Hundreds of Harry Potter Fans Dress Up to Celebrate the Release of the New Book in Helsinki

Professor Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of the wizarding school Hogwarts, walking up the steps of the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki, Finland on November, 8 2016. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Professor Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of the wizarding school Hogwarts, walking up the steps of the National Museum of Finland, in Helsinki on November 8, 2016. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

“Do you think the du-rag on your head will make you invisible like Harry Potter?” my math teacher said to me once in the business school in the early 2000s.

It was a clever crack of a joke. I was quiet, had no answers, liked the du-rag, and we were riding the high tide of Harry Potter film series. Indeed, it seems like yesterday, when I was sitting in the cinema, snacking popcorn and watching the child wizard with round spectacles running around in the invisibility cloak.

So, I didn’t know what to think when I found out that in the latest and last installment of the popular young adults’ book series, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two, Harry is 40 years old and has three kids. Well . . . it makes sense, kind off, . . . and it makes sense that the fans have grown up, too.

On Tuesday evening during the celebration parade and gathering for the book’s release in Finnish at Helsinki center, most of the two hundred fans who had shown up were in their mid-20s. They were around seven to eight years old when the first Harry Potter book, The Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter ja viisasten kivi), came out in Finnish in 1998.

Milja Korpela as Fleur Delacour, the witch, whose hair falls to her waist. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Milja Korpela as Fleur Delacour, the witch, whose hair falls to her waist. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

There was a young woman standing in the doorway of the National Museum of Finland, where the Potter gathering was to be held. She was tall and willowy with long blonde hair and appeared to emanate a faint, silvery glow. (Ok. I stole that from Harry Potter’s mouth.)

In a dress detailed like that, she must have been a true Potter fan. I asked her, how she liked the new book, which is eight in the series and is actually a play, not even written by the original author J. K. Rowling but by Jack Thorne, known for the 2009 feature film, The Scouting Book for Boys. “I’ve read the new book in English and I liked it. It’s not quite the same as the previous ones but it’s a fun, nostalgic thing,” she said, introducing her as Milja Korpela, 26. She said she had stepped into the character of Fleur Delacour, the witch who caught the attention from Harry and other boys and raised jealousy in the girls. She had come from Tampere to the gathering, where Finnish actors were to read pieces of the new book and the Finnish Potter-translator, Jaana Kapari-Jatta, would be interviewed. “Exciting!” she exclaimed.

Nea Turtiainen as Dobby, a house-elf. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Nea Turtiainen as Dobby, a house-elf. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Big, bat-like ears flapped in the cold breeze as Nea Turtiainen, 24, from Espoo, dressed as Dobby the house-elf, hurried over the zebra crossing of Mannerheimintie on her way to the museum. She said she became a Potter fan after seeing the third film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, released in 2004. After seeing the film, she grabbed the first book. It was not love at first sight. “I needed some time to adjust to the story. After I started reading more, my enthusiasm grew,” she said smiling, her ears wiggling.

At the door of the museum stood a girl, tall and thin, with silver hair and beard. Her head was tucked inside a big frame of a painting, which she carried in her hands. “I am Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy,” she said with a low, croaky voice. “I am dead. That’s why I am a painting.”

A wizard at the steps of the national museum. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

A wizard at the steps of the national museum. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Five Famous Harry Potter Words in Finnish

Ankeuttaja: Dementor

Huispaus : Quidditch

Tylypahka: Hogwarts

Ilmiintyminen: Apparition

Jästi: Muggle

Sources: Jaana-Kapari Jatta, www.viistokuja.net

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