I still remember the day I met him.
I was eight years old. I was walking around National Book Store in Alabang Town Center (in their old branch across Converse), looking for the next book to read. I was going through books like a change of clothes, and I was ready for the next one. If you imagine the bookstore as a school, the popular kids then were Nancy Drew, Frank and Joe Hardy, and the kids of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series.
But there he was, a new kid in an overcrowded school. He had a thin face, black hair, and bright green eyes. He had a pair of round glasses held together with a lot of Scotch tape. He became a popular kid later, but I introduced myself to him and we became friends.
And that was how I met and fell in love with Harry Potter.
Of course, we all know who Harry Potter is. He’s inspired books, movies, games, and spin-offs, and made stars out of a group of child actors. And now, the story of the Boy Who Lived is the theme of the first month of What the Box, a mystery subscription box for your inner geek.
What the Box is run by Angeline Rodriguez and Julian Carag, two geeks who personally select the theme each month and the items that are included. As a mystery box, customers don’t know what they will receive, but they stand out because they personalize and customize each box to suit the customer’s preferences. In my case, Rodriguez asked me my favorite Harry Potter characters (Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood), the color of shirt I want (I have a predominantly black wardrobe), and the size (not telling).
So with bated breath, I waited to uncover the mystery of What the Box. What arrived was the stuff of childhood dreams. It’s a Harry Potter fanboy’s wet dream!
Here’s a breakdown of what I got:
I got two one-way tickets to the Hogwarts Express! To get to Hogwarts, students must take the Hogwarts Express from King’s Cross Station at Platform 9 3/4. To get to the train, you have to walk through the barrier between Platforms 9 and 10.
I also got a Chocolate Frog, a popular wizarding treat with collectible cards inside. I got Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore.
Of course, one of a wizard’s prized possessions is a wand, and I got this cool-looking wand pencil. This was clearly meant for me, as Mr. Ollivander once said (proprietor of wand shop Ollivanders, makers of wine wands since 382 BC): The wand chooses the wizard. My wand is 8″, hawthorn, unicorn hair. Or at least I imagine it to be.
I also got a Hermione Granger Funko Pop keychain! Hermione is my favorite character because she’s the smart one. One of my favorite lines in The Sorcerer’s Stone is when she says “Now, if you two don’t mind, I’m going to bed before either of you come up with another clever idea to get us killed or worse… expelled!” Even if she is intelligent and strong, I also like how author J.K. Rowling portrays her as feminine. Remember how she had a crush on her Defence Against the Dark Arts professor Gilderoy Lockhart in Chamber of Secrets?
Another favorite character is the loony Luna Lovegood, who comes in this cute polymer clay keychain from Kleyland. We are first introduced to Lovegood in Order of the Phoenix. She’s a Ravenclaw one year younger than Potter, and she is said to “believe 10 impossible things before breakfast.” She and her father, The Quibbler editor Xenophilius Lovegood, are some of the few people who believe Potter and Dumbledore that Voldemort has returned.
One of the key moments for first year students at Hogwarts is to get sorted into one of the four houses by a talking hat. The brave and courageous ones go to Gryffindor, the cunning ones go to Slytherin, the wise ones go to Ravenclaw, while the friendly and loyal ones go to Hufflepuff. Here’s my brother modeling a Sorted shirt from Strings Manila. I’m already claiming that I will get sorted into Ravenclaw. After all, the Sorting Hat takes your choice into account.
In the Sorcerer’s Stone, Dumbledore is tasked to protect the titular stone, which can change all metals to gold and can be used to brew a potion called the Elixir of Life to make the drinker immortal. And I now have it, courtesy of HP Wands! I also have a cute lightning bolt-shaped necklace from Fandom Trinkets, referencing Harry’s scar on his forehead, given to him by Voldemort.
The most badass item included in WTB is the Dark Mark tattoo from The Potter Heritage. The Dark Mark is a symbol used by Voldemort and his followers, the Death Eaters. It is flashed across the sky when they kill someone, and it is tattooed on the left forearm of Voldemort’s followers. Voldemort is connected to his followers through the mark: he can summon his followers by touching his Mark, and those who have it tattooed will feel a burning sensation.
There’s also this cool coin purse with the spell “Accio Galleons” printed on it. Accio is a summoning spell, and Galleons are the largest and most valuable coin in the British wizard currency. One of my favorite scenes in the movies is the one where Granger drinks Polyjuice Potion to transform herself into Bellatrix Lestrange and enter Gringotts, the wizarding bank.
As you can see, I am Harry Potter fanboy and had tons of fun reminiscing my childhood while going through the items What the Box sent me. The Harry Potter theme is for November, but you can still order the box from their Facebook page. Just visit https://facebook.com/whattheboxph. And for December, the theme is….
They’ve already posted sample items on their Facebook page, such as a BB-8 silicone ice tray and a Millennium Falcon bottle opener. No two boxes will be the same, so may the odds be ever in your favor! I wonder if they’ll do a Hunger Games box?
Are you excited to try out What the Box? Share your preferred theme below!
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