Books

Harry Potter

Thank you so much to everyone who encouraged me to read the Harry Potter books.  I’ve finished the first, second, and third and have loved the stories so far.  I can’t really remember the movies, so I feel like the plot of each book is new!
My friend, and housemate, Helen from Georgetown was training in Orlando for her job.  Her plane back to DC was overbooked (as always, Delta) so we seized the opportunity to get together!!!  I drove over Saturday morning and picked her up from her hotel.  We decided to go to Islands of Adventure because we were dying to go see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Holy.
Moly.
AMAZING.
We bought our tickets ($90…. gulp) and made a quick pitstop to buy shorts.  (Helen’s suitcase was en route to D.C. and she was wearing PANTS… big NO-NO in Florida heat!)  We made a bee-line through the park to the Harry Potter section.  I don’t even think words can describe how incredible it was.  Very, very well done.
Our favorite part was definitely the “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.”  The ride was SO COOL.  But the best part was the queue.  No, seriously.  You walk through the park and it is like you are in Hogwarts.  So realistic (minus an annoying hologram of Harry, Ron, and Hermione).
Here are my tips if you’re planning on going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  1. Don’t bother trying not to look like a tourist.  There’s a lot of standing and waiting and sweating, so wear shorts and sneakers and a t-shirt.  You’ll already be better dressed and more put together than 99% of the other visitors.
  2. Be prepared to spend money.  It’s a theme park, it’s a rip-off, and it’s expensive.  Oh well.
  3. Take pictures…. as you can tell by the post, I have none.
  4. Be mindful of timing of the rides if you’re storing things in a locker.  The first 55 minutes are free!
  5. You can walk through the castle without riding the ride.  Spend as much time as you want listening to (and watching) the portraits lining the halls!
  6. Don’t stop at the first butterbeer station you see.  Keep walking through the street and there are more stations with shorter lines.  Everyone’s so eager when they find that first one so the line is ridiculous.  Also, get the frozen one if it’s super hot!
  7. Pay attention to what line you’re getting in.  Helen and I got stuck in the front row line on accident for a roller coaster and our wait time easily tripled.
  8. Try to go on rides during “lunch time” as the lines are much shorter.
  9. Last, but not least, REMEMBER WHERE YOU PARK….  Not that Helen and I completely forgot and spent an hour roaming the parking garage trying to find my car or anything….

It’s really amazing.  They did such a wonderful job with the whole exhibit.  After the Hogwarts tour ride, Helen and I decided we could have left without seeing anything else and still would have gotten our money’s worth.

It’s also really strange because I don’t really consider myself a HP geek or anything, but I was ready to buy a cloak and enroll in Hogwarts!!!!  (And by every single Hogwarts t-shirt in the gift shop.)
Has anyone else been?  What did you guys think?
xoxo

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12 Comments

Cate

So glad to hear you've enjoyed the first few books! Hope you like the others – they each continue to get better and better, if that's even possible.

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caley-jade rosenberg

Carly, I couldn't agree more!

We were in Florida in April and Harry Potter ride was our first ride EVER (including all the Disney theme parks) and it was by far the best – and to be honest, I'm not even a HP fan!

it is just so clever, from start to end!
x

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theyuppiefiles

One of my best friends just went with her sister. She said that its okay if you're older, no one judges you (we're all around 30 with no kids, so it could be awkward!) and to go early with a "fast pass" to skip the lines.

I'm jealous- I want to go!

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Grace

I went over Christmas break, and I loved it, too! The queue is so fun; I loved visualizing Hogwarts. Hogsmeade Village was pretty cute, too.

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Emily

I went when I was on summer break with one of my best friends. She had already been I hadn't. It was awesome! I love Harry Potter and agree with everything you said! I'm happy to hear you had a good time. Don't worry the only pictures I have are of Hogsmeade Village that is my phone background ha!

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Stephanie

The HP section of IoA is always so packed!

I love that it's so realistic. I felt like my childhood came alive when I first walked in!

Lockers are tricky in both parks. Usually, the time limit changes depending on the ride the lockers are next to.

Security is supposed to clear the lockers out 5 minutes after closing, but they tend do it before. My things disappeared on New Year's Eve last year- it was SO scary. Luckily the park was able to track it down and get it back to me.

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Kathleen

I live in Orlando and have passes to Universal. My husband and I happened to be there during the HP "soft" opening and thought it was some pretty cool stuff. My sister, a true Harry Potter fan, came to visit me a few months later and thought it was the coolest thing ever. It's a pretty fun thing to see, even if you're not a true HP fan.

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Claire

I have a couple more tips!

– Stay in a Universal-owned hotel. You get into the parks an hour earlier than general access, and your room key doubles as an express pass!
– Don't put a straw into your butterbeer! They explode! It has something to do with the foam topping mixing with the drink.

I hope you had fun!

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val

I'd love to visit the Wizarding World too! And glad to hear that you finally read Harry Potter, try to get your hands on the rest of the books, because the story got better, darker and more complicated from fourth book onwards!

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Ashley

I worked for Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando. Liek stated above you do get into harry potter an hour before the general public, and your room key acts as a fast pass for most rides (its a $70.00 value). The hotels are spectacular on top of all the other perks πŸ™‚

I still get excited to go to the harry potter part of Islands of Adventure! They did a spectacular beyond spectacular job! If you are a true harry potter fan the want shop is well worth the wait! stand towards the front left by the stairs, seems to be where the wand chooses the student.

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Books

Harry Potter

This is a noontime on a Saturday random musings of Carly post… bear with me πŸ™‚
In fifth grade, my best friend and I started a book club with our closest friends.  Our first book just happened to be Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  My mom and I read the book together and I remember it taking a really long time to get through.  (We also pronounced Hermione completely wrong throughout the entire thing.)
I didn’t read any of the other books.  Well, actually, I read the first chapter of the second book probably five times but never got into it.
I’ve seen half of the movies… I think.  There are eight movies right (seven books, but two for the last one?)… so yea, I guess I’ve seen four.  Maybe five.  Little V tivoed a bunch of them in December and I would watch parts of the movies after spending all day in the library during finals.  (A girl can only study/stay focused for so long.)
Now that the saga is “over,” I’m wondering if I should attempt to read the books now.  Do you think I can get into them if I’m not 14???
(Illustration by the beyond talented Jane Mount)
I have one more library book checked out and I’m sort of curious to see what all the Boy Who Lived fuss is about.
Thoughts?!?

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41 Comments

Hannah

I absolutely think you can and should read them. Especially if you enjoyed series like The Hunger Games. Harry Potter doesn't have an age limit. I read most of them in a week right after they came out and they won't take you long because you'll want to just devour them. The movies aren't NEARLY as captivating as the books. I love that the characters defy stereotypes and that the entire series is just so different from anything else. You won't regret giving it another shot.

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Anonymous

Please read them, Carly! You will love them, I think it is impossible not to. The movies are great, but they are nothing compared to the books. I think it is also important to add that as Harry gets older, JK Rowling's writing style becomes even better and the books become even more complex. I would love if you would do a post after finishing each book to let us know what you think, who your favorites characters are, etc. I have read all of the books at least seven times and seeing me on the street you would never peg me for a "Potterhead" or whatever you want to call Harry's fans. These books can appeal to anyone as the dynamic characters, sense of humor, and messages of the book have made it popular in over 200 other countries. Be prepared to laugh and cry as the books progress. They truly do transport you to another world.

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kaitybee

I would encourage pretty much anyone to read Harry Potter. as Hannah said above, it doesn't have an age limit. I fell in love with the books back when I was in fourth grade, I think, and I have yet to lose interest. the stories themselves are fantastic, but JK Rowling's writing is honest-to-God exceptional [at least, in my opinion]. her style is so different than that which you encounter in other books. I mean, yes, there are certain parts of the books that are a tad bit clunky, perhaps, and difficult to get through [ex: almost all of Order of the Phoenix], but it's SO worth it to make it to the end.

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cdh0904

You can definitely get into the books at any age!!! When I was little I wasn't allowed to have a television in my room, which at the time I thought was sooo mean, but looking back, it was actually a blessing in disguise. My parents would buy me all the books I wanted and in turn I would just read every night before bed. I remember being 9-10 and picking up the first Harry Potter book and for a week straight I could hardly read 2 pages before falling asleep. I just thought it was so dry and hard to get into. That quickly changed, after getting passed the first few chapters, I was hooked. The stories have so much detail and allow the reader's imagination to run wild. The books are terrific and have such a great story line, that anyone, at any age can enjoy them. I highly recommend them to everyone!! Just last summer I got my 28-year old boyfriend to read one of them and he loved it so much, he just finished the entire series last month. It's a wonderful story, I hope that you do give the books another try. =)

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Mary

I read them all one summer when I was 24 and I waited that long because I thought the same thing: it's a book series for kids! Honestly, though, all of them are so great to read for fun. I highly suggest it! πŸ™‚

And yes, I am old – your oldest reader maybe? I'm 26 and went to Georgetown, which was how I came across your blog!

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Anonymous

You may think you're having trouble getting into them at first because the first few are written as children's books. BUT! The stories and the writing age as you progress through the series πŸ™‚

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Anonymous

I am 19 and read all the books last summer so I definitely think you can still read and enjoy them!!

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Anonymous

You must read them!!! The fantasy, the characters, the writing style, the depth to everything is AMAZING. I read the first book at age 11 and I was 21 when the last book came out. I have followed Harry's journey for a good part of my life. I grew up with Harry and think of him as a friend. I know that sounds weird, but I know many people who feel that way. The books bring out emotions that I didn't even think I was capable of.

I personally do not think of them as children's books. They are amazing books, with teenagers as the main characters. I will be the first to admit, the first two books are a bit difficult to get through, but once you do it is so worth it. Happy reading!!!

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Preppy Pink Crocodile

OMG you MUST read them! It's funny that you say that because I atually not think of them as kids books. They are very adult or at least one size fits all. JKR is brilliant- her writing is amazing.

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Anonymous

Definitely read them!! The movies are good, but the books are better. There's so much detail and you'll get lost in the story. I can read them over and over again!

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madhu

hell yeah you can get into them —even if you're well over 14 years old!

i'm 18 and i'm still obsessed with them. rowling's style of writing is quite unique and totally indescribable. also she pieces everything together so beautifully—as if she planned out the WHOLE series down to every detail before writing any of the books (which might be true—and if it is—i commend and emulate her) also everything feels–for lack of a better word–magical. you grow really attached to the characters and find yourself lost in a world that doesn't even exist.

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Grace

This is sort of me, too; I read the first two books and didn't really bother with the rest, and I've seen all of the movies. I'm thinking about reading them now, too!

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Maki

It really isn't a question of age. My mother fell in love with the series when she was about 46 and even my grandfather read all the books!
So you should definitely try it. I'm not saying everyone is bound to love the series, but there's big chance you will! πŸ™‚ The messages, characters, how friendships are portraited… It's amazing even though there are things that aren't perfect πŸ™‚

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Alex

i'm glad i'm not the only one that pronounced Hermione wrong!

You could probably still get into them–I don't think her style of writing nor the plot are really tailored to any specific age.

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Mason

Carly. Really? Read them. My 56-year-old mother is currently RE-READING them. They're amazing. These books have zero age parameters.

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ALK

The books weren't made just for kids, if they were the franchise wouldn't be worth the multi-billion dollars that it is. I've never in my life connected with anything more than I have Harry Potter. There's something about the unconditional relationships between people and the such extensive symbolism in the books that is literally magical.
One thing I have to say is that if you actually want to read them, go in with an open mind. I know so many people your age and definitely older that love the books.

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Anna

I remember the first few books were a little difficult to get into, but I was hooked by the fourth one!
You should definitely read them – and don't judge by the movies. Her books have so much more detail, character interaction, side stories, etc. that really make them one of a kind. It's hard to believe one person could be THAT creative and make everything come together so well in the end! The movies are great too, but IMO, they don't at all touch on the same level of detail.

By the way, I just remembered having a fourth grade sleepover with my best friend after reading the first book, debating over Hermione's name! I insisted it was her-moyne, and she thought it was her-me-on. It's great to know we weren't the only ones struggling πŸ™‚

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Sugar Coated Dreams

I'm a 20 yr old college student, and I've been reading them for the last year for the first time. I'm so into them it's ridiculous. I'm finishing the 7th book right now. Go for it! I'm not into fantasy books usually, but I love them.

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Nadia Guerrero

READ THEM!!

I read all seven books this summer because of a bet I made with my mom πŸ™‚ She said I couldn't finish them in time for the movie, she lost.

They're a fantastic series of books, like everyone above me has said: there are no age parameters when it comes to Harry Potter!

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Anonymous

I was never in the Harry Potter craze either, I read the first one in elementary school, and saw most of the movies…but that's about it! About two days ago I decided to read them, I started out with the 2nd one and finished it in less than a day. Now I'm on the 3rd! They are just a nice read and I definitely think you should start reading them, it kind of reminded me of the Hunger Games series, how it's an easy read, but extremely hard to put down!

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SaraSmiles

I just read them for the FIRST time last summer (when I was 20) and LOVED them…so I definitely think you would enjoy them now!! πŸ™‚

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Anonymous

You should definitely read them! They are so wonderful and if you don't at least try, you are missing out. My sister's 24 and has NEVER been at all interested in Harry Potter but after bugging her about it all through June, she finally decided to read them this summer. She absolutely loved them, and it only took her about 2 weeks to read the entire series because once you get into them, you don't want to put them down!

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Girl Reporter

Yes, you should definitely read them!
I've read them over and over (I've probably read the first one over 10 times) and I never get sick of them.
They're quick reads and I read them every summer just because they're so amazing.

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Anonymous

read them, read them, read them!!

they're amazing, and magical at any age πŸ™‚

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helvikene

I was the exact same way. I read the first book when I was in 5th grade and then just stopped. I've seen movies 1 through 4 and haven't had time to finish the rest. But I got all of the Harry Potter books on my kindle and I just finished the second book today. It's definitely worth it.

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taylor

I am doing the same! I am 19 but have never read any of the books and only seen the first movie. When I finish reading, hopefully the last dvd will be out, and I will be able to watch them all.

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little miss southern love.

they are amazing books. Very well written and so creative. I think you will love them. I have read the whole series twice and it is always so refreshing to do. They are great books! I promise you won't be disappointed πŸ™‚

xoxo.

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Anonymous

Please do! They are amazing stories and I agree that the first two books are little hard to get into. I have been rereading them to my little siblings (age 7) and I yawn about every page, but the third book is my absolute favorite! I think when you get to learn a little bit more into Harry's background it gets more interesting. As well as the characters grow up so the story lines get more relatable. Also I think that if you are older, then you can get more out of the deeper plot lines that you wouldn't be able to see in fifth grade. I go to an all girls high school and pretty much every single girl loves the books!

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val

Wow yes you should read it! I am 22 and I grew up with Harry Potter. At about 19 years old, I thought I have outgrown it, but after I watched the last movie (sort of like a closure for me and a step towards adulthood finally haha), I'm falling in love all over again and here I am, re-reading each book, cried, laughed, got surprised and whisked away to a fantasy world I once visited. Of course it's never too late to start reading a children book, I read To Kill A Mockingbird when I was 20 πŸ˜€

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APB

Please, please, please read them! They are amazing. They do not have an age limit and there are so many levels to the books that you wouldn't believe how deep you could get. I even took a religion class on the series because that is how deep you get. I grew up with Harry Potter (I started reading the series in second grade) and I couldn't put the books down (in fact, I still can't πŸ™‚

Anyways you definitely should read them.

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Katherine Diane

You should read them! They are fantastic. The books are way better than the movies, although I love the movies too. I started reading the books in 3rd grade and finished the series in 11th grade. I loved them the entire time and still love them. My aunt also read them and loved them…it's a series for all ages. πŸ™‚

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Anonymous

Read them! I'm 22, and have been reading them since year 6 – Harry has been a constant part of my childhood and teen years. Even though magic (and therefore fantasy) is obviously a major part of the books, it's not what the story is about. At the end of the day, Harry Potter is about kindness, friendship and respect, which are universal themes applicable to any age bracket. As somebody said above me, there is no age limit to Harry Potter! Of course, there's a chance you might not like them, but you never know if you don't try!

Chelsea x

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Amanda

You should definitely read all of the Harry Potter books. I read the first four several times when they first came out but never finished the series. Last summer I decided that I wanted to know what happened so I dusted off all of my books and read the entire series in two weeks! They are great books and surprisingly the movies really compliment the books. I don't think you'll regret it!

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theyuppiefiles

I started reading them late into high school/early college and loved them. The first couple of books are yes, aimed at kids but they're quick reads. The more you read, the more obsessed you get and by the final book its pretty adult. The books should be read before the movies though- they add so much more.

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Anonymous

Please read them! I actually get a little insulted when people think that you have to be a kid or a teenager to read and enjoy them. Starting with perhaps the third and fourth books, the series definitely begins to deal with more mature and deep themes. Honestly, I compare it to the Lord of the Rings. It isn't quite on that level, but it's the closest thing I can think of.

From somebody who has read each of the books 20+ times, I say read them! I highly doubt you'll be disappointed!

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Kara

I would definitely recommend reading them! I read the first book when it came out. I was in 5th grade and I absolutely loved it! I grew up with the books and read the last one after my freshman year of college. Like the last commenter, I think I've read them 20+ times.

As others have said, Harry Potter does NOT have an age limit! As I re-read the books now, I can read them on a deeper level than when I was younger. The themes are quite mature. The Harry Potter books have a sort of comforting effect on me and I will always recommend them to anybody.

Oh, and compared to the books the movies are just so-so. Hope you decide to read them!

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Katy Z

YES! You would definitely enjoy them. I started reading them when the first book came out when I was 10 (yea, I am old). However, I've reread them all multiple since then! While of course I enjoyed them because it was nostalgic, I also just enjoyed them because they're great books! You will definitely get into them, it's a fun and really creative story. J.K. Rowling has really created her own world, it's crazy that someone is capable of that!

Also, while the first three books might seem a little childish at times with writing, it all starts to change with the later ones! The later ones are deeper and darker and for a more mature reader. It was like the books grew up with me (dorky I know).

I don't know anyone who has actually read the series and not loved it.

I just reread them all before the last movie. It was a great break from law school, can seriously escape.

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