Pottermas and the Yule spirit

News University News

The Harry Potter society held its first Yule Ball last Saturday, with an assortment of magical events greeting students.

After promising students, or ‘Potterphiles’, a “night filled with Harry’s favourite food and drink, hundreds of wizards dancing to the Weird Sisters and a veritable cornucopia of entertainment delights”, the society delivered a fortune teller, Gringotts gambling, and butterbeer-flavoured ice cream from G & Ds.

Stevie Finegan, Vice-President of the Harry Potter Society, explained that for £50 attendees received a sit down meal with a “Hogwarts-ian feast with JK specials like pumpkin pasties and a generally Christmas-y twist.”

He added: “Dinner ended with our surprise entertainment. An owl display. A barn owl (called Trevor!) flew around the hall over our diners, from a handler. People could then go handle a number of owls themselves and get a photo.”

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There was also some magical music at the event. The band Snique Piqué, who Finegan described as the “jazzier relations” of Harry Potter band The Weird Sisters, featured at the ball.

Thomas Reynolds, PR Officer for the society, said that there was a henna tattooist at the event, with options such as showing an allegiance to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named by getting a dark mark, or to the Marauders by getting the quote ‘I solemnly swear I am up to no good’.

He said: “There were also HP themed cakes, house cocktails, and butterbeer.”

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However, despite a guests being encouraged to “don their dress robes, velvet capes, and Luna-inspired, lion-surmounted hats”, Reynolds admitted that “most people came in black tie”.

Prizes were distributed throughout the night and prior to the event.

The Harry Potter Society explained: “The Gringott’s goblins have decided to play it fast and loose with their coins on Saturday, inviting everyone to come try their luck and have a gamble.

“As such, a casino will be set up in one of the adjoining rooms and those of you who are good at cards may find themselves the winner of their very own set of wizarding currency.”

The Society also promised that the Goblet of Fire would be present as well. Guests were to write their name upon a piece of parchment and enter it in the goblet “for the chance to win their very own wand, one of Ollivander’s finest”.

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Guests were also able to meet the “resident Trelawney” to have their fortunes told, or “even make Dobby a free elf by pinning a sock onto Riddle’s diary”.

Reynolds said: “The ball was a huge success and everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.”

Agreeing, Finegan said there was “definitely need to plan another [Ball] for next year!”

Hannah Stuart of St Peter’s College, who attended the event, said: “The Ball was really amazing, we had such a great time!

She added: “[It] definitely fulfilled a few of my Harry Potter fantasies!”

On the website for the event it said the Oxford Yule Ball was for those “still waiting for your Hogwarts letter (damn unpredictable owls!) or just [wanting] an occasion to feel a little magical”.