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Your Hogwarts letter has arrived!
Quarantine might make you feel like you’re stuck in a cupboard under the stairs, but that doesn’t mean Hogwarts is out of sight. The magic of the internet brings us lots of things to do and allows us to connect with witches and wizards all over the globe. If you’re a magical being living at the Dursley’s right now, we’ve got tons of ways to make quarantine your very own Hogwarts!
First thing’s first: Put on the Sorting Hat
The very first thing Harry Potter and his friends do when they arrive at Hogwarts is get sorted into one of four houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin. While you probably don’t have a magical Sorting Hat (although, if you do, DM us), there are plenty of easy ways to sort yourself online. The Wizarding World’s quiz is the most official way to do it, as it is written by JK Rowling herself.
You don’t necessarily need to sort yourself, though. You know you better than anyone. If there’s a particular house you really identify with, slip on your house colors and have fun!
Any Harry Potter fan will tell you the books are always better than the movies. With all this time you have on your hands, now is a great time to reread the series. You can read alone or aloud with friends and family over Skype. If you’re a teacher, you can also post videos of you reading for students because JK Rowling recently granted an open license for educators!
Don’t have copies of the books? Not to worry! You can always download an ebook or check it out for free online from your local library.
If audiobooks are more your thing, there are several options for auditory reading, too. Audible made a number of children’s books free during the coronavirus pandemic including Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone! If you want to support local bookstores during this difficult time, you can also purchase audiobooks from Libro.fm, a platform that allows you to choose your favorite bookstore you want your purchase to count toward. Isn’t that magical?
We personally like to curl up with a cup of tea whenever we read, particularly when it comes to Harry Potter. Make it even more magical with Harry Potter-themed tea! You can find tons of magical tea available for purchase on Etsy. Not only will you get a delicious cuppa, but you also will be supporting a small business!
Once you’ve turned the final page of book seven, it’s time for a good old fashion movie marathon! Finding the Harry Potter movies to stream online is a little bit of pain if we’re honest, but it’s not totally impossible. If you have Hulu Live, you can stream all eight movies easily. You can also rent them for cheap ($3.99) on Amazon, Vudu, YouTube Movies, iTunes, and Google Play.
Want to watch with your Hogwarts housemates? Create your own common room with free watch party services like Kast.
Wizardly Snacks and Drinks
What’s a movie night without snacks? You can make your own wizardly snacks from the Harry Potter series right at home. If you don’t have a house-elf, (and if you do, give the poor thing a sock and set them free!) there are tons of recipes online for how to make your own magical treats.
We recommend the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz, which you can get as an ebook, so you won’t even have to wait! It has just about every food ever referenced in the Harry Potter books, making it an exhaustive source of Potter gastronomy.
YouTube also has a ton of tutorials on how to make Harry’s favorite foods like Nerdy Nummies, Binging with Babish, and Feast of Fiction. These YouTube channels can also help you mix your own HP drinks like butterbeer, Amortencia, or Felix Felicis.
Harry Potter Plays
Did you know there’s not one, not two, not three, but five Harry Potter plays? It’s true and you can watch all but one of them online (sorry, Cursed Child fans.) Keep in mind, though, that not all of these plays are made for kids, so if you have little ones with you, maybe screen the performance beforehand. These plays are really more targeted toward Millenial and Gen X witches and wizards.
A Very Potter Musical
A Very Potter Musical, and it’s sequels A Very Potter Sequel and A Very Potter Senior Year, are available to stream for free on Team StarKid’s YouTube channel. This hilarious series of comedies are full-length plays featuring original songs and featuring Darren Criss before Glee made him famous. The plays are lovingly made by fans for fans with insider jokes and a banging soundtrack. The first play’s audio isn’t great, but if you grab a pair of headphones, it’s not too bad and it’s totally worth it.
For all you Hufflepuffs out there, Puffs is an off-broadway hit all about the lesser-known Hogwarts house. If you’re a Hufflepuff always in a Gryffindor’s shadow, you have to check this play out. The New York Times called it “A fast-paced romp through the ‘Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic.’ For Potterphiliacs who grew up alongside Potter and are eager to revisit that world, ‘PUFFS’ exudes a jovial, winking fondness for all things Harry!”
This play is critically acclaimed and sells out just about everywhere it tours, but lucky for you, it’s available for streaming through Broadway HD!
Did you know there’s an entire music genre devoted to songs about Harry Potter? It’s true! Wizard Rock (or Wrock) has a huge cult following among die-hard Harry Potter fans. The OG Wrock band is Harry and the Potters who started playing in libraries in 2002 and just last year released their newest album Lumos.
Other popular Wrock artists include Tonks and the Aurors, Draco and the Malfoys, The Whomping Willows, Lauren Fairweather, and The Remus Lupins. That just scratches the surface, though. You can find even more Wrock artists on Spotify, Bandcamp, and YouTube.
Want more Wrock? Keep an eye on your favorite wrockers; a lot of them have put on free livestream concerts. Many of these concerts take place at the Con For Small things by the Harry Potter Alliance, so check out their schedule, too! More on the HPA later.
Take classes at Hogwarts
Okay, so you can’t actually go to Hogwarts, but what you can do is take wizardly courses online. There are a number of incredible websites with actual courses you can take in potions, defense against the dark arts, herbology, charms, and more!
Harry Potter At Home
J.K. Rowling recently released Harry Potter At Home, the wonderful wizarding website intent on banishing boredom from our homes. It’s not quite a letter from Hogwarts, but it sure is close.
Made in collaboration with Scholastic and Bloomsbury, the online hub will provide parents, teachers, and carers with the tools to inspire, amuse, and entertain children. But don’t worry, adult wizards! There’s plenty of magic for everyone to discover while in lockdown.
Online you will find quizzes to play, puzzles to solve, guides to drawing fantastic beasts as well as taking part in the sorting-hat ceremony when you first register. Don’t forget to sign-up to the weekly newsletters, updated regularly to give an ever-evolving collection of new resources.
Hogwarts is Here
Want more straight forward Hogwarts classes? Look no further than Hogwarts is Here, a complete online school where you can take courses in all your favorite Hogwarts studies, connect with thousands of Harry Potter fans, compete in the house cup, and even teach classes by applying to be an online professor! Check it out here.
The Harry Potter Alliance
If you’re into Harry Potter for the social commentary, you have to check out The Harry Potter Alliance, a nonprofit that uses pop culture to encourage civic engagement in young people. The volunteer-run organization is a beloved group in the Harry Potter fandom that started making the world a more magical place in 2005. Our editor even volunteers from the HPA in their spare time!
Check out the Wizard Activism school for courses in community organizing, fan activism, and more! Its Fandom Foward toolkits allow fans to connect their favorite stories to real-world issues and start fighting for positive social change. You can also join the Granger 2020 campaign, an initiative to encourage people to vote (even from afar) and fight for issues that matter to them.
The HPA is also hosting an ongoing virtual convention in response to the coronavirus. The Small Things Con hosts regular livestreams of fun activities like creating pygmy puffs, volunteer actions you can take from home, karaoke nights, and lots more! Check out the full schedule here.
Looking for more things Harry Potter? Well, lucky for you, we’ve got even more suggestions for having the ultimate Harry Potter weekend! A number of Harry Potter virtual experiences have popped up online. The British Library released an online version of its popular exhibit Harry Potter: A History of Magic, which you can find on Google Arts & Culture.
The Peters Township Library also has a virtual Harry Potter Escape Room, so you can experience your first year at Hogwarts online!
Is Quidditch more your speed? Did you know it’s a real sport? It is and it even has it’s own International Quidditch Association and World Cup! You can watch past IQA games on YouTube and pretend you’re cheering on Harry and his team.
Last but not least, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is a Pre-Potter era virtual adventure played on your smartphone. You can work your way through all seven years of Hogwarts with a customizable character and immersive storyline.
Feature photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash