Intrahouse Rivalry?

All Aboard the Hogwarts Express for the 2015-16 School Year!

Another September 1st has come and gone. As you may know, September 1st is the day that young witches and wizards throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland gather at Kings Cross in London to hop on board the Hogwarts Express for the new school year. While many of us are well beyond our Hogwarts years, every year on September 1st we still don our Hogwarts uniforms, gather at Platform 9 3/4s at 11am, sing the school song, and think fondly back to our school days.

Slug Club at Kings Cross

Slug Club members outside of Kings Cross on September 1st, 2015

September 1st is always a magical day. We see old friends again…   Seeing Old Friends Again

And make some new ones…

Lauren and Carla Magical Law Enforcement Squad

Rehash old rivalries…

Intrahouse Rivalry?

And rekindle those old school romances.

Hogwarts Romance

Eventually, we made our way back to Hogwarts for old times’ sakes.

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In the famous words of Albus Dumbledore: “Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! […] I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you.”

Now time for the feast!

Cornfundo!

Wait, you’re doing it wrong!

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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. 😉

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! 

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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. 😉

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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!

LeakyCon 2014 Photo Scavenger Hunt

Ever since I first participated in a photo scavenger hunt at Phoenix Rising (a Harry Potter conference in New Orleans in 2007), I have fallen in love with them. It’s not participating in them so much for me (though that’s always fun), but hearing the stories that come from them – hilarious tales of shenanigans, strangers working together to accomplish a goal with no reward for themselves, and seeing the creativity that comes out in each and every picture.

As a group, the Central Florida Slug Club has run two photo scavenger hunts to date: one during the Quidditch World Cup, and the second just recently during LeakyCon 2014. We’ll make a list of prompts for members (with the requirement that at least one team member be in each picture because, let’s face it, pictures are way more interesting when you know someone in it.) They surprise us each time with these amazing photo responses.   Read More

My First Wonderful and Magical Experience at LeakyCon

By Ashlynn Webb of Hufflepuff

Have you heard about the magic of LeakyCon? LeakyCon was started by the people who run a website called, “The Leaky Cauldron.” The site covers all news that is related to Harry Potter, like when J.K. Rowling wrote a new book and when Pottermore releases new and exclusive material. When the last book of the Harry Potter series was published, they got together and thought of a way for Harry Potter fans to meet other fans. One important factor in creating LeakyCon was they wanted it to be a community atmosphere, like what they had within their website. Thus LeakyCon was created! Read More

All aboard the Hogwarts Express!

As you all know, the Hogwarts Express pulls away from Platform 9 3/4s at exactly 11:00 a.m. on September 1st. Now, most of us are alumni at this point (as we are reminded every four months when the owls arrive with requests for donations to the school), but that doesn’t mean we’re any less excited for the start of the new term! This year we decided to get together and grab some pictures at our local train station and the adjacent park, some in our favorite robes and others in their old Hogwarts uniforms. A great time was had by all – we studied, dueled, listened to a lecture on Herbology, climbed a tree, made friends with a squirrel named Peter, and even found some Hogwarts alumnae that may join our group!


Traveling from place to place is always more fun when you have a large group of wizards trying to discreetly navigate muggle areas of the city. I think (I hope!) we managed to make it through without unintentionally violating the International Statute of Secrecy.

While taking the pictures in the park, we had that awful reminder that we are, in fact, NOT in the United Kingdom. While other areas of the Northern Hemisphere are settling into autumn, here it was… well, Florida. It was Florida. An hour outside in robes is really the max that anyone can handle. (This was fun, but we promise the next cosplay day will be in a “winter” month.)

Once we were done in the park, the cosplay group went to Fiddler’s Green, a fantastic Irish pub in Winter Park. It’s not quite the same as grabbing food in Hogsmeade, but the brunch was amazing and service was fantastic! There were a fair amount of muggles there, but they proved to be friendly and open-minded towards the wizards invading their territory. (Anyone who took Muggle Studies in school knows the key to acceptance in the muggle world is copious amounts of liquor… both for them and us.)

At the pub we played some Pottergories (congratulations to Angelica of Hufflepuff and Adam of Slytherin on their victories!) Every time we play that game, I’m always struck by the creativity and memory of some of our members! People kept thinking of answers that I probably never would have come up with if I had twice the amount of time they did.

All in all though, our first cosplay day was a success! Thank you to all who attended, whether it was for the cosplay day, the brunch, or both! We’ll see you all on Wednesday at the Mellow Mushroom in Winter Park for Harry Potter trivia night! (In the meantime, check the Facebook group for more pictures from our cosplay adventures!)