The Magic Lives On! My reflections on the latest Harry Potter book.

At first, I wasn’t that excited about The Cursed Child. Maybe that’s because I thought it was a random spin-off (much like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), but when I picked it up in the bookstore, I was instantly transported back in time and felt the same feverish excitement that I felt as a kid!

There was no mistake about it: this was the latest Harry Potter book! Yes, it might well be a screenplay, but it is still a continuation of the original saga. When I held it in my hands and saw “The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later” written on the back cover, it gave me goosebumps! I don’t even  care if this was a marketing ploy because it bloody well worked! Shut up and take my money =P

Something reawakened within me on that day. I have not felt such frenzied excitement about a franchise for a long time and The Cursed Child seemed to open up that portal to my younger self. Where did the magic go, I wonder? Why do I no longer spend hours trawling fan sites or daydreaming about Hogwarts and hobbits? 

Granted, I am in the middle of writing a fantasy novel, so I do still use my imagination quite a lot. But I cannot help but notice that my soul lacks nourishment from other sources. And it is important, I think, for a writer to fuel themselves with inspiration, otherwise they go stale and lose their mojo. 

So what’s changed? Why is it that Pokemon Go only excited me for a week? Why is it that I didn’t get excited whatsoever with the build-up to The Cursed Child‘s release? Could it be that I no longer remember the way to Platform 9 3/4?

The sad truth is that life has got in the way, as it does with so many people. I also put too much pressure on myself to be productive, forgetting to play and nourish my soul with magic. Alas, for may people let their creative flame go out entirely, but I do everything in my power to keep it burning brightly. 

Every time I return to the likes of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, my soul is instantly nourished. Too often I have been distracted by mundane trifles, but I still believe in magic. My soul still soars when I hear the LOTR soundtrack or re-read Harry Potter, so revisiting the wizarding world and seeing what the characters were doing nineteen years later was absolutely marvellous! 

Some have said The Cursed Child feels a bit fan-fictiony, but the original magic was undeniably present  (and JK put her official stamp on it, which is good enough for me). I was surprised by the intense emotion it evoked, particularly in the scene where Harry has a heart-to-heart with Dumbledore’s painting. And that scene with the trolley lady.. kudos to the writers!

From now on, I will make a conscious effort to do more of what I love. The magic lives on within me and I refuse to let it lie dormant. Whether creating my own material or soaking up the goodness of others, I give myself to that which excites me.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and meet Minerva McGonagall in Hogsmeade. There was a dispute between our owls and she wants to patch things up. Fingers crossed we can because I’m applying to be the new Professor of Astronomy, so hopefully my silly owl hasn’t messed things up!

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Casper’s Children

Casper Walsh caused yet another media uproar at the premiere of his latest film. Stood on the red carpet, surrounded by screaming fans and flashing cameras, he announced to the world that he was going to set up his own sperm bank.

‘I just want to give something back to the fans, you know. A piece of me – something personal –’

A reporter from Showbiz Weekly ambushed him with a microphone. ‘Sounds amazing, Casper. To be a patron for such a worthwhile cause – you will be helping so many women who are struggling to have children.’

‘Absolutely,’ said Casper, as he flashed his award-winning smile. ‘But I think you’re missing the point – the only donor at the clinic will be myself –’

There was a moment of stunned silence, followed by frenzied screaming from the fans and desperate cries from photographers who were trying to get his attention. ‘Casper! Casper – over here!’

Casper stood there in his tailored suit and waited patiently for the furore to die down. His eyes were concealed beneath dark shades.

‘It will be an honour to help those struggling to conceive,’ he went on. ‘For any who are interested, my juices will be available to the public from Monday onwards – hope you enjoy the movie!’

And so the film premiere began. But all that any of the critics and other celebrities could think about as they watched the screening was the idea of Casper Walsh wanking into a test tube.

Over the following few days, the internet and news channels exploded with fierce debate over Casper’s announcement. Some thought he had completely lost his mind, while others commended his generosity and willingness to donate something so personal. Teenage girls hijacked Twitter with the hashtag #daddycasper, each of them fighting over who would get to marry him.

‘It’s what we’re here for, you know – to spread our seed and procreate,’ said Casper, during a follow-up interview. ‘I want an army of little Caspers running around, writing emails to their famous daddy, fighting over my millions once I’m gone. Won’t that be amazing?’

Casper’s insemination clinic allegedly received over ten thousand applications in the first forty-eight hours. Some critics wondered whether Casper could keep up with the demand.

‘Oh, you don’t need to worry about that – I have plenty to give!’ Casper assured everyone. ‘I’ve been hard at work so that my clinic will be well-stocked.’

Women of all ages camped outside the insemination clinic, waiting for the doors to open, hopeful that they could jump ahead on the waiting list. Some were confident that they could cut out the middle-man entirely and convince Casper Walsh to impregnate them through direct means.

‘This is just the beginning,’ one young girl told Channel 6 News. ‘Once I give birth to Casper Junior, I’ll take him to meet his daddy and then he’ll propose to me and it’ll be so romantic. This is all I’ve ever wanted.’

‘My biological clock’s ticking,’ remarked a woman in her late forties. ‘And there’s no man on the scene either, so the thought of having that gorgeous hunk as the father of my child – it sends shivers right through me!’

Such was the hysteria of these fans that there were genuine concerns that they might try to steal the specimen jars.

‘Yeah, we’ve had to step up security,’ Casper admitted, on the eve of the grand opening. ‘But everyone will just have to wait their turn. We have a system, you know. There’s a plan – a natural order that we must follow –’

When Monday morning came, the doors of the clinic opened and the first set of women were inseminated. The crowd of fans outside the building were disappointed to find that they could not jump the queue, but they began screaming when Casper Walsh showed up.

‘The first seeds have been sown!’ he declared. ‘Do not lose heart, for you shall all bear my fruit! Make sure you’ve booked an appointment and you will be invited to the clinic as soon we can fit you in.’

The doctors in the clinic worked diligently over the next few weeks, slowly getting through their long list of appointments. At one point, they had to turn away a man who disguised himself as a female.

‘Please – just try it!’ he begged. ‘Casper is my idol – it might actually work! Humour me, will you?’

The oldest woman to be inseminated was seventy-two, while the youngest had just turned eighteen on the very morning of her appointment. The receptionists made sure to triple-check the identification of the younger girls, for fear that they were underage and carried fake documents. At the end of the first month, five hundred women had been inseminated, with many more scheduled appointments to follow.

‘They’ll make a movie about it one day,’ said Casper dreamily, as he lounged in an armchair during a late-night TV show. ‘Casper’s children – the greatest bunch of kids that America’s ever seen. And the world will be a better place for it. Such paradise – such joy – won’t it be wonderful?’