The last Potter

By SHARON STEEL  |  July 24, 2007

So Harry’s world is not very different than ours. . . .  And so the HP Alliance is dedicated to bringing together Harry Potter fans from everywhere to spread love and fight the Dark Arts in the real world and we need your help! . . . Help us create an Alliance in the name of Harry Potter.

“Throughout the books, we’re told you should do what is right versus what is easier,” notes Jenn Fauls, 25, the Alliance’s assistant director. “I think that makes this community riper for the work of this organization.”

“We are a different kind of activism,” adds Slack. Then, abruptly, he confesses something. “My secret, private, ridiculous dream,” he admits, “has always been to be a sort of Mr. Rogers for teenagers.”

With the assistance of his all-volunteer staff, Slack is tapping directly into the global Harry Potter neighborhood to carry out his mission. He regularly sends out “action alerts” via the Alliance’s MySpace page to further draw out the allegories between the cosmic battle Harry is about to fight in the seventh book and the slow genocide that is occurring in Darfur. The Alliance has also teamed up with The-Leaky-Cauldron.org (150,000 unique hits per day) and Mugglenet.com (170,000 unique hits per day), widely recognized as the two best sources for Harry Potter news and information.

Slack produced an HP Alliance podcast that Leaky’s webmaster agreed to make available on its PotterCast iTunes feed (of late, PotterCast downloads have averaged about 40,000 per episode). It features interviews with such Sudan experts as John Prendergast and Joseph C. Wilson (the latter also known as outed-CIA spy Valerie Plame’s husband). As part of its first concrete step toward meeting the Alliance’s Sudanese objective, Slack and his team have asked their membership to host and attend house parties during the week leading up to Deathly Hallows’ release. Ninety such parties will be held throughout the US, as well as in Australia, the UK, Brazil, Venezuela, and Mexico.

Slack’s vision for the organization is a grand one: he has plans to apply for nonprofit status, and a rough proposal of forming local HP Alliance chapters in cities and schools. But he’s convinced that the end of Harry’s journey doesn’t equal the end of his own.

“It’s always been so exciting, reading these books and a story that’s so alive that it’s not even finished being told,” says Slack wistfully. “Now it will be. And that’s really sad.” But he remains confident that the energy and strength of Rowling’s myth can outlast its finale and transform the current international climate. “It’s so lofty,” he says. “But I really do believe that there is this tremendous power in story, that it heals us on a personal level.”

070720_harrypotter_main2
POTTERMANIA: Paul DeGeorge makes the little girls scream.
Voldemort Can’t Stop The Rock
Paul and Joe DeGeorge spent their Fourth of July holiday driving through rural Oregon, heading to the Eugene stop on their 70-show summer-library tour. This would be a tight schedule for any band, but for the DeGeorges, it’s become something of a summer tradition.

The brothers, who grew up in Norwood, Massachusetts, played their first gig as Harry and the Potters five years ago, when a band they booked for a backyard get-together didn’t show up. So they both dressed up as Harry (Paul is Harry in his seventh year, Joe in Harry’s fourth), wrote a few songs over the course of an afternoon, and played them for a small audience. It was supposed to be a joke, a “weirdo side-project” they could indulge in every once in a while, says elder brother Paul, 28.

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