Keeping the magic alive
With “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” topping last weekend’s box office with $50.3 million and renowned Harry Potter historian Melissa Anelli speaking at USF two weeks ago, interest in the boy with the lightning bolt-shaped scar still clearly remains.
Yet, with J.K. Rowling’s billions-selling book series finished since 2007, the final film not opening until July 2011 and series like “Twilight” gaining popularity, fans may soon find themselves suffering from wizarding withdrawal.
The Oracle offers a few suggestions for keeping the magic alive this winter season.
If you missed Anelli’s visit for the University Lecture Series on Nov. 16, have no fear – USF will soon offer another speaker heavily involved with the wizarding world.
Mary GrandPr, illustrator for the Harry Potter series, will be the keynote speaker at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus during the Children’s Literature Symposium on Feb. 5.
For $50 and a hour’s drive, students can attend the entire event and listen to the illustrator discuss her work on Harry Potter and other children’s books such as “The House of Wisdom.” More information about the Children’s Literature Symposium can be found at childrensliteraturesymposium.org.
Anelli also oversees the Harry Potter fan site The Leaky Cauldron. Between it and MuggleNet, students can find everyday news stories and hundreds of podcasts about the series’ culture. If you missed Anelli’s speech last month, you can sift through her website’s PotterCasts to hear her talk about the boy wizard.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Orlando-based Islands of Adventure’s newest addition, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, is the easiest way to surround yourself in the fictional Potter-verse and get closer to Rowling’s mindset.
Rowling inspired the park with her novels’ detailed locations and assisted in other parts of its development. Each possible recipe for Butterbeer – a popular drink in the novels and a deliciously frosty, nonalcoholic butterscotch drink at the park – was sent to her for approval.
She also wrote the rhyming ride restrictions recited by the Sorting Hat before the Forbidden Journey ride.
A scale model of Hogwarts Castle houses this ride and has visitors facing spiders, a dragon and a furious tree.
The park’s remaining attractions are modeled after Hogsmeade Village – offering a joke shop with Extendable Ears and Pygmy Puffs, and a Honeydukes sweet shop with chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans.
Olivander’s Wand Shop is represented with an interactive wand-buying experience, and a fourth store offers products like wizard robes and monster books.
For dining, there’s the Three Broomsticks and the Hog’s Head Pub, which both serve a Scottish medium ale brewed specifically for the park. Staff members at the park were hired after being tested on their Harry Potter knowledge, so feel free to challenge them to a trivia contest.
Even though the series is over, fans have provided no shortage of Harry Potter music material – from songs to entire, elaborate musicals.
Wizard Rock, or Wrock, has become a definable genre since the series’ start and includes bands like Harry and the Potters, Albus and the Dumbledores and the Blood Traitors. According to wizardrock.org, At least 750 Wrock bands existed at the end of 2009.
Most bands take on the persona of a specific character with comical lyrics. Draco and the Malfoys’ “Potion’s Yesterday,” for example, features the line, “We see you for what you really are. Stupid little dork with a stupid dorky scar.”
University of Michigan students took the fandom a step further with their self-written and produced musicals “A Very Potter Musical” and “A Very Potter Sequel.”
Featuring songs like “Gotta Get Back to Hogwarts,” the first musical earned millions of hits on YouTube and the second sold out quickly – even drawing in an Alaska fan. Darren Criss, who plays Harry Potter in the musical, has since gone on to appear on the Fox musical television show “Glee” and may return to UM for a third installment.
Not all the Harry Potter fanfare comes from bands, however – some can be found elsewhere in the Web’s wide-spanning landscape.
Sibling duo Neil and Emmy Cicierega have become famous on the Internet for their Potter Puppet Pals series – videos with traditional and digital puppet shows featuring Harry Potter characters like Ron Weasley and Dumbledore.
One of their most popular videos, “The Mysterious Ticking Noise,” is comical and offers some catchy music of its own.
Fanfiction.net currently has more than 487,000 Harry Potter fan fiction pieces covering traditional story lines to the strange and disturbing. One mature-rated poem describes Harry’s relationship with his pet owl Hedwig.
Rest assured, even once the movies have ended and the books no longer remain the world’s fastest selling, Harry Potter mania will live on as long as fans still have Internet connections.