Article

Phoenix

conversations with hank harry potter hagrid

 

Me: (reading) “Every Ollivander wand has a core of a powerful magical substance, Mr. Potter. We use unicorn hairs, phoenix tail feathers and the heartstrings of dragons.” (looking up to find Hank riveted, Hagrid*** clutched to his chest) See, I told you heartstrings were real.

Hank: (shaking his head a bit like he is coming out of a dream) What do you mean?

Me: Heartstings, the line of invisible string that connects your heart to someone you love so that when you miss them the string is tugged a bit causing it to hurt. I bet a dragon’s love is the strongest in the universe.

Hank: Yes, but what is a phoenix?

Me: A phoenix is a magical bird, the most beautiful and mysterious bird in the universe, that once everyday spontaneously combusts… do you know what that means?

Hank: Nope.

Me: It means that once a day it suddenly catches on fire and incinerates phoenix, but then the phoenix is reborn from the ashes in a continuous cycle.

Hank: You mean it is infinite? It is always born again?

Me: Yes, so imagine how difficult it is to get a phoenix tail feather.

Hank: Wow. How long does it live before it combusts?

Me: I have no idea.

Hank: We need to ask a bird expert.

Me: The first one we meet that will be our first question after asking about how they are and about their day.

Hank: How do you say phoenix in Portuguese?

Me: I haven’t a clue. Maybe it’s the same word? (It is Fénix)

Hank: That makes sense. Please don’t stop reading.

Me: “No two Ollivander wands are the same, just as no two unicorns, dragons or phoenixes are quite the same. And of course you will never get the same results with another wizard’s wand.”

 

(Quoted text is from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Chapter Five, Diagon Alley)

*** My college roommate and dearest friend, Kelly and I bonded over Harry Potter. On a trip to England in the early 2000’s she bought me a Hagrid plush toy that I have always cherished. This past Christmas we gifted Hank with the illustrated first book of the Harry Potter series and I also gave him the Hagrid doll. When Kelly gave it to me she stuffed his overcoat with her leftover pound and British coins and when we were reading, prompted by Hagrid asking Harry to fish in his coat to pay the post owl, Hank stumbled upon these coins and gleefully announced, “ Mama, there are coin’s in Hagrid’s pockets,” (which I had totally forgotten about after all these years) and then quickly noted, “It’s muggle money.” A perfect gift for Hank long before he was even an idea from a best friend. Magic is real as long as you believe in it. Thank you, Kelly. Mischief Managed.