Back to Hogwarts Is the Cure for the 2020 Back-to-School Blues
Back to School doesn't sound nearly so bad when the way you get there is by careening through a wall at Platform 9 3/4, pushing a trunk and an owl.
If your kids are feeling wary about starting the new school year remotely (or in person wearing masks), it might help to join Harry Potter and the gang on their first ever virtual back-to-school trip to Hogwarts. After all, who knows better than Harry, Ron, and Hermione what it feels like to be a little scared of danger and the unknown in a new school year?
For many years, Potter fans have gathered in London on September 1 at Kings Cross Platform 9 3/4 (yes, there really is one) to cheer on the departure of the Hogwarts Express at 11am (slightly less real). This year, to avoid a spontaneous public gathering, the Wizarding World fan club is inviting young witches and wizards to join a virtual departure and a worldwide Hogwarts celebration. The free four day event has been developed to help keep everyone safe while joining together to celebrate the start of a new and hopefully magical school year.
At a time when optimism seems like the only way to survive, this event casts a lovely spell and supports kids on a new school adventure. Like Hogwarts students, remote students can bring pets to school, wear robes, and eat as many chocolate frogs as they like. Class of 2020 has it made, right?
Virtual Back to Hogwarts activities are housed on the Wizarding World website and will be attended by several actors from the films and the stage production (a few Weasleys are already confirmed). Attendees can close their eyes and listen to the audio experience of riding the Hogwarts Express across the countryside, take wand combat lessons from an expert, enjoy live concerts and celebrity readings, try out craft and recipe ideas, do Potter puzzles and spells, and watch a full-on Harry Potter movie marathon. Fans age 18 and older are encouraged to submit Class of 2020 photos to be included in a digital montage and possibly even projected on the wall at Kings Cross.
The Harry Potter Fan Club's full schedule for the weekend includes other fun as well. Joining the free club gives a wizard plenty to look at and play with outside of the event times as well. Be sure to go through the sorting ceremony in advance, so you know which house to cheer! Events kick off Friday, August 29, and continue all weekend.
On September 1, the event culminates in a countdown to the 11am departure of the Hogwarts Express; note that the train leaves on London time, so joining the final ceremony means logging in at 5:30am Eastern or 2:30am Pacific. (If you're lucky enough to be on London time, you might want to know that the Warner Bros London Studio Tour is open again.)
To keep track of how other fans are preparing for the event, follow the hashtag #BackToHogwarts on social media. And remember, if we can beat Voldemort, we can beat anything.