“It’s wingardium leviOsa, not leviosAH.”
The Harry Potter franchise was one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, pop culture event since its release in 1997. It has influenced the young to the retired, even to this day. My sister in law first introduced me to “The Sorcerer’s Stone” while we were on vacation at Bear Lake. I was hooked. Every year I would read or reread the books at our summer condo. The world of magic was unlike anything that I came across in my youth. My work sold the books, so I was always first in line for the book releases. My manager wore his Gryffindor robes to hand out the books to the waiting customers. The striped tie with black round glasses, even had a wand and a temporary lightning bolt tattoo. My manager isn’t the only person that enjoyed dressing up for Harry Potter. I had the chance to talk with a few Harry Potter cosplayers that brought the world of magic to life.
Azkaban Bellatrix was one scary witch. When the films came out, her laugh was haunting. Tracy Schroeder portrays the fear I experienced as a kid reading about the horrors the Longbottoms endured. Tracy shares a trait with myself, as we enjoy making cosplays that are not used very often. The joy of having fans come up to you and tell you how original your costume is, that they have never seen anyone else cosplay that way, lifts the burden of having to make the designs from head to toe. The fabric for the prison garb was found at Ikea. The chains were made out of Polymorph Plastic, with using Worbla for the cuffs. To give that worn look, as if she had been in prison for years, Tracy used sandpaper. Overall costs were around $100.
Tracy wold love to meet Sirius Black. He went through so much in his life. He turned his back on the family beliefs, then losing his best friend, and then losing his freedom. Sirius escapes only to find he is still in a prison of sorts because he is a wanted criminal, and then losing his life to his crazy cousin (which Tracy has been cosplaying.) Through all that, he still had spirit and never gave up. Something Tracy thinks more of us need in our lives. Salt Lake Comic Con has invited Tracy to cosplay at their release of the new book.
“I love the Harry Potter series because it takes you into a world of magic. Who wouldn’t love that. To cosplay someone from that world brings me that much closer to being a part of it.” -Tracy Schroeder
When “Chamber of Secrets” came out in theaters, friends of Eric Hall wanted to see the film on opening night, dressed up. Throwing together a Harry Potter outfit was a lot of fun. As the final books were being released, Eric made a Professor Snape cosplay that had won a couple of in-store contests. More recently, he became a part of HEROIC and The Rocky Mountain Muggles, which are charity cosplay groups that make visits to sick kids, help support community, and library events. The really fun part is that they are all in character when dressed up, helping create the atmosphere. After awhile fans were telling Eric that he looked like Remus Lupin, so he made a cosplay of that. Lupin now visits Harry Potter events more than Snape. So expect to see him at the book release. Hopefully it won’t be a full moon. Eric is also working on a Newt Scamander cosplay for when the new film is released.
Eric finds parts of his cosplays from all over, using them as is or altering to suit the needs. With about $40, he found his parts from Savers, Goodwill, and Halloween stores. The brown suit is also used for a couple other cosplays, the Tenth Doctor (Doctor Who), and Data from the episode “Time’s Arrow”, where he goes back in time to 1880’s San Francisco (Star Trek: The Next Generation).
Having several reasons to be a fan of the Harry Potter series, Eric talked about a quote that is falsely attributed to Stephen King but it still rings true. “Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity, Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.” Especially with the films, Eric enjoys watching the characters grow up, mature, and become heroes over the course of the series. If he could meet one person from the series, Eric said Hermione. “I’d love to hear her thoughts about what it’s like having Muggle parents, but being such a talented witch… how she felt when she removed herself from her parents’ memories… the weight of her journey back to Hogwarts during the time of The Deathly Hallows…”
“I like the concept and (no pun intended) magical realism of a world very few Muggles know about, full of magic, Wizards, strange creatures that most only know from storybooks, existing side by side but hidden from our own, mundane world.” -Eric Hall
Neville Longbottom really charmed Stephanie Boohar. His development was very encouraging and interesting to experience over the course of the books and movies. Any parent knows that their children have a heavy influence on fandoms. Stephanie’s daughter absolutely adores anything Harry Potter. When Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) was announced as a gues for FanX, the eight year old insisted that with a flick of a wand, they would be in Hogwart’s costumes when meeting him. They planned on a Gryffindor student, and Stephanie as Professor McGonagall. In order to get the robes and under gown to fit just right, the family’s house elf took to the sewing machine during the night. Now a house elf can’t make everything. Stephanie purchases the assortment of accessories needed with all Gryffindors: brooch, wand, hat, etc. The total costs for McGonagall is approximately $300. If you are late to the Harry Potter book release, Professor McGonagall just might turn one of you into a pocket watch.
“I like the messages it conveys, such as doing what’s morally right, even when it’s difficult and unpopular. It also shows that you can be awkward and unsure of yourself, like Neville, and still become a hero. It’s such a richly detailed narrative you can really immerse yourself in the Potterverse. I’ve read the books and seen the movies multiple times and enjoy them as much as I did the first time I experienced them.” -Stephanie Boohar
Travelling throughout Hogsmeade, make sure you say hi, and get your picture taken, with these fellow cosplayers. Buy them a Butterbeer for all their hard work they put into their cosplays. Ask them about their future projects. Join them in the Potterverse. doesn’t matter if you make a full blown outfit or just wearing the t-shirt of your favorite house. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” will be released at a book store near you on July 31, 2016. Salt Lake Comic Con is hosting a book release party at Weller Book Works on Saturday July 30 at 9 PM. You can find their event page by clicking here.