College of Wizardry – A larp in the realm of Rowling’s Harry Potter

College of Wizardry – A larp in the realm of Rowling’s Harry Potter

What do you get when you stuff more than 150 non-playing characters, organisers, and players into a medieval polish castle, dress them up in wizard-like clothing, make them behave like characters from the realm of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, and leave them to create an all-out magical experience that will forever be remembered as an epic adventure? You get the larp College of Wizardry!

I remember one thing that my grandfather always stressed, that you would get what you paid for. At a rather steep price of €180 for players, the expectations were set at a somewhat magical level, that unfortunately seems to have been an issue for some players, as they were mostly from Scandinavia (Poland had one – 1 – player attending…). Now, this is of course an issue that warrants debate, and I am sure that it will, elsewhere. As I am somewhat accustomed to the cost-levels of Norway, and considering the fact that the price included a roof over our head for three nights, all inclusive, the larp itself came ridicculously cheap.

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The Czocha College of Wisardry Coat of Arms

The food: As a larper we are skilled in the enjoyment of mediocre food. This skill, though often useful, was to no practical use at CoW whatsoever (except when drinking coffee!). The food was simply put, worthy of a magical castle. Edit: Apparently, the options for vegetarians/vegans were somewhat limited.

The playground: Best larp-site ever, without a doubt. There is nothing more to say, but just out of spite to all of you who didn’t attend, there were hidden passageways, a room of mirrors, a tower, dungeons and cellars, great halls and dark hallways.

The NPCs: Cold-as-Merlin’s-grave ghosts, dancing (you know who you are!), helping, scaring and amusing; golems, dementors, werewolves, and other unmentionable creatures and characters; and a special thanks to the super-adorable goblin who ate the shiny snitch, and consequently earned me both fame and housepoints when you spewed it up and into my hands (shiny things are NOT for eating…). You were all great!

The organisers: Although I only know the name of Claus, I know he was not alone, and so my thanks goes out to ALL OF YOU for creating the best larp I have ever participated in (Topping ‘Lindängen’ and ‘The Island of Lost Girls’ is magic in its own right!). Please, make plenty of re-runs and follow-ups, as I will participate at every single one!

 The Janitors and Professors: Merlin would have been proud of you all, by his beard, how did you know the answers to all those questions?

“Professor, may I just say that I thought your speeches were much more enjoyable?”

“No, you may not. Points from Faust.”
–Conversation between ‘Rík’ and Professor Crumplebottom.

The players: I will cite a line from one of my favourite worship songs, as it totally suits as a description. You people, my friends, were (and are) ‘above all nature and all created things’! You brought me to the edge of my fantasy, and beyond, merging real life and play in a blissful bleeding experience of love. All my thanks go out to all of you. A few of you deserve to be mentioned by name:

‘Eh, I think I have to remove some potion bottles from my pocket’ –Eiríkur ‘Rík’ Haarde

Caitlin, for believing in your cousin and for teaching him some tricks of the auror trade;

Try ‘protego horriblis’, it won’t stop you from being cruciated, but it might take away some of the initial pain. –Caitlin, trying to help her cousin towards becoming an Auror…

Warren, for being a trustworthy and reliable friend in dark times, and for raiding the Potion Master/Mistress’ cellar at night;

————— (muffled speech) … – ‘Rík’ attempting to speak back to Warren after being hit by Warren’s ‘silencio’-charm (next time, what about not waiting until AFTER I had managed to deduct points from Faust for speaking in class?!).

Jesse, for saving my naïve junior butt more times than I can count, and for teaching me how to seduce witches and wisards alike (please teach me to be aware of the actual seduction part before you graduate, eh?);

You did what?! You better promise to never ever do that again, or I will tell grandmother! –Jesse Haarde upon realising that her younger brother had been caught in the Forbidden Forest.

Prysti, for always brightening up my day, with a smile or a warm hug;

Cunningly, wasn’t it? –Prysti attempting to lure ‘Rík’ into House Molin

Miss Czartoryska, for the fabulous ending scene where Rík suddenly uttered what might be the worst pick-up line in the history of Czocha: ‘Eh, I think I have to remove some potion bottles from my pocket’, (bet you were surprised when he actually brought out a handful of bottles – instead of his wand…), and for seeing the wise and mighty wisard-in-the-making;

“Take your hands off me, you’re not coming in here unless you undress!” –Eiríkur ‘Rík’ Haarde to Miss Czartoryska without any intended innuendo whatsoever…

Rosa, for your many attempts to seduce Rík in the magical forest, the castle tower, and probably several other places (are you sure you didn’t also obliviate his mind straight after these attempts?), and for the magical kiss high above the castle of Czocha;

You want to go explore the Forbidden Forrest, like right now? –One of Rosa’s many attempts at getting some alone time with ‘Rík’.

Mister Kot, bunkmate and fellow raider of the potion’s cellar, as well as for always waking up on time;

I’ve just been out exploring the outside of the castle… Wanna come explore the inside? –Kot to ‘Rík’ and Warren at 2:30 AM.

Bee, my ex-girlfriend, and bestie. I was sad that you ran away in the spring, and I cursed you all through summer. When the autumn leaves had fallen, however, you emerged as the truest of friends, and if it had not been for you, how would I have been able to figure out the runes in the ‘Eternal Guide’?

The Eternal Guide to the Diciplines of Magic
The Eternal Guide to the Diciplines of Magic

I’ve deciphered all of them already, why are you still working on it, I told you twice already… –Bee to her absentminded ex-boyfriend.

Miss Gillion, for the many glances in the hallways, and for making tarrantelagro feel like childs play, oh, how I will remember the dance we shared at the ball!

Dance with me! –Miss Gillion knew how to get her way, even without the use of ‘tarantellagro’…

Ass. Professor Dunkelback, for screwing my sister, and as such giving me a cleen slate when it came to being up to no good.

I better not catch you doing that again, go along now, I like your sister… –Smooth… Professor Dunkelback to ‘Rík’ after catching him being up to no good…

Professor Glossop, for letting me perfect my ‘orchideus’-charm, and for resisting the urge to bite my neck.

Rík: Professor, do you like flowers?
Glossop: Flowers, well I suppose…
Rík: ‘Orchideus’!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Wisdom is Might


Below follows a few more descriptive excerpts of scenes and experiences,
seen through the eyes of my character

The Haarde Family Coat of Arms
The Haarde Family Coat of Arms

Personally, I got to play a junior that had recently graduated from Stenøya (a wizarding school located somewhere in the Dovre area of Norway). Eiríkur ‘Rík’ Haarde, a 20 year old pure-blood wizard from Iceland, was graciously accepted into the Czocha College of Wizardry’s Auror-path. Now, as informed by his cousin and famous Auror, Caitlin O’Doherty, being allowed into Czocha’s Auror-path was in no way the same thing as being given a job as an Auror by the Ministry of Magic, it was simply the first step in a rather long and harsh selection process. Rík quickly realised that his two greatest challenges would be his sympathy for all things living, and his somewhat special skill of absentmindedness(!). Nevertheless, being proficient with a wand, at least to the level that he could deflect the first few seconds of pain from a cruciatus curse, produce a rather detailed patronus (an arctic fox), and having a track record for being an ace at potions (and at stealing them from the Potion Master/Mistress’ cellar), he had most of the prerequisits of becoming an excellent Auror, someday.

…and his somewhat special skill of absentmindedness(!).

Rík got accepted into the house of Faust, his first choice, together with Caitlin’s younger brother, Warren O’Doherty. They retained the house cup for the third consecutive time, and even though that came as no surprise to the Faustian students of Czocha, the way there was somewhat rougher than last time, and at times Faust was seen to be loosing epicly. In the end the Faustian saying ‘wisdom is might’ turned out to be true yet again though, and their prefects could be prouder than cocks (not that it takes a lot outwit a rooster) while listening to the other prefect’s loosing speeches, before entering the stage themselves, to a cheer from their Faustian fellows, as winners of the first hand-out of the house cup.

House Faust's Coat of Arms
House Faust’s Coat of Arms

‘Wisdom is Might’ –The Faustian motto.

Never trust a house-elf, as they will get you into an abundance of troubles. Rík might have been naïve when he followed the elf into the forbidden forest, only to be held there by elvish magic until a professor could catch him breaking the rules. Now, he nearly managed to get his share of minus points handed out to house Molin, had it not been for his sister acknowledging him as her brother (…). On the upside, though, it probably didn’t hurt that Jesse Haarde seemed to have a somewhat explicit relationship with the professor that caught Rík redhanded though, as he got off without any sort of punishment. Also, stupefying a professor, an action that would normally get you permanently discharged from the college forever, resulted in a punishment consisting of writing ‘finite incantatem’ approximately 30 times on a blackboard, without any use of magic whatsoever. Jesse, my beloved sister, I owe you a crate of Butterbeer!

The fact that he was a proud member of the Haarde family became clear at the opening ball. Rík’s senior sister Jesse had long been known to be of the promiscuous type, and there was no way her younger brother would let her claim that title for herself. Unfortunately, Eiríkur was naïve to the extreme, and being invited into the dark forest by a Sophomore, as well as up into the tower and into the secret passageways did nothing towards Rík realising that a Senior, a Sophomore and two Juniors were fighting over him (slaps between best friends were thrown). During the last speech, however, he somehow ended up having a Senior and a Junior claiming each of his two legs, while a third student was carassing him from behind, in a way that can only be described as breaking every single school rule at once. The fourth one, looking angrily upon the group from a distance. How it all happened, you ask? Well, it is safe to assume that Eiríkur Haarde had no idea at all, whatsoever, by Merlin’s mind. Jesse though, being somewhat more experienced in the art of seduction, would probably credit his Ice-blue Icelandic eyes, as she certainly could not come up with any other sensible explanation.

Was it even possible for Rik not to speak in pick-up lines? –Petra Lindve

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