June 18, 2019

Losing Faith at Harry Potter World

“I do not believe in magic. I don’t see a need for it. A belief in magic negates how complicated the world actually is. There is a universe full of wonder and terror that we are only just now beginning to understand, which makes it hard for me to put faith in ghosts or spells or other things we know not to be true.

In December of 2017, I drove with my family from Chicago to Florida, only a few days before New Year’s Eve. Although we would be staying on the Gulf Coast, my wife suggested that we take our kids to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios in Orlando on the way there. As any reasonable person might tell you, this was not on the way. It was several hundred miles out of the way and was also an additional expense—upwards of several hundred dollars. Both of our children are voracious readers and love Harry Potter. We had read the first two Harry Potter books aloud before my ten-year-old-daughter made her way through the remaining volumes on her own. But I still did not want to go to a theme park based on the books and movies.

“It’s a one time thing,” my wife argued.

I said going to Florida was special enough.

“But it’s for one day,” she countered. As a parent, one of my fears is that my children are growing up in a world that suggests just because you can imagine something, you can have it. They are good kids but extremely privileged. They have not gotten their hearts broken, they have not been disappointed nearly enough. I thought, perhaps, that driving to Harry Potter World, being confined to the backseat for twenty hours beside your sibling and then seeing adults dressed up as wizards, might be one such opportunity for disillusionment.”

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