July 31, 2016, this Sunday, is a very important day. First of all, it’s Harry Potter’s 36th birthday. Second of all, it heralds the official opening and script release of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I and II.”
For those of you who don’t know, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is a play showing on West End in London right now that centers around the children of beloved characters such as Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley and even Draco Malfoy as they embark upon their own Hogwarts adventures. We at the Clog can’t tell you anything else — not just because we don’t want to spoil it for you but because we refuse to look up anything for fear of finding spoilers ourselves. To clear up some confusion, it’s written by playwright Jack Thorne and based on an original new story by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne.
After all this time, the new script release has Potter fans waiting on the edge of our seats in anticipation. We may not have been waiting for 12 years in Azkaban, but we’ve been waiting for nine years in a world devoid from new Harry Potter-related texts. We know that we have to prepare to celebrate this momentous occasion — one that we weren’t sure we were going to get again. We at the Clog are all too happy to present to you a guide to celebrating the release of the “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” script.
Break out the merchandise.
Finally, all those wands and Time-Turners we at the Clog have been collecting since 1997 are coming in handy. We’re sure you probably have your fair share of Potter paraphernalia to break out. The wand chooses the wizard, after all, and yours chose you for a reason — it’s about time you use it again. Sure, you might look a little odd running down Shattuck Avenue on a broomstick, but all the students know we’ve got a great Quidditch team at Berkeley, and it probably isn’t the weirdest thing that Shattuck will see even in one day.
Dress like a Hogwarts student.
For some of us at the Clog, getting dressed up like Hermione takes less effort than getting dressed like a Muggle. Of course, this only applies if you happen to own a robe, kneesocks, skirt, Gryffindor cardigan and a sweater with various accessories of the appropriate color. If you own any (or all) of these items, pretending to be heading to Hogwarts instead of UC Berkeley will be a piece of cake. In the event that unlike us at the Clog, you did not sacrifice your entire Gringotts account to Genuine and Certified Potter Gear stores, grab a sweater and pull on a beanie in your House colors. Dress like you’re going for a day at private school, but accessorize with anything that is suitably Hogwarts-y or striped correctly. Usually a Grim Reaper Halloween costume serves as a suitable substitute for a Hogwarts robe.
Go to one of the many celebratory events held by bookstores.
While you might not be able to make it to Flourish and Blotts, Half Price Books here in Berkeley is doing a Midnight Release Party, starting at 9 p.m. If camping out at a bookstore until midnight isn’t your speed, Pegasus Books is holding a breakfast the next day at 8 a.m. For those of you who are closer to Elmwood, Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore is beginning its party at 6 p.m., with Hogwarts classes and various activities that go until 9 p.m., and then reopening at 12 a.m. to actually sell the book.
If you’re not in Berkeley, don’t worry — Barnes and Noble stores across the nation are joining in the festivities starting at 8 p.m. We at the Clog would like to remind you that preordering your copy is definitely in your best interest, even if you’re going to be there as soon as the books go on sale.
Buy or make some of Harry’s favorite treats.
Anything from the trolley, dears? Ever since you first heard the words “cauldron cakes,” you’ve probably wanted to find out what they taste like. You could go the most convenient route and buy some Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Botts Every Flavoured Beans — often found in bookstores and hobby shops — or you could make some of your own treats. We at the Clog used recipes online for pumpkin pasties and cauldron cakes. Licorice wands are a quick fix as well — you can make some easy versions just by dipping a licorice stick of your choice in melted chocolate and letting it solidify in the refrigerator. Add food labels in a Harry Potter font for extra magic.
Cook up some Hogwarts beverages.
The oh-so-famous butterbeer, which first cropped up in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” is one of the most popular Harry Potter related delicacies. We at the Clog adapted our own recipe for it, where we combined 1/4 cup of butterscotch ice cream topping with 1/2 tablespoon of butter, microwaved it for one minute or until it was bubbling and then immediately added 8 ounces of cream soda. This version is pretty quick but be warned — if you let the butterscotch and butter mixture stand still after microwaving, it’ll harden and be horrible to clean. It’s also pretty sugary. If this recipe doesn’t quite cut it for you, there are innumerable variations on Google.
For those of you who are of age, you can make some of Ogden’s Old Firewhisky by combining whisky, cinnamon sticks and brown sugar, or just go the easy route and relabel a bottle of Fireball. Careful, though — if you drink too much, you may end up singing about Odo the Wizard, like Slughorn and Hagrid do in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”
Print out signs to decorate your house.
Ah, the glories of the technological age. You can’t help but feel bad that Muggle technology doesn’t work at Hogwarts when you realize how easy it is to print out a picture of your House’s crest and the Hogwarts School crest and tape it to your wall. Then again, we at the Clog get rid of that feeling really easily when we realize it’ll take a bit more than a quick “Scourgify” spell to clean all the dishes leftover from our baking bonanza.
If you want to move past just House crests, you can also print out Wanted posters from Azkaban and pull out those midnight release posters that you probably still have from when the books were first coming out. Or you could even explore your crafty side on Pinterest.
We hope these ideas helped you pull out all the stops for this “hallowed” day. Now let’s all enjoy spending all of Monday and Tuesday neglecting our responsibilities in favor of burying our noses in the new scripts.