Chris Rankin, Stephen Fry Attend Literary Festival at a Secondary School in Wales
The magic of Harry Potter has undoubtedly been a ray of light to many during tough times, and those who portrayed the characters on-screen have continued to spread the magic around them long after the films ended. It’s always great to see our favorite Potter actors lend a hand to community projects and charities, and recently, Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley) and Stephen Fry (the narrator of the Potter audiobooks in the United Kingdom) took part in an awesome literary festival aimed at encouraging students to experience the magic of reading.
Brynmawr Foundation School in Blaenau Gwent, Wales, in the UK recently hosted its very own literary festival. The idea for the festival was born after the school had to cancel its annual trip to the Hay Festival of Literature & Arts due to the pandemic. Headteacher Gerard McNamara explained that the pandemic has interrupted many of their educational plans in the past year, and the disappointment of having to cancel yet another trip gave them the idea to host their very own festival. They ended up arranging a five-day online event and named it New Horizons. Little did they know how fitting the name was – the school ended up recruiting several well-known stars to attend the event, including Rankin and Fry.
The festival kicked off on June 14 with Stephen Fry. He delivered a short but beautiful speech about how books and stories shaped his life and helped him get through hard times. He also emphasized how literature allows us to actively participate in a story and use our imaginations to create the world we read about in books. For him, the most special part of reading is the feeling you get when you are inside the world you and the writer created together.
Chris Rankin joined the festival on June 15, spending some time with students (online, of course) and answering some of their questions. He talked about his experiences growing up and shared some of his memories from working on the Harry Potter films. When asked if he ever watches the Potter films when they’re on television, Rankin said that he prefers not to because it’s like “watching home movies.” He continued to explain that watching the films feel weird because the end product looks so much different from the experience he had while filming it, citing the scene where Percy leads the Gryffindors to their common room and looks at the portrait of the Fat Lady. Viewers see the Fat Lady, but all he remembers is the camera crew standing in front of him. When you really think about it, the experience must be quite jarring.
Seeing our favorite Harry Potter alumni empowering the next generation to read and dive into the world of arts and entertainment is truly magical, and we can’t wait to see what they get up to next.