The sixth Harry Potter film came out this week, so of course I went and saw it. In particular, I went to one of the midnight shows that are all the rage with blockbuster releases of franchise films. I don’t often do the midnight first-release thing but it seemed especially appropriate to the Harry Potter series. Here we have a set of films that take place in an alternate reality that is interwoven with our own current reality, but just enough out of kilter that we are kept unaware of it. Catching a midnight show in a town that’s generally all boarded up by that hour on a Tuesday night really manages to capture that feeling.

I came out of the theater at about three in the morning. The theater I went to is on the edge of a mall that has both indoor and outdoor sections and I needed to walk through one of the outdoor sections to get to my car. So there it is, the middle of the night, it’s all dark in the distance but there’s enough illumination to see by in the near vicinity. There’s a small crowd of folks near me, many of them dressed in wizard’s robes, but as I move along towards the parking lot, the crowd thins very quickly. Every store in sight is closed and dark, like it is in a world that is just out of reach. My mind is busy turning over the way that magic works in the Harry Potter universe, helplessly searching for how it’s self-consistent and by extension, where it isn’t. At the same time I’m tumbling through thoughts of how they made the movie different from the books, in seemingly random and useless ways, not just cutting things out to keep the movie to a releasable length, but shuffling things, events, and characters in ways don’t seem to have any rhyme or reason.

It’s a good feeling, this exploring of other realities of other realities.

In Alice in Wonderland, the Red Queen famously says, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” God tells me that it’s good to believe impossible things, as long as you don’t believe that you really believe. That is, it’s a good mental exercise to sail on impossible seas as long as you don’t lose sight of the shore. So that’s your task for this week, spend some time believing what you know isn’t true. It might help you to recognize when what you do believe is true isn’t necessarily so.

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