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Published on November 23rd, 2010 | by EIC

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Butterbeer to Heineken: Harry Potter growing up

CHILLIN': Nadine Melamed and Harry Potter sip a cold butterbeer.

Nadine Melamed
Staff Writer


The night is a blur of elaborately-dressed witches, wizards and a few dull muggles who appear to be out only to accompany their avid peers.  A handful of attendees “rode” around on broomsticks, dusting the pavement as they went. A middle-aged Dumbledore dressed in a shiny magenta gown with large silver stars, sporting a beard composed of cotton balls, skates through the streets with a vintage boom-box perched precariously on his shoulder. I get a few dirty glances from some sketchy-looking premiere attendees, who obviously think they are superior to my clever creation of a wand disguised as a drumstick.

As I gaze around at the crowd in awe at the multiple Harry Potters, the ever-so-popular Ron Weasleys, the classic Hermione Grangers and the occasional Professor McGongalls, Dumbledores or Snapes, the thought of someone using a Confundus Charm on me becomes an increasing reality. From a block away, I can spot the messy, two-block-long lines of eager attendees, most of whom are high school students and middle-aged creepers.

Satisfied, I gape at the sultry night’s sky hoping to catch a glimpse of Hagrid riding Sirius’ motorcycle, a patronus or a lost first year after his first flying lesson. I look down at my calculator watch and yawn, stretching my arms and bashing a Slytherin next to me who, enraged, turns and spews what sounds like angry Pareseltongue at me, although all Parseltongue sounds angry. I instantaneously snap back to reality and realize that this is no dream, sister — I’m really here.

The Harry Potter midnight movie premieres: those few nights that devoted fans — the term “fans” being an understatement — wait for, possibly for years at a time.  For those who have followed the Harry Potter series religiously from the start, the recent premiere night (of first half of the last book) is anything but mundane. To say the least, it was a night for the nerds.

Somewhat comparable to Rocky Horror, midnight Harry Potter premieres hold a culture all of their own. Non-magic folk, known as “muggles” in the wizarding world, put on large productions and create leagues for their own interpretation of Quidditch. Bedsheets, backpacks, socks and other unusual items bear pictures of the characters or just the logo. Facebook alone has several hundred Harry Potter fan pages, including one dedicated to the creation and distribution of cleverly thought out Harry Potter pick-up lines.

Though it’s not celebrated every week, Harry Potter related events are welcomed by hoards of parties, thrown by people who have convinced themselves that their owl just got lost and any day now their acceptance letter to Hogwarts will be arriving, possibly bursting out through their chimney to defy the rule of their cruel, manipulating uncles with handlebar mustaches.

“Pottermania,” the informal term used to describe the Harry Potter craze, has given name to a book and movie series that has played a large role in defining a generation.  According to an overseas source, the sign of “Platform 9 and 3/4” — which was erected at King’s Cross Station in London in commemoration of the filming — has been stolen and replaced several times, and is now bolted down with immeasurable force (the muggle version of the permanent sticking charm) to prevent pilfering.

The movie itself was absolutely fantastic, one of the best yet, comparable to some of the other less accurate films.Though the movie was a bit too comical and overly artistic at times, it tended to match the book and the barely noticeable differences could have easily been changed. Unlike the end the sixth movie, the end of this one was intriguing and satisfying.  In all, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” provided the perfect balance between nerd lust, action and magic.

So please, understand that no one is too cool for Harry Potter. Harry Potter is sexy. Band geeks and sports jocks can agree — Harry Potter is near number one on the list of the most influential fictional characters of all time, with Homer Simpson, Romeo Montague and Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

Maybe I should go through with my plan and write President Obama a letter, imploring him to see reason in withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan and instead to start the search for the elusive Voldemort and his entourage of mass-murderers, the Death Eaters.

nmelamed@thesamohi.com



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