Prepping for a Very Harry Potter Vacation

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Hogwarts at Universal Studios, Hollywood, CA

I am going to England in March to visit UK Sarah and we are going to spend the first 2 days geeking out over Harry Potter. We will see both parts of The Cursed Child at the theater and then the next day visit Warner Bros.’ The Making of Harry Potter.

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Fans enjoying Hogsmeade at Universal Studios.

In preparation I am re-reading all 7 books by JK Rowling. I will probably watch all the films again too. My close reading of the Harry Potter series is so much more enjoyable and meaningful because as I read a chapter I am pausing to listen to the podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. The co-hosts Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile created a unique format. Each episode has a theme, such as friendship, commitment, fear or other values/ emotions. They begin with a short story from one of them that illustrates the theme. Then they compete in a friendly competition of recapping the chapter in 30 seconds. This is followed by a discussion of the chapter through the lens of the theme. They then apply a spiritual practice, such as lectio divina, to part of the text, finally they each give a blessing to one of the characters. Often there is also an interview with a guest rabbi or professor. Or they play a short message from a listener. I am LOVING the whole experience.

Vanessa and Casper met at Harvard Divinity School. Vanessa is up front about her Jewish background and nonbeliever status. Casper is a little more enigmatic. He has a lovely British accent and can share his boarding school experience. They are both very empathetic, mature people with a strong moral compass. It all adds up to a fascinating podcast.

By the way, just to be on the safe side, I am flying back to California before the deadline for hard Brexit.