Every good journey has to begin with a hero’s call to action, an instigating event that catalyzes the protagonist into action. To fully understand what this site is about and why I am creating it – as well as why I am creating the Burnesyd Magical Muggle Railway– we must look back into the past, several years ago as well as a dark time in the unfortunately not-so-distant past.
All of this originally started during the holiday season of 2012. Barnes & Nobles is always a great resource for nerdy treats and being so soon after the Harry Potter series had concluded with Deathly Hallows (in 2011) and with Star Wars IV: The Force Awakens still far on the horizon, B&N still had a treasure trove of Harry Potter paraphernalia (as well as ample Marvel items, of course). Amongst the pre-Christmas offerings were a number of cross-promotional B&N/Lionel Hogwarts Express sets. At the time, they were priced at around $299.99. Always a huge fan of the Harry Potter books (and to a slightly lesser degree of the movies), my wife was awestruck and immediately begged me add it to her Christmas gift list as a possible.
Of course, neither of us would seriously ask for such a singularly high-ticket item. While we can both be outrageously generous towards each other, a $300 toy train set still seemed a little excessive at the time. Rather, it was considered one of those fanciful dreams we all share throughout our lives (but especially as children), that gleaming unique item that exemplifies the (potentially over-consumerist) ideal American Christmas Experience. It’s no different than a Norman Rockwell painting of Christmas or watching a Christmas Story marathon. Its a shared vision of what Christmas could be, of what many would like it to be.
Obviously, that Christmas and the next –and several more thereafter– went past and the Hogwarts Express slowly became a fond memory, a sort of vague and hazy concept that I doubt either of us truly expected we’d ever be able to purchase, especially as our focus started to move more and more towards gearing up to move into our own home. I love my wife dearly and I have done (and would be willing to do) nearly anything to make her happy, but I expect that the Hogwarts Express would have remained as much of an ephemeral dream as it had been in the past were it not for two events this last fall.
Like light and noise at the end of a tunnel, I’m sure most of us can see what’s coming…