Review & Giveaway: “Harry Potter: Travel Magic”

Oct 28, 2020

Posted by: Amanda Kirk

Books, MinaLima, Movie Art, News

Insight Editions has done it again. Their latest effort to keep us entertained with fun books about the Wizarding World is a delightful fold-out journey from Platform 9 ¾ to Hogwarts and on to Honeydukes. It’s not a book so much as a folder with pockets that contain paper artefacts you can take out and use, such as bookmarks and stickers. It reminds me of the activity books for young kids, although this is geared for older children and adults—and that’s good, from my perspective: Why should younger kids have all the fun? It’s like the Harry Potter colouring books, which are definitely not only for children. Of course, we could say that about the entire Harry Potter phenonenon. If you are an adult fan, do you ever get people judgmentally questioning why you like a supposed children’s book? I get that all the time; they don’t understand that the story’s messages are ageless.

The ultimate purpose of this book is to serve as a companion for your travels in the Muggle world. The artefacts are items that will come in handy for traveling, such as a journal, postcards, luggage tags, stickers, folders to hold notes and treasures from your journey, and little bits of trivia to keep you entertained on long train rides. More of a box that folds out, accordion-like, into themed pages, it will tuck neatly into your luggage to make you feel as if you are traveling to the Wizarding World.

When you open Harry Potter: Travel Magic, the first item you find, logically enough, is your ticket for the Hogwarts Express, tucked into a pocket on back of the cover. Ever since I saw Harry holding his ticket after Hagrid handed it to him, puzzling over the platform number, I’ve wanted my own. Like the Leaky Cauldron, it represents another gateway to the Wizarding World. If I have a ticket, I get to go, I belong, I am one of the lucky magical people who gets to escape the Muggle world and live in a Scottish castle, learning how to do magic. I feel like I’d have to be royal to feel more special, more chosen, more undeservedly lucky. Being magical is an accident of birth, like being royal; you don’t do anything to deserve it and it doesn’t make you better or more deserving than a Muggle. It’s pure luck. I have always felt sorry for Petunia, who didn’t inherit the magical gene when her full sister did. I don’t blame her for being eaten up by jealous; I would have been destroyed by envy in her position. I, too, would have begged Dumbledore to admit me to Hogwarts. All of which is to say, it’s satisfying to hold this ticket in my hands.

I feel like I want to keep the artefacts in the book pristine and unused, but I am going to make an exception for the Hogwarts crest sticker. I want to put it on my laptop, or maybe even on my car.

Also tucked into the front pocket with the ticket and sticker is a travel journal, blank, with lined pages decorated with a faint silhouette of the Hogwarts Express. On the next page, an elastic band holds a pencil that you can use to write in your journal. Next to the pencil is an envelope that contains a copy of Harry’s Hogwarts letter. The letter is quite different from the letter in the book, which is odd. Rather than saying that term begins on 1 September, for example, it says, “Students shall be required to report to the Chamber of Reception upon arrival, the dates for which will be duly advised.” The enclosed list of school supplies is also truncated from the list found in the book. The final item in the envelope is a small, basic medieval-style map of Hogwarts castle and grounds. It shows a bird’s eye view so one can get a sense of how the castle is laid out; it’s not a detailed interior map like the Marauder’s Map. The greenhouses seem to be attached to the castle rather than behind it as described in the books.

The journey through the book starts with Harry manoeuvring his trunk through the barrier onto Platform 9 ¾. Two luggage tags and a sticker are provided as removable artefacts that you can use on your own Hogwarts suitcase.

On the next page, the trolley witch appears along with photos of now-familiar magical sweets like Chocolate Frogs, and some others designed for the trolley scene that we didn’t get a close look at in the films, such as Dragon Claws and Explosive Fairy Dust (which sounds more like a Weasley Wizard Wheezes item than a Honeydukes product). There is a folder with a Chocolate Frog sticky notes and card into which you can insert your own photo, securing your fame in the Wizarding pantheon.

This is followed by a Whomping Willow bookmark that doubles as a ruler, and a bit of trivia about the flying Ford Anglia.

Next we learn about the animal actors who played the animal companions in the films, accompanied by a page of four stickers featuring Hedwig, Fawkes, Crookshanks, and Scabbers.

A brief section about the Dementors on the train notes how they affect Harry’s confidence, which was riding high after defeating Voldemort twice but is now shattered by his fainting. There are a couple of Dementor postcards that you can post to friends or, perhaps more fitting, enemies.

The next section has a removable pair of spectraspecs and 3D image to view through them, followed by a folder filled with the covers of the first year set books and some info on book-binding. Since MinaLima created such wonderful designs for each cover, it’s satisfying to get a close look at them, even in a small paper rendition.

The next page gives us a bit of info on the props used for the Sorting Hat, after which we turn the page to reveal a photo of the students throwing their hats into the air after Gryffindor wins the House Cup in Harry’s first year. We get a close-up view of the hourglasses that tally the points, which we only see from a distance in the films. There’s a pocket with cards, rather like Chocolate Frog cards except they tell us about each House and its Head, and are accompanied by a sticker with the crest of each house.

Travel Magic is the first in a series of collectible books

You can order Harry Potter: Travel Magic here. It’s available now for $12.99.

Thanks to the generosity of Insight Editions, Leaky is able to give away a copy to one lucky reader. Send an email to [email protected] telling us what your favourite part of traveling on the Hogwarts Express would be. Going through the barrier onto the platform? Sweets from the trolley? Possible visits by Dementors? The scenery out the window? Reading with a purring cat on your lap? Meeting friends from school? Whatever you imagine would be the highlight of the journey, share it for a chance to win. Entries close Tuesday, November 2 at midnight EST.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.