The Harry Potter Exhibition has moved into Times Square, and there's an unlikely star of the show. Daniel Radcliffe deserves his due. But truth be told, take a bunch of teenagers, and Robert Pattinson steals the show out from beneath the boy wonder.
The show (to which I received free tickets courtesy of host venue Discovery Times Square) is in its first last American stop on what will be an international tour of artifacts from the Harry Potter films. You'll excuse me for initially forgetting the R-Patz role as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He wasn't exactly in my mind as I walked in with my 5-year-old and two teenagers, 14 and 18.
My 5-year-old, after all, has only been allowed to see the early films, while the teens and I have watched all the way up through Deathly Hallows Part One and are eagerly anticipating part two. But it was just after the 5-year-old had climbed onto a footstool and been "sorted" by a pleasant witch with a British accent holding the sorting hat just a few inches above her head when I was filled with a sense of foreboding worse than a Potter fan's angst when a new film director's about to be announced.
Step into room two, darkness descends and a series of screens lit up with scenes from the films. And as Voldemort reared his ugly head, sending my 5-year-olds scrambling up the 18-year-old's body and into her arms, I began to get the picture of what this exhibition was.
Not a place for little kids. A place for teenagers. Teenagers who grew up reading the books and are still in that "OMG, Daniel Radcliffe wore those sneakers" stage. Or, to be more exact: "OMG, ROBERT PATTINSON WORE THAT QUIDDITCH ROBE."
Pattinson wasn't there. No one is actually there in Discovery Times Square, save for the museum docents who keep a heavy eye on the teens wandering around screeching about Pattinson and poring over the rather still (read: entirely too boring for little kids) pieces that appeared in the films. Which turns the exhibition from an experience of Harry Potter and into an experience of the movies. Not a bad experience, mind you. It was, in a word, bewitching (I'd apologize for the pun, but really it's quite fitting of a path from the childhood clothes of a pint-size Radcliffe to that of today's strapping lad). But I'll readily admit it's not what a mom with her little kids is expecting.
It's more befitting the teens who have given Pattinson his taste of true superstardom, the Twilight generation who will be impressed as much that they're standing in the same room with something Pattinson wore as they would be getting insight into what J.K. Rowling had in mind as her books were translated to the big screen. Stardom is something today's teen can almost taste. Heck, I'm a grown woman, and I could feel that little "ooh, mega star" tingle in my tummy.
So it was no surprise that at the end of the 14,000-square-foot path through Hagrid's cottage and past the two spots for youngsters to get interactive (yes, we could have spent all day throwing quaffles through the hoop in the Quidditch section, but there were people behind us, so we pushed onward toward creepy Death Eater Masks) was a big store filled with all the Potter paraphernalia a teen could spend her money on.
And who got his own magnet to sell to the masses? Was it Alan Rickman, aka Severus Snape, star of eight Potter films? Or Robby Coltrane, aka Hagrid, and again star of all eight films?
No and no. It was Robert Pattinson, hung high on the magnet board just outside the exhibition. A bit player in one Harry Potter film that dates back to 2005. And yet, it seemed right somehow to see Pattinson and Potter celebrated together: two British transplants who have grown in the past decade to American superstars.
Do you recall Pattinson's turn as Diggory in Goblet of Fire? Were you a fan back then?
Images via Nancy Hoft/Flickr; Warner Brothers