Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Pygmy Puff Girls

It was a frosty Christmas Eve.  Okay, I actually don't remember if it was frosty, but it seems like it could have been.  As is customary on Christmas Eve, I was exchanging gifts with my friends. My friend Vanessa handed me a familiarly shaped wrapped object.

It must be a book, I thought. Carefully I unwrapped the present and looked down at the cover.

Oh, I thought. It's the first book in that book series that EVERYONE is reading. Being someone who avoided doing things that EVERYONE was doing I had been purposely avoiding reading Harry Potter.  I smiled, thanked my friend, and placed the book away on a shelf.

One day during the holiday break, I found myself with absolutely nothing to do (I cannot even fathom a time when this was the case) and figured I would read that book just to see what all the hubbub was about.  48 hours later I had fallen in love with a world beyond anything I could imagine and characters who seemed more real and genuine than actual people I have met.

 I devoured books 2, 3, and 4, then like many, I had to wait.  I was in line for the midnight release for books 5, 6, and 7, and discovered a new adopted family...the fandom.  I perused the forums, listened to the podcasts, and speculated along with everyone else about whether or not Harry was actually a horcrux.

After my snitch outfit was completed, I couldn't wait to show it off at Harry Potter night.

We arrived at The British Chip Shop at 7pm.

My friend Sharon rocked Molly Weasley for the occasion.

  The Chip Shop was very organized and things got promptly underway.  I ordered a butterbeer (it was good, but I can't wait to have the real thing in Hogsmeade in a few weeks) and soaked in my surroundings.

Our first action was to choose a trivia team name.  We went with The Pygmy Puff Girls (Get it? Like the Power Puff Girls but with pygmy puffs that were sold at Weasley's Wizard's Wheezes). There was a prize for best team name and the prize rightly went to The Honeydukes of Hazard (hi Jess if you're reading this. Your team name was awesome!)  The sheet where we wrote our team name also included all of the warnings about the various defenses against cheating that were put in place.  It was super funny and clever.

The envelope containing the first round of questions was placed on our table. They ended up being general questions. Not too bad. While we set to work on the trivia, our family style appetizers were presented.

First we enjoyed some dragon eggs (I promise no real dragons were harmed in the making of the eggs).

Second, we ate snitch balls made with rice and cheese.  They were extremely tasty.

Third, we had noodles in a peanut sauce (I forgot to take a picture because of the trivia questions and because they were yummy and I needed to snarfle them immediately).

We were presented with four options to choose from for our entrees.

Since I'm a Ravenclaw, I decided to go with my house food, the Chicken Tikka Masala. I also picked it because it is one of the few things on The Chip Shop's menu that I haven't tried.  It was delicious!

While we were waiting for our entrees we were presented with our second set of questions.  It was a list of Hogwarts professors. We had to write what subject each of the professors taught.  We only got one wrong (we guessed that Septima Vector taught Ancient Runes instead of Arithmancy). At the end of round 2, The Pygmy Puff Girls were in second place just behind team That's so Ravenclaw.

As we were finishing up our entrees, the third round of questions was presented.  I ripped into the envelope and just stared bewildered.  I had spent the whole week studying every subject I thought could possibly be a trivia question.  I knew that Bowman Wright invented the snitch based on the bird originally used, the Snidget. I knew who was killed to create each horcux. I knew which character had which patronus. I probably could have passed my O.W.Ls with all of the information crammed in my head, but never, ever did I anticipate a trivia category entitled, Paintings, Tapestries, and Windows.  We were presented with a list of paintings, tapestries and windows, and we had to write where in the ENTIRE world of Harry Potter they were located!  Well played British Chip Shop, well played.  It was quite a challenge.  Our team did our best and actually we ended up knowing more than we thought.

We enjoyed dessert while the staff tallied up the trivia points.  Stephanie and Sharon got the very last chocolate cauldron to split and a Guinness cupcake to split.

 I sort of had to get a snitch cupcake.

Liz got the snitch cupcake too.  I also got what I was most looking forward to...the butterbeer ice cream sandwich.

It was fantastic!  The butterbeer flavored ice cream was amazing, and much like the Doctor Who night fish fingers and custard dessert, I wish the butterbeer ice cream sandwich was on the menu all of the time.

When the winners were finally announced, we found out that we had won third place! Hooray!  Admirable I think considering we were a team of only four people while the first place team had almost 12. Third place still got cool prizes!

I took home a Crunchie bar.

As part of our prize, we got a hand carved wand (We let Sharon have the wand since she answered a lot of the questions and because her birthday was the following day). Here's Stephanie modeling the wand.  She came as a Death Eater.

I have to give some love to See-More Woodcrafts  who made the wands.  They make all sorts of great genre/fandom related items. I recently bought a Totoro Christmas ornament from them at an arts festival I was at. If you talk to Daniel J. Seymour you will find that he is a fan making things for fans. They had a lot of great things for sale during Harry Potter night.

Team That's so Ravenclaw won first place, which was cool because they were actually a fun, very cool group of people.

The Dumbledorks won second place.  They wore awesome team stickers and were nice enough to offer me a stack to take home. The guy standing behind them was the MC for the evening. He did a fabulous job.

Geeky fandom people are really the best.

We had a wonderful evening, and I can't wait to go back again next year, but what to wear...what to wear?  We keep suggesting to the Chip Shop that they should do a Sherlock night.  Trivia for that might be more difficult to come up with, but maybe they could do more of a murder mystery night or  have teams solve crimes like in the Crack the Case game?  If they do it, the fandom will come.

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