Hogwarts Night

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Harry Potter has always had the power to spark the love for books in its readers. Be it Hermione’s geeky love for The History of Magic, Harry’s fascination with the library’s restricted section or Ron’s childhood memories of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, J.K. Rowling’s universe has always celebrated literature and shaped its characters through the books that started their adventures.

With the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, as play and script, the magic of books has re-excited readers all over the world and London and its bookshops have become the place to celebrate this love.

Waterstones Putney organised an exciting Wizard Week with arts and crafts ranging from Sugar Quills to Wand-making building towards the Hogwarts Night, on July 30th. The shop’s weekly activities also stood out on websites such as The Londonist which listed it as one of their favourite events in the post: “Where To Celebrate The New Harry Potter Book Launch.”

Both the Wizard Week and the Hogwarts Night proved successful in delivering their unique identity and uniting the local customers and the bookshop through creativity and a little bit of magic.

Each of the 40 guests was given a special Hogwarts Acceptance Letter inviting them to be Hogwarts students for one night.

The bookshop and Dillons Cafè were turned into Hogwarts and Honeydukes, respectively, selling delicious treats such as chocolate frogs to House-themed cupcakes.

To welcome the students the booksellers became Hogwarts professors ready to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, Divination and Quidditch.

The doors opened at 10pm to an excited group of children, teenagers and adults, as well as parents ready to enjoy the cafè until midnight. The guests started by taking a photo in the Sirius Black “Have you seen this wizard?” photo-frame while enjoying the warmth and set-up of Dillons Cafè.

After the welcome speech each student was sorted into houses and ready to collect points and win the House’s Cup. They were then directed to Olivander’s, where 40 hand-made wands waited for them to remind them that “the wand chooses the wizard.”

In the Defence Against the Dark Arts’ class the students were given a test on the subject, the teams worked together to get as many right answers as possible (one of the students answered Love to the question “How do you revert an unforgivable spell?” and it melted our hearts). In the Divination class the students solved rebuses about Hogwarts’ characters and objects, while the Herbology class turned them into cupcakes makers and masters of icing, decorating sweet treats to take home. Meanwhile, the Quidditch competition was on as Houses did their best to score the most points. A Golden Snitch was also hidden in the bookshop and promptly found by a Hufflepuff student.

As midnight approached the staff announced the competitions’ winners. Hufflepuff took away the House Cup and was awarded with house’s badgers. The winner of the Best Costume prize was a Hufflepuff student dressed as Dobby, who won the illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

At the stroke of midnight Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was finally revealed provoking excitement, emotion and a little bit of nostalgia in the adult readers. Once each guest collected their copy it was invaluable to see their reactions and receive great feedback for the event’s organisation. One of the most unforgettable moments was seeing a group of lively Slytherins sitting in one of the cafè’s booths and assigning each other parts before reading the script.

The Hogwarts Night was an event that proved, once again, the fascinating power that books retain on readers at any age.

Harry Potter is, in fact, a franchise that crosses generations and The Cursed Child proves it entirely.

There will always be a connection between the books’ pages, and their teachings, and the experiences of life, for the readers who are now grown-ups like Harry, Ron and Hermione and the ones who are experiencing growing up like Albus, Scorpius and Rose.

London has always been a key factor in the Harry Potter equation and Waterstones has been a great and familiar place where to transform reading into a magical experience.

Ultimately, it was incredible to see how much a bookshop can deliver to its customers turning the dreams on a page into reality.