The Harry Potter Arms Race: A Cold War of 3rd Grade Proportions

A short while ago I wrote a post about when to introduce your child to Harry Potter. The early books are so light and fun (comparatively), but the later books get very dark, very quickly. So we had this great idea of starting them with my daughter when she was almost 9, and then reading one per season, taking around 2 years to finish the series while filling in the gaps by reading other books in between. It was a good plan, and it was going well until our “allies” started escalating things rapidly and now the plan is all shot to hell and there’s no going back.

Book 1 went great in the fall. Ruby loved it, and was excited to finally start to experience something that she had been looking forward to ever since her friends started talking about how much they loved Harry Potter. We finished the shortest of the series in a few weeks, and then went on to other things until Christmas, when we watched the first movie as a preamble to the 2nd book. We finished Chamber of Secrets and planned on waiting until her birthday in the spring to start Prisoner of Azkaban. That was when our spy network started reporting some troubling information.

Apparently her best friends at school, fine people who until now had shown no interest in Harry Potter, were now devouring the series ravenously, and were talking exclusively about what was happening in book three, which they were both reading. Disaster! We had to start that book a little early. One chapter a night, as we have always done. Only her friends were not reading it one chapter a night. They were building secrets bunkers of reading in which their top scientists were reading multiple chapters per day! We started reading two chapters a night, trying to keep up, but it was no use.

I don’t think I need to tell you that “spoiler alert” means nothing to a third grader. All of the delicious secrets, the twists and turns, it was all being spilled out in public, right in front of my daughter. What is a parent to do?! We stepped it up to three chapters a few times, but those chapters get long! Two nights ago we finally finished book 3, wondering if we were going to be able to wait until summer, as planned, to start Goblet of Fire, my favorite book in the series and one I do not want the ending of spoiled for Ruby. If only I could remember the “shut up” spell…

I asked Ruby if her friends had started book 4. Yes, they were already on chapter 20. This was a security catastrophe. So last night we started Goblet of Fire. We read two chapters. We just didn’t have time to read 20. Who knows what will happen tonight? Perhaps her muggle friends will have made it through book 5 by tonight anyway. I have no idea what kind of Harry Potter technology they have over there. All I know is that we are in a race against time, and I have no time turner to help me. You know, like Hermione did? At the end of book 3? Apparently that is public knowledge now. Grrrrrrr.

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Posted in Books, Harry Potter, Parenting, Ruby.

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