Our resident Harry Potter fan and Head of Product Design and Development, Melissa, has been trying to work her magic since she first joined the Fanattik team. Just like Hermione Granger, her muggle-born status hasn't stopped her and she finally nailed that Accio Harry Potter spell she's been practicing! As we welcome the wizarding world to Fanattik, we ask Melissa to share her love of witchcraft and wizardry with us.
What are your first or oldest memories of Harry Potter?
I remember being a little person amongst people who were running and scrambling in shops to grab the books before they sold out and for the last book we queued in a huge line at Borders at midnight and there were TV news crews there interviewing fans and passing sweets down the huge lines of people. I remember trying to take my time reading to make the books last as long as possible because even then I knew they were special. I was eleven years old when the first film came out and Harry was also eleven in the film so that was something really cool to me at the time.
Books or films - and which book or film was your favourite out of the series?
That’s a tough one. There are lots of things the films missed out so I will say the books are my favourite. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was my favourite book because of the sheer excitement of Harry (and us!) being introduced to the wizarding world for the first time, and Goblet of Fire was my favourite film because I loved the addition of the two other schools for the Triwizard tournament and other incredible scenes like the Quidditch World Cup.
What’s your favourite piece of memorabilia?
I absolutely love the official Marauder’s map replica that I have, it folds out uniquely and shows you Hogwarts castle and grounds (I need to get a huge frame for it!).
I also like this little potions set that a coworker took the time to actually make for me as a surprise for secret santa at work – it’s got distressed bottles with gin inside and a box with little bezoar and potions labels on!
Something cool that I’ve seen but don’t own is the snitch that flies around you by itself and I’ve also seen a great invisibility cloak replica at a Comic Con once too which doubles as a green screen so it actually does make you invisible when you use an app. My current favourite though is the limited edition replica Hogwarts Express silver-plated train ticket!
What about Wizarding World refreshments?
I love the official pumpkin juice and jelly slugs for a treat. I’m controversially not so keen on Butterbeer though and it’s a definite no from me to the Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans as well, I don’t fancy stumbling upon an earwax or rotten egg flavoured jelly bean thanks! I’ll happily take a chocolate frog instead.
Have you seen the Cursed Child play?
Yes! It certainly splits opinions this play, I was lucky enough to go and see it pretty much straight away when it began and I’ve got to say the special effects were amazing. Without giving the story away, there was one point where there was a giant water tank on the stage and the cast were in it! They were also able to do things like disappear through a fireplace with floo powder so I was very impressed with that and it was a great show in that sense. Overall though the story was not completely believable to me and it lacked some of the detail, magic and wow factor that JK Rowling puts into story telling so for that reason I kind of disregard the Cursed Child story as canon in my mind and like to think of it as a nice fan fiction as opposed to an official part of the Harry Potter story.
Have you got any Harry Potter related trips coming up?
I should be going to the ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ in concert in September which I was super excited about but unfortunately it all depends on whether it goes ahead due to the current situation with the pandemic. If it does, it’ll be incredibly special to watch the film while listening to a live orchestra amongst other mega fans in the Royal Albert Hall. I really love the music in the films.
I also have tickets to go back to the Studio Tour in London as they have added a Gringotts Bank part since I last went, I definitely recommend visiting the Studio Tour even just as a film fan to appreciate how the films were put together, there are some awesome set pieces and inside information there.
Are there any other magical experiences you’d recommend?
I can’t recommend the Harry Potter theme park in Florida enough (part of Islands of Adventure theme park), it’s the closest you can get to having a drink in the Three Broomsticks or walking through Hogsmeade or the corridors of Hogwarts and the rides are pretty fun too. They also have conventions on where cast members from the film, special effects people, costume and set designers etc give talks on their involvement in the films. I attended in 2018, it was the best!
Finally, what is it that made you love the franchise?
The main themes in the book are of love, friendship and bravery not forgetting Harry’s strong bond with his Mother so I really respect that as it’s a great influence on people of any age, and I just love the monumental level of exciting detail that JK Rowling put into every aspect of the world, it really created a total escape to another realm in our imagination more than anything I have ever read.
If, like Melissa, you're a Harry Potter fan, or you know someone who is, check out the Harry Potter gifts and the Harry Potter collectibles at Fanattik.