Living in the Post-Potter Age

By Alexandra Ley

Screen-shot of the highly anticipated Pottermore
(more information on Pottermore after the page break)

The phrases “end of an era,”  “defining a generation,” and “bittersweet experience” may sound over-dramatic when referring to a series of children’s books and films, but that was the language used time and time again by the media (and the mourners) that surrounded July 15 of this past summer. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the final piece of the Harry Potter film saga, opened and closed in theaters (it’s already on HBO, so you know it’s over), and though the film generated mixed reviews by critics and fans alike, it still had the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time.

“Potterheads” agree that something just feels different since the final film premiered. A lot of us spent a huge chunk of our childhood and adolescent years yearning for the next book, and then the next movie. Now that the familiar waiting feeling is gone, what do we replace it with? When something is so closely entwined with your personal growth and development, it’s hard to let go of it in one fell swoop.

Ron: I can’t believe all eight movies are really over…
Harry: Let’s watch them again.

Don’t go crazy now! Don’t try and attach letters to the birds outside of your residence hall in hopes of reaching Headmaster Dumbledore, and please understand that the vast majority of street vendors will not take Galleons. There are better ways to remember the Boy Who Lived and the world that captivated us. If you find yourself suffering intense Post-Potter Depression (soon to be an official clinical condition, I swear), there are still plenty of ways to keep the magic alive!

Fan Music
The Harry Potter fandom spawned a new genre of music dubbed “Wizard Rock,” which involves groups of musicians composing and performing songs based on characters and moments from the books. Most “Wrock” bands have put most or all of their work up on YouTube, and some even sell albums on iTunes. There are also multiple parodies of popular songs that have been covered by fans on YouTube, which range from being a waste of time to exceptionally clever. Check out the channels for Ministry of Magic and The Remus Lupins, then follow the sidebars for more Potter tunes!

Theme Park

Over 13 and still haven’t gotten your invitation to
Hogwarts? Try squatting.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the new Harry Potter theme park, opened in the spring of 2010, creating a destination for Potterhead pilgrimages. The rich and impossible world that Harry lived in was a large part of the books’ appeal—we wanted to drink Butterbeer and pick out a wand at Ollivander’s Wand Shop along with Hogwarts students as we were reading the books or watching the movies. Now we can, and though visiting Orlando, Florida isn’t quite the same as visiting Scotland, it is a little bit warmer!

Relive the Magic (yeah, we know that sounds weird)
Some Potter-virgins have blogged about their first experiences reading the series, and reading their posts can be a great way to remember your own first time. Relive the experience along with The Last Muggle To Read Harry Potter and Mark Reads Harry Potter.

Win the World Cup
Quidditch has also found its way out of the books and onto college and high school campuses, and although neither Barnard nor Columbia has formed a team, the fifth annual Quidditch World Cup is going to be held right here in New York City in November 12th (see which friends of yours already RSVP’d to the Facebook Event). Get your tickets now!

More and more and more and more…

The most evident source of comfort is J.K. Rowling’s new interactive Harry Potter experience, Pottermore. The site opens later this month to the public, though anxious fans were able to solve clues and “find the Magic Quill” on Internet scavenger hunts in July and August for early access to the beta site. J.K. Rowling might have guessed that Pottermore would be more than a nifty way to procrastinate or interact with friends via the internet—it’s a coping mechanism for our generation. Rowling embellishes even more on her stories, with more detail and side plots than she wrote into the books, letting us continue to take part alongside Harry and his friends. Isn’t that why we stuck through seven books?

Pottermore sorts its users into Hogwarts houses with a quiz written by J.K. Rowling, which has caused a lot of excitement and ended many debates among fans. After sorting, they can compete for house points, brew potions, and collect Chocolate Frog cards while following Harry through his adventures from the books. The website will also offer users the opportunity to download Harry Potter e-books for the first time.

Closing the chapter on childhood.

It’s hard to describe why so many of us gravitated to this book series for entertainment and escape, but the well-developed characters were certainly an appealing element; some of us needed Hermione to teach us that it was okay to be a bookworm, or Ron to show us that friends are always necessary, and many of us learned exactly how far a little courage and perseverance can get you by following Harry’s personal journey. The best way of dealing with the existence of “The Post-Potter Age” is to never stop loving the world that J.K. Rowling created. Talk about it with your friends, organize a Harry Potter movie night, or encourage your friends who haven’t read the books to borrow one of yours!

In this spirit, The Nine Ways of Knowing is inviting you to share your Harry Potter-related stories and comments below. If you know any other ways of coping with Post-Potter Depression, please leave those as well!

Alexandra Ley is a junior at Barnard College, and Copy Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing. When she was seven years old, Hermione Granger showed her that reading and being a nerd could be “cool,” and she’s never let anyone tell her otherwise. Thank you, J.K. Rowling.

Photos courtesy of Alexandra Ley, Wall Paper Pimper,  Theme Park Central, GawkerAssests and 2.bp.blogspot, respectively.


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