How will you celebrate Harry Potter Book Night 2016?
On Thursday 4 February Potter fans will get the chance to celebrate the books with the whole world as Harry Potter Books Night: A Night of Spells takes place!
Bloomsbury Publishing have a whole range of resources available for you to download to help you lay on a Potter-themed celebration, and there’s plenty of online fun to take part in too! You’ll be able to vote for your favourite ever Potter spell, and create your own one for Bloomsbury’s national competition. Last year there were over 10,500 Harry Potter parties worldwide: you can check out this year’s event map for inspiration and upload details of your own event too. Finally, Bloomsbury have an awesome event kit and a list of activity suggestions to give you ideas and inspiration.
We’re sure your party will feature loads of discussion around the books, and we’ve been chatting amongst ourselves to find out what our favourite ever moments are from the books. Find out what our most treasured Potter moments are below and see if you agree – or, if you want to avoid spoilers, you can head straight to our competition and find out how to win a Harry Potter box set!
It’s hard to narrow down my fan girl favourite Harry Potter moment. There’s the scene in The Prisoner of Azkaban when Sirius unmasks Wormtail; it introduces Sirius Black, the hottie of the Marauders. Then there’s the bit in The Goblet of Fire when Harry and Ron aren’t speaking and Ron interrupts Harry in the common-room and Harry throws a badge at him; the line ‘but Ron just stood there in his too-small pyjamas’ converts all the sympathy you’re supposed to feel for Harry into sympathy for Ron instead. But I think my current favourite is in The Chamber of Secrets. Snape rocks every scene in this book, from the Duelling Club to his smirk when Malfoy suggests he should be Headmaster, beaten only by the part where he makes Lockhart face up to his boasts. This scene is vintage Snape before the serious events of the last three books overtake his genius for being bitchy, petty and incredibly funny.
I have been listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks on repeat for what feels like (and probably is) the last 5 years. There are so many moments I look forward to when I’m listening to the tremendous narration of Stephen Fry that makes the audio versions so enjoyable.
One of these moments is in The Order of the Phoenix, as Harry and Hermione are leaving the Forbidden Forest after their initial and fraught meeting with Hagrid’s giant half-brother, Grawp. Unknown to Ron they have missed a penultimate Quidditch match with Ron as their team's Keeper. They can hear the chants of the Slytherin song ‘Weasley is our King’ and fear the worst…
As it turns out it’s the Gryffindor supporters singing it and have changed the words to a much more complimentary version. Ron has turned around his previous poor performances (from which the original chant was penned) and saved the match for Gryffindor, and his best friends have missed it…
My favourite moment from the Harry Potter series would have to be when Harry first enters Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The first book will always be special for me as an introduction to the wizarding world, and this is the moment that we, along with Harry, get a glimpse of that world for the first time, hidden within central London. Harry goes to Diagon Alley to buy supplies for school, a pretty ordinary and mundane task, but it becomes extraordinary as Harry gets his money from the goblins at Gringotts Bank, collects a cauldron for brewing his potions and purchases a magic wand. Reading this section, you experience the same awe and wonder Harry does as he witnesses so many things he would have believed to be impossible all existing in one place! The illustrations of Diagon Alley by Jim Kay in the new edition really capture the sense of wonder and extravagance that makes this scene special.
This moment happened in the fifth book, Order of the Phoenix, but didn’t become my favorite moment until we discover the truth of it the seventh book, Deathly Hallows. When the Dursleys are coping with the aftermath of Dudley and Harry being viciously attacked by Dementors, steadfast magic-denier Aunt Petunia blurts out that she knows exactly what Dementors are because “that awful boy” told her sister Lily about them when they were children.
Harry (and we) angrily assume it’s his father she’s talking about, but it isn’t. We discover near the end of Deathly Hallows that she’s referring to her and Lily’s childhood neighbour, Severus Snape. Her reaction is such a startling moment when you first read it, acutely betraying the fear and shockingly clear memories Petunia has of magic, and hinting that Petunia’s hatred of magic might be more than just blind prejudice towards difference.
This is confirmed in Deathly Hallows, when finding out the truth behind her outburst also brings home to Harry that he assumed a lot of things about the adults in his life that weren’t true. For me, this many-layered moment was the start of Harry Potter as a series truly tackling what it meant to grow up.
Bloomsbury have kindly donated a set of books for us to give away to one lucky winner. To be in with a chance of winning, simply email us the answer to the question below:
What is the name of the Harry Potter spell that opens up a locked door?
Get your answers in by Monday 1 February and a set of the books could be on their way to you!
Closing date: Monday 1 February. Open to UK entrants only. Full competition terms and conditions.