Harry Potter – the cure for all hangovers

Harry potter Hangover

Harry Potter as a go-to cure for hangovers? What is this, you might say? But it’s true.

Ever since the days of terrible college hangovers, I’ve found there is no comfort like Harry Potter when you’re dying of a hangover. I used to have this routine – get terribly drunk, somehow make it back to my student housing room, crash, then wake up in the wee hours of the morning terribly dehydrated. Get up, drink copious amounts of water, get back into bed and find that I can’t sleep. The water is doing its work but in the meantime, the room is still spinning, I’m still feeling like crap and there is no way of sinking into oblivion to avoid it all. What do I do? I read Harry Potter.

Why Harry Potter, you might ask. Well, why not, say I. Harry Potter is the shit. Reading Harry Potter takes me back to the childhood days of reading other boarding-school stories like Mallory Towers and St Clare, so it’s like being wrapped in a cozy rug of childhood comfort, back when Mum and Dad used to bandage up your knee for you when you were hurt and gave you a sweet to ease the pain.

And speaking of sweets, all the food in Harry Potter is like the ultimate hangover cure. They offer you chocolate at Hogwarts when you’re sick, for crying out loud. It’s the ultimate list of comfort food – sausages and fried eggs, pea soup, Mrs Weasley’s sandwiches, mountains of potatoes (which Harry and Ron had to peel by hand because they were still underage wizards), hot chocolate, Butterbeer, roast beef and roast chicken, Yorkshire pudding, Christmas turkey, Florean Fortescue’s ice-creams, Honeydukes’ Sugar Quills, Extra Deluxe(!!) Sugar Quills, Fizzing Whizzbees and pumpkin juice… ’nuff said. It’s a wonder anyone’s still able to get on their broom.

Also, Harry gets into so many scrapes that, coupled with all the times Ron has made some embarrassing gaffe or when the entire school (and sometimes even the entire wizarding world) seems to have turned against Harry (which seems to happen quite often, obviously wizards are not known for their loyalty to one of their own when the chips are down), well, doesn’t that make you feel better reading about that when cringing flashbacks of what you did the night before when you were horribly drunk come and go in your still-boozy mind?

And then there’s the widen-your-perspective thing. Okay, so you were really drunk and did a horrible dance where you thought you looked really cool and sexy but in fact looked more like a monkey having a seizure while trying to work a phone booth and then you tripped and knocked over a table full of glassware just before you tell your best friend exactly what they think of their latest squeeze….erm, while the squeeze is standing right there…and finally, you get kicked out of the club whereupon you proceeded to drunk call everyone you know, including your parents and the classmate you have a crush on. But really have you ever had to fight a giant troll in the school toilet or get knocked out by giant rock chessmen or eat rats or been forced to cut words into your own hand over and over again or, for pete’s sake, fight an evil wizard who’s marked you out for death since before you were born? Suddenly, all your problems seem completely trivial compared to Harry’s.

And if the compare-and-contrast thing doesn’t work, just console yourself by imagining a gang of Dementors swooping down on everyone you encountered last night and erasing their memories – and lives -with a Kiss of Death. Not saying it’ll come true. But it might make you feel better. Not much. But maybe just a tad bit. If you’re that sort of person.

Now back to the comfort thing. That Hogwards castle is snug. There’s nothing like curling up safe in your dormitory bed with a fire burning in the room and your owl (or rat, whichever way you prefer to go) next to you and the house elves magically tidying up everything. Outside, the wind is howling and a blizzard is raging, giant spiders lurk in the Forbidden Forest and Dementors are patrolling the gates, but you’re safe and warm, tucked up behind magic walls and password-only portrait holes and Dumbledore within Disapparating distance if anything bad were to happen. All is well in your little Hogwarts fortress at the moment, and all is well with you at the moment. Or until the next morning when you have to start calling everyone to apologize for your sorry actions the night before. But until then, you’re safe. You don’t have to start your punishments with Snape in the dungeons just yet.

Finally, let’s not forget the fact that Harry Potter is pretty much written for kids. That makes it real easy on the brain and eye while you’re nursing a hangover – let’s face it, no one can ever say they got through War and Peace or Ulysses when they’re hungover. Or pretty much anything by Umberto Eco. If you would beg to differ, then I’m sorry, you’re just not human. You’re some kind of Battlestar Galactica Cylon that doesn’t realize it’s a Cylon. And the humans are coming for you so you’d better run.

But back to Harry Potter – the best thing is that there may only be seven books, but they’re not just books. They’re volumes. Incredibly voluminous volumes. So you can be pretty assured that you have sufficient reading material for all your hangovers –  because let’s face it, you’re never going to learn your lesson and you’re going to have many, many more cringeworthy hours before the dawn to face in the future. Yes, we know what you’re saying now, that you’re never, ever going to drink again. And yes, we’re laughing at you in our sleeve. Well, not in our sleeve. We’re just plain laughing. We’re laughing at you because we’ve been there too. And we’re laughing in our wisdom. Our cruel, wise, been-there-done-that wisdom.


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