Journey into the Pensieve: Celebrating 20 Years of MuggleNet at NYCC
On Friday night, MuggleNet celebrated our 20th anniversary with a Journey into the Pensieve at New York Comic Con 2019. Around 330 people attended a night filled with games, improv, Erumpent dancing, videos, and memories.
Before the show started we were treated to a montage of some of our favorite MuggleNet videos, including Best of Tumblr: Harry Potter Edition and Harry Potter, F.R.I.E.N.D.s Style. We then heard from our host Eric Scull about the founding of MuggleNet and started our journey down memory lane with a modern rendition of the Crazy Caption Contest, which MuggleNet originally started in October 2002 by using stills from the at-the-time unreleased Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets movie. For our live version, we brought volunteers onto the stage to come up with captions on the spot.
For the next part of our show, the crowd was surprised and excited to see Dan Fogler, who plays Jacob Kowalski in the Fantastic Beasts movies, come to the stage for our Erumpent dance contest. He told us an amusing story about Eddie Redmayne injuring himself filming the very first move of the Erumpent scene in the movie and asked for the three Ps from his contestants: passion, persuasion, and pain. We were treated to some truly original moves, including a split from the winning contestant.
We moved from dancing on to singing – if you can call it that. We all attempted to sing the Hogwarts school song, to our own tune, of course, and at our own tempo. Afterward, we were treated to another scene that didn’t make it to the movies: Ron calling Harry at Privet Drive. Four brave volunteers came to the stage and dramatized this scene for our viewing pleasure.
The acting didn’t stop there, though. We were joined by Andy Miller, who plays Leanne in the off-broadway hit Puffs, for some rounds of Harry Potter- themed charades. Andy’s team won (no surprises there), and the audience was consistently impressed with how fast she and her teammates were able to guess the terms. We were also treated to improv from the MuggleNet staff, learning what Snape does when he has a Death Eater meeting and a Hogwarts staff meeting at the same time, and what objects you shouldn’t bring to the Yule Ball.
The whole audience came together for a synchronized rendition of Potter Puppet Pals’ The Mysterious Ticking Noise, and audience suggestions created a MadLib morality tale, where three house-elves meet Dobby on a lonely, winding road at six o’clock.
Throughout the night, we revisited moments in MuggleNet history and heard 20th-anniversary video messages from Warwick Davis (who played Flitwick and Griphook), Evanna Lynch (who played Luna Lovegood and learned about the auditions through MuggleNet), and Alan Gilmore (the art director at the Wizarding World in Universal Studios). We also heard inspiring messages from Potter It Forward, a movement to put post-it notes in Harry Potter library books for future readers. At the very end of the night, we were all encouraged to donate to Magical Books for Muggle Teachers, a campaign to bring Harry Potter books to schools and libraries.
The very next night, MuggleNet hosted a party at the Hard Rock Cafe, with limited ticketing for up to 250 guests. It was an evening of dancing to songs from 1999 to 2019, drinking themed drinks, and admiring creative cosplayers. All in all, we had an amazing time at NYCC this weekend and look forward to another 20 years with our lovely readers!