Hi! My name is Madeline and I LOVE conventions. When I say love, I mean I go to SDCC every year and, from the moment I leave to the moment I get back the following summer, I can’t stop talking about it to anyone who will listen. I don’t care who you are, you’re going to hear about that time I fought with Steven Moffat. Saying this, SDCC is really the only convention I’ve ever attended. So when I was sent to cover Leviosa; a small YA Lit and Harry Potter convention, I was excited and just a tad nervous. Would it be too different and most importantly, would I like it? The answers: yes (in a good way) and YES.
Leviosa 2016 opened my eyes to just how great the fandom can be; kind, generous, educated, ambitious, smart, funny. Also, this fandom CAN DANCE.
This is one fan’s perspective of Leviosa 2016:
I started my weekend off bright and early, walking into the Green Valley Ranch hotel in Las Vegas Nevada. I sighed with relief when I realized that they had a Starbucks. My sleepy ass needed coffee, this was, after all, going to be a long day.
For step – jumping right in on a roundtable on the Omegaverse with blithelybonny. If you don’t know what the Omegaverse is, its a very specific trope in fanfiction that is very much taboo. I was nervous. I had wanted to talk about this great thing that I love in a public space, but I had always felt that I would be judged. That wasn’t the case here – we jumped right in and it was great! I left with more than one fanfiction recommendation and a smile on my face, this was going to be a great day.
After my first roundtable, I headed to the vendor hall and Potterlock lounge hosted by the Three Patch Podcast. Unlike SDCC, this vendor hall was relatively small but that doesn’t mean there was a shortage of cool stuff to buy. From handmade wands to an incredible Butterbeer concentrate, vendors brought their best to Leviosa.
Some highlights of the vendor hall included: House Of WormWood and Mud In My Blood.
House of WormWood offered gorgeous wash wares, skincare potions, and by far the best booth decoration I have ever encountered. M.S. Rice’s (Willamina Wormwood) attention to detail was beyond incredible. From tiny vials to the font on her soaps, I felt like I had been transported to a Herbology lab at Hogwarts.
Mud In My Blood offered fans the chance to buy Harry Potter themed candles and even Butterbeer concentration so that they could brew their own concoction at home. Again their attention to detail in their booth was incredible!
Bonus: their booth had more than one Pokemon on PokemonGo!
The PotterLock Lounge was impeccably decorated and included couches where attendees could read and chat with friends. Along with that, the Three Patch Podcast offered board games, coloring books and the best Sherlock soundtrack around town.
After browsing around (and buying a few items) I headed to the Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley) Q&A and let me tell you, it was unlike any Q&A panel I have ever attended. It was intimate, with a room full of no more than 50 people, so Chris was able to address every single fan question. From his Harry Potter to his production days, Rankin didn’t hold back on his answers.
I finished my day by visiting a few more panels and competing in the hardest Harry Potter trivia of my life. Fun fact – before Hagrid there was another groundskeeper named Ogg, who knew?!?!
Day Two: Saturday
On the second day, I entered the convention center ready to tackle anything that was going to come at me. So obviously, I started my day with crafting. Peeves did a great job of teaching us how to create an “accordion book,” terrifying right? Although there were times that my table was very frustrated, we were able to laugh about it. I had never experienced anything like this at SDCC. You don’t craft with friends. I was able to have incredible conversations with other fans about things I love while taking home an adorable keepsake.
After all of this excitement, I headed to the “Fandom Flirting” panel with Olivia Dolphin and Mark Oshiro. The panel addressed what to do when you meet your friends or even your favorite creators in the real world. First of all, don’t be creepy. Second of all, be yourself!
After a riveting and thought provoking conversation I headed to the HillyWood Show Q&A. As a HillyWood fan, I couldn’t help but feel just a tad star struck. I mean I was watching The HillyWood show with the ACTUAL Hindi sisters, how cool is that? Again. with Leviosa being such a small space, our conversation felt very intimate. By the end of the panel I wanted to be the Hindi sisters BFF (in a non-creepy way.)
I ended my Saturday at the Magical Ball which was if nothing else truly magical. I chatted with authors and friends I had met throughout the convention. We danced, we laughed and at the end of the night someone stole a cake (it was returned eventually.)
Day Three: Sunday
Sunday was the last and shortest of my days at the con. I attended a few panels and realized just how astounding the Harry Potter fandom is. We talked about everything from race and under-representation in the series to Disney magic vs. that of the HP Universe. The panelists and the attendees were so spectacular and knowledgeable about these subjects.
Above all the best part of Leviosa for me as a writer was the shop talk. Unlike SDCC I had the unique opportunity to chat with authors, publishers, marketing professionals, and other fans. We were able to talk about our career, experiences, and even our weird fan theories. I was able to get some tips and tricks that will be infinitely useful in the future. It’s not every day that you get to sit down for lunch with the professor who teaches the Harry Potter course at Syracuse University. Everybody was so nice and so open to talking about pretty much anything. For example, the night of the ball I was sitting in the common room and a boy asked me if I wanted to play a board game. I immediately said yes (obviously) and we spent the next half hour laughing over a ridiculous Quidditch game. There’s just something about actually being able to sit down and talk with another fan, another writer.
I’m still going to attend SDCC every year but if you are looking for a new and smaller convention to visit you should definitely put Leviosa on your list!
You can learn more about Leviosa at their website: http://leviosa.org/