I just returned from a Wizard Rock concert, and it was truly a magical experience. For those of you who don’t know, Wizard Rock is the name of an extremely broad genre of music. It can be country, metal, typical rock or anything else. The only thing all bands have in common is that they sing about the Harry Potter books—often from the perspective of a character from the book.
The concert I was at was in Queens, New York, and it was all the more special because everyone there knew that in twenty-four hours they would be standing on line for Deathly Hallows. Looking around, I noticed something that I often notice when I’m in a room full of Potterheads. There is extreme diversity within the fandom. And not just ethnically—the types of people at the concert were incredibly varied. There were adult men and women in costume, teenagers in home-made shirts, and men who I would never have singled out as fans, singing along to every song, and loving it. One woman turned to me and said “We are so collectively nerdy right now,” but that was OK, because everyone embraced it. The only thing that didn’t seem varied was the politics—the biggest “boo” of the night came when Harry and the Potters, while discussing Professor Umbridge, mentioned the No Child Left Behind Act.
I noticed another thing, however. I noticed how Harry Potter fans, no matter how loudly they yell “Voldemort I think that you are pretty freaking awesome” with Draco and the Malfoys, are inherently really good people. Before Harry and the Potters (probably the most famous Wizard Rock band) came on to play, someone from the Harry Potter Alliance stood up to introduce them. The premise of the Alliance is to fight “real world” evil, such as the genocide in Darfur, using the values we learn through the Harry Potter books. He went on for a while about love, and Dumbledore, and everything else. It got pretty cheesy but, at the end, there were quite a few tears in the audience. And when Harry and the Potters played their last song, “The Weapon We Have is Love,” nobody would have thought to laugh at the corniness. Everybody at that concert really believed that, with enough love, we could “save us all.”