If You Buy a Harry Potter Engagement Ring You Are Probably Awesome

22 Jan

A brief response to Kelly Conaboy’s post on Gawker, “If You Buy a Harry Potter Engagement Ring You Should Not Get Married“:

1. There are some very excellent reasons that people should not get married. They include such things as “the couple is too young to legally marry,” or “the couple believes marriage is an outdated patriarchal institution based on the premise that women are property,” or, especially, “the couple does not wish to get married.” However, nowhere on that list of reasons why two loving, consenting adults should not marry is “because they both like Harry Potter-themed jewellery.” No matter what your opinion of the oeuvre of J.K. Rowling, the fact that two grown-ass people who love each other also love her books does not mean they are somehow too immature to wed.

2. How about just being happy that people who share the same passions and interests have found each other and apparently delight in each other’s company? No one is making you, Kelly Conaboy, marry someone who likes to read intelligent social commentary disguised as fiction about teenage wizards. I fail to understand how it somehow impacts you that someone else who is completely separate from your life loves Quidditch enough to want to own this ring:


3. I’m sorry, but no one who had to google the words “Golden Snitch” is fit to write about a ring that represents the Golden Snitch.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 9.11.10 PM

That’s like asking me, the person whose idea of haute cuisine is dumping a can of Campbell’s into a dented old pot, to write a column about cooking. Also, the fact that Conaboy twice implies that she didn’t know what a Golden Snitch was reeks  of performative ignorance.

We get it, Kelly, you are too cool and grownup for Harry Potter. Do you have any other points you wish to make.

4. Writes Conaboy:

‘Imagine this scenario: The adult female on whom you have spent the past seven years of your life takes you to the top of a mountain. She pulls out a ring. “Is that?” “Yes—the Golden Snitch,” she says. She has proposed to you with a ring you recognize as the smallest ball—the name of which both of you know—used in the broomstick game child wizard Harry Potter plays during his downtime. Two adults standing on top of a mountain with a ring from a series of young adult novels neither of whom were, even at the time of publishing, the correct age to read. A Harry Potter engagement ring.’

While I get that she’s trying to be pithy and clever, there are a few issues here.

First of all, Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone was published in 1997. Assuming the “correct age” to read that book is the same age as the protagonists – eleven years old – those readers would now be 28, which is a decade above the legal marriageable age in most states and provinces.

Second of all, there is no correct age to read Harry Potter books because they are great books.


If you need a refresher on the deep and complicated theory behind this last point, might I direct you to Nicole Cliffe’s fantastic piece On Subcultures. Specifically, you should read this part:

‘There are people who respond to other people having fun in ways that are alien to them with inexplicable rage and contempt. This is, honestly, one of the worst things you can do to yourself as a person of something resembling character. I kind of do it around things like Burning Man, which is silly. Obviously, if people really love Burning Man then they should just burn their little hearts out with great joy and abandon. And we should remember that other people probably feel this way about things we like. If you’re a Doctor Who fan, and you’ve ever tried to show someone an episode of Doctor Who, and it’s been a dismal failure, and they’ve tried to get YOU to align yourself with their vaguely snide amusement by saying things like “so, I assume the special effects are deliberately bad on purpose, right?” or “wait, how many of these have you SEEN?” or, worst of all “how does anyone stand the Doctor?” then you should know better. Perhaps the single greatest summation of this concept being “don’t yuck on someone else’s yums.”‘

Everyone likes different things. Some people like things you think are stupid or boring or pretentious – and you are entitled to that opinion! That being said, it’s pretty crummy to use your opinion as a way to make other people feel small. Also, your personal taste in books or television or leisure activities are not the official determinant of who’s allowed to get married.

6. I would be way, way more concerned about adults buying each other rings that reference something like Atlas Shrugged, a book that is purportedly for adults but, in my experience, is mostly beloved by neo-Libertarian fifteen year olds. But you know what? Even Ayn Rand fans need love (and jewellery) too.


30 Responses to “If You Buy a Harry Potter Engagement Ring You Are Probably Awesome”

  1. AthenaC January 22, 2015 at 3:05 am #

    Random tip – click on the link to the post. The ring looks a LOT more like the snitch in the picture on that site with the different lighting and actually being on a finger.

  2. Kennedy January 22, 2015 at 3:12 am #

    Thanks for this. God, her whole stupid article just smacks of bitterness and condescension. She seems so appalled by a decision made by two consenting adults, whom she does not know. I don’t understand. And she goes on and on about how these people are too immature to be married, but I think her post reflects more on her immaturity than anything. What she writes says more about her than it does about the people buying this ring. And I have to say, I was loving the comment section!

  3. Tori January 22, 2015 at 3:50 am #

    Things that are all simultaneously true in this world:
    I am a pretty damn good grown up. I’m in a caretaking profession, I pay my bills on time, I set out the recycling, and I… well, I don’t clip coupons, but I do shop grocery specials. I was 31 when I got married, and my adultness was well established prior to marriage.
    My partner and I had been together for about 5 years before our wedding. We very demonstrably had and have a relationship that is based on mutual respect, communication, affection, and passion. Being with this person continues to be awesome, each and every day.
    We had our wedding rings custom made. I had a basic design, that I gave to the jeweler, which had a triangular blue gemstone, based on: 1) I like blue and thought it was pretty; 2) the triangle cut made it extra sparkly (good for gemstones, less good for vampires).

    Nothing about the last reason in any way impedes the first two notes.

  4. karlamarieroldan January 22, 2015 at 4:00 am #

    You are definitely right! I can’t understand her premise…

  5. d.sanders January 22, 2015 at 5:58 am #

    Honestly, she is hating on people AND can’t get the facts straight. As a 25 year old who grew up alongside Mr. Potter, THANKS for calling her out on the “correct age to read” comment. The first generation of Harry Potter fans are (gasp!) adults now. To each their own. Though for the record, I think the snitch engagement ring is sweet–we all know how hard they are to catch after all.

  6. hananon90 January 22, 2015 at 6:07 am #

    Well said!

  7. ddmoonsong January 22, 2015 at 7:06 am #

    Wow I wish my bf liked to read and was as obsessed with the HP books as I am! That being said, last year I was bridesmaid to a couple who had an elf-themed wedding – YES everything from the bride and bridegroom’s get-ups (complete with flesh toned plastic ear tips), the rings, the music, etc, was modeled on the Lord of the Rings’ elves. And guess what? IT WAS AWESOME. What’s more important, THEY WERE HAPPY. They took a splendid elf-style photoshoot in a wood too. So, why should anyone butt their nose in and criticize them? Whose business is it if you want your wedding to pertain to a certain style and spend your money for it? NO ONE’s.

    Great entry :0)

  8. PenMan January 22, 2015 at 9:18 am #

    Love your post. Ayn Rand reads like glass in my eye. But I’m trying to love her.

  9. dhwanis January 22, 2015 at 9:31 am #

    I LOVE this!! I wish people who have not read the books should stop commenting on the said books or judge people who do read and love them!

  10. viviennemarks January 22, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    Love this! And thanks for pointing out the whole “proper age” weirdness, too. I mean, I was eight when I started in on HP, and I’m 22 now, an age when many people (though not me at the moment) get married.

    Also, that Snitch ring was adorable, and could be part of a really cute proposal spiel– “I’ve been Seeking you out my whole life, and if you’ll marry me, I’ll be a winner,” or some such endearing goofiness.

  11. ddl January 22, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

    I love this. “Don’t yuck on someone else’s yums.” Worth quoting. Love the ring too! And I like stickers. As a 45 year old. Stick ’em!

  12. Lil January 22, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

    Even having read all the HP books (in my 40s – GASP!) I wouldn’t have know it was the golden snitch – but all I can say is, damn, that’s a cool looking ring.

  13. Very Bangled January 22, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

    Gawker posts a lot of interesting articles but they also are total masters of bullying anyone or anything that is different.

  14. kirkykoo79 January 22, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

    This reminds me of those adults who look down on other adults for their taste in music. When you’re 15, the band you like (or claim to like) often does say a lot about you as a person. If it’s still your main criteria for making friends 10+ years later, you’re probably the one who needs to grow up!

  15. Lyla Michaels January 22, 2015 at 5:03 pm #

    Reblogged this on Conversations I Wish I Had and commented:
    You say it!

  16. armsakimbobook January 22, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

    No kidding! Thanks for this.

  17. MrsH January 22, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    Yes! I agree, I thought the ring looked fabulous and the article was bitter – how sad to be that buttoned up that you can’t indulge your child side and have fun!

  18. diahannreyes January 23, 2015 at 12:34 am #

    A golden snitch engagement ring.. why didn’t I think of that? very cool idea.

  19. jasminehoneyadams January 23, 2015 at 6:42 pm #

    I’m 28. I read HP when it first came out. My 11th birthday was in November 1997. I got married last year. My wedding was Luna Lovegood themed (complete deliciously random anarchic whimsy) and included a rocking horse that I repurposed into a drinks dispenser. The venue was we just turned up at a park and had a big party. My husband got married in a silver and blue suit of armor. He’s 36 (and doesn’t really care much for Harry Potter but loves anything whimsical). We have been in a stable relationship for 5 years, earn over £40,000 a year between us and have our own home. I think something like 50% of weddings end after the first 3 years?? If that’s the case, then surely MORE people should be themselves BEFORE they get married, because then they won’t be as likely to cite irreconcilable differences when the Sylvanian Families house gets pride of place on the mantelpiece. I hate this thing where people have to act like they’re not themselves until the day after the wedding then they wonder why it all goes to pieces. Also (not my website) Offbeat Bride features loads of weddings with details like this. Would pay to watch one of those Youtube Reaction Videos of Kelly Conaboy when she saw some of the weddings on there. They’re amazing.

  20. Tony Camilleri January 23, 2015 at 7:53 pm #

    Nobody would bat an eye if someone’s adult engagement was “The Little Prince” inspired or drew on Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales. In time youth literature becomes classic literature and becomes acceptable even to those who act like cultural police.

    In this situation the connection between capturing the Quidditch and winning one’s heart’s love is nice and neat. I’m sure it has special meaning to the pair involved and that’s all that matters. (Well, that and the ethical problems with sourcing gem stones and precious metals – another matter entirely).

  21. Kirstin Withajaye January 23, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

    I love my engagement ring SO MUCH but if my husband had given me a golden snitch ring . . . o man. So much glee. Let’s just say I proposed to him a year and a half before he proposed to me (we weren’t even dating yet) when he interrupted a word game we were playing with each other with a Harry Potter quote. I knew I had found my soul mate right then. In fact, our vows concluded with the binding words “For all of space and time, Always.”

    Thanks so much for your wise words. I especially love “Everyone likes different things. Some people like things you think are stupid or boring or pretentious – and you are entitled to that opinion! That being said, it’s pretty crummy to use your opinion as a way to make other people feel small.” Such good advice.

  22. Anna (Film Grimoire) January 24, 2015 at 5:21 am #

    Serious applause happening here. If someone proposed to me with a Harry Potter themed engagement ring I would be one hundred per cent totally stoked, and I’m 27. That ring is bad ass.

  23. johnberk January 25, 2015 at 8:32 pm #

    I don’t earn enough to buy a house, yet I’m married to an immigrant. I think that the marriage was more about getting papers for her than anything else. But I’m OK with that. People should get a better opportunity, and I love her enough to allow her to get a better life. £40,000 sounds like an awful much money. Anyway, I would prefer a real flying drone instead of a ring that only resembles a flying object.

  24. youngjamaican January 26, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

    absolutely wonderful read.

  25. whenyoustopdigging February 5, 2015 at 11:49 pm #

    I am completely, dorkily in love with your blog. I would totally buy you a Harry Potter ring. I’m guessing you’d be House Ravenclaw?

    • bellejarblog February 6, 2015 at 1:14 am #


  26. arlenesquivel69 February 24, 2015 at 8:16 pm #

    Reblogged this on arlen esquivel.

  27. twistermania May 7, 2015 at 2:14 am #

    I love this post .. Really admire your style of writing I can really use a few pointers from you

  28. twistermania May 7, 2015 at 2:14 am #

    Reblogged this on twistermania.


  1. Sunday Round-Up – The Best of What I’ve Read this Week | Alpha Female, Mainstream Cat - January 27, 2015

    […] If You Buy a Harry Potter Engagement Ring, You are Probably Awesome – Don’t yuck on someone’s yums. […]

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