What Are You Reading Wednesdays: The Weasley’s Magical Kitchen

What Are You Reading Wednesdays is a weekly bookish feature hosted by Andie of It’s a Reading Thing. There are three simple rules:

  1. State what you’re currently reading.
  2. Go to page 34 or 34% of your eBook and share a few sentences.
  3. Describe why or why not you would like to live in the world that exists within your book.

I’m rereading the Harry Potter series for the umpteenth time, but my first time since reading Deathly Hallows. It’s been a blast to read it aloud to my son, see all the foreshadowing for the events to come in the wizarding world, and rediscover Hogwarts as an adult, a place that felt far more real, made far more sense, and was far more appealing to me than the real world when I was younger.

Currently I’m deep into the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In my hardcover 1999 edition, page 34 takes place in the Weasley’s kitchen shortly after their first bit of mischief with the flying Ford Anglia (though I think we can all safely assume it was not Fred and George’s first flight in the car!), while Molly dashes about angry-cooking breakfast. I have always thought the Burrow such a strange and wonderful place, and its peculiar kitchen especially.

The clock on the wall opposite him had only one hand and no numbers at all. Written around the edge were things like Time to make tea, Time to feed the chickens, and You’re late. Books were stacked three deep on the mantelpiece, books with titles like Charm Your Own Cheese, Enchantment in Baking, and One Minute Feasts — It’s Magic! And unless Harry’s ears were deceiving him, the old radio next to the sink had just announced that coming up was “Witching Hour, with the popular singing sorceress, Celestina Warbeck.”

Would I like to live in the wizarding world? Could anyone truly answer “no” to that question? Sure, there is the threat posed by dark magic and darker prejudices against Muggles and Muggle-born witches and wizards, but it’s still most likely a safer and saner world than our own. For example, when the Chamber of Secrets was opened in 1943, a Muggle-born girl died at Hogwarts. That same year, a comparable event occurred in the Muggle world: the Detroit race riots, in which 433 people were injured and 34 died.

On a brighter note than all that tragedy and bigotry, imagine how much easier life would be with magic at hand! Just recall Arthur Weasley’s reaction to Harry’s explanation of the telephone: “Fascinating! … Ingenious, really, how many ways Muggles have found of getting along without magic.” The Weasley’s self-cleaning kitchen with its cooking spellbooks and clock that locates family members proves even a housewife’s life would be infinitely improved with a little magic. Compared to magic, technology is downright impractical.

And of course, there’s Hogwarts, where owls deliver letters handwritten with feathered quills on parchment to students dressed in wizard’s robes sitting at their House table eating an unlimited amount of whatever food they choose in the mystical Great Hall where the ceiling is enchanted to look like the sky above; where students’ cleverness and hard work are rewarded through House points that add up mysteriously and culminate in the exciting House Cup; and where the stairs move and the hallways mysteriously change so frequently that even the Headmaster, who has been at Hogwarts in some capacity for a century, loses his way and discovers new rooms. Who wouldn’t want to go to Hogwarts?!

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