The Intersection of Build-A-Bear, Star Wars and Harry Potter

As I’ve mentioned in a few previous posts, NHL is heavily interested in Harry Potter at the moment.  The downside to this is that he loves pretending to be the characters that he’s interested in.  When he plays superheroes, he puts on his Iron Man mask and “flies” around the house.  When he plays Jake and the Neverland Pirates, he uses “gold doubloons” from JSL’s birthday party.

When he casts spells as Harry Potter, though, he has no wand.  Sure, he can (and does) just use his finger as a pretend wand or hold an imaginary wand, but there’s something special about pretend play where you utilize a real object.

We could buy him a wand, but that’d just be a recipe for disaster.  A couple of years ago, the boys got a toy drum set and began using the drum sticks as magic wands.  They wound up “casting spells” by physically striking each other with them.  Needless to say, the wands/drum sticks were confiscated for the safety of all.  Though the boys are a few years older now, I somehow doubt that they could keep the spell-casting from turning physical for too long.

As I was tucking NHL into bed the other night, I hit upon the solution.  You see, NHL has a dinosaur, Trike, that he made from Build-A-Bear.


One year, using a birthday coupon, he purchased a Jedi outfit for Trike.


See this?


That’s Trike’s lightsaber.  See how it compares to a movie lightsaber? (Ok, a toy lightsaber from ThinkGeek.)


Well, now look how it compares to a Harry Potter wand.


It’s straight, has a handle and a pointed end.  It’d make a perfect wand.  As a bonus, it’s soft so you could hit someone with the wand/lightsaber without hurting them.  (Not that I’m encouraging this, mind you.)


No need to worry about NHL casting Stupefy on me, though.  I’ve already informed him that moms and dads are naturally immune to their kids’ spells.  NHL has attempted to cast a “reverse immunity spell” of his own making.  Of course, since I’m immune to any spell he casts, I’m immune to a spell which attempts to remove my immunity.  Still, I’ll play along with Expelliarmus from time to time.

What toys have your kids used for purposes other than what the manufacturers intended?

Don’t forget to enter my Hot Wheels Nitro Speeders giveaway!

DS Punishments

Over the weekend, we did some shopping.  We went to Dick’s Sporting Goods to look for some shoes, we went to Border’s to look for bargains and we went to Target to get some needed groceries/clothing.

In Target, however, NHL began to complain.  This wasn’t just a normal whine, though, it began to turn into yelling at me and being disobedient to make a point.  B took the shopping cart with JSL while NHL and I went to the car.  Actually, we first stopped outside the store in the hopes that I could get him to calm down.  When this didn’t work, we went to the car.

NHL wasn’t out of the woods, though.  During his scream-fest, I told him to calm down or else.  When he pushed the “else”, I told him that he wouldn’t get the book he had just bought from Borders.  He didn’t seem to care so I also took away the puzzle he had gotten.  This didn’t make a dent in his attitude so I brought out the big guns.  I told him he couldn’t play the Nintendo DS.

Now, *this* got a reaction.  I wrote about his Games Addiction last week and it is still very much in force.  NHL *loves* playing his DS.  If he had his way, he’d go through the entire day casting Lego Harry Potter spells.  So losing the DS for the weekend was a big hit.

At the car, NHL sat in silence.  When he was fully calmed down, we went back into Target.  We checked the registers and then walked all around the store, but, unfortunately, we couldn’t locate B and JSL.  Finally, we decided to wait for them at the car.  As we approached, I saw them waiting for them at the car for us.  Somehow, our paths had crossed without either of us noticing the other.

Later, I’d find out that B had tweeted about “losing” us.



This morning, NHL celebrated the ending of his DS exile with a rousing game of Lego Harry Potter.  It wasn’t long before he was triumphantly declaring that he had gotten past Snape and could make some Polyjuice Potion.

Games Addiction

IMGP1889For his birthday, NHL got many great presents: Books, board games, and even puzzles.  His favorite gifts, though, were likely the Nintendo DS games.  He received Tetris Party Deluxe, Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, and Lego Harry Potter: Years 1 – 4.  As soon as he was able to, he ripped open the packages and began playing.

Since then, he’s been nearly inseparable from his DS.  He’ll sit on the couch or on his bed for hours on end casting spells or swinging his lightsaber.  He’s become lost in the world of video games.

Of course, his video game addiction began early on.  I introduced him to online Flash-based games when he was very young.  He took to them quickly and showed quite an aptitude for figuring out how they work.  Later, he began playing Nintendo Wii with me.  He was very proud (as was I) the first time he beat me in Wii Bowling.

IMGP1887When B won a Nintendo DS in a giveaway awhile back, we set out finding some games that we liked and that NHL might like.  B’s DS was quickly coopted by NHL to play Carnival Games, Super Mario and other games.  With his latest batch of games, I don’t think we’ll pry him away anytime soon.

NHL takes after me when it comes to video games.  I have fond memories of staring at an Atari 2600 screen playing Star Raiders and other games.  When we got our first Nintendo, I was in awe of the incredible graphics of the original Super Mario Brothers.  When I wasn’t reading a book, I was on the computer jumping, dodging, firing and more.  Nowadays, I don’t have much time for games, but I still enjoy playing them here and there.

IMGP1892  At one point, I watched over NHL’s shoulder (and helped a bit) as he played Lego Harry Potter.  It looked like fun.  So I decided to give the game a go.  After NHL was asleep, I started a new game.  Luckily, it allows for 2 save games so NHL and I can play separate games.


I helped Harry collect presents in Privet Drive.  I prepared him to go to Hogwarts.  I learned some new spells and battled some enemies.  I ventured into the Dark Forest.  Before I knew it, it was almost 1am.  After saving my game, I reluctantly put the DS away and headed to bed.

IMGP1898I found that the game, in many ways, is very easy.  You have unlimited lives so “dying” just means “being sent back a short bit.”  Puzzles aren’t very hard to figure out.  Still, it’s a lot of fun.  (Just what’s needed after a hard day’s work.)  I think I enjoying shattering objects using the Reducto spell a bit too much.  (Couch? Reducto! Table? Reducto! Pile of books? Reducto!  Christmas Tree? Reducto!)

The next morning, NHL began his gaming.  He instantly got upset when he saw that I had gotten further along in the game than he had.  (His exact words were “Dad, I’m embarrassed that you got further in the game than me.”)  I think he’s been furiously playing more to make sure that he takes the Lego Harry Potter lead.  A little friendly competition between father and son never hurt.  I think tonight I’ll take up my magic wand and cast a few more spells.

Voldemort vs. Papa Smurf

Thanks to reruns of the old Smurfs cartoon and the new Smurfs movie (which they saw advertisements for when we went to see the Winnie the Pooh movie), my boys have suddenly found an interest in the Smurfs.  My oldest has already memorized when they’re on and will want to change the channel when the airing time approaches.

NHL has also formed an interest in Harry Potter.  We caught some of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on TV one day and was transfixed.  So we took Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone out of the library and watched it with him (and JSL too).  NHL loved it from the first moments of Harry discovering his talents to the ending battle.  We think he’s developed a crush on Hermione as he specifically begged us to get him the Lego Harry Potter set with her in it.

Anyway, while shopping this past weekend, NHL spotted a Smurfs activity/coloring book.  He looked through it quickly, spotted the evil wizard who tries to capture the Smurfs and commented to me that Voldemort was in the book.  After prompting from me and a bit of rethinking, he recalled that Gargamel, not Voldemort was actually the Smurfs’ foe.

Being the geek that I am, I began picturing what would happen if Voldemort happened upon the Smurfs.  At first, it might seem a slaughter fest as Voldemort Avada Kedavra’s Smurf after Smurf.  (Perhaps Cruciatus-ing a few for fun.)

Of course, in Harry Potter’s world, love seems to be a magic in and of itself.  Love prevents Voldemort from killing Harry when he was a mere infant.  Love protected Harry long after his mother’s death.  Love was the one magic that Voldemort couldn’t quite understand.  Given how lovey-dovey the Smurfs tend to be, maybe the battle wouldn’t be so cut and dried.

In a one-on-one duel, Papa Smurf would be toast, but, in a guerilla war against Voldemort, they might just stand a chance.  The Smurfs seem especially good at hiding and Papa Smurf knows his way around magic.  He would undoubtedly consult various magic texts and have his army of Smurfs help him assemble some potion to affect Voldemort.  Perhaps a pair of shoes that force Voldemort to dance forever while the Smurfs sing?  Truly a fate worse than death!

And yes, I’m aware that I’m a huge geek for even contemplating this whole scenario due to my son’s misstated name.

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