As a Harry Potter fanatic, when Waterstones unveiled their Night of Spells on Thursday 4th February, a celebration of all things Hogwarts related, it would have been a magical mistake to not go along and take part. Nineteen years after the bespectacled hero hit our bookshelves, Waterstones Nottingham truly delivered an evening of Yule Ball standards which was enjoyed by old and young alike, in order to celebrate the astounding effect Harry Potter has had worldwide.

Entering Waterstones after dark is a surreal book-lovers dream in itself, a notion which was only enhanced after being greeted by Albus Dumbledore, and surrounded by a group of witches, wizards and even a Golden Snitch! The Sillitoe Room, enchanting with the addition of magical finery, was our Great Hall for the evening, complete with candles hanging from the ceiling, broomsticks on the walls, and magical artefacts scattered around the room.

A highlight for all, were the magical snacks, with Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and Butterbeer being a feature on every table. An even more memorable moment, however, was for those team members who were chosen to be Sorted in a raucous Sorting Ceremony, which gave each team a Hogwarts house.

“Harry Potter fanatics were put through their paces, and their magical prowess tested”

Led by George Weasley (complete with ‘holy’ ear), Harry Potter fanatics were put through their paces, and their magical prowess tested to separate the wizards from the Squibs. After completing our Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, History of Magic, Care of Magical Creatures and Muggle Studies exams (or O.W.L’s) , it was to the dismay of all in the room to find that Slytherin had won. This left Salazar’s house with Potter-themed prizes, and everyone else with a distinct urge to turn them into ferrets. Moody would be proud.

A first-year Harry Potter, complete with toy Dobby, then won the prize for best costume, before Dumbledore enlisted everyone present to assist in the search for the Deathly Hallows, which had mysteriously gone missing and were hidden somewhere in the store! After channelling Hermione and using our logic to solve three mysterious riddles, the Hallows were eventually found, and chocolate frogs given as a prize to all who found them.

Speaking to Impact Arts at the end of the evening, fellow Potter-head Lou Harrison-Knight said, “I’ve had a fun evening, it has been a really chilled event with great company”.

“We want to promote a magical experience of books for children and adults alike”

Bookshop Manager, Albus Dumbledore, also enthused about the event; “We want to promote a magical experience of books for children and adults alike. Bloomsbury provided a brilliant opportunity with the Harry Potter Night idea, and we thought it was a great idea that would show everyone a fabulous time in our magical bookshop”.

As Dumbledore himself said; “words are our most inexhaustible source of magic”, and Night of Spells truly celebrated this. Providing fun for all, Waterstones Nottingham should award themselves the House Cup for this truly spellbinding event.

Amy Wilcockson and Emily Burton

Image credit: Karen Roe via Flickr

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