Saturday, November 6, 2010

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

My daughters and I have been sharing our love of Harry Potter since I started reading the books in 1999. We've discussed them endlessly, waited at book stores for the latest book since they started having midnight sales, gone to the movies (some at midnight), we've dressed up for some of the 1st movies; they admit to their friends that their mother is a bit of a dork when it comes to Harry Potter - well, so do I, for that matter.

When I learned that the Harry Potter Exhibition was coming to the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, I knew that I just had to figure out which day I was going, because, of course, I WOULD be going. I sent the girls a message on facebook and asked if anyone wanted to join me. They both said yes, no husbands were interested. So it was a girls' day.

We had perfect autumn weather. It was in the upper 60s, warm enough to go without a jacket. And it was sunny, with that deep blue sky you only see this time of year. The leaves are all shades of yellow, orange and red, with enough still on the trees to make lovely pictures of the Space Needle and enough on the ground to make it really look like fall.

I loved being able to see all the clothing, props and some of the sets up close. The fabric in Dumbledore's robes (the red one worn by Richard Harris) was rich and beautiful, just as it was in the movie. The details on the books, the Yule Ball feast tables and food, the candy from Honeydukes, Hagrid's hut, Ron and Harry's dorm room were fantastic. It was so hard not to touch - it's a good thing there are signs everywhere reminding people to keep their hands off and staff watching to make sure they do. But we did get to throw a quaffle through the rings and pull a mandrake out of a pot and hear it scream (none of us fainted, however).

It was amazing to see just how small Dan Radcliffe was in the first movie when we stood in front of his "casual clothing". It's easy to forget all these years later that they really were just little kids when the first movie was made. And then there was a point where Dan and Emma were about the same height but Rupert was obviously taller.

Seeing the costume for Hagrid makes you realize how big he is. But the most chilling, creepy and yet totally awesome effect is the display showing Voldemort's rebirthing robes. The lighting is eerie and there is a gentle breeze blowing. But if you stand in just the right spot, you hear his voice, a clip from Deathly Hallows, that sounds like it is inside your head. I can't wait to see that in the movie.

We enjoyed all of it, even wandering around the gift shop at the end. I wish we could have taken pictures while we were inside, but it wasn't allowed, even without a flash. So, I bought the guide book for the Exhibition istead. What can I say - I have quite a collection of Harry Potter things and thought I might as well add a few more - my dorky side was showing.

Once we finished, we had a bite to eat and then spent another hour or so in the butterfly house at the Science Center. It has always been one of our favorite places to go, especially when the girls were younger. We went there as a family, but our best memories are of the sleep-overs with Camp Fire when the girls were junior high age. Now that we have found our way back, we vowed to come back another time, even after the Harry Potter Exhibit is gone.

Pat, who is now sooooo ready for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I"