On 9th July 2016, The Speakeasy team watched all eight Harry Potter films consecutively on Yasmin and Marika‘s suggestion. Many of the team didn’t make it. Yasmin and Marika aren’t sorry that it happened, but here they discuss the very real, emotional stages of a Harry Potter marathon.
Look, the most insane way to spend a weekend is to do a Harry Potter marathon. That’s just the situation. You might think that there’s nothing more relaxing than spending 21 hours on the comfiest couch in the world with the people you love to laugh with, lots of food, and all eight Harry Potter movies in a consecutive fashion. You might think that. But you would be wrong.
We don’t want to mislead you; this was one of the most hilarious, bizarre, and sincerely fun weekends of our lives, but it was also an emotional rollercoaster. It was amazing, devastating, and eye-opening. You learn a lot about yourself and your colleagues of less than three months when you have voluntarily (but certainly naively) locked yourself in a room with them. What comes next is an in depth analysis of the wacky management of a magical and (debatably) fictional school. But that’s just the start.
We will tell you now – nothing can prepare you for what will happen to your sanity in a Harry Potter marathon. Will it break friendships? Will it strengthen them? You know you could leave if you wanted to, and you do want to, but deep down, you know you really don’t want to. To sum it up in one sentence; a Harry Potter marathon is a lot like a regular game of Monopoly that lasts a day, but lacks the pure satisfaction of chucking the board and/or fake money at your opponents. Who are we kidding? It is so much worse than a regular game of monopoly.
We are not quitters at The Speakeasy. We are Harry Potter fans. And Harry Potter fans are resilient. We want to take you on a journey of the mental states we went through and even though we will lay them out for you, it may be one of those things you need to experience for yourself (but please, do so with great caution and preparation). So, keeping that in mind, here they are. These are the five emotional stages of a Harry Potter marathon for an avid Harry Potter fan.
1. 7:46am: Hope. Like, “Oh, yeah, we are totally doing this”.
Look at us in this video. Look how chipper we were. We were so pepped up. Harry Potter glasses and Hufflepuff beanies. Wands at the ready… Such excitement for what was ahead! This was filmed at 7:46am on Saturday, fifteen minutes before the marathon started. We filled up on croissants, pancakes, fruit, and snuggled up to each other the way best friends do to prepare for what lay ahead.
Marika, Yasmin, Shawn, Lisa, and Brian: the eager five that were there from the beginning. Those who were travelling had to stop at four separate bakeries at 5:30am because no-one had finished baking their pastries yet, but eventually had to settle for the shitty Pak N Save ones in a desperate need to follow through with our breakfast food promises. Yasmin and Lisa got up slowly at 6:00am, devouring pancakes and syrup, and drinking tea. We thought we were prepared. We thought we had the next 23 hours sussed. Blankets? Check. Food? Check. Tea? Check. Friendship? Check. At this point we believed nothing could break our spirit.
Shawn and Marika may have had an uncomfortable realisation that reviewing a gig (also attended by Nathan, Mihaljo, and Oliver who will show up later) into the early hours of the morning the night before was probably not a wise move. But we love The Speakeasy. And we love Harry Potter. And love is pain.
2. 1:12pm: Complete Enjoyment. i.e. “This is the best decision we’ve ever made”.
Nathan, Mihaljo, and Oliver arrived! Nathan and Mihaljo cooked us up some sweet bacon butties and the first two movies were mainly filled with banter and jabs at how badly Hogwarts is managed. Who locks a door to a room with a three headed dog that is designed to kill intruders only to allow it to be opened by Alohamora?! Hermione was eleven and she figured it out in seconds!
Still snuggled into our blankets and plenty of food to keep us comfortable, it occurred to Marika that, somehow, midday had passed us. Time during a Harry Potter marathon is like time on an aeroplane: long, but it all sort of blends together. We started really early and two movies had finished so it must have been 10:00am, right? No. It was early afternoon already. This was going to be easy. Time was flying (pun intended). We had this in the bag. Watch us and weep, world.
What we didn’t register is that losing track of time doesn’t always mean you’re having fun. We just weren’t quite aware of it yet. Yasmin does mention in this video that “everyone’s getting a bit delusional”, but it was said in jest at this point. We were delusional in a cute way; discussing how concerned we were that no one cleaned up Hogwarts and the caretaker didn’t like children anyway. This banter perhaps foreshadowed what was to come, but in no way that we could have expected.
3. 6:43pm: Delirious. That is, “We’re having balls of fun but have also realised we are tired”.
Alrighty, there are two definitions for the word ‘delirious’ and we absolutely mean both of them:
- to be in a state of wild excitement or ecstasy.
- to be in an acutely disturbed state of mind characterised by restlessness, illusions, and incoherence; affected by delirium.
It didn’t set in straight away, that’s for sure. We scoffed down lasagne and salad for dinner that Yasmin’s lovely mother had hand made and delivered to our front door, we had some Quidditch pong going on, Johan arrived with stashes of M&Ms and barista made coffee… It was all go!
Adding a drinking game into the mix was probably not our finest idea. It is, in our professional Harry Potter loving opinion, where it all started to go wrong. But, alas, we did it anyway and as a result of the very unspecific rules as well as Shawn making new ones up like his life depended on it, what happened is exactly what you might expect. A short lived spurt of a very happy, very drunk Speakeasy team followed by a very tired, very grumpy Speakeasy team.
We started to worry that we may not make it through the entire marathon. We were uncertain about our life choices. I mean, we love Harry Potter. What kind of fans would we be if we just fell asleep in one of the movies?? It was unfathomable. We chose denial. We decided that we would make it through the marathon because it is WHO WE ARE. Making a decision though, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to happen. We might decide today that we are going to become engineers over night. We might mean it. But sadly, based on a plethora of variables, the likelihood of us following through are very, very slim. You see where this is going, right?
4. 12:31am: Troubled. As in, “It still sounds like a good idea but we are living it and it’s not”.
It’s time to get real with you, Marika spent most of the fifth movie trying not to fall asleep but she probably (definitely) did because when asked, she didn’t remember watching any of it after Harry’s trial. Denial was important during this movie too and we both managed to convince ourselves that we made it through the entire thing. We were so determined to get through all eight movies in one go. After all, it was our idea in the first place. And so we confess that we are liars. We slept and if sleep is for the weak then we are weak and we are not sorry.
The real disaster hit at around midnight, though, when we realised that we were nearly out of food. It turns out food is essential for staying awake. Nothing provides more motivation than a full bag of crispy M&Ms. This is something that took time to realise, though. We initially thought that sitting around for a day would not require so many calories in, but we were craving M&Ms (Marika: M&Ms are my jam), another round of croissants (M: croissants are my cream cheese with jam), and more Tim Tams (M: Tim Tams are my Tim Jams). But even if there were any stores open at that hour, we couldn’t leave the house – not least of all because three of us were most certainly over the legal limit to drive. We were confined to that room for many more hours.
The sixth movie was memorable because Marika had a full-blown tantrum – probably as a direct result of the lack of M&Ms in the immediate vicinity. Exhaustion hit and Shawn was telling her to sleep which she was adamantly refusing to do even though she was not what we would call “fully conscious and/or mentally stable”. It got to the point where she realised Shawn was right. She believed she was weak for not being able to sit on the same couch staring at a TV screen for 15 hours at this point, and she started screaming how tired she was to which everyone sort of shrugged like, “Well… yeah”.
That’s when Marika retreated to the bedroom for twenty minutes of rest. Back to the aeroplane analogy; as comfy as the couch was, there was six of us on it. You couldn’t lie down. So unless you wanted to sleep upright in an aeroplane seat position, you had to physically leave the room to claim Yasmin’s horizontal bed for a short while and attempt to find your sanity in the process. Sanity was not found in full until about two days after the marathon ended, but we’ll get to that later. We maintain that napping is not a failure. We at The Speakeasy are many things but we are not failures.
5. 5:03am: Completely unhinged. In other words, “What is happening?”
Well, we completed it. We fell asleep for a lot of it but we are only human. Why should we deny sleep; one of the things that keeps us alive? Many people only dream of doing the marathon, but we turn dreams into realities which might be better kept as dreams. But who would we be if we didn’t? Not The Speakeasy, that’s not who. As Yasmin respectfully told us to get the fuck out of her house, we realised that if we can get through this then, as a team, we can get through anything. It gave us a new communal strength and reinforced our bond as co-workers and as friends. Who knew Harry Potter could be so enlightening?
Both of us were only back to full energy about two and a half days after the marathon ended. We tentatively spoke to others almost a week later and they were still feeling the effects. This will be a sensitive subject for a long time. It was a crazy all-nighter, except instead of getting smashed on alcohol (well, some of us were that too) we smashed our perceptions of reality and realised that our movie-watching aspirations sounded much more appealing on paper.
We’ve had people tell us it was stupid. We’ve had people tell us they want to do the marathon too, but when asked if they have seen the last two videos we recorded, the answer is always no. There have been mixed reactions but the fact of the matter is, that was a crazy weekend that we will be talking about in the years to come. And if life isn’t about creating crazy stories then we are living it all wrong.