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.

A Celebration of Harry Potter Recap

Universal Orlando hosted its second annual Harry Potter Celebration over the weekend. We heard announcements over the summer that they were bringing the Celebration back, and were now offering a special annual passholder vacation package. Every passholder I know wouldn’t be caught dead purchasing a vacation package that included tickets to the theme parks, since we already get unlimited entry for the year, so when I saw that they were offering less expensive packages for those who already have theme park tickets, I knew I wanted to purchase one. The packages went on sale in August and sold out the first day, but I got one.

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The Legendary Butterbeer Float

Butterbeer float. I heard this term and thought it sounded absolutely amazing. Ice cream AND butterbeer? Divine.

Then I realized you could use butterbeer ice cream and butterbeer to create the sweetest, most decadent treat in all of the Wizarding World.

This item is not an official menu item at Hogsmeade nor Diagon Alley so if you ask a team member to make you one, they probably won’t know what you’re talking about. But it doesn’t stop you from making it yourself! You will need a regular butterbeer, an order of butterbeer ice cream and an extra cup. The Fountain of Fair Fortune is the best place to get these items seeing as they sell both butterbeer and butterbeer ice cream!

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The first step is to split up the butterbeer between the two cups. Since most of the butterscotch flavoring is in the foam, you will need to pass the liquid between the cups several times to ensure proper butterscotch taste. Keep in mind, the foam expands while you do this, so you will end up with 2 cups that are 2/3 of the way full. I recommend this be shared because it is quite rich and because it’s hard to eat your float while carrying around 2 cups!

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The last step is to split the butterbeer ice cream between the two cups.

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YUM! If you are sharing this with someone, it will cost you a little more than $4 each if you use your annual pass discount.

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Ta-da! It’s very rich and very sweet but soooOoOO worth it. It would be interesting to try this with frozen butterbeer! It might be a bit harder to mix everything together but I personally prefer frozen butterbeer to regular butterbeer. If anyone tries this, let me know how it is!

Are there any special items that you have come up with at the parks that are not available on a menu? Let us know in the comments! We can start our own Wizarding World secret menu.

The Wonderful World of Harry Potter

At approximately 3:30 on Thursday July 3rd, 2014, Universal Studios Orlando soft opened their newest attraction area, Diagon Alley, to the public for the first time.

And I got to be a part of it.


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Rumors had been swirling for days of soft openings. Two days in a row, I anxiously waited with other Slug Club members for even the smallest sign of a soft. Both times were to no avail. So when it finally opened on Thursday, it made all the waiting worth it! Originally, we had only planned to ride the Hogwarts Express, which had been in the throes of soft openings since Tuesday afternoon. It was just impeccable timing, and wicked good luck that Diagon Alley soft opened that day.

Heather, Lauren and I got to the gates of London just as the crowd cheered and the first guests were let in. We ran around, looking for the beginning of the line and within 15 minutes, we were through the queue and standing inside of the London front. Although I really wanted to get a few pictures in front of Grimmauld place and the fountain, we rushed towards the entrance to Diagon Alley. I figured I’d been staring at London for weeks; I needed to get out of the Muggle world!

I started to tear up at the sight of the brick wall entrance. I lost my breath once through the wall, looking ahead at Gringotts and the large dragon atop it, with the Leaky Cauldron on my left and Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes on my right. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, even more amazing than when I saw Hogsmeade for the first time. We first entered Leaky to get some grub and sitting in this iconic location from the books and movies, sipping my butterbeer and surrounded by my friends, I started crying. It was just so perfect, and beautiful, and magical.

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Universal took all of the pitfalls of Hogsmeade and turned them into serious positives in Diagon Alley. Most of the shops have queues outside so that large crowds can be better controlled. The interactive wand stations usually have a cast member present to help with spell-casting. And they introduced a whole slew of new drinks to try like the fishy-green ale (it’s quite….different), Otter’s Fizzy Orange Juice (an orange and soda concoction with cinnamon sugar on the rim), Tongue Tying Lemon Squash (a very tart lemonade, that is still delicious) and several different “potions” you can mix in with bottled water. I would recommend that you try it at least once, even though it is like paying $8 for Kool-Aid, the vials are pretty neat keepsakes.

The layout of Diagon Alley also trumps Hogsmeade. Hogsmeade consists of one “road” with the Forbidden Journey in the back. It is the perfect layout for a quaint little village, but is still not the best for traffic flow in a theme park. Diagon Alley has several different pathways throughout area, and makes it feel much more like a bustling big city shopping market. It also feels more spacious and has 2 large covered areas for when it rains: Knockturn Alley and Carkitt Market.  Knockturn Alley is fully air conditioned and kept in perpetual nighttime. Carkitt Market is where they have a stage for Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees to perform, and where they have shows based on stories from the Tales of Beedle the Bard. It is also home to The Hopping Pot and Eternelle’s Elixirs.

The pictures of Diagon Alley just don’t do it justice. It is so much more in person. I noticed a lot of the designs from Mina Lima, who were present at The Celebration of Harry Potter back in January. The whole of Diagon Alley is themed just perfectly. You really are completely immersed in the Wizard world. When we left Diagon Alley to go ride the Hogwarts Express, it was a bit of a jolt to remember that we were actually inside Universal Studios.

We were able to cover most of the shops, including the long line for Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor and dinner at the Leaky Cauldron in about 5 hours. Sadly, the Gringotts ride was not up and running, and we couldn’t do walkthroughs. I bought a new interactive wand (oak) and some parchment from Scribbulus. I also splurged and got the souvenir cup of ice cream, but that will be a one-time only affair (try the Earl Grey and Lavender ice cream!). Several members, including myself, bought Hogwarts Express tickets which are printed in “gold ink.” Some items still on my wish-list are a Skiving Snackbox and the collector’s coin set at the Money Exchange.

All in all, Diagon Alley is a must-see for all avid Harry Potter fans. If you’ve seen Hogsmeade and were impressed by everything there, you’ll be completely blown away in Diagon Alley. Universal just did an incredible job and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for making the wonderful world of Harry Potter a reality.

 

Battle of Hogwarts Laser Tag

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Written by Alyssa Hancock

The Battle of Hogwarts is an event that lives in infamy amongst the magical community. Although it is such a remarkable day in our history, there are many among us who have mixed up the actual date of the event, perhaps as a result of being hit by the Confundus charm. The correct date of this notorious battle actually occurred on May 5, 2014. It was an epic battle waged between the Order of the Phoenix and their long-standing rivals, the Death Eaters.

 

The night started out with the opposing sides as enemies, the Order and the Death Eaters rooting against each other, hoping to win the battle to turn the tides in their favor. The first fight started at around 8:00pm and waged on for twenty minutes. It was truly a sight to see; spells being cast left and right, friends covering each other’s backs, and foes fighting until the bitter end. After twenty minutes, there was a momentary cease-fire, allowing each side to regroup and prepare for the next match.

 

As the combatants headed onto sacred ground for their next battle, a new force appeared, trying to strip away the glory from both sides and take it for themselves. This new strange enemy taunted the Order as well as the Death Eaters which was not a wise choice. The two rivals chose to end their feud momentarily and join forces to destroy this new menace that threatened their world.

 

With foes paired up for the first time in history, the witches and wizards felt invincible, but as the battles began, they could tell that their strength was outmatched. This new group was well practiced in dueling and posed a great threat to the Order and the Death Eaters. After losing three battles, all hope seemed lost and the witches and wizards in battle thought that their beloved Hogwarts would be taken by these newcomers.

 

During a final battle, a glimmer of hope shone through the darkness. The great witches and wizards decided to ambush their foes and overpower them in a final attempt to take back their school and their glory. In one fail swoop, the wizards surged forward and screamed “For Dumbledore!!!” With the incoming horde of wizards and the battle cry, the enemy was baffled and was swiftly overtaken.

 

In the end, the Order and the Death Eaters realized that it doesn’t matter if you’re friend or foe, it only matters that you know how to work together when times are tough.  And in the final moments of the battle, this statement rang true as that glorious battle turned the tides and allowed our brave witches and wizards to gain victory and reclaim what was rightfully theirs; the beloved Hogwarts. 

 

 

 

Matrem Stupri Veneficus 2013 Recap

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The Slug Club had an awesome time tonight at Dave and Busters on International Drive! We met up for the first Matrem Stupri Veneficus Tournament (bonus House points if you’re the first one to translate the name!). It was basically just an excuse to get together and go ham on some games in the arcade. Some of us scored pretty big.

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We had a lot of new faces tonight which was awesome! Everyone got along so well. It can be difficult to really connect with first timers when we do events in such crowded places, but we hope to see everyone again for our next meet-up.

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The next event is currently scheduled to be the limited Ollivander’s Wand Making Day. I’m hosting it at my apartment so we have a 15 person cap on the event, so hurry up and RSVP before all the spots are taken! All materials will be provided for you for a $3 cash donation.

Celebrating 15 years

On Wednesday, 9/4, the Winter Park Public Library put on a lovely Harry Potter trivia extravaganza! Members of the Slug Club attended the unofficial event (it did not count for House points) with about 50 other Harry Potter fans from around Central Florida. It was held at the Mellow Mushroom located in Winter Park.

Meg and myself teamed up with my boyfriend, Erik to create the Ravenbrawlers team, while Heather, Melissa and Mallory had their own team named The Order of the Goat. A third team was created with Dory, Ashley and Dominic.

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There were 3 rounds of about 30 questions each. We had an awesome time, and although we thought that the Ravenbrawlers and The Order of the Goat were head-to-head, another team won. I’m going to figure out how they cheated, because the Ravenbrawlers deserved to win, dangit! I suspect a Quick Quotes Quill…..

Here are some questions that were particularly difficult. Can you answer them? Comment with the correct answer, and no using Google!

What was the name of the Slytherin Quidditch player that Draco Malfoy replaced as Seeker in the Chamber of Secrets?
Which four animals is a student allowed to bring with them to Hogwarts?
What was the creature that Luna Lovegood said can be warded off with onion?
What House was Terry Boot sorted into?
Besides Viktor Krum, name the other members of the Bulgarian quidditch team.
What does J.K stand for in J.K Rowling’s name?
What row was Harry’s prophecy located on in the Department of Mysteries?
Where was the first official meeting of Dumbledore’s Army?
What chess piece does Ron sacrifice himself to in order to help Harry advance in The Sorcerer’s Stone?
Who directly preceded Albus Dumbledore as Headmaster of Hogwarts?
What was the name of the student who betrayed Dumbledore’s Army to Umbridge?
What was the name of the location where Harry Potter and Cho Chang had their first official date?
Who said this quote: “You know, Minister, I disagree with Dumbledore on many counts … but you cannot deny he’s got style …

The Winter Park Library held other events this weekend to celebrate 15 years of Potter, so if any club member attended any events, please feel free to post your recap on the blog.

Our next meetup is on Thursday 9/19 at Dave and Busters where we will be hosting the first Matrem Stupri Veneficus Tournament. Witches and Wizards will be able to test their magical abilities with games and sports. A grand feast will follow.

Until next time, Wrackspurts!

House Cup Award Ceremony (2012-2013)

Slytherin

This past Saturday was our first House Cup Award Ceremony, held at the Penatzer Castle. We wanted to wish Slytherin House a big congratulations for being the first winners of the CFSC House Cup! I believe the House Cup will reside with their Head of House, Heather Murphy.

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September 1st starts off the 2013-2014 term and a clean slate for all Houses. The HoHs and myself met up a few months ago to have a planning meeting and we decided to change up the House points system. More information will come of that soon when we decide to go public with it.

We are also starting a new program called Auror Training. Meet-ups will count toward categories (i.e. Tracking, Concealment and Disguise…) and once you have completed your punch card, you are officially a CFSC Auror!

We hope to see everyone on September 1st in Winter Park to celebrate the start of term with a fun cosplay day!

First Post

Hello, and welcome to the brand new blog of the Central Florida Slug Club. Entries will be posted by the 4 HoH’s along with myself, the Ravenclaw prefect. I also edit the newsletter.

We will mostly be posting about meet-ups, sharing fun photos and links, and using this as an additional social media outlet to gain more converts, er, I mean, members.

Stay tuned!