JK Rowling

Photographic Proof That Detroit Is the Home of Ilvermorny, J.K. Rowling’s North American Wizard SchoolI’ve got big news for Harry Potter fans. Some of you may have read my earlier post (“Why Detroit Is the Perfect Home for Ilvermorny”), which collected my arguments for why I thought that the Motor City would make an ideal location for J.K. Rowling’s recently announced North American wizarding school. Well, my daughter and I were so eager to get our theory confirmed that we took a drive down to Detroit to see if we could find any evidence of Ilvermorny. And guess what? WE FOUND IT!

You could see Ilvermorny all over the Motown and we had a terrific time checking out the classrooms, the library, the Great Hall – what a school!

I posted the first batch of our Ilvermorny pictures on my Instagram account and I’ve collected some of the best ones below. I have even more to share, so keep checking back to see more snapshots from our amazing school visit. (You can read more of my Ilvermorny theories and tweets, if you follow the #ilvermorny hashtag on Twitter.)

Photographic Proof That Detroit Is the Home of Ilvermorny, J.K. Rowling’s North American Wizard School

And, fellow Detroiters, if you have additional photographic evidence that Ilvermorny is, in fact, in our beloved city, please share links to the pictures in the comments below. I know the “official” announcement of Ilvermorny’s location hasn’t been made yet, but I am really proud to see so much evidence of the noble wizarding tradition in my hometown. I think Detroit would be (and is) a great home for Ilvermorny.

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Why Detroit Is the Perfect Home for Ilvermorny, J.K. Rowling’s North American Wizarding School

It looks like Detroit architecture to me…

Last week, Pottermore, the official website for all things Harry Potter, announced the existence of FOUR previously unmentioned, international wizarding schools. We learned about the Brazilian school of Castelobruxo, Africa’s esteemed Uagadou school, and Japan’s magical academy, Mahoutokoro – all with new descriptions penned by J.K. Rowling herself. We also learned the name of the long-awaited North American Wizarding School – Ilvermorny – though Pottermore hasn’t released Rowling’s description of the school or the school’s location yet.

All we got was a name and an illustration of the school, shrouded in clouds, hovering above the Great Lakes region. And, as an impatient fanboy, that got me excited, because I’m from the Great Lakes region. Specifically, I’m from Detroit, one of the most notorious and misunderstood cities in North America, and I personally think that Detroit would make a TREMENDOUS home for Ilvermorny. I really do. I think that wizarding academy has been here all along.

J.K. Rowling might prove me wrong in a few days, but, in the meantime, I took to Twitter today to make my case for why Detroit would be the idea home for Ilvermorny, and I think I have a few decent points. If you agree, chime into the discussion and show me your reasoning. If you disagree (philistine!), tell me why Ilvermorny exists anywhere else.

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Hogwarts

You may have read about this place in “Hogwarts: A History”…

Earlier this year, a few days after my daughter finished reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, she came down with a fever and had to stay home from school. I kept her company that day and, by 10 am, we were both fairly bored. As she sat on the couch, listlessly playing with some new Harry Potter Lego mini-figures, out of nowhere, I asked her, “Hey, wanna make them their own Hogwarts?” Her eyes INSTANTLY perked up and that kicked off one of the most purely fun sick days we’d ever shared.

I ran around the house, collecting every appropriately-sized cardboard box that might make a good Great Hall, dormitory, or potions classroom. I then gathered up all the cardboard cylinders I could – paper towel rolls, wrapping paper tubes, a breadcrumbs container, etc. – to make castle towers, tunnels, and, in, at least one case, a Chamber of Secrets. We raided ever dollhouse and Playmobil set my daughter owned for furnishings and, after she insisted on making her own Forbidden Forest, we used an old piece of posterboard to act as our foundation, allowing us to sketch out the perimeter of the grounds and attach a series of plastic trees (mostly old birthday cake toppers) using globs of Play-Doh.

Here are some pictures cataloging our Homemade Hogwarts. (If you click on any of these, it will take you to a bigger version of the picture AND an online album with even more pictures of “the grounds.”)

Homemade Hogwarts

Our homemade, maker, whatever-we-had-handy version of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

We’re not a particularly “crafty” family. We don’t paint murals on our walls or hand-make our own Valentine’s Day cards or anything. But, for whatever reason, my feverish daughter and I embraced this homemade Hogwarts project with both hands, working on it for hours. We geeked out over every detail and even learned to love all of its wonderfully well-intentioned mistakes and imperfections. This isn’t a Pottery Barn Hogwarts. This is a cobbled-together, warts and all, magic-marker-and-scotch-tape Hogwarts, born of discarded Amazon boxes and the love of a six-year-old.

Homemade Hogwarts

A Nimbus 2000-view of our cardboard Hogwarts

We adored building it so much that it remained in the center of our dining room floor for MONTHS (until we eventually carefully transplanted it down to the basement playroom). [read the rest of the post…]

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Do I really need to suggest this book to parents? It’s kind of a gimme, right?

Earlier this year, my six-year-old daughter finally read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. And she loved it, which wasn’t a huge surprise. Her mom and I are big fans of the series ourselves and there’s a reason why so many millions and millions of readers have embraced J.K. Rowling‘s most famous creation. Despite what some lit snobs will tell you, they’re excellent books.

So, to get this out of the way, if you’re building a home library for your kid, go get all seven Harry Potter books. They’re easy to find – heck, the law of averages suggests that you probably already own them. If you personally don’t love the Potter series, there’s a very decent chance your child will, so it’s kind of a no-brainer purchase. (And, even if you’re not up for buying them yourself, there’s a 99.5% chance that every library in a thousand mile radius of your house will have multiple copies of all seven books.)

As such, this isn’t going to be my normal “OHMYGOD, have you heard of this book? You HAVE to read it” review. It is safe to assume that you’ve heard of the Harry Potter books and much, much better writers than I have sung their praises before, so there’s not much point in me adding in my two cents six years after Deathly Hallows was published.

But, as a parent who knew as soon as he found out that he was having a kid that he wanted that kid to one day read the Harry Potter books, I’d like to talk about the three parts of Sorcerer’s Stone, the first chapter in the series, that I was legitimately nervous for my daughter to read.

I was anxious for several reasons. For starters, my daughter had been dancing around the Harry Potter series for almost a year. The books were solidly on her radar before, but she was afraid that they were “scary“, so she didn’t want to read them and I wasn’t going to push the matter. I was fine with waiting until she felt she was ready. However, her attitude towards Harry Potter started to change during her first grade year, largely because so many of her classmates had read and loved the series. My kid suddenly wanted to buy Harry Potter Legos and would come home every week, telling me she’d learned new spoilers about what happened in the books (some were right, others were totally, hilariously wrong).

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

The covers for the new editions of the Harry Potter books are pretty great…

Finally, one day, my daughter came home from school carrying a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that she’d checked out from the school library. “I think I want to read this,” she told us. After we reminded her that we OWNED all seven books and she didn’t actually need to take them out from the library – kids are gloriously weird sometimes – my wife tenuously started reading her Sorcerer’s Stone at bedtime, with me nervously asking, every night, how it was going.

I’d already had the experience of trying to read my kid a book beloved by her parents only to have it blow up in our faces – i.e. my abortive attempt to introduce her to The Phantom Tollbooth – so the LAST thing I wanted to do was find out too late that we’d forced Harry Potter onto her too soon, tragically coloring her opinion of the series for the rest of her life. Also, I was nervous because my daughter is a very introspective, thoughtful kid and I was afraid that she might be really, really sensitive to some of the darker moments in the book.

If you’re a parent who’s concerned about reading Harry Potter to your child – just in an effort to compare notes – here are the three elements of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that I was really afraid would land wrong with my daughter: [read the rest of the post…]

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