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Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Harry Potter ‘Reborn Baby Dolls’: Harry Potter Fever Just Went Too Far

By Carmel Lobello Tuesday, July 19, 2011
After reading about the art of “reborning,” I want to cry, get my tubes tied, and volunteer to help women who are experiencing any of the various kinds of psychological pain associated with motherhood. If you’ve never heard of the hobby, reborners are artisan doll-makers who make intensely realistic newborn babies out of vinyl and sell them to a variety of people, some of whom have recently lost a child.

Nothing about the life-size vinyl creatures, with their bulging eyes, wet hair (presumably from placenta?) and scabbed-over belly-buttons say “play with me,” which is why it seems odd—possibly even disturbing— that one talented reborn artist decided to create a series of babies based on the “Harry Potter” characters.
The incredible craftsmanship serves to make them even more alarming. Hermione and Malfoy look like fairly normal babies, which is creepy and stuff, while Snape looks like a grumpy onyx-haired newborn with a misshapen head, probably from difficult childbirth.

The Harry Potter baby wears a fresh scar that looks disturbingly painful on such a real-looking model, and as io9 pointed out, baby Voldemort is utterly horrifying.

But what’s even creepier than the dolls themselves is that they play almost perfectly into the depressing culture surrounding reborns.

Most reborn customers are older women, some who are regular doll collectors. Others, though, are purchasing the pricey dolls in response to “empty-nest” syndrome, or because they are unable to get pregnant and can’t afford adoption. Still others buy them after suffering miscarriages or losing a child of their own.

The creators play into this tragic trend, and many of the dolls are purchased through a faux adoption process which includes fake birth-certificates and paperwork. Owners often form attachments to their dolls, changing their clothes, washing their hair and cuddling them.

Some psychiatrists believe the little dolls can give women peace and comfort later in life, while others advise against it.

While it’s comforting that the dolls provide peace for some women, the whole thing is dark—darker than The Dark Year or the Dark Arts, because it’s totally real.

But while it may sound sick, making a reborn out of Harry Potter, to whom thousands formed a deep attachment over the last decade and a half, in a way makes perfect, twisted sense.

I’ve read every book, some of them multiple times, and seen all the movies except the most recent, which I want to hold off on for as long as possible. When Dumbledore died I cried massive toddler tears, and I sobbed through the last 50 pages of the final book, experiencing a unique combination of despair and joy, mourning death and youth, while also rejoicing Harry’s courage and growth.

But while I’d love to start over and read the first book with fresh eyes again, I know I can never make Harry Potter new again. Especially not with a creepy-looking doll.

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