Tuesday, February 5, 2013

1 night, 3 markers, 1 pile of paper, and 1 sad 5 year old

I have a few disclaimers to make before I get started:
  • I am taking a brief diversion from games for this post.
  • If you are one of the few people that haven't seen the seventh Harry Potter movie or read the book - there will be SPOILERS.
  • Before anyone clucks at me; yes, I made a conscious decision to watch the seventh PG-13 Harry Potter movie with my then 5 year old son.
We are moving out of our apartment this week and with packing up everything you own comes a certain amount of reflection. One of the most reflective moments came while taking down the pictures from my 7 year old son's bedroom walls.

The walls were covered in Dobbys - 27 Dobbys to be exact. 

My son loves Dobby. Dobby is his ABSOLUTE favorite character in all of the Harry Potter universe. He has the above Dobby figure. He has a Dobby picture book. He has a Dobby banner from Blockbuster (it was actually a banner with around 10 characters, but he cut the Dobby one out alone). He dressed like Dobby for Halloween - as a family that makes most of our own Halloween costumes, this was much appreciated - thrift store pillow case + scissors + coffee grounds for staining. He even has this song on his MP3 player:

I read all of the books before hand. I should have been better prepared for the Deathly Hallows part One. I tried - I really did.  Before I watched the movie with my son and my 10 year old daughter, we did our own little "previously on Harry Potter" recollection and when we came to the death of Albus Dumbledore, I used that as a warning: 

"Now, we know this story has gotten pretty dark right? I am telling you right now that I know there will be more characters dying. It could be anyone! This is a battle for the future of magic and muggle kind so everyone could die for all we know. Harry Potter even. I just want you to be ready."

Then the movie started.

  • Hedwig - There was a collective whimper.

  • Mad-Eye Moody - No obvious reaction.

  • Dobby - Tears and more tears.

We grieved for Dobby as a family. We ate a little ice cream. We talked about how awesome it was that Dobby saved his friend, Harry Potter. We called their Momma on the phone to grieve some more.

Listen, I know he is just a fictional character and believe me, I used that line to try to calm my son down. Let's just consider it a compliment to J.K. Rowling that she was able to create a story that drew us into its reality enough to feel loss. I understand my son's fiction-induced funk. I remember the post script "Dr. Sam Beckett Never Returned Home." I remember Jenny Calendar, Doyle, Winifred, and Wash.

And then it was time for bed.

I have a rule: as long as you are in bed quietly, you can do whatever you want to wind yourself down for an hour before lights out. There are bookshelves by every bed in the house. The kids' bookshelves are loaded with books, dolls, Matchbox cars, and art supplies.

My son spent that hour with 3 markers and 1 pile of paper. His bedroom full of Dobbys was born. He showed them to me the next day and I hung them all up in his room. I still tear up at how he was able to work through his sadness by scribbling out 27 Dobbys (each one based on the above Dobby figure he has).

Here are some of the pictures that I have taken down from the walls and bound together for him.

There are normal Dobbys
There are fat Dobbys
There are Wolverine Dobbys
There are Yoda Dobbys

There are Hulk Dobbys
There are Shrek Dobbys
And my favorite are all on one sheet of paper. I imagine some sort of dancing Dobby animation going on here.
27 Dobbys

We have watched the movie a couple of times since and he now has a sense of pride in the hero that is Dobby. Thank you JK Rowling. Thank you for the Harry Potter universe, and thank you for Dobby.

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