Harry Potter and U of T?!

Any Harry Potter fans out there? If you are, then I am sure you know what happened this weekend. Yesssssss, Deathly Hallows (part 1) was released in theatres!

I grew up with Harry Potter. I remember devouring the first three books when I was in Grade 6 and then eagerly awaiting subsequent new releases as I graduated from each grade.

Even though U of T is huge, one of the things that secretly comforted me when I first started here was that our college system was much like HP’s house system, and even more so that I was at Trin! We wear robes, yo.

But the books are completed and the films are approaching its end. The one thing that has been with me throughout the highs and lows of highschool and university applications and tests and pretty much the one thing that remained constant with me year after year is slowly fading into the recesses of my memory.

What delights me though, is how I’m coming to discover that this childhood friend of mine really hasn’t gone away. It started when I noticed that a photo of a student on the U of T homepage has a Gryffindor scarf wrapped around her neck. Then, when I did my Colleges series last year, Janine Hubbard, Recruitment and Outreach co-ordinator at Vic told us a fun fact:

Students often comment on how much our dining hall looks like the one in Harry Potter. Well, after a colleague did some research, he found out that our hall design was based on one at Oxford (Christ Church College’s dining hall), and it was used in the Harry Potter films, so we essentially have the same design!

HP has leapt off the pages of its canon and has taken a life of its own, going so far as to challenge and engage our student and academic life. Don’t believe me? For starters, Professor Alison Keith, chair of classics, credits the increase of interest in Latin courses at U of T to the Harry Potter series!

Two things that make me smile every time I hear about it are U of T’s Harry Potter lectures and our Quidditch team. What? You didn’t know we had these? Now you do, dear readers, now you do.

Shamefully enough, I couldn’t make either. I know, I know. I’m sorry. To make up for it, I wrote my final paper on a literary analysis of the rhetorical strategies in Harry Potter for my INI209 class. Concurrently, I wrote a 20-page essay on the Jungian perspective of Lady Gaga. I may have slept very few hours in those last couple of weeks of the semester, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy rereading HP looking for evidence while blasting Lady Gaga in my room.

Anyways, I digress. Every now and then, we have lectures on the science of Harry Potter. I really wanted to make “The Quantum Physics of Harry Potter”. The department even brought in a magician! Who said academia is all serious business? Luckily, you can experience the book and science nerdiness in all its glory here.

Apart from physics, Professor George Eleftheriades from the Department of Engineering (ECE) was researching the possibility of making invisibility cloaks, and finally… WE HAVE A QUIDDITCH TEAM.

I have Facebook friends on the Quidditch team and I saw pictures, but I can’t for the life of me find them. I did email the team and they said to keep checking back on their Facebook page for upcoming games next semester.

Muggle Quidditch is as ridiculous as it sounds. It’s a mish-mash of soccer and lacrosse and tag, except, you have a broom stuck between your legs. I’m going to be mature and adult and not make any of the litany of wildly inappropriate jokes that come to mind. Check out the photos from The Varsity. Despite sticking a broom between your legs and perhaps giggling self-consciously, the game is actually quite intense; just look at the photos from when McGill came over to teach us how to play. U of T went to the Quidditch World Cup a few weeks ago and played their first game against the NY Badassilisks (what a kickass name). We didn’t win, but I found a video of the action on Youtube:

Take a break from writing/studying and reminisce with me. What memories do you have of Harry Potter? Have you seen DH1 yet?

- Cynthia