On paper, July 31st should be a bummer. As a kid, it means that summer vacation is now at the halfway point and you’re rapidly rolling down the hill back to school. Usually. It’s been a weird year. As a summer enthusiast, it means you only have a month left of beach days, shorts, flip flops, and Hawaiian shirts. I myself will push flip flops to November and depending on the winter, sometimes as far as January. What can I say, I’m a rebel who believes in maximum foot comfort. Lately, though the end of any month feels like the “…” to a year that has literally upped the insanity month after month.
Yet, for some of us July 31st holds a different kind of significance. A reason to celebrate. A reason to crack open a book (or movie if you’re a heathen) of old friends, sit in your favorite kimono because it’s far too hot for a blanket, in your favorite chair while quietly muttering “you’re a wizard Harry” under your breath. Because today, July 31st is the 40th birthday of the Chosen One himself, Harry Potter. Our wizard savior. The one with lightning bolt scar that spawned a million and one tattoos. The one who inspired a generation of readers with a story of friendship, hope, love, and magic. Make no mistake about it, despite JK Rowling’s best efforts to sever her connection with the fandom these books still mean a great deal to many people. And for those people today is a significant day.
Which got me thinking, what would Harry Potter’s 40th birthday be like in our current pandemic/COVID-19 conditions? Deathly Hollows jumps forward in time at the end as Harry is married with a litter of children and sharing head nods with once arch rival, Draco Malfoy. But where is Harry at forty? What’s he doing to celebrate during social distancing? I had so many questions that deserved answers. After some soul searching and a little digging, I think I found the answers I was looking for.
So, Geeklings, I proudly present to you Harry Potter’s Pandemic Social Distancing 40th Birthday!
Note- in this scenario the Potter children are staying with their grandparents
- Harry wakes up. In a bed. In a room. An actual room housed in an actual house. Yeah, the mortgage is a bit much, but it certainly beats living under a staircase. He stretches and accidentally bumps Ginny who is currently occupying seventy-five percent of the bed. All her grace in life is lost in sleep as her body is sprawled out everywhere. She snores and doesn’t move.
- Harry gets out of bed and says hello to his new owl, Hedwig the Second. Hedwig II sounded too impersonal. She nips his fingers, he swears as he makes his way to the bathroom.
- After doing the necessaries, Harry looks in the mirror. He’s got a pretty decent quarantine beard going and his hair is thinning a little bit. He figures it’ll be a while still before his hairline recedes and has what Ron calls “power alleys” but he figures there has to be a spell for that. He’ll talk to Hermonie.
- Harry pours himself a cup of coffee in a mug that reads “The Chosen One” with a lightning bolt for a handle. He looks at the bottle of whiskey on the counter. Harry shrugs, pours a little in figuring it’s his birthday after all and he defeated Voldemort. Hasn’t he earned a little nip? Of course, he has, he’s the chosen one. Not like there’s going to be an evil wizard uprising today.
- There’s a weird noise from the front lawn. Harry nearly drops his mug of coffee and bursts through the door yelling, “expelliarmus”. The broom falls off their scarecrow lawn decoration. Harry notices that Ginny’s cat was only scratching at the door to come in. He opens the door to allow the creature access to the house and nods at the scarecrow. He’s still got it.
- After breakfast with Ginny, an owl arrives carrying gifts. It’s a new sweater from Mrs. Weasley with the number “40” sown in. There is also a rechargeable battery case because Mr. Weasley finds it ever so delightful.
- After the gifts, Harry and Ginny use the Floo Network to speak with the Weasleys. Mrs. Weasly asks about the sweater fitting and Mr. Weasly marvels at Harry’s dedication to facial hair. It’s a pleasant call. A ton of ash can be seen surrounding the fireplace as it is clear that the Floo Network is getting a tremendous amount of use during these times. Once the conversation ends, Harry turns to Ginny and sighs. He’s a little Floo’ed out at this point in the pandemic.
- Harry grabs his broom and a snitch and goes out to the backyard. He releases the snitch, hops on the broom and chases after it for far longer than it usually would take. Ginny sits outside with the cat on her lap watching him fly around. Harry finally is able to catch the snitch after a slightly daring/acrobatic dive that results in the death of a small part of Ginny’s potion ingredients garden. He lands and stretches his back. He’s going to be feeling this in the morning. Oh forty.
- Harry takes a nap.
- Harry wakes up for lunch. Him and Ginny eat and joke around. They discuss what they’re going to order for dinner from Wizard Dash, much like Door Dash but with wizards, but ultimately make no-decision. Ginny goes to her office to do some work prep. Harry, having taken off from the Ministry, goes back to the living room and naps.
- Ginny checks in on the birthday boy. During one of his snores he whispers, “Cho”. Ginny makes a face and punches him in the arm to wake him up. Harry springs up muttering, “Cedric, Cedric, Cedric…”. Ginny is not fooled. Harry sheepishly grins and shrugs. Ginny rolls her eyes.
- Harry moves to his office. There he brings out a box from underneath his desk. He opens it and carefully removes black wizard robes. These robes belonged to Voldemort. Harry carefully lays them out on the floor as if he’s handling a relic from a lost time. He stands above them and begins to laugh. “I turn forty today. You know why I turn forty? I’m the boy that lives. Because I beat you! I beat you, I beat you, I beat you…” Harry tuns the phrase almost into a song as he dances around Voldemort’s robes. So enthralled in his dance Harry loses sight of his surroundings and knocks a lamp off his desk. Ginny calls down to see if he’s okay as Harry uses a spell to repair the lamp. He boxes up the old robes and slides them back under the desk. “I’ll see you next year Dark Lord”, he mocks as he exits the room.
- Harry and Ginny eat dinner. They were unable to decide where to order from so they ordered from everywhere. Most restaurants give Harry free food for defeating the Dark Lord and all. Unlike Ron, Harry and Ginny have a strong tip game. The two sit comfortably around each other laughing and eating. The two dive into the remaining quarantine stash of muggle beers Mr. Weasley sent them. It’s clear that they’re going to need to restock.
- After dinner more owls arrive. Hagrid gifts Harry with an umbrella that he swears unlocks a secret restaurant where all the food is prepared and served by spiders. Harry thinks he’ll re-gift that for Ron. Hermione has sent Harry the new book by Aberforth Dumbledore titled “My Brother, My Sister, and My Life in the Shadows”. Ron has sent a collection of Chocolate Frog cards featuring Harry. It is quite the stack as there have been many variations over the years. Ron has made a point to note the ones that mention his exploits as well.
- The Floo Network is ignited once again as Ron and Hermione join Harry and Ginny for laughs and games. Everything is going wonderfully until Ron and Hermione get into an argument concerning the whereabouts of Hermione’s favorite tea kettle. The one Ron describes as having a whistle much like the laugh of Bellatrix Lestrange. As the two argue in all too familiar patterns, Harry and Ginny decided to retire to bed.
- As Ginny breathes softly next to him Harry stares at the ceiling. He’s laying there in an actual bed. In an actual room. In an actual home. He smiles and falls asleep…