Universal Orlando’s Harry Potter Celebration Social Media Meet-Up

Wow. Say that five times fast! (Celebration Social Media Meet-Up, Celebration Social Media M…)

I’ve had many people ask me how I was chosen for such an event. Universal Orlando posted on their blog this contest, which required you to tweet them with, “I wish to enter my vault! #HPCelebration.” Having the worst luck in the world when it comes to contests, I sent my tweet, but wasn’t holding my breath for anything. I didn’t notice there were additional ways to enter through Facebook and Instagram until it was waaaaay too late. But guess what?! I was one of the few selected and was told I could bring a guest with me! Slytherin HoH Heather was happy to join in, thus making this a pureblood privilege event.

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Book Club Meetup – Chamber of Secrets

Words by Terrea Riggs. Pictures by Terrea Riggs and Alyssa Hancock.

Nothing beats the feeling of being welcomed home. I haven’t been away, I just never get over walking into an event late and being greeted warmly by my wizard friends (and this time the bartender, too!). So even though I had to work at my muggle job at 1am on Tuesday, my trek out to the George and Dragon Pub for book club on Monday night was well worth it. And what better way to set the mood for your meetup at a British pub than for it to rain the entire time you’re there?

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Our book this time was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. As much as I enjoy new reads, I am equally excited about our group’s re-read of the series that has brought us all together. There were lots of thoughtful questions and plenty of debate (at least from this table).

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As if somehow sensing which book we were discussing this month, my wand broke in half at the meetup, doing its best imitation of Ron Weasley’s during the crash into the Whomping Willow! I hope that Ollivander can repair it next time I am in Diagon Alley.

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Slytherin house was not as well represented in attendance as I had hoped, but Alyssa and I made up for it by wearing our robes and best better-than-you expressions. Where did all these Gryffindors and Ravenclaws come from, anyway?!

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At one point in the night I had truly questioned whether I was in Orlando or not. The rain pelted down the entire time we were at the pub and I even started hearing more British accents than normal. Had I unknowingly apparated to London?

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Perhaps not.

We then broke into smaller groups to compete in trivia from the book for extra house points! While they all did their best at trying, Alyssa and I were the most ambitious and secured the SlytherWIN for the night.

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After that we celebrated with drinks, even inviting Dobby to join us.

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Once again it was a fun night and I can’t wait to do it all again in November with a new book!

Getting Back to Hogwarts

Words by Terrea Riggs. Pictures by Melissa Penatzer and Terrea Riggs. Video by Melissa Penatzer.

An account of events on September 1st.

Start of term is no joke. It required lots of preparation that I easily dismissed until long after I should have been in bed on August 31st. Then, super panic mode was activated! Where is my uniform? I have to get up how early?! Snooze. Snooze. Snooze. Snooze. Crap, I’m late! WHERE IS MY UNIFORM?!

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Luckily, I have the most awesome Hufflepuff in the world as a best friend. We determined my uniform’s hiding place and quickly located it. (FIND!) And by quickly, I mean we were only running an hour late. Guess we won’t be getting to King’s Cross as early as we had hoped…

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We then flew our enchanted car in an easterly direction whilst listening to some of our favorite wrock tunes. There was an attempt at listening to “Gotta Get Back to Hogwarts,” but we had a lot of magical interference (known to muggles as “buffering”) and had to give it up. Instead, we listened to The Whomping Willows and Draco and the Malfoys (both of which are more awesome, anyway).

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Upon arriving in London, we decided to grab pumpkin flavored coffees instead of pumpkin pasties then headed towards King’s Cross.

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Somehow, we managed to arrive early to meet up with fellow Slug Club members. Had Jess brought her time turner and somehow used it without my knowing? o.O

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We, as a group, then entered the station and prepared to get on platform 9 3/4.

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Some danced, some ran, some tried not to spill their hard ciders as they boozed their way through. Being a 7th year has its perks. πŸ˜‰

To avoid being grouped with any muggles that had somehow managed to load onto the platform, we were told to stick to our tickets and queued to the side to wait for the Hogwarts Express at 11. I’m still not sure where the other trains went, but as they had muggles on them I didn’t really care; We were waiting to go to Hogwarts!Β 

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While we waited we decided to take our yearbook pictures early. House pictures, pictures by year, pictures with our tickets, pictures with our drinks. (We like pictures, ok?) Then, we sang the Hogwarts school song, each to their own tune and rhythm. It was a beautiful mess.

Shortly after it was time to go! We boarded the train at precisely 11am! The porters were wonderful about making sure all students were grouped together and that we would arrive at Hogwarts on schedule. None of us wanted to miss anything! Our journey to Hogsmeade was enjoyable; Many more pictures were taken and we even caught a glimpse of a few of our favorite wizards while looking out the window.

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We arrived at Hogsmeade where we decided lunch at The Three Broomsticks was a fabulous idea (with a quick pop into the Hog’s Head on the way)! One can only eat so many sweets on the train before needing an actual meal.
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Then, we proceeded to the castle, taking a few more group shots on the way.

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We even ran into some students from Durmstrang and Beaubatons! Were they lost? Last time they showed up it was for the Triwizard Tournament!

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Finally, our hike up to the castle by foot was complete (where were those blasted carriages?!). We asked to be shown to our dormitories, having somehow missed the feast at the Great Hall.

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We dropped off our trunks and debated getting a nap in… At least that’s what we told the professors and prefects, anyway. πŸ˜‰

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Pfffft. We were already ready to sneak out of the dorms and get up to no good. Our large group dispersed in many ways. A few of us even rode back to London to get some forgotten shopping done!

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Before any good shopping trip starts in Diagon Alley, you simply must go to Gringotts. While we were all visiting our vaults a break in occurred and we somehow got mixed up in the mess. They even had a bloody dragon loose and running around! I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I bet that no good Potter had something to do with it. This has his name all over it.

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We found lots of new goodies in Diagon Alley and spent way too many galleons. After getting the last few things on my school list, I was very happy to find and purchase new Hollyhead Harpies items to wear at school and with which to decorate my dormitory. We grabbed butterbeers and ice creams at the Fountain of Fair Fortune, but in finding a place to enjoy them found ourselves in Knockturn Alley. Except when we almost lost a Hufflepuff to a dark wizard, a good time was had by all.

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Having tired from the events of the day, we decided to grab a pint at the Leaky Cauldron and call it a day.

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What a great start to what is sure to be an amazing year! Happy start of term, everyone!

The Greatest House You Ever Knew

What being Slytherin means to me.

When I first thought to write about this subject, I did what any other Slytherin would do… I Googled my prompt and thought, “I could just reword this already written essay and take full credit. No one would ever know.” Slytherins are crafty like that. Why put in any unnecessary effort when there is a way to still get the job done and get recognized for it? “Those cunning folks use any means to meet their ends.”

But then I found a few things I disagreed with on that list, as any Slytherin would. We are fairly united within our house, but when we have our own individual opinions they will not be altered.

Until now Slytherin was the only house that hadn’t written on this subject. And I thought about this and I know why. Because we don’t care if others understand us or even like us for that matter. We know we’re awesome and don’t feel the need to express it…

… unless we are being directly compared to other houses, that is. Then we get a little defensive. Because Slytherin does not equal Death Eater. Slughorn? Snape? Regulus? All Slytherins that did their part to save the Wizarding World.

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We can keep our cool in stressful situations. (That may or may not be due to causing the chaos.) As Dumbledore noted we have, “a certain disregard for the rules.”

Slytherins are self preserving. It’s not that we don’t want to help save you, we just don’t understand why anyone would risk their own neck to do it.

A Slytherin will not argue with you. They know they are right and will make their opinion known, but they will not debate. This is how you will think you’ve won or that you’ve beaten us down. In truth, we just can’t be bothered to waste any more of our time on you.

β€œThe results validate the deed,” would be a good motto for Slytherin house. We like to win and have the determination and ambition to meet or exceed our goals, even if that means circumnavigating the rules to get there.

Many people think Slytherin are cold or heartless, but that’s only to outsiders. We are fiercely loyal, but that loyalty is earned; friendship much the same. We don’t tend to make friends quickly, taking our time to get to know someone before they can become part of our inner circle. Those that do make it to that level will enjoy our sarcasm and dark humor. One of the marks of the Slytherin is our schadenfreude, or pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. (I said we weren’t all Death Eaters, I never said we weren’t all a little bit evil.)

Just don’t piss us off, because we do hold grudges.

All of these things (and more) are what it means to be a Slytherin to me.

Also, we have Merlin. πŸ™‚