Embarrassed

Hi, I’m Gretchen and I’m a Potterhead. It’s been four years, two months, and five days since I last re-read Book Seven…but I’ve been thinking about a fourth re-read lately.

On Facebook today, the “Trending” story didn’t help any: J.K. Rowling has written a short story about grown-up Harry, Ron and Hermione at a Hogwarts reunion! (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

My quickened pulse and heightened breathing tells me I need help. But I don’t want it. I love being a Potterhead.

“It’s a BOOK, you dodo. What is so all-fired addictive?”

Of course it’s the adventure, the humor, the pretty-darn-good-writing-that-got-better-from-Book-One-with-its-limited-verb-usage-that-turned-into-practically-poetic-stretches-by-Book-Seven (“OK, OK, English teacher, we get it.”). Even more, it’s the astounding depth of the plotting, with tiny details from Book One surfacing as epiphanies in Book Seven. But mostly, it’s the perfectly flawed characters, and the way their flaws clash and mesh, creating their own sub-drama.

I think most of us Potterheads can relate to these reasons. Throw in a little escapism, maybe some Anglophilia, or a deeply-held childhood longing for magical powers–that’s us. But I have one, singular reason for my own Potterheadity that no one else can claim:

My son IS Harry Potter.

Well, at least Harry as played by Daniel Radcliffe. Like Daniel, Mac’s eyes are blue, not green as Harry’s are described. But the unruly black hair, the round glasses, the solemn face, the skinny frame–check.

It wasn’t just his family who saw the resemblance. Someone in a passing car once yelled to Mac, “Hey! Where’s your broom?”

It helped that Mac was exactly the same age as Harry, as the movies came out, one by one. Mac was 11 when “The Sorcerer’s Stone” debuted, with 11 year-old Harry first discovering his wizard identity. I WISH I had a digital version of a photo I have, which shows Mac in a Hogwarts gold-and-burgundy scarf, standing in front of a poster of Daniel Radcliff wearing same. They look as twinned as Fred and George Weasley. Unfortunately, though, I did not own a digital camera then, and I don’t own a scanner.

Two Halloweens in a row, Mac’s “costume” was a bathrobe, a chopstick, and a piece of tape on his glasses.

Around age 17, Mac grew, and stretched, and so became, in my opinion, more what Harry really looked like than how he was depicted by Mr. Radcliffe, whose height remained stubbornly fixed, and whose body, to compensate, became rather blocky. Not unattractive, but not well suited for late-teen Harry, who was always supposed to be on the skinny side.

I did start taking digi-photos in 2007, when Mac was 17, and you can still see some of the resemblance:

Mac 1

 By the time the final movies were made, Mac was in college, no longer turning heads at quite the same rate. But I still liked thinking that he looked more like the “real” Harry.


So call me sentimental. Call me a mom who can’t quite let go. (Can you name me a mom who can?) I love Harry because he’s Harry–but I also love him because he reminds me of my own kid, and all those delicious hours we spent together, reading Harry’s story aloud, discussing plot twists, arguing over clues. We grew up as a family together, Mac and his brother Casey (who does NOT look like Ron, and is much too friendly to be Malfoy) and Harry and I. (My husband was good about it, but never got bit by the Potter bug.)


 How about you? Any movie parallels in your life which give added meaning? Did your brother look like Westly in The Princess Bride? Did your mom look like Princess Leia? Share!



4 thoughts on “Potterheads (Not) Anonymous–Not Even (Completely) Embarrassed

  1. A couple of years ago I had to drive from Texas to California three times. I indulged myself. I bought all of the books on audio. I am still listening to them. I finish book seven and start over with book one. The guy that does the reading is outstanding. Your son is very handsome.

  2. I have the British audiobooks, read by Stephen Fry. They are fantastic, and allow me to wallow in Potter without taking time away from reading new stuff – the perfect compromise!

  3. I, too, have read the series three times, twice on my own and once with my daughter. And I’m looking forward to reading them with both of my sons. Middle son just turned 12. Probably this fall. Yay! (And they’re not allowed to watch the movie till they read the book!)

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