Wrocking and Rowling

by Sarah Pruitt

Unless you’ve been living on Planet Gallifrey your whole life, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard about the little known book series Harry Potter. Strike that – even if you were born in another galaxy, you’ve still probably heard about The Boy Who Lived’s famous lightning scar and his magical adventures.

With the latest movie installment of the series – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II – grossing more than $1 BILLION (that’s not a typo, folks) globally after only two weeks following its release, it’s safe to say that this Wizarding franchise has cast the world under its spell.

It has brought in a legion of devoted, loving fans who cannot get enough of the seven books and eight movies the enchanting world has to offer. There are some fans so enthralled with Harry and his friends that they’ve found an unexpected creative outlet to express their emotions: music. A genre called “Wizard Rock” (or “Wrock”), to be specific.

Each Potterhead’s introduction to Wrock is a unique and beloved experienced. Seniors Nikki Kaylor and Ruby Robinson can both vividly remember the day she was first exposed to the magical music.

“I was looking up things for my iPod and searched Harry Potter, trying to get the audio books, and Harry and the Potters came up,” Kaylor said. “I thought someone was really stupid and had put the name in wrong, but I clicked the link…and my life was forever changed.”

“I was Googling Harry Potter stuff, and it eventually led me to Harry and the Potters,” Robinson said. “You can’t NOT find out about them if you look up Harry Potter enough.”

For those of you Muggles wondering who exactly these Harry and the Potters people are, they are the gods of the nerd-rock and Harry Potter fandom. Though it started out as a fun joke at a family party, the two brothers Paul and Joe DeGeorge developed their mix of hilarious and sentimental songs into a music phenomenon, proving to be more than just a one-trick-Hippogriff.

One of the main appeals of the Wrock fandom is the sense of community and the familial-like bonds that grow between the musicians and listeners alike; rather than feeling like you are a mere groveling fan, you are treated as an equal, as a friend.

“Wrock isn’t just about Harry Potter,” Kaylor said. “It’s about the fandom and the friends you make. It’s about the thing in Harry Potter that brings us all together.”

“Wrock brings the messages in Harry Potter alive,” Kaylor said. “Where else can you find six-year-olds singing about how the weapon we have is love?”

“The main thing is how friendly the other Wrockers and fans are,” Robinson said. “There’s a very strong sense of community in this portion of the fandom.”

Anybody who has ever had the immense pleasure of attending a Wizard Rock concert knows that the evening will be filled with fun music that is both substantial and easy to dance to; making new friends and strengthening your relationships with your current ones; and having the time of your life.

Though it is a tradition of Harry and the Potters’ to hold their concerts in a library to promote the rockin’ power of reading, other Wizard Rock bands prefer to play for their fan-friends all throughout the country at bars and, perhaps most popularly, shows played at people’s houses, called a “Wizard Rock House Party.”

“The shows are amazing,” Robinson said.

Kaylor echoed her sentiments when probed on the issue, saying, “I took one of my friends to a Wrock concert and we had a blast!”

With all of the fun and friendship that comes with being a Wizard Rocker, it’s no surprise that so many of the fans are getting in on the action.

Both Robinson and Kaylor have their own Wrock bands. Robinson’s is called “Rubamantha,” a portmanteau of her first name and her best friend’s first name, Samantha. Kaylor’s band’s name is The FanAddicts, a play on the term “fanatics,” as her and her fellow senior band mate are “addicted to being fans,” not writing songs just about Harry Potter but about other fandoms, as well.

Kaylor’s band was born after she took her best friend to her first Wizard Rock show. “On the car ride home, we decided to start our own band,” Kaylor said.

Kaylor and her friend went through a slew of other original, but less preferable, names, including The Crookshanks (named for Hermione Granger’s adorable half-Kneazle tabby cat), The Crookshanks Experience, Wrock Fangirls and Fangirls, before Kaylor’s friend finally came up with The FanAddicts.

So why do these girls choose to pen songs out of book characters’ feelings and experiences rather than their own?

“I write regular, non-nerdy songs, too,” Robinson said. “But honestly, they’re just not as interesting to me. I mean, I already know how I’m feeling. I want to know how I can express the feelings of these other people.”

“Okay, they’re fictional,” said Robinson. “That changes nothing.”

The career of a Wizard Rocker may not be a lucrative one in terms of monetary benefits, but it is certainly more than rich in the abundance of love, acceptance and happiness these musicians find in their songs. These beautiful feelings are cherished and held on tightly by the Wrockers.

“[Writing Wrock music] is not something I see an end to,” Robinson said. “I can’t ever see myself really distanced from music or my nerdy passions.”

So for all of you Muggles out there who were more clueless than a Confundus Charm about the many layers of fandom bubbling alive and thriving beneath the surface of the Harry Potter series, it must be said that music is its own kind of magic.

In these girls’ case, that can be taken literally.

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