When I arrived at Holland Hall for Harry Potter Night, I was shocked by the sheer amount of people in line to enter. Not being particularly familiar with the “Harry Potter” franchise, I was skeptical of this event being worth any of my precious Friday evening, and I would have thought quite a bit of the St. Olaf student population would feel the same way. I thought I would only spot people so visibly forsaken by their realities that a magical “Harry Potter” exodus would be their only means of Friday fulfillment. Not so.
Every kind of Ole, from the sports enthusiast to the pretentious poet lined the Holland Hall steps, some brimming with excitement, wielding their wands and wrapped in their Gryffindor scarves, some not so excited, occupied by their cellphones and rubbing the bags underneath their eyes. All types of people were cramped together, slowly climbing the stairs because of a promise of the deliciousness to come.
Finally, a couple of my friends and I made it up the long line and were greeted by butterbeer, which, according to my friend, was drunk by Harry and his friends in the books, although in the books, it was alcoholic. The lack of alcohol in the butterbeer and the event in general was a problem I will have to take up with the organizers and the administration. Despite its non-alcoholic quality, the butterbeer was delicious.
After the butterbeer, a friendly woman decked out in a full Hogwarts uniform told us that we should go play “Harry Potter” trivia. I was a little apprehensive about this, as I knew I would be completely useless to whatever team I was on. My friends jumped at the idea though, and into the trivia room we went.
We sat with a few strangers, one in particular caught my attention. She had a glint in her eye and a Ravenclaw scarf and she looked fierce. We decided to call our team Dobby Sock. I don’t know how we decided that. What a name. We were pitted against Wo-Mandrakes, the Warts, and Holyhead Harpies. As soon as the questions began it seemed clear that Wo-Mandrakes possessed a dominant “Harry Potter” intellect to us and the other teams. We’d managed to answer a few questions but Wo-Mandrakes were still creaming us as they’d taken a ten point lead. The Holyhead Harpies and the Warts weren’t doing much of anything.
Suddenly, my teammate clad in a Ravenclaw scarf and glinty-eyed went on a rampage. The amount of obscure information about “Harry Potter” this woman knew indicated some kind of genius. It was as if she was a prophet directly communicating with J.K. Rowling. We were now tied with Wo-Mandrakes. Unfortunately, our oracle could not guide us to victory by herself, and the combined might of the members of Wo-Mandrakes proved too much for Dobby Sock on that night.
I was sad, not because we lost, but because I felt as if I had wasted the talent of one of the best thinkers of my generation. The abilities of this woman gave me a new perspective about the depth of the “Harry Potter” world. I will forever be a proud Dobby Sock.
I walked out of Holland Hall realizing that I myself had left reality that night, and that I had really enjoyed it.