There’s a Harry Potter society in Birmingham
Yes, it exists
Since the first book was published in 1997, the story of Harry Potter has captivated audiences worldwide. As J.K Rowling uncannily predicted in her first book, it seems that both now and in the future ‘every child in our world will know his name’. Of course, with such a prominent place in our society, inevitably there is a large fan base that goes alongside it. The students at Birmingham University are no exception, with the Harry Potter society having over 600 members.
Who are the members?
There is huge variety within the society – members from London, Wolverhampton, Liverpool and North Yorkshire, to name but a few. There is also a wide range of courses from Computer Science to Biochemistry, Classical Civilisations and English. However, they all have one thing in common; a love for J.K Rowling’s wizarding world.
Why is Harry Potter so popular with Brum students?
All the society members I interviewed had similar reasons behind their affection for the series. Like many of you reading this article, the current society members are of an age where the books and films were being released regularly as they grew up. As they were such a success, it was impossible to avoid the hype.
Tom Stephens, an avid member of the society, explained his love for Harry Potter: “the story is so big and there are so many characters, nearly everyone can find someone relatable.” There was a unanimous agreement from his fellow society members, who added “they all have their merits. That’s what makes it so good.”
Why did they decide to join the society?
As I’m sure you are all thinking, everyone has read the books and seen the films, but not everyone joins a society. When asked why they joined, the members all said that initially they went along out of curiosity, not really sure what to expect. However, when they did, they had “such a good time that [they] ended up going every week.”
Tom Stephens again expressed his passion for the society: “I loved harry potter so when I saw that the university had a society, I decided to check it out. Though I was kind of worried it would just end up being a bunch of people sitting around arguing about their favourite characters.
“It turned out to be a great group of people having fun, and throwing a Harry Potter theme onto things. Everyone was very welcoming and there weren’t any mean girls style groups of friends who only talked to you if you were cool enough. I mean face it, we’re all here for Harry Potter, none of us are that cool.
“So in a very cliché fashion, I guess I came for the fandom, and stayed for the friends”.
Society member, Arshpreet Singh, also commented and said that joining the society and meeting people with whom he knew shared his interests, made it easier to connect with them and make friends, something which I am sure everyone will agree is a primary concern for freshers.
How is the society run?
The society itself, which started in 2011, is run by four committee members; the president, secretary, treasurer and social secretary. It hosts a variety of social events throughout the terms which are funded mainly by the sign-up fee collected at the start of the year. This is a mere three pounds but committee member Poppy Forshaw-Perring said that due to the vast amount of people who join and pay the fee each year, they are able to provide a wide range of activities.
The week to week activities are organised by the social secretary and the treasurer but the whole committee work together to organise the big events such as the much anticipated trip to the Warner Bros Studio Tour in London.
What can you do in the society?
The first of these events is the annual scavenger hunt and sorting ceremony. This involves various Potter related items being hidden around the university with teams competing to find them all. A quiz is then completed and assessed to determine which house each person will belong to for the rest of their time at Birmingham, the resulting sorting ceremony being an extremely popular night. Society member Jessica Grainger described the ceremony: “it’s like living a dream moment from your childhood where you weren’t judged because everyone present was as nerdy about it as you were.”
From film nights, quizzes, cocktail nights and even muggle quidditch, there is plenty going on. The houses compete against each other to win points. Ravenclaw seemed to be the most supported house amongst the society members.
So there you have it, what a brilliantly bonkers society to get involved with at uni.