Why BYU goes crazy for Potter: Harry Potter week flies onto campus

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Harry Potter Week began Monday, Oct. 27 and continues through this week. The events will be at The Wall in the Wilkinson Student Center and will include magic shows, trivia contests and a dance. (The Wall)
Harry Potter Week began Monday, Oct. 27 and continues through this week. The events will be at The Wall in the Wilkinson Student Center and will include magic shows, trivia contests and a dance. (The Wall)

If someone can recognize a Blast-ended Skrewt or explain what a Bezoar is used for or what a Boggart looks like, the chances are high that they’re a huge Harry Potter fan.

Being a Cougar and a Gryffindor may be synonymous titles for many BYU students.

The BYU’s 100 Hour Board allows students to ask a variety of questions. One user, with the name  “Luna Lovegood wannabe,” asked the following question on BYU’s 100 Hour Board: “Is there a Harry Potter club at BYU?”

Another user wittily replied: “BYU is a Harry Potter club.”

Since the release of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in Sept. 1998, the world of Hogwarts, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and horcruxes has brought magic into the lives of children and adults alike.

The BYU Quidditch Club attends a Saturday morning practice to warm up and jump back into the sport. (Quidditch Club)
The BYU Quidditch Club attends a Saturday morning practice to warm up and jump back into the sport. (Quidditch Club)

That magic will continue to enchant Harry Potter fans at BYU this Halloween as The Wall hosts a variety of Potter parties at its location on the east side of the Wilkinson Student Center.

Kristin Gaul graduated in 2011 with a BA in Visual Arts. Gaul lives in Nevada and is a self-proclaimed Harry Potter fan. Gaul said she first read the Harry Potter books in sixth grade because her mother bought one for her. She instantly fell in love.

Gaul had a childhood friend who was also obsessed, and together they would read the series over and over again, play the video games and pass a notebook back and forth, pretending to be the Harry Potter characters.

“I even had a really intense Harry Potter-themed birthday party in 8th grade. I had my parents dress up like McGonagall and Filch, and my mom even drew a Fat Lady portrait to put in front of my room,” Gaul said.

Chalk art at The Wall celebrates all things Harry Potter. The Wall is hosting Harry Potter week and featuring trivia contests, magic shows, and a dance on Halloween. (The Wall)
Chalk art at The Wall celebrates all things Harry Potter. The Wall is hosting Harry Potter week and featuring trivia contests, magic shows, and a dance on Halloween. (The Wall)

BYU students don’t wait for Halloween to show their love for Rowling’s fantasy literature world. BYU has its very own Quidditch Club, where participants set up six ring-shaped goals, throw around a Quaffle (which looks similar to a volleyball) and ride around on broomsticks to compete against each other.

Quidditch isn’t a sport for the fair-weathered Harry Potter fan. The Collegiate Quidditch motto says Quidditch is “the only fantasy sport that will make you break a sweat.”

James Call, newly appointed administrator of the Quidditch Facebook page, coordinates practices, meetings and other events. Call hopes Quidditch at BYU will rise to popularity once more.

“It looks like things have slowed down a bit these last two years, but we can bring it back,” Call said. “Quidditch will come to pass. I can see BYU being World Cup champions some years down the road; we just need to get started again.”

Harry Potter stands strong at BYU, but many fans are sure to find a renewed love for the Harry Potter world with J.K. Rowling’s recent announcement of at least three new films. These films are based on the 2001 book “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” The first installment is set to hit theaters on Nov. 18, 2016, with the other two films having tentative release dates in 2018 and 2020.

“I think that the series as a whole represents the great values of friendship, family, love and courage that are also very highly valued by BYU students,” Gaul said. “The more Harry Potter, the better. As long as J.K. Rowling is still a part of whatever spinoffs they do, I’m sure they’ll be awesome.”

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