Inside Lane

If You See Jo Rowling, Please Tell Her I Said Thanks

Dear Jo,

First, I know the odds of you ever seeing this are just as slim as if I had mailed it to your agent, but I’d like to put it out there in the world anyway.  Second, I probably shouldn’t call you Jo.  We haven’t met.  Well, you haven’t met me, but I’ve met your brain, and I am so fond of you that Ms. Rowling seems insincere.

I was late to the Harry Potter train because the books were first published while I was being a religious zealot, who forwent all secular entertainment, and especially avoided anything that seemed remotely witchy.  But I grew up a C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle girl, so eventually the temptation was too strong to resist and I fell down the Hogwarts rabbit hole, and I’ve never even wanted to find my way out of it.  Thank you for that. 

Thank you for extending the best parts of my childhood into my adult world through books, movies, and the unexpected joy of watching Hogwarts open to my son.

My son was reluctant to read the books.  He loves to read, but my enthusiam made him wary.  I am also enthusiastic about peas, carrots, and bedtime, so he had every reason to think I was just trying to put one over on him.  So, I did what every mother does, and after putting the books slightly out of his reach, I told him that I thought they might be too old for him, and I suggested he read Diary of a Wimpy Kid one more time.

Within the week, he had watched every movie, and was knee-deep in The Sorcerer’s Stone. 

Last night, I heard him giggling in his bedroom.  He’s moved on to Chamber of Secrets, and was laughing at some misfortune of Draco Malfoy’s.  Later, I found him face down, his nose in the crease of the book, sound asleep.  It took me back to reading myself to sleep, and how the Pevensies, and Pole, and Scrubb, and all those Murrays had kept me company in the dark, following me into my dreams, and how they buzzed around my head on waking.


This morning, on the way to camp, my son had been very quiet and grumpy.  All of a sudden, he perked up.  “Mom!  Why does Professor Snape like Draco Malfoy so much?  Because Snape is sort of a good guy, but he plays favorites with a bad one–I don’t get it?  And, why does Sirius Black have a House Elf–that’s bad.  And, I don’t understand how Tom Riddle opened the Chamber of Secrets if he’s a ghost.  Why?  How?”

My boy turns ten in just a few days, and we are balanced somewhere between how much he loves and wants to cling to me, and just how embarrassing it is to have a mother.  Normally, when he wants to chat, it’s about Minecraft, or World War II heavy machinery.  I don’t know anything about either subject.  So, what a sweet surprise to have him ask me about Harry Potter!  And not just asking any old questions–he’s asking some questions that will have an effect on his character. He’s asking questions that will lead to broader discussion, and as I pretend to levitate him in his bed at night (and he pretends to set my hair on fire,) we’re strengthening bonds that we’ll rely on in his teen years.

My thanks is so small in comparison to what you’ve given us.

My little Hufflepuff and I appreciate you to the moon and back.  And, that’s something else you’ve given us.  Pottermore sorted us into different houses, and he was very upset at first.  It was a pleasure to sit down and show him the good and bad in every house, and talk about why no one was better than the other.  Diversity and all that.  Now, he loves reminding me that his is the only house never to turn out a traitor. 

I also showed him that Honey Badger video on YouTube, which is probably terrible parenting on my part, but it made him laugh, and appreciate his house mascot.

All this just to say thank you, and thank you again.  Thank you for the joy you gave me in the first place.  Thank you for Hermoine Granger, and Minerva McGonagall, and Molly Weasley–women any girl can aspire to be.  Thank you for Dumbledore and Snape.  Thank you for Harry.  Thank you for Hogwarts, and quidditch, and Hippogriffs, and, well, everything.  And thank you for giving my son a reason to chatter, and laugh, and want to talk.

I am eternally grateful,


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