“Harry Potter” book and movie premieres have long brought out the crazy in our generation, and this is no exception for University students. Tonight, The Boy Who Lived is exploding onto our theater screens for the second-to-last time in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” bringing a month’s worth of parties and events to a close.

The Michigan Muggles kicked off the adventure two weeks ago with a “Harry Potter” Trivia Night at Buffalo Wild Wings on State Street in Ann Arbor. People signed up in groups of four to participate, and proceeds went to fund a children’s literacy program.

“That was a good way to get warmed up,” said LSA sophomore Kristin Harden.

Just last year, the Muggles were formed by a small group of students passionate about the “Harry Potter” books and movies, but the club has expanded significantly in the past few months.

“We filled B-Dubs,” Harden said. “I think there are a lot of people that are very open about their obsession with ‘Harry Potter.’ ”

The club also holds occasional book talks, in which members discuss what reading “Harry Potter” meant to them as a child and how they got so involved in it.

“I started reading ‘Harry Potter’ when I was in the fourth grade,” reminisced LSA senior Kelci Parker. “When I was younger, I didn’t really like reading for fun. It was like the first book I could just casually read and enjoy, and after reading books one, two (and) three really quickly, I was hooked.”

“Also, the seventh book came out right after I graduated high school,” she added. “Seventh year was like (Harry’s) last year of high school and me and all my friends … were like, ‘It’s for our class. It’s for us.’

“And it’s our senior year right now, and Harry’s graduating too — the first half is coming out now in my senior year, and the second half — that’s when all the ‘Harry Potter’ movies are over and I’m done with college. It feels very symbolic.”

Harden and Parker are both planning on attending the midnight showing of the film tonight.

“The week of ‘Harry Potter’ I’m also planning on watching all the movies,” Harden said. “We’ll probably split it between a few days since there’s so many — I did that for the last movie where (my friends) sat and watched all of the movies in a day.”

Harden plans on dressing up as a Hufflepuff student and already has her costume ready.

“(I) made it with my best friend for the last movie,” she said. “I have a blue blazer, and my friend actually drew the Hufflepuff crest, and so I sewed that to the blazer. I have a skirt, a white shirt and I’ll probably wear stockings or something.”

“My best friend is going as a Gryffindor Quidditch player,” she added. “She drew out the Gryffindor crest, and she has a cape, which has her last name on it and the number seven. And she has a broom and she even made a little golden Snitch.”

Harden’s passion for “Harry Potter” extends past mere enjoyment of the books and movies — for her, there’s also sentimental value in the series.

“It was actually my mom that got me into reading them,” she said. “She would read them to me every night before we went to bed, so I fell in love with them through that. Then my mom actually passed away when I was 11, and I just kept on reading them.”

For those without transportation to Quality 16 or Rave, fear not — most of the residence halls are taking students by university bus to the Saturday showing at varying times during the day.

“We’re going to have half-off concessions, and we’re paying for some of the ticket, so it should (be) really nice,” said LSA senior and Markley resident advisor Matthew Duprie.

Markley’s 45 RAs have also divided up the residence hall’s four wings into the four houses of Hogwarts, with Lillian Madrigal and Brandon Ebenhoeh, both LSA seniors, acting as Head Girl and Head Boy, respectively. If a student participates in an event or wins a competition, that person wins points for his or her “house.”

“We told everyone before fall break when they went home what their houses were. Then we put up a sign that said, ‘The Chamber of Secrets has been opened,’ ” Ebenhoeh said.

“It’s in red paint and looks like blood,” Madrigal added.

Markley is sponsoring a pie-eating contest and a non-alcoholic Butter-Beer Pong tournament over the course of the week.

“We found the recipe online. The essence of it is cream soda, butterscotch and vanilla ice cream. Lots of sugar,” Ebenhoeh said.

On Saturday and Sunday night, the residence hall also plans to have its denizens play a real-life game of Quidditch, borrowing the Michigan Quidditch team’s brooms and equipment for a big tournament in the Central Campus Recreation Building.

“The CCRB is nice because there’s that track right above where people can go and watch, so it kind of creates that environment that they have in the books and movies where people are watching the game from above,” Madrigal said.

The person who will be playing the Snitch has already been determined.

“One of our staff is a cross country runner,” Ebenhoeh said. “And he has a twin brother, so they’re going to swap. It’s really going to be quite intense.”

South Quad Honors kicked off its own “Harry Potter” week last Saturday with the Yule Ball, a charity dance for which the majority of proceeds went to the Ruth Ellis Center, a center for homeless LGBT youth in Detroit. The ball is a continuation of the program’s charity ball from last year that featured a series of “Harry Potter”-themed food, music and activities.

“Last year, we asked residents what they wanted out of next year, and overwhelmingly they wanted the Yule Ball back in addition to other ‘Harry Potter’-themed things,” Nursing senior Lizzi Shea said. “The Honors kids are really excited about this, and they definitely wanted to see it happen.”

Throughout the week, South Quad is showing selected films from the “Harry Potter” series and scenes from “A Very Potter Musical.” There will also be an ethics panel about the decisions Harry makes throughout the books, led by Center for Ethics in Public Life fellow Zachary Smith.

“A lot of people look at Harry Potter and don’t think about the immoral and unethical decisions that he makes,” LSA senior Samantha Greenberg said. “For instance, when he makes Dumbledore drink the potion until he pretty much dies, is it moral, unethical? Yes. But he does it, and in the end there’s this happy ending, of sorts. So the idea (is) that this happens in ‘Harry Potter’ a lot, and nobody takes a sec to look at how it impacts our real life.”

The week will culminate in a screening of the film at Quality 16, which all the South Quad RAs will supervise and attend. But in addition to going to the movie’s Saturday showing, Greenberg, an admittedly huge “Harry Potter” fan herself, is also planning on attending the midnight premiere with her friends.

“My best friend and I have always been to ‘Harry Potter’ since the fourth movie, so there’s really no other option than to go at midnight,” she said.

Greenberg’s favorite premiere was the sixth movie, two years ago.

“There was a group of 20 kids that all dressed up as something different, and in the hour and a half leading up to the premiere they acted out different scenes — they dueled, they had one person conjure up a Patronus and fight a dementor. They had one scene with Harry and Ginny in love,” she said.

Most students look favorably upon the division of the seventh and final book into two films.

“I understand it, because it is a really long book,” Harden said. “I just hope they use it to their advantage. I really hope that they include details about the Horcruxes, because that was my only problem with the sixth movie — they didn’t go to so much detail about Voldemort and his past. So I hope that since they have so much more time, they are able to be truer to the book.”

Whether faithful or not, by next July the famed 13-year “Harry Potter” series will have truly come to an end. Many fans, who have grown up reading the adventures of Harry, Hermione and Ron and have shed tears over the deaths of major characters, will finally have to put away their broken glasses and invisibility cloaks, as a part of their childhoods comes to a close.

“I remember when I finished the seventh book, I was crying,” Parker said. “And my mom, who hadn’t read them before – she came in, and she was like, ‘Are you seriously crying?’ It was like six in the morning, because I stayed up all night reading it, and I was like, ‘Yes, the seventh book’s over and I just don’t know what to do!’ ”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.