Unity, friendship and charity shine during annual Harry Potter conference, LeakyCon
Published: Sunday, August 12, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”
The wise words of Albus Dumbledore seemed to echo through the halls of the Chicago Hilton as fans traveled from all over the world to attend LeakyCon, the annual Harry Potter convention.
Germany, Brazil, France, England. Language doesn’t seem to be an issue when they’re all here for one reason, love for all things Harry Potter.
Event programming including exclusive screenings, panel discussions, dances, live performances, and concerts filled the weekend of Aug. 9 to 12.
Stars from the Harry Potter movies arrived including Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Robbie Jarvis (young James Potter), William Melling (Nigel Wolpert), and Louis Cordice (Blaise Zabini). Young adult authors roamed the halls including John Green and Maureen Johnson. And the theatrical group Starkid, known for their Potter-themed musical performances, attracted thousands of fans.
Teams played Muggle Quidditch, a grounded version of the magical game from the series. Autographs were signed at Q&As with actors. Vendors sold handmade and official art, props, and apparel.
There were people from all walks of life attending the convention. From age four to 94.
At the event, the Wieczorek sisters, Amy and Lisa, used the LeakyCon Smartphone app for updates to events and programming information. And both proudly showed off their Harry Potter tattoos. Amy had a Deathly Hallow symbol on her forearm, Lisa had ‘Mischief Managed’ on her foot.
Tattoos seem to be a normal part of the Harry Potter culture. Lots of people that I spoke to had tattoos or had plans to get one.
A picture says a thousand words -- and a tattoo is proof of that. Again, evidence that language is not really a factor here. The symbols from the books are enough for any Potterhead to identify others.
Everyone in the venue sported a t-shirt or scarf, displaying which House they supported, which afforded opportunities for starting conversation. High fives and sing-a-longs were exchanged in the thousands.
Harry Potter fans are known to be some of the most active charity donators, something which was evident during the weekend. An entire section in the vendor’s hall called Charity Row was reserved for such organizations as the Harry Potter Alliance and ShelterBox. This was the first year for the Charity Row, but it seemed to be quite a success.
Reese Mates, a youth council chair volunteer for ShelterBox, praised the help of Harry Potter fans. “Kids are amazed by it,” she said after giving out information to curious onlookers. Shelterbox provides essentials for families surviving the aftermath of a disaster.
Support for the Harry Potter Alliance, a non-profit charity that addresses issues of illiteracy, proved that fans of Harry Potter (and other great titles) want to spread literature to everyone across the planet. Robbie Jarvis, the actor who portrayed young James Potter in the fifth Potter movie, explained that “the importance of reading” was a lesson that he took away from the whole experience.
Charity Row was a way for fans of the series to extend their love to those who are grappling with tough times. Unity, friendship, and caring for others are themes of the books, which translated into great support for the charities at the event, benefiting people all over the world.
The Potter books have been translated into roughly 66 different languages.
So even if it is read in Turkish, Italian, Norwegian or Polish, the unity of friendship through the books is translated to real life and stronger than words.