Harry Potter convention in Henderson brings fans, academics together

Down the escalator from the casino where Muggles tried to work magic on the slot machines, wizards and witches brandished wands, their black robes fluttering through the halls. Some pulled up their sleeves to reveal the “dark mark” on their forearms, a slightly blurry image of a skull and twisted snake that identifies Lord Voldemort’s followers in the Harry Potter novels. Behind closed doors, others debated whether a certain potions professor was a tragic hero or undeniable villain.

Leviosa Con, the first Harry Potter conference in Las Vegas since Lumos 2006: A Harry Potter Symposium, summoned fans of all ages to the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson this weekend to consider various facets of the series, talk writing craft, make actual crafts and participate in a variety of Potter-themed revelry.

“We just really missed this style of conference, where it was more about the creative process,” Leviosa Con director Sarai Phillips said. From Phoenix, she chose to host the convention in Las Vegas because it offers activities for family members less enthusiastic about immersing themselves in the fantasy series for the weekend.

The convention began Thursday night with a “Welcome Feast” and game night before launching into the full range of sessions Friday.

Phillips estimated that more than 600 fans will attend over the course of the weekend. Day passes for Saturday are still available for $75, or a Saturday and Sunday combo pass is $100.

Attendees choose from sessions that fall into six tracks: academic, fandom, creativity, slash and queer lit, young adult (YA) literature or writing. The YA literature track includes panels with YA authors and professionals from the publishing industry, while the writing track focused more on craft and technique.

Leviosa Con is the first Harry Potter conference to dedicate an entire track of programming to the discussion of slash and queer literature (“slash” is fan fiction that depicts romantic or sexual relationships between two people of the same gender).

“Mostly we did that because this is a place of inclusivity,” Phillips said. “Everybody’s welcome. We don’t want anyone to have their own quiet little corner.”

Overall, Phillips said, “diversity was our main theme.” Sessions across all tracks focused on how race, gender, sexuality and identity impact one’s position in the literary and fandom worlds.

Speakers throughout the weekend included authors Alexandra Bracken and Sarah J. Maas as well as a host of academics, fan fiction writers, bloggers and other industry professionals.

Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley in five of the eight Harry Potter movies, spoke at Friday’s keynote alongside podcaster Eric Scull, academic Morgan Howard and chapters director at the Harry Potter Alliance Janae Phillips about how morality is portrayed in the Harry Potter series and how readers may apply it to their own lives.

As a fan of the series both before and after appearing in the movies, Rankin has avidly attended various Harry Potter-themed conventions, both as a speaker and attendee. He completed his thesis for a bachelor’s degree at Lincoln University in England on what happens to fan communities when the subject of their fandom ends. Five years after the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” Rankin is watching the fandom persist, evident at conventions like Leviosa Con, and therefore fuel the release of additional Harry Potter spinoffs such as the upcoming film “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

“It’s sort of coming around again. It’s really nice to see that the people who loved Potter when it first came out are introducing their families to it and it’s coming through the second time around for these people who are having the same experiences, almost, that we had reading it the first time around,” Rankin said. “It’ll go on forever. No doubt.”

Contact Sarah Corsa at scorsa@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0353. Follow @sarahcorsa on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"The Lion King" roars into Las Vegas
New music club 172 brings loud luxury to Las Vegas
New music venue at the Rio brings rock ’n’ roll and food together at intimate club. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fans fear for Zak Bagans’ safety in Las Vegas Halloween TV special
Fly Linq zip line time lapse
Fly Linq zip line timelapse
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu (Al Mancini Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like