Ever since J.K. Rowling decided to bring her fantastical wizarding world to America in the latest movie, “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them,” American Potterheads have been eagerly counting down the days.
“Fantastic Beasts,” which will premiere 15 years and two days after the first Harry Potter installment, is set during the roaring '20s in New York City and delves into the politics of American sorcery and what happens when a British wizard smuggles in a briefcase full of magical creatures (hint: it’s worse than the Johnny Depp-dog smuggling debacle of 2016).
To celebrate the forthcoming movie, Carolina Productions hosted Harry Potter Fest on Greene Street Wednesday.
“I decided to have this event a few days before the new movie release because I thought it would be exciting,” said Keifer Negri, daytime event coordinator and third-year sports and entertainment management student.
The festival featured a wheel of doom where participants spun to see which putrid flavor of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans they would have to eat (flavors range from vomit to ear wax), a sorting hat quiz and Quidditch hoops courtesy of the club quidditch team.
Fourth-year physics student Sarah Stansill was anxious to take the sorting quiz. “I have no flipping clue,” Stansill replied when asked what her house was, but she suspected she was either a Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. But instead of an embroidered sweater and house-colored scarf, newly sorted Gamecocks were sent off with a sticker, branding them as a member of their newly discovered house.
Stansill, along with other guests, credit the series for being an integral part of their childhoods.
“It just became kind of a family thing," Stansill said.
She said she remembers her childhood routine with her mother — read the book, go see the movie, repeat.
“Not only is it a great series but it’s a whole other world,” Hufflepuff Anna Ripley, a third-year marine science student, said. Ripley credits the Potter culture with bringing people together, especially from the millennial generation.
Ripley, a lifelong fan, is also the president of USC’s quidditch club. The team was scrimmaging and recruiting new players at the festival, but was also happy to gather with fellow Potterheads.
First-year computer science student Tony Bonadio said joining the team was one the best decisions he’s made since coming to USC.
“It’s the type of people that are athletic and competitive, but they also just really love to be nerdy and have fun,” Bonadio said.
Bonadio read every Harry Potter book and all the spin-offs, which he says is evidence enough for his Ravenclaw assignment. Bonadio said he and his fellow quidditch teammates will probably be attending the midnight premiere of “Fantastic Beasts.”
“I’m super excited to watch the movie,” he said.
Whether they were a Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Gryffindor, fans of all types enjoyed discussing what their patronuses were, which Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans they had to choke down and how no one can look intimidating with a broom stuck between their legs.