Written by Lukie S. Snape, Guest Writer.
Orlando, FL–Fans of J. K. Rowling’s culturally significant young adult series Harry Potter will be shocked to find out the extent to which her influence has afflicted 4 of its most dedicated fans.
Recent graduates of the University of Iowa, who reportedly skipped town before finals week in order to start their summer vacation early with an excursion to Orlando’s Walt Disney World, were among thousands who visited the park’s recent Harry Potter-themed addition. The group of Iowa grads, all English majors, noted that most of their classes “didn’t have finals anyway, just final papers,” which the group apparently “pulled an all-nighter” to complete. Jimmy Simpkins, the group’s ringleader, mentioned that he was the only one who “actually had a final,” adding: “though the professor said if our grades were above a 70%, it was up to us if we wanted to keep the grade we had, or to take the final should we have wanted to try for a higher grade. And I said f*ck it. I have a 99.99909%!”
Fans of Rowling’s Harry Potter series themselves, Simpkins’s assembly were most intrigued by Universal Studios’s “Harry Potter World!” The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was added to Universal Parks & Resort theme parks in 2010. Within the Wizarding World, in addition to recreating such popular Harry Potter settings as Diagon Alley (within it Gringotts Wizarding Bank and Olivanders wand shop, among other Harry Potter invented settings where “muggles” can geek out), Knock Turn Alley was added to the park’s lineup just this spring.
For fans of the series, Knockturn Alley is known as the setting in which Harry finds himself when he inadvertently transports himself there, by floo powder, as a result of mistakenly mispronouncing Diagon Alley as “Dy-gon Elly!” When Harry lands himself in Knockturn Alley, he soon realizes he has ended up in “Knockturn Alley,” the proverbial “shit part of town.” It is only Hagrid, who apparently is perpetually in the right place at right time (claiming to be picking up flesh-eating slug repellent), who comes to Harry’s savior, and notes that Harry should not be hanging out in such a “dodgy place.”
Announced in early 2016, Knockturn Alley was added to Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter in an effort to “authenticate the place to better represent J. K. Rowling’s geography;” however, just like in the series, the alley has become a hotbed of criminal activity, and the local government has even put up a sign to warn tourists: “Here be monsters! Proceed at one’s own peril.”
Unfazed by the “adorably authentic” warning sign, Simpkins led his crew into the alley with defenses down, perhaps so inundated with the amusement-park setting of Walt Disney World as to take to take the warning with a grain of salt. But Simpkins’s fate was far more perilous than he could ever have imagined, and far more “authentic.” A towering man known only as “Dirty Randy,” who met Simpkins’s party not far from the entrance of Knockturn Alley, greeted the group with malice: “aye, ‘and over your billfolds!” the fellow was reported as demanding.
Simpkins, who didn’t take Dirty Randy’s demand seriously, remarked the poorly dressed man was “a nice rugged touch, though a bit kitschy,” and insisted a picture be taken with him. Dirty Randy, however, refused and repeated his demand, becoming increasingly impatient, soon after attacking the group, assisted by a thieving brigade, all whose appearances were equally as uncleanly, mugging the poor college graduates, leaving them for dead, devoid of the awestruck wonder they had on entering the park. Hagrid, who was known for helping naive wizards escape from peril, apparently took no sympathy on muggles, or perhaps was preoccupied in some back alley poker game, living out some alterego Harry and his wizarding crew would never have guessed to be true those many times they found the ole chap in shady circumstances.
Lucas Sebastian Snape, known casually as Lukie S. Snape, holds a BA in horticulture from Oxford and an MFA in Dramatic Arts from the the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, though he insists that his emphasis is on “Defense Against the Dark Arts.” He taught dramatic script reading at several community colleges, though his insistence on teaching defense against the dark arts to “lackluster, bumbling students”is what he got fired for: “not teaching what he was hired to teach.”