from hogwarts to the overlook hotel: my fictional bucket list

If you could jump inside one of your favourite book worlds, where would you go? Who would you meet? What would you do? I found this fun challenge from Wonderfullybookish‘s guest post on The Little Contemporary Corner who based the challenge on a video by jessethereader. All great book-related blogs/vlogs to check out! If you’re like me then you probably have way more than 10 things to put on this list. But after beating my brain and making some painful cuts, here is what I’ve come up with!

1. Purchase a Firebolt from Quality Quidditch Supplies in Diagon Alley (Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling)

What part of the Harry Potter universe am I most desperate to experience, you may ask? The answer is fairly straightforward: I want a broomstick. But not any broomstick. I want a Firebolt. My love of competitive sports growing up, especially soccer, made me desperate to go to Hogwarts so that I could play Quidditch, ideally as a Chaser. And while it was lovely for Harry to receive his Firebolt as a gift from Sirius, I wouldn’t have been able to contain myself from buying it while walking past Quality Quidditch Supplies in Diagon Alley (or from going on an irresponsible and irrational shopping spree in any of the shops). This bucket list item would require me to be rich in the Harry Potter universe, so I think I’d have to get a really really good job in order to afford it. Is Hogwarts looking for a librarian?

2. Play the Mind Game at my Desk in Battle School (Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card)

I love video games. I don’t play as much as I used to but I’m always willing to try something new. Most recently I grabbed Layers of Fear which I’ve managed to crawl my way partially through despite playing with my hand covering my eyes. When I read Ender’s Game during college I absolutely loved the whole idea of the Mind Game that acted as a form of psychological evaluation for the children in Battle School. The game changed depending on who was playing it and acted as a kind of open world puzzle simulator. There is more to this interesting piece of technology, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read the books, which I will always recommend!


3. Drink hot chocolate in Vianne Rocher’s chocolate shop in Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, France (Chocolat by Joanne Harris)

I’m pretty sure my blood is made of chocolate. I. love. chocolate. So naturally Joanne Harris’ cosy novel Chocolat was like a beautiful sweet dream. It’s the type of book that needs to be read under a warm comfy blanket with a fresh mug of hot chocolate, ideally made by Vianne Rocher in her small village shop in rural France. Having a bad day? Vianne has the chocolate for you. Who needs a doctor when your friend is a sort-of-secret-witch who also happens to be a chocolatier?


4. Attend Bilbo Baggins’ eleventy-first birthday party extravaganza (The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien)

Drunk hobbits, tons of food, beautiful music, and fireworks while dancing the night away under the stars? Count me in! The hobbits of Middle Earth are probably my favourite fantasy race of all time. They love to eat, gossip, drink good beer, and (at least one of them) throw amazing parties. What isn’t to love? Bilbo’s 111th birthday party was THE place to be in The Shire. And not only because of the festivities but also due to an impressive magic trick at the end of the night.


5. Hang out with The Losers Club in the Barrens (It by Stephen King)

The Losers Club was made up of a small group of outcasts who spent their time hanging out in a dense forest called The Barrens in the town of Derry, Maine. They built a clubhouse and a dam, listened to music, fought off bullies, and (outside of one fairly unmentionable event) spent their summer days like any group of school-aged children, minus the presence of a dimensional shapeshifting creature. Throughout the book, they develop such lovely friendships with each other that made me want to be a kid again so I could wander down to The Barrens and hang out with them as well. This book was a major dose of nostalgia and is a reminder of the joys and complexities of friendships between children. The Losers Club is the ideal friend group and one I would have loved to have been a part of when I was growing up. There was the small detail of Pennywise putting a damper on things… so maybe I’d want to visit The Barrens in a version of Derry that he didn’t exist in. But where’s the fun in that?


6. Stay the night at the Overlook Hotel (The Shining by Stephen King)

I love haunted houses. My mom and I have always half-joked about staying at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast. I say half-joked because if someone was to offer us a free night stay I’m pretty certain we would drop everything and go. So naturally, I want the opportunity to stay for a night at the Overlook Hotel so I can participate in some good old-fashioned ghost hunting, preferably during the offseason. In terms of creepy locations, the Overlook Hotel really does have it all. Complete isolation in the mountains, phantom parties in a stunning ballroom, hedge animals that come to life, twisting maze-like halls, and what seems to be a few hundred spirits that have decided to stick around to keep things interesting. The Torrence family are welcome to join me as long as someone other than Jack is keeping an eye on the boiler.


via Rising Sun Pictures

7. Spend an afternoon people watching in The Capital (Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins)

I have some beef with the Hunger Games trilogy, particularly with the third book (which I admit to abandoning before completion). But I need to give Collins credit for the fantastic and immersive world-building demonstrated in the first two books of the trilogy. Despite the rest of the world’s status of ‘dystopian hell’, The Capital seems to have everything that the districts do not. Briefly ignoring the monstrosities being committed and the implications that this level of wealth has on the outside population, everything about the over-the-top clothing, the futuristic glitz and glamour, the wild hair and towering skyscrapers, and the large-scale parties make The Capital sound like the number one place to do some high-quality people watching. But Katniss isn’t invited, I think she’d put a bit of a damper on the whole thing.


8. Dance the night away at one of Gatsby’s parties  (The Great Gatsby by Scott F. Fitzgerald)

Do I really need to elaborate on this one? I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t include an invitation to one of Jay Gatsby’s parties on their Fictional Bucket Lists. Jazz, 1920s fashion, mingling will people from various levels of society, and sneaking away to explore a beautiful waterfront mansion on Long Island… sounds like one hell of a night. And honestly not all that different from the spectacle of The Capital.


9. Sneak into the Restricted Section in the Hogwarts Library (Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling)

As soon as I found out Hogwarts library had a Restricted Section in the Philosophers Stone I wanted to dive into the pages and sneak inside. Luckily there were a number of instances in the books where Harry and Hermione visited this section of the library, but no one ever spent enough time there to satisfy my curiosity. If I was a student at Hogwarts and had an invisibility cloak in my possession I wouldn’t have been able to stop myself from constantly sneaking in after curfew. If the Harry Potter books had been written with Hermione as the main character I think we would have been blessed with a bit more library-related snooping.


10. Explore Wonderland (and take a seat at the mad tea party!) (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll)

Does anyone else feel like Alice never took advantage of her trip to Wonderland? This is one of my favourite stories of all time, but if I was in Alice’s shoes I think I would have approached my first trip to Wonderland a bit differently.  Yes, everyone is mad and I understand her frustration, but I think it would have paid to be a bit more pleasant to Wonderland’s creatures and spend more time enjoying herself than trying to get back to a life she found dreary and uneventful. Who knows what other secrets Wonderland has to offer? I’d love the chance to explore.

6 thoughts on “from hogwarts to the overlook hotel: my fictional bucket list

  1. Birgit says:

    Love your list but I don’t think I would ever read the Hunger Games as even the films don’t interest me much. I would love to just explore Hogwarts and go have some butter rum…if I remember correctly from the books. I would love to travel on the Orient Express and just be in one of those great English manors that are in Agatha Christie novels. I love Grimm Fairy Tales and would love to venture into the Beast’s castle and his grounds and live in the woods with Little Brother and Little Sister. For something haunted, I’d love to visit the Winchester house…truly remarkable and strange house that you must read about.

    • Ashley says:

      Hunger Games was one of those books that I didn’t think I would like and ended up loving. The second, Catching Fire, was also incredible (if not better than the first) but the third just kind of fell apart in my opinion. The movies were really fun but lacked some of the scifi elements that made the books interesting. But like the books, the third movie (which was split into two movies for whatever reason) wasn’t as interesting or re-watchable.

      I actually have butter beer! Daniel gets a case of them for me as part of my Christmas gifts and it’s amazing. I’ve also had it Harry Potter studios in London. It’s just as tasty as it sounds!

      I love your other choices, especially the Beast’s castle and grounds in Beauty and the Beast. I just watched the re-make of the film on our plane to Canada (the one with Emma Watson) and fell in love with the story all over again.

      The Winchester House is on my bucket list of places to visit! It’s so bizarre and wonderful.

    • Ashley says:

      That’s fair enough! I thought they’d be more unconventional choices ;). Diagon Alley and Gatsby’s mansion would be absolutely amazing though, wouldn’t they? Thank goodness for books so we can visit these places over and over again!

Leave a Reply