Diagon Alley: A Wizard’s Point-of-View
There is magic happening in Diagon Alley.
Well, there has always been magic here. Diagon Alley is the place where wizards and witches have shopped and dined for years, perhaps centuries. School Robes, wands, magical animals, Quidditch gear. It’s here. Dark magic can be found if one knows where to look. And any witch or wizard can refresh with a ButterBeer or a cone of amazing ice cream.
But something new is happening in Diagon Alley.
In recent days, Muggles have been seen walking the streets, shopping the stores, eating, drinking….and skipping down the cobblestones! Muggles! Skipping!
I am relatively new to Diagon Alley, only recently taking my place amongst the shopkeepers here. And I have heard that something similar seems to have happened in Hogsmeade Village a few years ago. Now that something is happening here.
It is magic. And I think it is just beginning.
A dragon sits atop Gringott’s Bank. Celestina Warbeck sings in Carkitt Market. A flick of a wand makes shrunken heads sing, a skeleton dance, a quill float in air, an umbrella rains and……
Did I mention that the dragon breathes fire?
But all of this (and there’s a lot more) is only a part of the magic that I am seeing.
I’ve seen a woman cry as she walked thru the wall to enter Diagon Alley. I’ve seen a young wizard delight as a wandmaster in Olivander’s helps him match to his wand. I’ve heard the mirror in Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions compliment a guest. (By the way, that mirror told me that I “look marvelous”, so I must believe her to be true.) I’ve watched a crowd of hands with Muggle devices (they call them phones, cameras and tablets they tell me) raised in the air as the dragon breathes her fire. And I’ve heard them cheer.
There is magic here. I’ve seen it. I’ve heard it. I’ve felt it.
I must confess that a at times I’ve slipped out of my wizard dress and changed into a Muggle costume to walk amongst the crowd. And there is where I have truly seen what Diagon Alley is.
It is not solely about dragons, goblins, Death Eaters, owls, quills, or even ButterBeer. (Well, maybe it is a little about ButterBeer.) But what I see is about delight, wonder, excitement, exploration, hugs and tears and smiles. It is about the sense of wonder in the eyes of a child as she first enters. It is about the delight of a family that is somehow – I can’t explain it – drawn closer as they explore this land together. Yes, it is about the tears of those who are immersing themselves in our ancient alley for the first time.
And it is about the smiles. Oh, the smiles. They are contagious.
I watched as three of my fellow shopkeeps knelt down to talk with two young children, dressed in their school robes and proudly displaying their wands. I did not hear a word that was spoken, but I saw the young wizard and witch delight – as they stroked the magical animals my friends were holding. I saw in those young eyes the sense of wonderment that can be found in few places such as ours. I think I may a have seen a glint of tear in the eyes of my fellow wizards. But I may only be remembering that I wiped a tear out from mine.
We are wizards and witches. We don’t cry. Do we?
We are purveyors of magic. No more. No less.
When you visit Diagon Alley. Walk around. Look around. And find the magic. You’ll find it in the shop windows, the music, the bank and throughout the Alley. But the true magic is in the smiles, hugs, tears, but especially in the eyes of those who walk through the wall. As you see it, if you wipe a finger across your eye, that’s OK.
But maybe the true magic is not so much in what Diagon Alley offers its guests. Perhaps it is in the swirl or wands and sounds of laughter and cheers and those inexplicable smiles of those who immerse themselves in these streets. And somehow carry us along in their gleeful experiences.
There is something happening here in Diagon Alley. There is magic here. It is as much for our wizard, witch and, yes, Muggle guests as it is for us.
And it’s just beginning.