Going Home, 2018

Written By: Jennifer L. Weber

Photos By: Maggie Wang & Melissa P.

Sept 1st, 2018

Back to school is a rush of buying supplies, getting uniforms in check, and making sure that you bought the correct copy of Advanced Potions. (The old editions are numbered differently and may have a wonky spell or two in them.) Once your supplies are all in check, you get the distinct joy of running trolley-first into a wall and to be greeted on the other side by the sight of friends, new and old, and a magnificent scarlet train with golden letters spelling Hogwarts Express.

Central Florida Slug Club Sept 1st 2018

That’s right, September 1st was the official back to school day for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And leading the pack onto platform 9 ¾’s was none other than the best of the best, The Central Florida Slug Club!

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With robes, wands, and flags at the ready, members of the Slug Club (dressed as Students and Professors) flooded Kings Cross station at Universal Studios Orlando and boarded the train to go home to Hogwarts. All could be heard joyously singing the Hogwarts school song while taking time to pose for all the first year photographs and emotional reunions of friends and housemates. Along the way prefects, head boys and girls, and professors picked up new students and after a brief chat concluded that the Slug Club was the place for them.

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Wandering the line you could see delightful Dumbledores, elegant McGonagalls, and sneering Umbridges, all a testament to the talent and dedication of Central Florida’s largest Harry Potter Fan Club. Special thanks to the coordinators of this extraordinary event! Thank you for helping us all return home to Hogwarts for another exciting year. I look forward to seeing everyone again at Dressed to the 9 ¾’s in November!

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September 1, 2018: A Journey Back to School

By Alexis Peralta

Central Florida Slug Club All Aboard the Hogwarts Express Event

Going back to Hogwarts is always an exciting time, but this year Kings Cross was really a sight to see! I’m amazed the wizarding world didn’t end up in the muggle papers because we were coming in droves all dressed up and ready for the train! Usually students dress in civvies and wait to robe right before arriving at Hogwarts, but today was a special celebration.

For such an occasion, professors from years past were in attendance; including Gilderoy Lockhart, Mad-Eye Moody, and even to most students and staffs disgruntlement, Dolores Umbridge. Of course Dumbledore came to show his support, he even magically seemed to be in different robes throughout the morning, changing as fast as you could spot him. Gryffindors, who always need their ego stroked, had ample support from their Head of House Professor McGonagall and even the Fat Lady was seen strolling through portraits nearby. Rita Skeeter was present, of course, to report on the possible break of The International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy (she let me borrow her Quick-Quotes Quill for this article though!).

Central Florida Slug Club All Aboard the Hogwarts Express Event

Houses took group pictures before boarding the train, and I have NEVER seen so many students entering Kings Cross at the same time! There were at least 44 Gryffindor, 38 Hufflepuff, 49 Ravenclaw, and 46 Slytherin (plus 2 because of course Logan and I missed the picture off dueling in Diagon Alley-don’t tell Snape). Finally, after class pictures, the floating yellow flag beacon was raised and we all followed it drifting into the station. The muggle attendants were definitely surprised by the group entering all together (looking quite mad I bet), but they smiled, let us scan our ticket, and we passed through.

I love King’s Cross. There is always this beauty in the rush of the travelers, the excitement of the students walking by, the old brick on the wall that’s seen so many wizards and muggles alike rush past. Nearing platform 9 ¾ you could feel the heightened anxiety of first years! It was so funny watching two of them in front of us run head first into the column! Way to not bring attention to yourselves first-years, scoff. Logan and I casually leaned against and fell through effortlessly, emerging on the other side where we truly belong!

Central Florida Slug Club All Aboard the Hogwarts Express Meetup

It was a spectacular view! Hundreds of students, parents, and professors all in queue for the train. For the event, the trolley lady made a special appearance and was already on the platform offering sweets and treats before the train arrived (I waited until on board to honor tradition and get my favorite, a Pumpkin Pasty!) Eleven O’clock came nearer and we all hurried to our positions to load up. Then we could see it rolling in, the Hogwarts Express, it always takes my breath away. Call me a sap but I always get goosebumps when I see it coming, knowing that it brings the joy of another school year.

We got on the train, found a compartment that only had 4 other people in it (lucky!) and settled in for the ride. Something was truly extra special this year, the camaraderie seemed so genuine and everyone was happy to be returning to their second home: Hogwarts.

Central Florida Slug Club All Aboard the Hogwarts Express Meetup

By Alexis Peralta

Tips & Tricks for Universal Orlando’s A Celebration of Harry Potter

It’s January, and you know what that means!? The fourth annual A Celebration of Harry Potter (aCoHP) is just around the corner! So pack your bags, clean your robes, plan your cosplays, and make sure your trunks are Niffler free because aCoHP starts on Friday, January 27.

After four years of celebrating Harry Potter, we cannot wait to see what Universal Orlando and Warner Brothers have in store for this year’s event. While we wait patiently, why not share some tips with some new members of the Central Florida Slug Club.

  1. Get there early on Friday. If you don’t happen to work on Friday or just so happen to get off early, I highly suggest getting to Universal Orlando as soon as the park opens.
  2. Go to the Expo first. Although the Harry Potter™ Expo is open all weekend for the Celebration, I recommend going there first to do everything it has to offer. Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days for the Expo. Plus, you’ll really want to see the panels those days.
  3. Stop by MinaLima. In the Harry Potter™ Expo, you’ll find a bunch of fantastic things to see at the MinaLima booth. From creating The Quibbler to The New York Ghost, MinaLima helped make the wizarding world a reality with their graphic design skills and visual graphic style. Niky Sama suggested getting their “collectible pin as soon as possible.” It’s cute and free! Plus, Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima are an absolute pleasure to meet.
  4. If you want it, buy it. If you see something in the Expo you really like, buy it. They could run out of that very same item the second you walk away. Especially, the special event items. So don’t hesitate. I know from first-hand experience. I waited too long to buy a keychain one year and it sold out.
  5. Buy a portable charger. You’ll thank me for this. Trust me. I bought a charger from amazon for $20. It was the best idea I ever had. You just have to remember to charge it every night! Bryanna Plantier gave this very same advice. She said, “A good one is better, but a $4 stick will work too! It [The Celebration of Harry Potter] can have long days.”
  6. You don’t have to buy a package. You can buy a day pass or use your annual pass to do everything. You name it, panels, discussions, etc. A Slug Club member said, “If you live locally, don’t have to get the package. You get to do the same thing without it.” However, this year I’ll be a package holder.
  7. Get in line 30 minutes early. Now if you were to ask Universal Orlando (UO) Team Members, they’d tell you not to get in line early. I’ll say that I’ve gotten to the line 30 minutes before and seen a small line. I find getting in line 30 minutes before beneficial, and I’ve gotten to see all the panels. *Warning* If a UO team member tells you not to start a line, don’t start a line. Remember to be respectful.
  8. Plan what you want to do to before the celebration starts. Know what you’re dying to see after they release the schedule. It saves time, and you can plan how you’re going to get there. Last year, Universal used two stages, the Music Plaza Stage and the Toon Lagoon Amphitheater.
  9. Remember to have fun. Be silly, dress in your school robes, show your house pride or cosplay. I asked Meg Stump what her favorite part of the aCoHP is. She replied, “The fans. Easily. No one judges you because you’re all doing the same ridiculous things.” Stump also added she “had the most fun with friends she’d met through the Slug Club or through Potter Watch.” So just remember to be yourself and have fun during this year’s A Celebration of Harry Potter!

Bonus Tip: Turn on Tweet and Facebook notifications for Universal Orlando. You never know what magically things can happen during the celebration.

 

For more information regarding A Celebration of Harry Potter, feel free to visit Universal Orlando Resort’s official website.

 

A Celebration of Harry Potter over the years:

 

Johnny Depp in deep controversy

**The following is an individual opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the opinion or stance of the Central Florida Slug Club as an organization**

 

In the beginning of November, the Harry Potter fandom was rocked with news that Johnny Depp had been cast to play a co-starring role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, which is slated to include five movies. It has seemingly divided us once again, as many fans are hesitant to support an actor with a shaky-at-best personal life. Johnny Depp faced domestic abuse charges when his now ex-wife, Amber Heard, filed for divorce back in May 2016.

These abuse charges were accompanied by disturbing photos of Heard’s bruised face and allegations of long-term physical and emotional abuse. The case was eventually settled outside of court for a cool $7 million. Amber Heard donated this money to several charities.

Those are the facts.

It is completely abhorrent that a movie franchise that stems from Harry Potter would allow an alleged wife beater to have a starring role. It goes against everything that the Harry Potter universe stands for. Harry Potter himself was emotionally abused by his aunt and uncle for years. We see Hermione stand up against what she believes is abuse of House Elves. Good overcomes evil: that is the main theme of Harry Potter. Many fans used Harry Potter as a means to cope with their own personal experiences with abuse, how must they be feeling to see an accused abuser on the big screen in front of them? This sends a message to new fans as well—it’s okay to be accused of beating women, here’s a leading role in a blockbuster movie series.

Many fans have rushed to Johnny Depp’s defense, attempting to separate Johnny Depp the actor from Johnny Depp the person. You cannot appreciate his art without supporting him as a person. In the end, you are helping cut his million dollar paycheck, and essentially giving him a free pass on actions that he should be held accountable for. Johnny Depp the actor and Johnny Depp the person are the same, and trying to separate them is a feeble attempt to quell someone’s own apathy for the situation. Informed silence is a luxury that not all people can stomach.

There are also fans who go a step further, by trying to break down Amber Heard’s accusations. Some insist that Heard photoshopped the bruises underneath her eye so that she could get a big pay out from Depp in the divorce process. This kind of mentality is exactly why abused women don’t come forward with charges in the first place. The skepticism that Heard faces in a jury of social media warriors feeds into America’s rape culture and victim blaming. “No one really knows what happened”—“No one was there to witness it so we really don’t know”—this is the rhetoric that is so dangerous to our society. Women cannot be painted as people who lie and exaggerate just to get what they want. Women deserve respect, not suspicion, especially in the matters of physical and emotional abuse.

For a movie franchise that has just begun, this latest development seems to be the last nail in the coffin for some fans. Johnny Depp hit his wife, and fans made a decision not to watch movies starring him, which is why it’s so upsetting to see his name attached to Fantastic Beasts. I’m here to tell you that your outrage over this is justified. I feel it too. We don’t have to put on a smile and ignore something that makes us uncomfortable. It’s important to get this conversation happening, to speak up. Not everyone has that privilege.

The Original Slug Club

Happy Birthday to the Central Florida Slug Club!

August 3rd is the Central Florida Slug Club’s FOURTH birthday! On this day in 2012, a bunch of us who began talking on MyHogwarts decided to get together for butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks. Since then, we’ve grown to become a group of about 1,500 members spread out between our Facebook and Meetup.com groups that meets at least twice a month for a variety of activities include cosplay days, book club, laser tag, virtual races, community service and activism, and more! It’s been an amazing three years. I can’t wait to see what the fourth brings!

The Original Slug Club

The Original Slug Club

Slug Club at Kings Cross

The Central Florida Slug Club at Kings Cross on September 1st, 2015

S.P.E.W.’s Successful 2016 Accio Books Campaign

By Rubina Kandiah

Being part of a Harry Potter club, it is safe to say that literature is a very important aspect for most of us. From Narnia to The Shire and Hogwarts to Westoros, a lot of us have visited many different worlds through the imagination of authors. However, not everyone has the privilege or opportunity to read. According to UNICEF, “Nearly a billion people will enter the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names” and Being to Read states that 1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read. Their numbers are growing, which means there are even more of them now. This is a very unfortunate scenario, which is why I am glad to see the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) make their Accio Books campaign an annual event and that our chapter – The Central Florida Slug Club’s S.P.E.W. – takes part in it every year with a lot of passion.

Every year, we have been having continuously successful Accio Books campaigns. This year was our third campaign with the HPA (the HPA itself was on its 8th annual campaign), and we collected a total of 7,276 books – surpassing our goal of 5,000 books and collecting more than twice what we collected last year (3,226books)! Our first year of campaigning, we had a total of 300 books so we have certainly come an immensely long way from the beginning! We came in second place worldwide for the number of books collected (out of 250+ chapters), and with the winning chapter collecting over 38,000 books, I’d say we did a rather impressive job this year! Way to go S.P.E.W.! We also came in third place worldwide for the total number of points; points were earned by hosting events or by doing different advocacy actions like emailing, writing letters to or calling representatives to request additional funding for libraries.

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The focus this year was on diverse books – main characters being people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, etc. – and we strived to collect as many of these as possible. The HPA chose to donate all of the books this year to Good Shepherd School in Masaka, Uganda, teaming up with a number of other organizations including Books for Africa, the Literate Earth Project, and the American Library Association. On top of that, our chapter, S.P.E.W., chose a local charter school to donate our books to – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Central Florida. With the high number of books that we collected, we were able to donate to all seven of their different campuses throughout Central Florida. On top of that, employees at Universal Roofing, a construction company, heard about what we were doing and offered to build libraries for the children at their Pine Hills campus. The people in charge at UCP were very impressed with our book campaign success this year and were very grateful to us for choosing them! Several thanks to S.P.E.W. prefect, Bryanna Plantier, for suggesting the school.

With the rising success we’ve been having, I can only assume that we will aim even higher for next year’s campaign. It would be nice to come in 1st place! But more importantly, I am very proud to be a part of a club that takes such pride in spreading and encouraging literacy. May the Harry Potter fandom continue to lower the growing number of illiteracy around the world, book by book.

Fantastic Beasts Trailer Breakdown

Fantastic Beasts Trailer: Things You Missed

With the excitement over the release of the new trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Central Florida Slug Club had a discussion and dissection of the trailer on our Facebook page. We wanted to share with you some of the things we noticed. Most of the information below is just speculation and not information from any official sources.

1. Could this be Tina and Queenie’s apartment? We see them magically putting away dishes earlier in the preview. The amount of personal items on the bookshelf and night stand make it seem like a home rather than a hotel. We think Newt and Jacob are staying here.

Fantastic Beasts Trailer Breakdown

2. Notice the book Jacob is reading, “Cassandra and Her Cat Gustavus”. Diane Lewis pointed out the following: “We can further deduce that this is a book about magic since it is in the apartment of two witches. Cassandra in Greek mythology is a seer, cursed by Apollo that her prophecies would be true but no one would believe her. In the Harry Potter universe, Cassandra Trelawney is the great-great-grandmother of Sybil Trelawney, another prophetess no one believes. It is a safe bet that this book is about Cassandra, and apparently her cat Gustavus (although I can find no references to the cat either in mythology or the HP universe.) Do we see here another nod to a future Hogwarts professor?”

Fantastic Beasts Trailer Breakdown

3.Could this shot of Newt working be his office in his suitcase?! It is Newt’s first visit to New York so I can’t imagine he has a working office there. It looks like his, all Hufflepuff and cozy. His journal sitting in a pile of papers. Notice the steep set of steps at the bottom right to the left of Jacob. How cool is this suitcase! We can’t wait to see further into all the animal habitats.

Fantastic Beasts Trailer Breakdown

4. Could Newt be creating a potion to put in the meat to possibly knock out an escapee? Notice the two huge pieces of raw meat on the table in the previous shot, as well as what looks like Newt extracting juices from a plant in this shot. It looks like they are putting a plan into motion.

Fantastic Beasts Trailer Breakdown

5. Could a Demiguise be blasting through a political dinner for Shaw? The Demiguise is listed as peaceful but is also listed as M.O.M. Classification XXXX – Dangerous. After further research we found out according to Harry Potter Wiki Shaw is running for American Senator and this is a rally for his supporters. A fan video of Fantastic Beasts filming captured a group of muggles shouting “We want a second Salem” and holding signs saying “No witchcraft in America”. As well as Shaw candidate posters. Though this seems odd, why aren’t they just using a memory charm on these people to protect the Statute of Secrecy?   Is it possible that this isn’t a creature attack at all?

Fantastic Beasts Trailer Breakdown

6. Why are we seeing a creature that is not in the Fantastic Beasts book?  The group had some pretty strong feelings about the uncreativity of the name Swooping Evil. So why was the evil not in the book?  Maybe the textbook used in schools only has a portion of the creatures Newt has researched and found. Maybe it could only contains more common creatures. Probably not because the book has rare creatures like the Chimaera and Lethifold listed. Or could the Swooping Evil be extinct by the time he publishes the book? Though the Basilisk made it to the book and there was no known sighting for at least 400 years.  Either way, once the movie is released we can hope that a larger more detailed version of the textbook will be released with notes from Newt or even a version of his journal.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Trailer Breakdown

7. What is the Name of the New York Wizarding Newspaper? We took some guesses at the newspapers name only to find out later that MinaLima hashtagged on their Instagram #TheNewYorkGhost. We have an official name!!

Fantastic Beasts Trailer Breakdown

All of the above was created by the members of the Central Florida Slug Club in a joint discussion. Thanks to Diane for the great stills of the preview and pointing out a large portion of the topics discussed above.

Let us know in the comments below what else you noticed! If you live in Central Florida or visit often feel free to join our Facebook group to join in on the discussions.

Melissa P.

Roller Derby: A Magical Sport for Muggles

by Angelica “Helga Hufflepunch” Rodriguez of Revolution Roller Derby
A couple of years ago a good friend of mine asked if I wanted to go see a roller derby game. “A roller derby game? Like in Whip It?” she laughed, “Yeah, sort of.” So I got in the car, drove to Orlando and watched a brand new sport, still in its infancy, with admiration. A year later I would join the fray under my new alter ego: Helga HufflePunch. My life has never been the same.

 

Helga Hufflepunch

One of the greatest things about roller derby are the fun alter-ego, or derby names. You will find everything under the sun from Luna Shovegood, to Belligerent Lestrange, Phoenix Fawkes’m Up, Militant Bulstrode, and Helga HufflePunch (‘sup)… And those are just the Potter related names that came to mind.

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Photo by Phantom Photographics

So why am I talking about this muggle sport? Partly because I’m obsessed but also because your very own Slug Club is partnering with Thunder City Derby Sirens for their first Bi-Wizard Tournament on April 16! Unlike regular roller derby games, the Bi-Wizard tournament is a roller derby scrimmage, where skaters from all over Florida are put into mashup teams and play against each other. It is sure to be a blast! Never seen a roller derby game before? Do not worry, this guide is just for you!

For those of you not in the know, roller derby is one of the fastest growing sports in the world; the US alone has over 1,250 leagues. It has been around since the 1920s, but its modern resurgence is vastly different. The game is played on quad skates, on a flat track, with five players on each team: one jammer, and four blockers. The game consists of two 30-minute halves, each of which is broken up into 2-minute (or less) jams.

The jammers wear a star cover on their helmet and they score points every time they legally pass an opposing player. The blockers, who must skate together in a pack, try to stop the opposing jammer from scoring and help their own jammer get through the pack. Additionally, one of the blockers will also be designated as a pivot. The pivot wears a large stripe on their helmet and is able to score points if the jammer hands them their star cover, when this happens it is called a “Star Pass” or “Panty Pass.” The first jammer to break through the pack is designated as lead jammer, and while both jammers can score points at the same time, the lead jammer can call off the jam at any time.

Jammer

Photo by Starfish Derby Photography

Roller derby has an extensive rule book and contrary to popular belief, you cannot elbow someone in the face, or punch, or kick. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty, but it’s basically hockey rules when it comes to hits: you can hip check, shoulder check, and body check. It is one of the few sports where offense and defense are played at the same time, and it is AWESOME.

Derby is a predominantly female sport, but it has grown to include all-male leagues, co-ed leagues, and even junior leagues! The sport is really fun to watch and even more fun to play. Derby leagues are always looking for new recruits, volunteers, referees, and fans. If you are interested, chances are you have a league near you!

See you all on the track!

Thumps Up

Photo by Starfish Roller Derby Photography

Accio Books 2016

It’s that time of year again! The Central Florida Slug Club is proud to announce our participation in the Harry Potter Alliance’s Accio Books literacy campaign.

This year, we are collecting books from April 1st-May 18th, 2016 for United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Central Florida. UCP of Central Florida provides tuition-free charter schools and therapy services for children with special needs. A few of their locations do not have libraries, just a few books in each of the classrooms.

Our goal this year is to collect at least 5,000 books in order to help provide books for the students and teachers as well as to promote literacy at home with the families. While the primary need is for children’s and young adult books, we are collecting books for people of all ages. Books donated that are not suited for school libraries will go home with families in need that use their services.

Current Progress CoolFundraisingIdeas.net

Want to donate? Drop books off at the following donation locations or email us at cfslugclubspew at gmail.com to schedule a large pick up.

Further information:

Accio Books 2016 Donation Locations – a full list of our current donation locations (updated March 31st, 2016)

Accio Books 2016 Facebook Event – Invite your friends! Spread the word!

UCP of Central Florida – Learn more about the organization you are helping.

The Harry Potter Alliance  – The Harry Potter Alliance is an international non-profit organization that turns fans into heroes. Visit their website for more information.