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CULTURE | 07-02-2020 13:48

Harry Potter fans fill Buenos Aires British Embassy with magic

1500 fans of the famous fantasy series written by author J.K. Rowling gathered at the British Embassy of Buenos Aires for the fifth annual Harry Potter Book Night.

Scorching humidity didn’t stop Harry Potter aficionados—adorned in pointy hats, sleek robes, and elegant wands—from packing the British Embassy gardens on Thursday for the fifth annual “Harry Potter Book Night,” an event dedicated to UK author J.K. Rowling’s famous seven-book series.

“It’s an entire world that really fascinates me—full of magic, stories, friendships, and allegiances,” said Maria Laura Sigliano, 42, who started reading the series when she was 28.  

“We’re all here, faithful, even in 40-degree heat.”

Maria was one of 1500 fans who came to the event. The re-creation of the fictional world of Harry Potter—from Quidditch tournaments, virtual reality spell-casting, house selection quizzes, and Hogwarts-style libraries—is an impressive spectacle that, year after year, brings a little magic to Buenos Aires.

“For us, it’s one of our biggest events of the year,” said British Ambassador to Argentina Mark Kent, 54, who has held the post since 2016.

 

Harry Potter Event
British Ambassador to Argentina Mark Kent poses with a young Harry Potter fan.

 

“The Embassy is really well-suited to an event like this, because there’s a bit of magic already in the [embassy] grounds. When you see everyone get dressed up and come enjoy it, it’s really quite special.”

According to Kent, cities around the world host similar book nights of their own to celebrate the series every February. The Buenos Aires version, although it officially started at 6 PM, opened its doors early because a long cue had already accumulated down the street.

“I was basically raised by the Harry Potter books,” said Noelia Martinez, 28, who says she became an even bigger fan once the movies came out. “I’m fully grown now, but I still love it,” she continued, affirming that she was dressed as a Gryffindor—the Harry Potter house to which she is loyal.

It was Noelia’s first time at the event because, last year, when she tried to sign up, the event was full. However, this year she monitored the event’s release date and signed up as soon as it became available to the public.

 

Noelia at Harry Potter
Noelia Martínez and Julian Fernández pose with Jasmin at their first Harry Potter Book Night.

 

Attendees ranged from young to old, from casual costumes to extreme outfits—but each shared a common trait: being touched, in some way or another, by the magical world of Harry Potter.

“When I was eight years old, I went to go see the first movie. By the time I was nine I had read the first two books,” said Sofia Logreca, 26, who attended the event with a group of fans that she met through exclusive Harry Potter events in Buenos Aires.

“It’s the same story for me…the groups and friendships that are built are incredible,” said Paulo Vela, 31, dressed as the infamous prisoner of Azkaban. “It’s amazing how it encourages reading.”

“England has always been famous for good writers, good literature, good reading,” said Jimmy Bendon, 66, chairman of the Argentine-British Community Council, which sells concessions at the event to raise money for the British community in Buenos Aires.

“It’s a modern way of selling something British to the world.”

Joseph Charney

Joseph Charney

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