Guys . . . I Saw J. K. Rowling. 😱

I sometiems get nervous telling someone I’m a Harry Potter fan. Mainly . . . telling a Christian someone that I’m a Harry Potter fan. All because of the ol’ controversy about magic. Which has some valid points, but also which gets blown out of proportion most of the time. Aaaaaanyway . . . we each have our own story. Mine is that Harry Potter changed my life. But that’s a story for another day. It is applicable today, however, because I want to tell you about the day I saw J. K. Rowling.

This, my friends, is an Adventuring Author post. I do these sometimes–share an adventure of mine just because life is meant to be shared. Adventures inspire us. I love reading about other people’s travels and seeing their photos and living vicariously through them. After all, isn’t that one reason we read books? To go on an adventure and emerge inspired?


Last weekend, Hubby and I traveled to New York to have a “weekend away” and celebrate our 5-year anniversary a bit early. We did New Yorky things such as walking everywhere (so much walking!), eating giant slices of pizza, going to a Broadway show, and pretending we were being attacked by pigeons in Central Park. (Home Alone 2, anyone?). But one specific event made us choose New York for our little “getaway” . . . and that was the chance to see J. K. Rowling in person.

How did this J. K. Rowling thing happen?

It was a special event to raise money for Rowling’s charity, Lumos. Way back when, we bought tickets to attend Carnegie Hall for the early screening of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as well as hear J. K. Rowling speak. #fangirl

j k rowling lumos fantastic beasts

She didn’t talk about just anything. She talked about Lumos.

Lumos is about ending institutionalization around the world and it’s something that I strongly believe in. My first ever trip out of the country was to an orphanage in Russia when I was 14. As I walked through the doors, two little girls ran into my arms. I didn’t know them. I’d never seen them before. We didn’t even speak the same language. But they needed love. Kind physical contact. Hugs. And so much more.

Often times children don’t get that in an orphanage–even if the orphanage (on a rare occasion) is doing it’s absolute best to provide it. Orphanages just aren’t set up to provide this. Here is an informational video about it

It was an honor to be able to support what they’re doing. The charity is set up and projects to be able to end institutionalization completely by 2050.

So that is part of my J. K. Rowling story. We won’t talk about how I waited in a line for 3 hours to try and meet her (to no avail) or how I managed to make it all the way to the Carnegie Hall House Manager to try and get a letter delivered to her. (Still waiting to hear back on that one. 😛 ) Or how I squealed so loudly when she walked on stage that I startled even the resident mice.

What else happened in New York?

The Lumos screening was just one night–and a wonderful one at that! But there was much more to our adventure than just the movie screening. We explored Central Park and it was far more gorgeous than even I had imagined from the movies I’ve seen. Not creepy at all! (Though we only explored about 5% of it, if that.) We found the Plaza Hotel (serious Home Alone 2 obsession, here.) and then whistled the Home Alone song all day long. In fact, we’re watching the movie tonight! Ha! Who cares that it’s still November? BRING ON THE CHRISTMAS MOVIES! (I blame it on New York.)

the plaza hotel

I’m WAY too excited about spotting this hotel…

We bypassed the Empire State Building and didn’t even realize that we’d passed it. Yeah. That was weird. We took pictures of Sara Ella’s book, Unblemished, at locations mentioned in her book (because it takes place in Central Park! How cool is that?) We visited the giant library with the lion’s heads (boooooooks!), OH! and we saw this little Broadway show called WICKED.

wicked broadway

It’s a retelling of The Wizard of Oz, but mainly about the wicked witch and her story as she grew up. It’s the beeeeest! And hubby really enjoyed it, too. Galinda’s voice was exquisite and she totally stole the show. I’ve been humming the songs ever since we returned and I’m hoping that this will get hubby addicted to the theater so we can go ALL THE TIME. (Though maybe not all the way to New York.)

What did I think about New York?

Very different than Missouri. 😛 I enjoyed seeing so many places that I recognized from movies. There were people everywhere and the amount of walking was awful and awesome at the same time. (I love using my feet to get places!) It was freezing and neither hubby or I packed appropriately, but we braved the cold anyway. I found it interesting that, because the buildings are so tall you hardly encounter the sun all day! O.o It just doesn’t make it into the alleys or roads for very long.

The smells of New York were, well…varied. Sometimes it was a fresh pretzel on the street corner, and other times it was the piles of trash bags everywhere waiting to be picked up (I assumed.) We had difficulty finding an “in between” place to eat. It was either a fast-food style restaurant that didn’t provide seating, or a sit-down restaurant that demanded your first born child as payment. When in doubt…EAT PIZZA. The pizza was good, guys.

Overall, it was an exciting three-day adventure that sent me back home with inspiration to write (and watch Home Alone 2). That’s a glimpse of my story. Now I want to know yours:

Where is the last place you traveled? What did you do?

If you could go to New York, what’s the first thing you’d do/see?




About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. I so know what you mean about Christians and magic and Harry Potter. I read them for the first time this past summer and was surprised that there is so much controversy over the story. Yet I am still hesitant to share that I’ve read the series with some people. I’d love to hear how Harry Potter changed your life, if you are willing to share!

    When I hear stories about orphanages or foster care my heart melts and I want to adopt all the children!! Hopefully my future husband will agree 🙂

    Your trip to New York sounds amazing! And seeing Wicked too! I’d be singing the songs for the rest of the year :). Are you into other musicals? I’ve been singing Hamilton pretty much all year xD

  2. I love NY-style pizza. And I remember dragging my feet on reading HP due to the controversy. And then when I was challenged to read it and form my own opinion, I ended up inhaling the series. lol
    I’m not sure what I think of Lumos – it’s a complicated issue for sure.

    • NY-style pizza was delish!!

      And it took me a lot of digging and watching Q&As and educating myself about Lumos before I fully got on board. 🙂 You’re right–it’s definitely a complicated issue. One for good discussion, though!

  3. OH MY! YES, yes, yes. I am now officially jealous of you. Ha! But I love Rowling’s heart for children and her Lumos organization. I definitely want to visit NYC one of these days.

    My last adventure……we took the kiddos to Legoland in Dallas for their birthdays. We are looking forward to our next adventure in Reno, Nevada next year! IF all goes as planned. 😀

    Glad to hear you are inspired!

  4. I moved to Puerto Rico and sometimes it feels like a vacation! There are beautiful beaches to go to all year around.

    I understand the controversy about Harry Potter, I don’t really talk about it much either. THOUGH I LOVED THE BOOKS!

    I’d love to go to Broadway and see Hamilton!!!


    Seriously though, that is SO cool! I may or may not be feeling slightly jealous over here 😀 So glad you posted about all of this, it was super fun to read!

    I love the Harry Potter series so much – but the controversy is definitely real. I too would like to hear how Harry Potter changed your life (only if you want to share that, of course) *nodnod*.

    • It was amazing and I’m still not sure I’ve comprehended the fact that I saw her in person. LOL

      I’ll definitely be sharing my story about the HP series sometime soon on my blog! 🙂

  6. That’s so awesome!! I REALLY want to see WICKED! I listen to the music all the time! And New York?? That’d be SO COOL.

    EEK. JK ROWLING!! I sent her a letter earlier this year, saying how she as a person (I hadn’t finished all of the books yet) inspired me so much – it was, like, four pages or something. I got a letter back from her secretary saying that (unfortunately) JK Rowling couldn’t read it. But I DID get her autograph, and a fancy collector’s wand. And I got it back a week or so after my birthday. Pretty cool. 🙂

    I REALLY hope that JK Rowling gets your letter and answers it!

    • I hope you get a chance to see Wicked! It’s fantastic.

      That’s SO cool that you got an autograph and a collector’s wand from JK Rowling’s secretary! I love that you tried sending her a letter. I hope someday you get one to her in person!

      I’ll definitely let you know if I find out that JK Rowling got my letter. 😀

  7. That sounds like such an awesome time! Home Alone 2, Unblemished photoshoot, a Broadway play, meeting a favorite author, seeing Fantastic Beasts (how was it?!), and exploring the city. Looks like it was a memorable trip! 🙂
    I really want to actually visit the city one day. (I’ve been in NYC, but my dad doesn’t like big cities, so I haven’t got to opportunity to explore all the famous places. ) But if I went…. Maybe Ellis Island/The Statue of Liberty? I have this dream to take my great-grandmother’s photos of when she went to NYC when she was 18, and do a then and now photo trip. I think it would be so much fun.
    The last place I went to was NC. I may or may not have had an hour long experience being lost on the way home (at night) because my GPS was being all wacko and bringing me to a highway that was closed for construction. :b

    • Yes, how was Fantastic Beasts? My younger sisters and I are thinking about going to see it *nodnod*

    • I enjoyed Fantastic Beasts! The first time around–since we were in Carnegie Hall–we couldn’t hear half the dialogue. I had to go see it a second time to fully understand the story, but I enjoyed it much more the second time through!

      That “Then and now” trip idea is ADORABLE!!! What a special memory that would be! I hope you do it someday!

  8. The last place I traveled was Nova Scotia, for a mission trip to work at a camp. It was a beautiful country, especially along the coast!

    And OH I WANT TO GO TO NEW YORK SO BADLY. I want to see Ellis Island and the World Trade Center (er…One World Trade Center?) and yessss all those places from movies!

  9. OH MY GOSH I’M JEALOUS. Home Alone is one of my favorite all time FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIES AND I WANT TO OWN IT now LOL. Anyhow that is really cool I love the photo and I am more excited about that than JK Rowling HA. I’m like sitting here yelling at the screen because your photo is SO AWESOME lol. My husband is like…”ookay.”

    Congrats on 5 years and happy Anniversary and seriously though congrats on seeing JK Rowling that is definitely not an everyday feat!

  10. If I ever went to NY I would TOTALLY go to Central Park. Also, I definitely wouldn’t mind a Broadway show, but which one, which one??? And I’d probably visit the 2 towers memorial. Thank you for sharing this awesome adventure!!

  11. I have a love/hate relationship with New York City ;D
    You see, I lived on the east coast for 2 and a half years, and we went up to NYC a few times a year. We saw Wicked too (*squeals* it’s awesome!!!!) And i loved just the overall feel of most of the city.
    But we had lots of encounters with … odd … people 😛

    I’m glad you had fun AND OH MY GOSH YOU SAW JK ROWLING?!?!? O.O that is amazing :DDD

    YEEEEES HOME ALONE. Watching those movies is seriously like an annual thing for me.

    Happy 5 year anniversary 🙂

  12. WICKED!!!!!! B

I love hearing from you!