Life After Potter (AKA: Places To Get Your “Potter Fix” From Here On Out)
Over the weekend, the final film installment of the Harry Potter series raked in 169 million dollars within 4 days for it’s opening weekend (not a bad way to end a franchise huh?). However, with this film’s arrival comes the realization that Harry Potter won’t be on the silver screen any more. For fans of the movies as well as the books, this can be a hard pill to swallow, seeing that Potter has dominated our cinemas for the last decade.
Admittedly, I didn’t really get Potter fever until later into the movies around when Goblet of Fire came out. I had very rabid friends that were into Potter (one serves as a correspondent for this very site, another is now my wife!)anyway, when I tagged along to movies I enjoyed them, but honestly I didn’t know a Weasley from a Malfoy, but as the films got darker, I got more and more into Potter and by the time The Order of The Pheonix hit, I was comfortable with having Potter fever.
Working at a call center, I resorted to reading to keep my sanity and it wasn’t long until I decided to read the Harry Potter series. Before that, I got a little bit of Potter fever by working the midnight release of the book Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows at one of my various, college part time jobs at a bookstore. To see fans both young and old dress like their favorite wizards really opened my eyes to the unstoppable juggernaut that is Harry Potter.
So it’s without ego, that I say the following: even though the final Potter book hit the bookshelves a few years back and the final film adaptation of the everyone’s favorite boy wizard is now showing on the silver screen….this is by no means the end of Harry Potter! Here’s a few things that will make The Boy Who Lived….live on for years to come:
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Studios Orlando)
I had the awesome privilege to get free admission into this theme park this year (due to working for the parent company of NBCUniversal) and since I’ve been wanting to visit the park ever since Jurassic Park: The Ride was announced WAY back in 1994, I finally got to visit and I fell in love with the place. Although, I wanted to go to fulfill a childhood goal of riding Jurassic Park: The Ride, I was totally blown away by The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I’ll try my best to refrain from spoiling the experience for those of you that haven’t made the Potter Pilgrimage as the park is LOADED with a TON of little Easter eggs for book and movie fans. So my advice is to check out every ride line, every shop window as well as every shop and definitely go to the bathroom in Hogsmeade, even if you don’t need to.
The Wizarding World features 3 rides, the flagship ride is a unique projection/anamatronic/moving ride Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey, in which you get to ride along Harry, Ron and Hermione basically as the wizarding world at Hogwarts goes to Hell. There’s lots of awesome parts to this ride, but again I will not spoil the fun…but if you find me on Facebook or have a drink with me I’d totally rant about it with you! Awesome as the ride is, the wait to the ride has got to be the best line I’ve ever waited in. Again without spoiling too much, the line takes you through a lot of familiar parts of Hogwarts so if there was a line you’d have to wait in, this one at least keeps you entertained with geeky fun.
Another awesome ride in this section of the park is The Dragon Challenge. Old school pre-Harry Potter Universal Studios Orlando tourists will know this ride as Dueling Dragons, however this was a part of the park that Harry Potter annexed and converted a new Harry Potter spin on it. Again the line has some treats for the fans, but the real fun is the actual roller coaster. Like Harry, you have to select a “dragon” (read: roller coaster) and of course each “dragon” is a slightly different experience. This is a free suspending roller coaster and the real fun is that you “duel” or “race” the “dragon” you didn’t choose and there’s several points where the coasters come pretty close to each other. I was a bit more partial to the Chinese Fireball but The Hungarian Horntail was fun as well!
The final ride is Flight of the Hippogriff. It’s a kiddy coaster, but like the other rides, you gotta at least go through the line! The ride is maybe 20 seconds and its OK for adults to ride! You’re a Potter nerd, and if you don’t have a kid, it’s totally cool they understand.
Finally, if you got a sweet tooth or a need to buy some wizarding goods, Hogsmeade is a great place to fulfill those needs. Butterbeer is a great deterrent against the heat, but the butterscotch is good in small doses, but it’s Harry Potter, so you have no choice but to have some. In Honeydukes, you can buy some wizard candy, pumpkin juice (mmm) or if you want something with a little bite, you can go to The Hog’s Head or 3 Broomsticks to get some beer. As for shopping, whether you want a wand or a novelty joke item the shops of Zonkos, Filtch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods and Dervish and Banges will have you covered on Potter gear.
Overall, this is what I consider to be a must visit for Potter fans and all should take a pilgrimage to it.
After being one of the e-book industry’s biggest hold-outs, Harry Potter will soon be available on ereaders such as Nook and Kindle (and others) via JK Rowling’s Pottermore site. However, the availability of books doesn’t just end there because like Harry Potter, there’s a little magic to the site.
Rowling created quite the buzz as people tried to guess what Pottermore would be. It turned out that on the Pottermore site, readers will get to “experience moments” from the books along with Harry such as going through Diagon Alley, learning spells, and being sorted into the proper houses. Currently there haven’t been any details on how this will translate onto the site, but the geek in me is kinda excited to see how this goes.
Real Hogwarts Tours
Hogwarts in the movie may have been one place but scattered throughout England and Scotland you can visit “sections” of Hogwarts. Whether you take an official “locations of the movie” tour, or do a self-guided scavenger hunt, there’s plenty of spots throughout the UK that “played” a part of Hogwarts. Here’s some of the really popular destinations:
Alnwick Castle in Scotland has been used for many movie productions from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves all the way to Elizabeth. The castle doubled for Hogwarts, most famously during Madame Hootch’s broomstick flying lesson in the first movie.
Gloucester Cathedral is best known for a corridor where Harry, Ron and Hermione find the dire warning about the Chamber of Secrets being opened. In addition, the doorway to the Gryffindor common room, the girl’s lavatory, and several other points of interest are found here as well.
In London, Kings Cross has a real Platform 9 ¾ with a half-way absorbed cart. So although Hogwarts may not be out there for us muggles, we can at least use a little bit of imagination and “see” the “real” Hogwarts!
Cosplay, Video Games, Wizard Rock, et all
There are several hit & miss video games for the Harry Potter series, most of these being adapted from the movies and not too long ago it even got the Lego treatment.
If you want to play outside, Quidditch has gone from an invented sport to spawning several leagues and intramural game play on college campuses. While nobody has that “leviosa” spell hammered down, it’s currently played on foot.
For those of us that like to chill and listen to music; there’s good news here too! Harry Potter also help create a new genre of music called “Wizard Rock” or “Wrock” for short. Some of the more prominent Wizard rock bands are: Harry & the Potters, The Ministry of Magic and Draco and the Malfoys.
If you’re 21, you can also have some Harry Potter into your life without having to play video games, Quidditch, or traveling. Bartenders can rejoice as there’s been shots named for the Harry Potter fandom….some I’ll have to try heheh.
Of course conventions and Halloween will be impossible to imagine without seeing a few people dressed as Hogwarts students or Death Eaters….even if it got the “sexy treatment” (I’m undecided on if it’s stupid though).
Finally, for the collector, I think that wand replicas may be along the lines of lightsaber replicas when it comes to geeking out your den. There’s been a few times I’ve been tempted to buy a replica Slytherin’s locket, or a Marauders map when I’m thumbing through a Skymall catalog. So, there’s plenty of collectibles out there, plus what would a book shelf be without a Neville Longbottom bust?
Needless to say, despite the movies and books reaching their respective endings, Harry Potter will probably stick around in our minds for a very, very long time.
More Harry Potter on PopCultureAsylum.com can be found in the Harry Potter fandom section of this site, also check out Lucidswirl’s final thoughts on the end of the Harry Potter franchise as well!