From Hogwarts to Allegheny: Dumbledore’s Army

Contributing Writer

“Why isn’t there a Harry Potter club?”

This was the question posed by Harry Potter enthusiast Anna Good, ’13, during her freshman year at Allegheny.

After seeing a need for more Potter pride on campus, Good decided to create Dumbledore’s Army at Allegheny in fall 2010. Its name is derived from the club created by students at Hogwarts in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth book in the series.

Dumbledore’s Army is one of 60 international chapters of the Harry Potter Alliance, a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2005 to utilize parallels from the Harry Potter series to “mobilize young people…toward issues of literacy, equality, and human rights,” according to its official Web site.

Anna describes the group meetings as casual and fun.

“Mostly we all just hang around and talk about Harry Potter or watch videos. Most members come to our events such as mocktail parties, dances and concerts,” she said.

The level of interest among the group members varies widely, from fanatics to members that have only watched a couple of the movies.

One of the events the club coordinates is the Yule Ball, an event that takes place in the fourth installment of the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This past year the Ball was held on the last week of classes in December in Schultz East Alcove.

With the festive decorations and wizard rock music being played, the atmosphere felt like Hogwarts, said Good. A spring dance called the Phoenix Formal is scheduled to take place on March 30.

Besides dances, the club has hosted numerous other events, including a wizard rock concert on campus last year that featured bands like The Whomping Willows and The Moaning Myrtles.

Good explained that wizard rock is composed of multiple genres; however, they are all centered on Harry Potter. The bands that performed last year were from all over the country.

Another event the club frequently hosts is potion making.

“We try to replicate some of the potions made in the Harry Potter books, such as Amortentia, Felix Felicis, Butterbeer and Polyjuice Potion,” said LaVerne Thompson, ’14.

As chapter organizer, Good hopes to get the club even more involved with philanthropic events.

“Since we’re a chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, we do Relay For Life every year. However, we’re looking to do more volunteer based things. Last year, during a mocktails event, we made valentines for the Wesbury retirement home,” she said.

Besides her Harry Potter activities on campus, Good has also been involved in Harry Potter musicals and events all over the United States. For the past two years she has acted in the musical “The Final Battle,” which is based on the last two hundred pages of the last Harry Potter book.

One aspect of the club that is growing in popularity is the Quidditch team. Quidditch, a fictional sport in the novels, was founded as a real sport in 2004 and has since become increasingly more common at university campuses.

Freshman Alex Marker-Pittock was asked to become captain of Allegheny’s Quidditch team after attending the first glow-in-the-dark game. She played and coordinated Quidditch games throughout her high school career.

Although the first Quidditch game of the semester did not see many attendees, Pittock views the future practices with enthusiasm.

“If we get enough people we’ll pair them off into teams, do mini scrimmages, and see what happens,” she said.

Pittock said the “Muggle,” or real-world version of Quidditch, is very similar to the Quidditch in the books.

“Take what you have in the sky and put it on the ground,” she said.

Allegheny’s next Quidditch game, Bulgaria versus Ireland, is a month away.

Dumbledore’s Army meets every week on Thursdays at 5 p.m. in the Campus Center in room 303.