This past weekend my mom and I attended the fourth annual LeakyCon in Portland, Oregon. (This year there is also a London LeakyCon.) LeakyCon began as a Harry Potter convention (named for the website The Leaky Cauldron, which in turn is named for the tavern that marks the boundary between Muggle London and the magical shopping district Diagon Alley), and while it now represents a number of fandoms, it’s still a Harry Potter convention to me. The following is simply a highlight reel representing one person’s experience of the convention.
Best chance encounter: My mom was buying a pop at a concession stand and I was playing Wordsmith on my phone* when Mom said, “Hey, that guy’s wearing a cardigan like Neville’s.” I quickly noticed that he also had the Sword of Gryffindor hanging from his belt and was indeed cosplaying, quite convincingly, as Neville Longbottom, who, as you probably know, is my favorite character. We asked him for a photo, and he ran to retrieve the Sorting Hat so that his costume would be complete. On Facebook and Twitter you can see a picture of me standing next to a very BA “Neville” as he draws the sword out of the hat.
*I’m calling this the luckiest five minutes of my life because in addition to the encounter I’m about to describe, I played my highest-valued word to date, for 98 points.
Most heartwarming story: We got to attend a panel featuring three actors from the movies: Devon Murray (Seamus Finnegan), Scarlett Byrne (Pansy Parkinson), and Ellie Darcey-Alden (young Lily). They all seemed like good quality people, but Devon was (predictably) the scene-stealer, telling story after goofy story from both his personal life and his on-set experience. One story, though, was just plain sweet: Devon confessed that he didn’t read the Harry Potter books until after he finished filming the movies, explaining that he has dyslexia and wasn’t into reading as a kid. While he still isn’t an avid reader, he credits what interest he has in reading to his costar Matthew Lewis (Neville!), who dragged Devon along to a bookstore and got him started on the same series that Matthew was reading. Introducing someone to reading is one of this greatest kindnesses a person can show, in my opinion.
Most informative session (and best souvenir): My favorite regular session that we attended (a close second would be the live episode of the MuggleNet podcast Alohomora!) featured still frames and script excerpts of scenes that weren’t included in the movies, along with discussion of why they might have been left out. Not only was it a fascinating session, but I also won a bottle of pumpkin juice because I started following the presenter on Twitter.
These were my favorite moments from the convention. As I recall other events and conversations that made an impression on me, I may add them here. If you were there, tell me about your favorite experiences!