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Combining Harry Potter Collections: A Treacherous Minefield

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Alice Burton

Staff Writer

Chicagoan and aspiring cryptozoologist Alice Burton has a B.A. in Comparative Literature and is an Archives Assistant with the Frances Willard Historical Society. When not booking or historying, she is singing soprano wherever people will have her. She will watch any documentary on Neanderthals or giant extinct animals, and has a Stockholm Syndrome-like love for Chicago and its winters. Blog: Reading Rambo Twitter: @itsalicetime

My girlfriend and I have recently been talking about moving in together. As she lugged out her special edition boxed set housed in what looked like Harry’s Hogwarts trunk, I stopped short. “What…are we going to do about our two Harry Potter collections?” I asked with trepidation.

She stared at me, her face going blank. Why had this never occurred to us before? One would have to be chosen. But hers had been a present from her grandmother. Mine were individual volumes cobbled together from midnight release parties, with one exception being Book 4, which my well-intentioned brother had pre-ordered for me and then I didn’t get it until TWO DAYS AFTER EVERYONE ELSE, but which he made up for by inscribing “To one of my favorite Muggles” inside (never underestimate the de-angering power of a good book inscription).

Surely this is a conversation any couple under 35 must have. These books are precious to us. We didn’t wait in our wizard robes at that Barnes and Noble for four hours just so we wouldn’t always have them with us. Is any other copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets going to always remind me that I was weirdly obsessed with eating Golden Grahams while reading and re-reading it? Is any other copy going to have traveled to Niagara Falls with me? Maybe but MAYBE NOT.

I would like to see the person who can casually — NAY, CALLOUSLY — say “I can definitely get rid of my collection, babe. We don’t need two. Ha! How foolish we would seem.”

I mean, do I think there’s a clear winner in this debate between me and my girlfriend? Yes. Me. I am the winner. The carefully collected collection always wins over the pre-packaged box set. YES I KNOW IT’S FROM HER GRANDMA. But her grandma probably gave her other things. Like socks. And antimacassars (all my grandparents are dead, what do grandmas give people?).

The way I see it, a couple trying to merge Harry Potter collections has three options:

  1. Gracefully yield to the other person. (NEVER)
  2. Have a Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey-style rapidly escalating winner-take-all board game challenge.
  3. Just have two sets of Harry Potter in the apartment.

FOR THAT IS WHAT WAS DECIDED. Which is honestly for the best, because my copy of Sorceror’s Stone is so precious to me, I don’t want people actually reading it anymore in case they ruin it (you know how people are). 

Merge your Dickens and your Twilight and your Salinger and your Grafton and your Heyer. The more Harry Potter, the happier your home will be.