The College of Wizardry, a recent event organised by Denmark’s Rollespils Fabrikken and Poland’s LARPing communities, gave Potterheads the opportunity to experience the world of Harry Potter by actually being a part of it. This, they claimed, was a whole lot more fulfilling and exciting than visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park, in Orlando.
Through the event, they brought Potterheads from 11 different countries together to celebrate their love of the wizarding world. Close to 200 live-action role players (LARPers) participated in the first session of the fictional Czocha College of Witchcraft and Wizardry – it was the largest and most intricate J.K. Rowling-themed LARP adventure in history. The LARPers played the role of teachers, students and other characters from Hogwarts.
While they obviously could not bring magic to life, they worked hard to make almost every other aspect of Hogwarts real. They started with the setting – the medieval Czocha Castle located in the Polish countryside. Once the location was decided upon, they started adding various elements to make the experience as authentic as possible. For instance, the school sorts its students into five different houses – Durentius, Faust, Libussa, Molin, and Sendivogius. When the sorting is complete and the school session starts, students are expected to work hard towards completing the S.P.E.L.L (Senior Protective Enchanter’s Lifelong License). The school also has a range of professors – from the bumbling, absent-minded ones to the sharp-tongued strict ones.
No Hogwarts experience would be complete without the wizarding sport of Quidditch, which is a big part of the Czocha College of Witchcraft experience. The organizers admitted that what they’re doing is simply an extension of every Potter-fan’s daydreaming. “It’s essentially the same as when kids use curtains as robes and sticks as wands and run around pretending to be witches and wizards,” they wrote on their website. “Except we’re grownups with nicer costumes and a lot of experience in designing interactive experiences with each other,” they added. Indeed, the uniform at Czocha consists of finely tailored robes and ties that are issued to each participant in the colors of one of the school’s five houses. “We want drama, escalation of conflicts, and de-escalation back to normalcy again,” they explained.
Polish LARPers had been meaning to organize a massive Harry Potter LARP for ages, and they were finally been able to fulfill their dream in collaboration with the Danish Rollespils Fabrikken group. The Danes are believed to be the true kings of LARPing. With 10,000 of them involved in the hobby, LARPing is the third-most popular organised activity (only behind soccer and handball) in Denmark.
For the Harry Potter simulation they set up in Poland, they have followed the Nordiclarp movement, which is all about creating an authentic world and then dumping characters in without a script. There’s no prompting, and there’s no guarantee that the good guys will win. There’s just no telling how a scenario will play out. The organizers hoped that this freedom will make the castle feel a lot like a real Hogwarts.
The first College of Wizardry experience took place in November and lasted four days. Admissions are open for future semesters, and unlike the ‘real’ Hogwarts, muggle students (who must be 18 or older) can apply. The next session is scheduled to be held between April 9 and 12 and April 16 and 19 next year, for a fee of 280 euro ($345) per person. They plan to invite 114 participants for each session as well additional non-participant observers. Interested?
Photos: Christina Molbech/Facebook