Harry Potter

RTF sophomore Jon Cozart, the creator of “Harry Potter in 99 Seconds” is a YouTube celebrity with more than 227,000 subscribers on his channel, “Paint”. Cozart said he while he is not as crazy as his character on his YouTube channel, he does bear some resemblance.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

While his name is not nearly as well-known as his most famous video with 10 million views, Jon Cozart has made a splash into the world of fandom with his YouTube channel, Paint.

In July 2011, Cozart released the video “Harry Potter in 99 Seconds.” It is what it sounds like: a musical video that sums up the seven-book and eight-movie plot of Harry Potter in a mere 99 seconds. The video went viral online instantly and launched him into the world of online fame.

Cozart, an RTF sophomore, transferred to UT-Austin this year from UTSA through the CAP program. He said since transferring to UT-Austin, he has already made more friends than in the two semesters he was in San Antonio.

“San Antonio was not kind to me, you could say,” Cozart said. “I prefer it here. The classes are just a higher level. It’s more challenging, but it’s more rewarding.”

Cozart said he has already been recognized three times since transferring to UT.

“It always shocks me that people recognize me from the Internet,” Cozart said. “They just approach me and say, ‘Are you Jon Cozart?’ and I say, ‘Yeah,’ and we have a conversation. It’s really cool.”

But often, fans may be surprised to find Cozart’s personality in real life is not as wacky as his YouTube channel’s character. He is more mellow and calm outside of his videos.

“It’s more difficult to be sporadic and spontaneous when I don’t have a script,” Cozart said. “I’m a theater kid at heart — I have to act. Of course, there is some level of my personality that is like that.”

Cozart’s YouTube channel Paint has more than 220,000 subscribers. Paint had around 7,000 subscribers the morning “Harry Potter in 99 Seconds” launched. By the evening, it had more than 12,000.

“I had been producing YouTube videos for six years, and I had always tried to see if I could make a viral video, if I could tap into that market,” Cozart said. “I thought, ‘I’m a Harry Potter fan, so I might as well try to dive in.’”

It took more than two months to create the concept, record and edit “Harry Potter in 99 Seconds.” In all of his musical videos, Cozart makes the beat and sings the words to his songs and then mashes the audio recordings together. Because he is a one-man band, Cozart’s videos often have many levels of audio. His most recent video, “Lord of the Rings in 99 Seconds,” has 20 layers of audio.

“I don’t know anything about recording – I record it and that’s it,” Cozart said. “That’s what I’m doing in college, I’m hoping to learn how to edit music and how to record myself, to make it easier.”

But Cozart does not just include multiple layers of audio — he often also includes multiple layers of video. Cozart often doubles in his productions, appearing as multiple characters. In one video he plays twins who are fighting over a current/ex-girlfriend. In his Harry Potter video, he plays both the singer and the a cappella musician. While Cozart is certainly not the only YouTuber or filmmaker to do this, his split personality technique is one of his trademarks.

“It’s not a very complicated technique,” Cozart said. “Basically you just film half of it, split it in half and then film the other half. It is difficult when you have music, because it’s just really hard to lip-synch.”

Cozart said it became more difficult for him to keep the channel updated once he started college.

“I had a tough time juggling work, school and a social life,” Cozart said.

Another barrier for Cozart has been the realization that his YouTube channel is his job. Ever since the Harry Potter video went viral, making videos is the way Cozart makes money to help pay for his education and living expenses. He sells his songs on iTunes, where they have been featured as the most sold comedy song.

“I’ve had a harder time coming up with an idea and making videos because now I have an audience to maintain,” Cozart said. “There is a lot of pressure. Because it’s my job, I have to keep that audience. It hinders the creative process for me.”

Cozart released his Lord of the Rings video this past July. It currently stands at almost 700,000 views. Cozart said he knew the video would not be as popular as the Harry Potter video was, which hit one million views soon after its release, but as a Lord of the Rings fan, he had to pay tribute to one of his favorite stories.

Part of Cozart’s success and another one of his trademarked techniques is his ability to ride on the waves of the Internet’s fandom. For example, he released his Harry Potter video the day the final film came out.

“Fandom is a huge thing on the Internet,” Cozart said. “Fan fiction and things like that have huge followings. Any way I can throw myself onto the wave is good for me.”

Which brings Cozart to his next project: “Twilight in 99 Seconds.” While he cannot guarantee that he can make the video while he is a full-time college student, Cozart said he would like to release a video summing up Twilight’s plot when the movie premieres in November.

“With the multiple personality thing, I think I want to make a Twilight in 99 seconds, and have one of me like Twilight and the other me not like Twilight,” Cozart said.

Cozart is not a fan of the popular vampire series by Stephenie Meyer. He said he went to see the first movie and has had nothing to do with the series since then.

“There are lot of people passionate about it, so I think it will get me views,” Cozart said. “It will appeal both to the people who hate it and the people who love it.”

Printed on Thursday, September 20, 2012 as: Painting a YouTube masterpiece

Apron Optional: Butterbeer

Raise a glass of Butterbeer in the spirit of the final Harry Potter movie premiere.
Raise a glass of Butterbeer in the spirit of the final Harry Potter movie premiere.

Harry Potter was a crucial part of my childhood. Though I have always liked to read, I don’t remember another book (much less another series) that I read as ferociously as the Harry Potter series. I would get in trouble for staying up too late reading because I just couldn’t put the books down. I’m not going to lie, this all gets me pretty sentimental.

In celebration of this monumental occasion, I’m making some Butterbeer and Cauldron Cakes for my fanatical friends and I to accompany a day of post-premiere lounging and reminiscing over Harry Potter movies one through seven part one.

It should come as no surprise that there are a bevy of Harry Potter fan websites out there filled to the brim with all things magical, recipes included. I was first introduced to this part of the phenomenon my junior year of high school, by an unidentified blonde girl (who is now one of my best friends) who casually mentioned Muggle Net in conversation. When I looked at her confused and asked what on earth she was talking about, she responded — as if I had asked her what color the sky was — “Muggle Net: it’s where the muggles go.” Oh, of course!

First, the Butterbeer. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to duck in to the Three Broomsticks and drown my sorrows in a pint of this stuff, so a homemade brew was the best bet. Just a warning: it is really, really sweet. The flavor is like that of butterscotch and can be served hot or cold, with or without alcohol.

This particular batch was served chilled, sans alcohol. Call me crazy, but the idea of a hot, frothy drink in the heat of summer is about as appetizing as troll bogies.

There are literally hundreds of Butterbeer recipes online, but I chose a simple one from mugglenet.com (why not start there, right?). It only has three ingredients, so it makes for some instant nostalgia.

To go with it, I made Cauldron Cakes, using a recipe I found on slashfood.com. Although I’m not sure they are entirely true to the book, the Brooklyn-based bakery recipe yields so many spiced brownie-cookie hybrids that it’s hard to care about little things such as contextual accuracy. If they’re calling them Cauldron Cakes, I’m baking (and eating) them!

It is true, it’s sad that there will be no more new movies, but we will always have memories of staying up reading and dressing up for the premiere (I dressed up as Luna Lovegood). Still, there are things for wizards and muggles to look forward to such as Pottermore and potential pilgrimages to The Wizarding World theme park. And still, it’s nice to know you can always change out of your dress robes, kick back and enjoy a nice cold Butterbeer with your friends and reminisce.

Until next Friday; remember, no post on Sundays.

Susan Napier, Harry Potter, Harry Ransom Center.

Photo Credit: Skylar Isdale | Daily Texan Staff

The “Harry Potter” series might be over, but the adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione will be a staple on children's and academics' bookshelves alike for years to come, said professor Susan Napier of Tufts University and former Japanese literature and culture professor at UT.

Napier spoke to an eager group of “Harry Potter” fans and academics on Friday at the Harry Ransom Center about the “Harry Potter” books' place in the tradition of British fantasy, its explosive fandom and the cultural implications of the series.

“'Harry Potter' is a phenomenon. It has changed the way people are looking at reading,” Napier said. “The books have been translated into 70 languages, 450 million copies have been sold and the movies grossed $6.4 billion.”

Yet the “Harry Potter” series is not the first of its kind, as there has been a long precedent for many of the themes presented in “Harry Potter”, Napier said.

“Themes in Harry Potter are consistent with British fantasy tradition,” Napier said. “Look at “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Caroll, which features Alice, a regular child, polite, decent and not brilliant but very believable as the young heroine in a foreign and amazing world.”

In the 20th century, C.S. Lewis's “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, similarly featured a group of innocent children entering into the magical land of Narnia, Napier said.

“J.K. Rowling was effectively using currents which have been seen before in British children's literature,” she said.

Like the British children's literature that preceded it, “Harry Potter” presented a strong contrast between reality and fantasy, allowing readers to escape through their own imagination.

“Fantasy is a way to process trauma and one's childhood fears, such as abandonment and death, that children have,” Napier said.

The “Harry Potter” series was a way for young readers to escape the normality of everyday life and peer into a world of magic, she said.

“'Harry Potter' shows the delightful idea that just around the corner is a magical world if you can just pass platform nine and three quarters,” Napier said. “We all like to believe a little bit of magic exists — it gives us liberation.”

Rhetoric and writing senior Katherine Bridgeman grew up reading the “Harry Potter” series.

“I think that 'Harry Potter' is a part of the classic genre of British fiction,” Bridgeman said, “This is our generation's version of 'The Lord of the Rings.'”

Psychology senior Aaron Lemke said he believes “Harry Potter” will remain an important part of society's culture.

“People will continue to want to dissect the story of 'Harry Potter' for years to come,” he said. “Kids will still be able to appreciate the story in the future.”

It will not only be the reruns on television or The Wizarding World of Harry Potter section in Universal Studios that keep the story alive for years  to come.

“Just like my parents wanted me to read C.S. Lewis, I will want my kids to read 'Harry Potter,'” Lemke said. “When you present something that you care about, they will know and appreciate the meaning of the story.”

Team StarKid, a Chicago-based theater troupe originally started by a group of theater students at University of Michigan, decided to do something unique with one of their original musical productions. After working with writers to create “A Very Potter Musical,” the group uploaded the production online, not expecting the millions of views and Internet fame that followed.

A Very Potter Musical” is a musical parody of the “Harry Potter” novels by J.K. Rowling. The idea came from a set of jokes written by Nick Lang, Matt Lang and Brian Holden who went on to write the musical. The musical features the key characters like Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger, but combines the story with original music, choreography and jokes.

It has not been performed live for most fans because no one expected it to be more than just friends putting on a play. However, with the group’s first and almost completely sold-out tour underway, it has clearly become much more than that.

“You go into things with expectations, and this whole situation is a perfect example [that] you can’t,” said Joey Richter, a member of the troupe who starred as Ron Weasley. “It’s going to happen the ways it’s going to happen and that’s really exciting.”

Team StarKid’s tour, called The SPACE Tour (short for StarKid Precarious Auditory Concert Experience) will feature songs from “A Very Potter Musical” and its sequel, as well as its other musicals “Me and My Dick” and “Starship” being sung by familiar faces like Richter and Lauren Lopez, who played Draco Malfoy in “A Very Potter Musical.”

The troupe will be performing some songs originally composed by StarKid co-founder Darren Criss, who is now a member of the cast of “Glee.” Criss got his start with StarKid by playing Harry Potter in “A Very Potter Musical” and the sequel.

This has brought a lot of attention to the group as a whole. They sell T-shirts, their music on iTunes and DVDs of their musicals. They have 78,000 followers on Twitter and an extremely devoted fan base, but Richter does not feel like the group dynamic has really changed despite the success.

“Yes, there’s a lot of stuff we do at this point that has more money behind it, and there’s a bar set with everything we do,” Richter said. “But I don’t think as performers or friends or anything, that’s really affected who we are as a group.”

By putting “A Very Potter Musical” up for free on YouTube, they made a popular musical theater experience available to anyone with a computer. The musical quickly gained two million views and today the StarKid YouTube channel has over 99 million views. Musicals like “Wicked” are usually only available at established theaters with tickets priced anywhere from $30 to $60.

“It’s hard for people to see really cool, exciting new theater nowadays,” Lopez said. “So it’s cool to be able to bring [theater] to light and show people it’s not as inaccessible as they once thought.”

Though the internet productions have earned Team StarKid a lot of attention, neither Richter or Lopez think they will stop doing live performances.

“[Live performances] are where a lot of the spark from our shows come from. A lot of that chemistry you witness between us on stage comes from live performances,” Richter said. “I don’t think that’s an aspect we’ll ever want to lose.”

Lopez said with every project the group does become more efficient and cohesive, but their sudden Internet fame is a bond that really connects Team StarKid.

“We were kind of thrown into this accelerated path that kind of exploded out of nowhere,” Lopez said. “So we’re all kind of closer because we shared that.”

The characters played by Richter and Lopez and the rest of Team StarKid are what Richter calls “exaggerated versions” of themselves. Richter described playing Ron as taking the book character to a severe extreme in regards to his personality and relationships to other characters.

“I mean, ‘A Very Potter Musical’ we did in like a week. So there wasn’t a lot of time for really deep character analysis or anything,” Lopez said. “I mean that character is a joy to play. He’s a silly yet a very, hopefully, endearing character.”

It is thanks to these first characters and the positive reactions received from the fans that Team StarKid has had such success.

“We wouldn’t have done anything else after that because we were all kind of going our separate ways,” Lopez said of the musical. “So the fans have really made it possible for us to stick together.”

As much as they owe to the fans, Lopez and Richter would not give anything away about the tour just yet. The show will be their shortest yet, compared to the usual three or three-and-a-half hour shows on YouTube. The show will be StarKid classics, Richter said, including songs like “Granger Danger” and “Kick it Up a Notch.”

“The only thing we were told to expect [about touring] is that we are going to hate each other by the end from living on the buses,” Lopez said. “So I’m hoping that doesn’t come true.”

Though Richter and Lopez are excited to meet all of the fans and new faces that have never seen a live Team StarKid performance, the fame is not something either of them are used to just yet.

“I think we all feel lucky to be able to do what we do and to be able to do it so early in our careers,” Richter said. “But we’re all going, ‘What the hell are we doing? Who do we think we are going on this month long tour?’”

4th year European Studies major Anastasia Davis sets up a prop for a potions class at Harry Potter Fest, Monday afternoon. The festival featured a number of classic Harry Potter activities, including Dark Mark tattoos, a Tri-Wizard maze, and a Yule Ball.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

The Student Activity Center was no place for muggles as Harry Potter Fest 2011 transformed it into platform nine and three-quarters and flooded the building with wizards, witches and butterbeer.

The event, organized by the Student Events Center, was a themed nonprofit celebration on Monday created to bring UT community members of every variety together at the center, said Cameron Allison, president of the SEC.

Students took part in a day’s worth of magical events that included a “Tri-Wizard Maze,” a “Defense Against the Dark Campus Arts” class, Harry Potter trivia, temporary “Dark Mark” tattoos, a photo booth, a potions class to make “Butterbeer,” a “Horcrux” scavenger hunt, “Honeyduke’s Sweet Shop” and a costume contest and “Yule Ball” to end the night.

“We chose to do a Harry Potter-themed Halloween because we know that there is a large Harry Potter fan base here on campus, and since our programs are aimed directly at the UT student community, we figured that students would really enjoy an event like this,” Allison said.

Preparation for this event began in August as Allison, the committee chairs and vice presidents of the SEC discussed how to put the idea of a Harry Potter Fest into action and to make it an event that was worthwhile for UT students, she said.

“It was a lot of fun planning out the different events that we have for the day,” Allison said. “We wanted things to be fun but also educational, so each committee in the SEC worked together and came up with creative ways we could reach this goal.”

The “Defense Against the Dark Campus Arts” class was one that was intended to be both fun and educational, Allison said. In this event, the SEC joined forces with UTPD to put on drunk driving demonstrations and a workshop on the Rape Aggression Defense classes that are offered on campus, he said.

“I don’t know if many students actually know that they have these types of resources on campus, but I think after the demonstrations students will be able to take away something very valuable that they can use both inside and outside the classroom,” Allison said.

Many students attending the event made sure to dress in the appropriate attire of a Hogwarts student so they could have the full experience, said radio-television-film sophomore Skylar Moran.

“I always thought that the SAC looked like a high-tech Hogwarts, so I was really excited about the event being held here,” Moran said. “It’s Halloween, and I already had my Harry Potter costume, so I was really excited to be here to celebrate.”

Throughout the event, the Harry Potter films were on display, and the famous Harry Potter film score played throughout the building for students to enjoy.

“It’s a fun way to relax and celebrate Harry Potter,” said advertising senior Martin Munoz. “Now that the Harry Potter books and movies are over, it’s a great way to keep it alive.”

Printed on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 as: Harry Potter wand-erland draws crowd

The release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part II marks the end of the Harry Potter film series. For a generation that has grown up with the franchise, this release might create nostalgia for an earlier time.

Photo Credit: Ryan Edwards | Daily Texan Staff

For many UT students, the release of the final installment of the Harry Potter film series marks the end of an era that began when they were reading their first chapter books in elementary school.

What started as enjoyable reading soon became a worldwide phenomenon. As the series progressed, readers and viewers gleaned life lessons from a magical world that, in many ways, resembles this one. Plan II sophomore Maysie Ocera said growing up with Harry and his friends has been an important part of her life.

“Harry was always our age as we were reading [the novels],” Ocera said. “There’s definitely a feeling like with this last movie, that childhood is actually kind of coming to a close. It’s cheesy to say, but we’re all as grown up as Harry is.”

Ocera said she and six friends will be dressing up as the seven horcruxes of Voldemort’s soul during the midnight premiere of the grand finale.

“What I really hope about Harry Potter is that with the movies maybe kids who didn’t want to read the books before are reintroduced to this magical world that I grew up with,” Ocera said. “I hope this is something that kids can hold onto for generations to come.”

Dayton Berezoski, Ocera’s ten-year-old half-brother is also a Harry Potter fan. He said he feels the books have greatly impacted his generation, even though the books came out before kids his age were able to read them.

“The books have more details in them,” Berezoski said. “The seventh one is my favorite. It has a lot of great fights in it, and the main characters show how strong they are.”

Berezoski said most of his friends also enjoy the book and movie series. Ocera and Berezoski both said they hope they would be Gryffindors if they joined the wizarding world.

English graduate student Marjorie Foley said she believes the Harry Potter series will continue to impact readers and viewers for years to come. Foley teaches a summer rhetoric course on Harry Potter because it appeals to so many undergraduates and offers much fodder for literary discussion.

“Most people tend to think that I use this course as an excuse to talk about Harry Potter, but it’s actually the other way around, it’s an excuse to talk about rhetoric,” said Foley, 27, in an email interview.

Foley said the books cover deeper issues than the movies, but the films encompass some great rhetorical substance.

Psychology senior Chelsea Bourland said she realized just how popular her favorite series is when she was unable to purchase tickets to the midnight showings tonight. Although the quick sellout was frustrating, Bourland said she is even more upset the Harry Potter world is coming to an end. She said she will be re-watching all the movies to prepare for this last one.

“When I’m reading the books or watching the movies I feel like I?m at Hogwarts with all of them,” Bourland said. “They helped put stuff into perspective, and they made me realize that my problems aren?t that bad compared to facing Voldemort and losing my parents.”

Even those who aren’t fans of the books find it hard to escape the series. Radio-television-film senior Kyle Taylor said he refused to read the Harry Potter series when his sixth grade classmates did because he didn’t want to jump on the wizard bandwagon.

“I feel like reading the books ruins the movies for Harry Potter fans,” Taylor said. “People always complain that the movies have ruined key parts of the books, but the movies themselves are really good.”

Taylor said watching the movies allowed him to connect to the characters in a deeper way. He said the movies taught him about dealing with death for the first time and the power of friendship. And though he was skeptical of the series when he first encountered it, he will join many other UT students tonight as they bid farewell to a franchise that has been a presence for most of their lives.

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) reaches for his wand during the battle of Hogwarts against his nemeses, Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hall

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

For just short of a decade now, Warner Bros. has been making one of the biggest, most successful gambles in cinema history. When “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” released in November 2001 with a talented ensemble cast led by three unknowns, it could have just as easily failed as it did succeed. Even more impressive is that the sprawling cast made it to the end of the series, eight movies and almost a decade later, relatively intact. The most vital part of the “Harry Potter” franchise is that, somehow, they stuck the landing. The final film is the best of the series — a moving, emotional payoff for all that’s come before it.

Picking up exactly where the last film left off, “Deathly Hallows: Part Two” takes place almost entirely in a single day, starting off with Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) robbing the wizarding bank, Gringotts, before they return to Hogwarts for the climactic battle against Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).

And what a battle it is. The buildup to the confrontation is almost as epic as the battle itself and both sequences are impressive, sweeping bits of filmmaking. Lots of characters finally get their moment in the spotlight, and crowd-pleasing scenes fly left and right. Climactic scenes involving Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) and Mrs. Weasley (Julie Walters), lifted almost word-for-word from the book, will get the most praise. But it’s also immensely satisfying to watch Maggie Smith’s Professor McGonagall taking steps to reclaim Hogwarts from the slimy Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) and to witness Harry finally become a hero.

Unfortunately, some characters do get the short end of the stick because of either a demand for runtime or the film’s story. A few major figures are killed off-screen and Robbie Coltrane’s Hagrid, one of the most integral characters of the first few films, has less than five minutes of screen time.

For every character who gets shorted, there’s another who shines. Rickman’s Snape gets an extended flashback sequence that explains his backstory. And it’s perhaps the most emotional of the film’s many climaxes, paying off one of the most subtle and devastating character arcs of the entire series. Fiennes has obviously been having a great time as well, filling Voldemort with gleefully villainous malice. He gives his strongest performance yet here, alternating between terrifying confidence as Voldemort grows more powerful and uncertain fear as Harry grows closer to defeating him.

Director David Yates also does magnificent work. After entering the franchise with “Order of the Phoenix” and directing every subsequent film, Yates has played a large role in steering the franchise in a darker direction and his visuals have never been stronger than in this final film. Cinematographer Eduardo Serra, who also worked on “Deathy Hallows: Part One,” makes Hogwarts look as dangerous as it is comforting and finds an indelible beauty in the destruction of the location the franchise is built on.

If the final “Harry Potter” film has one flaw, it’s the runtime. Clocking in at 130 minutes including credits, it’s the shortest film by a wide margin, and that’s a shame. Even though the film moves at a breakneck pace and the battle of Hogwarts consumes a solid 90 minutes, no one would complain about having more time with these characters, using supporting characters through the final showdown or giving the audience more resolution than the silly epilogue. It’s rare to want a movie to be longer, but in this case, after 10 years of buildup, a bit more at the end would only be icing on an already delicious cake.

Even so, plenty of strong moments will leave any fan with goosebumps — small details such as how Yates waits to use John Williams’ iconic theme song until Harry has returned to Hogwarts or Harry’s response to a threatening speech from Snape. With an expectedly huge box office, Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves could have easily coasted on these final films, but they give the film their all.

With this, the last of the “Harry Potter” films, Warner Bros. has to be sighing with relief. Not only did they make eight films, each of them satisfying in their own way, they ended the franchise on its strongest note, thanks in no small part to Yates and Kloves, both of whom have played major roles in making the franchise work as well as it does. “Deathly Hallows: Part Two” is filled with moments the series has spent a very long time earning. It’s the wizarding war film that many of us have been waiting for since the final book was released. The film, and the franchise as a whole, is an undeniable achievement. The rare film adaptations could stand up to the books that preceded them since they are such a cultural touchstone for our generation.

Printed on 07/14/2011 as: 'Deathly Hallows: Part 2' shines, proves successful end to series

Emily Richardson works on her version of Rowena Ravenclaw’s Diadem for the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. Richardson and her friends are going as the “Seven Horcuxes” which are just a handful of the potential costumes that will be seen.

Photo Credit: Ryan Edwards | Daily Texan Staff

The premiere of the final Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” is tonight and perhaps you’re thinking of taking this last chance to dress for the occasion. Or maybe you’ve dressed up every year and you want a fresh costume for the grand finale. Either way, there are enough details lurking in your own closet to make your costume as affordable as it is amusing.

Having a black cloak or robe and wand is critical to most costumes and is the easiest way to distinguish yourself from Muggles in line. A black sheet, Snuggie or even an old black graduation robe will work for a robe. If those aren’t lying around, you can always pick up a few yards of inexpensive black cloth at a fabric store. If you don’t have a wand to call your own, simply find a medium-small sized stick and peel the bark off. Or, you can use one of the many online tutorials found on the-leaky-cauldron.org to make one out of a pencil.

Though the characters aren’t at school in this film, the most easily identifiable costumes are the house uniforms. Since it’s summer, opt for a plain white undershirt instead of a button-down shirt and pick up a black sweater vest at a nearby thrift store. If you’re crafty, you can use a plain shirt and some spray paint or paint pens to create a simple Hogwarts costume on a T-shirt to go with your black pants and dress shoes. It will still look good under your cloak and will help you avoid too many layers. Find a tie that has one of the house colors and use a paint pen to add stripes.

The way to really make your costume cohesive and complete, however, is through the smaller styling details and accessories. Here are some tips for the main characters.

Harry Potter
Though early on Harry has a ruffed mop of brown hair, it gets much more polished with each year, so guys can simply go as is. To imitate short hair for girls, side part your hair and use bobby pins to securely pin down hair. Pull your hair into a neat bun or low ponytail and tuck loose hair into shirt. As a Gryffindor, try to incorporate red and gold into your outfit as much as possible — socks, earrings, hair ribbons, shoelaces, etc. Pick up a pair of Potter’s signature glasses at a costume supply store and wrap a bit of tape around the nose piece if you like. For an extra touch, spray paint a golf ball gold and attach paper wings to it — then you’ll have the golden snitch to keep with you. Don’t forget the scar! Eyeliner works best.

Ron Weasley
Another Gryffindor. It is doubtful that anyone would be interested in dying their hair red for one night out. But if you don’t want to purchase a wig, a can of temporary red hairspray color would suffice. However, like any regular hairspray, these make your hair very stiff. Girls should put their hair up in the same fashion as Harry’s and spray on the color only after they are pleased with the styling. Carry around a toy rat and feel free to load up on snacks — Ron is always eating.

Hermione Granger
It’s no secret that the brightest witch of her age was a little rough in the hair department early on. Either you can channel that unruly mane by teasing your hair out with a comb, or opt for more polished waves or curls. To replicate Hermione’s Time-Turner necklace, wear a long gold necklace with a gold ball or circle pendant — if you can find one that spins, even better. If you’re planning on studying for summer school while you camp out in line, tape a fake book cover on the front with a magical title such as “Divination” or “Defense Against the Dark Arts.”

Draco Malfoy
Snake jewelry has been trending this year, so if you have any this would be the time to showcase it. Besides a sour, bratty scowl, Draco’s most distinctive quality is his bleached-blonde hair. A wig will work much better than a drastic hairstyle change or, though it won’t get quite as bright an effect, yellow-colored hairspray will do the job. Draco is a Slytherin through and through, so green and silver will be your colors of choice. Using a washable black marker, draw the dark mark on your forearm (you can find stencils online) and make yourself a small badge or pin that says “Inquisition Squad,” from Umbridge’s reign of Hogwarts in the fifth book, to wear on your chest.

Luna Lovegood
This Ravenclaw (blue and bronze) is characterized by her long, blonde, wild hair and dreamy, spacey demeanor. In the movie, Luna wears bright plaid pink high tops, so wear your favorite bright shoes. Using a tutorial online from DIY Fashion, create a pair of Spectrespecs, her kooky, pink, hand-shaped glasses. And make your own copy of The Quibbler to carry around by printing a template cover from online and pasting it over an old magazine. Feel free to spout off any weird or outlandish thoughts you have — if you’re lucky, someone might call you Loony Lovegood. If you are looking for a snack to sneak in with you, opt for your favorite flavor pudding cup.

Though no one would discourage you from dressing as your favorite character, the most economical way to go is always with your natural features. If you have billowing blonde hair, Luna Lovegood should work. Red hair (and a hand-me-down-robe)? You must be a Weasley.

Worse comes to worst, though, you can always dress as a tourist and call yourself a Muggle.

Printed on 07/14/2011 as: Costumes an easy craft for final movie

Spanning seven books and eight movies, the Harry Potter franchise proved to be a significant cultural movement for an entire generation of young fans.

Photo Credit: Edgar Vega | Daily Texan Staff

When “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was released in June 1997, many of us college students were still in grade school, maybe barely old enough to dive into a chapter book of the length and heft of this first novel, an introduction to the magical world of Harry Potter and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The craze took a while to catch on as the books gathered fans and things didn’t truly explode until the release of the fourth book, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” in July 2000. Midnight release parties became a staple thereafter. Bookstores were packed with avid young readers who were led to “Harry Potter” by teachers reading them in class, friends lending them copies of books or just by being alive in summer 2000.

My introduction to “Harry Potter” came when my mother sat me down and read the first two chapters of the book to me. After that, I instantly devoured the next two and was one of millions of bright-eyed youths sporting Gryffindor robes and sloppily-drawn lightning bolt scars at the midnight release of “Goblet of Fire.”

For many of my precocious adolescent years, I found myself enthralled with the world of Hogwarts. J.K. Rowling’s rich characters and classes were much more interesting than anything offered at my elementary school. I became a veritable fountain of “Harry Potter” trivia, and my copy of “Prisoner of Azkaban” ended up tattered and torn after being read, lent out and even read in the classroom after my teacher got tired of me bugging her to include “Harry Potter” in the story time rotation.

Years of waiting between “Harry Potter” novels grew less and less trying as the series grew closer to its inevitable close. And as its readers grew up, so did the series. While “Sorcerer’s Stone” was a light-hearted fantasy about an orphan boy who learned he could do magic, the series grew darker starting with “Goblet of Fire,” which took joy in putting Harry into life or death situations and climaxed with the death of a classmate and the return of Voldemort. From there, things only got drearier until “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the final book that hit shelves in July 2007, which killed off major characters left and right, often only letting the readers know after the fact.

But more important than the deaths that the books often ended with were the smaller moments of “Harry Potter” — the ones that reminded us that, just like us, Harry and his friends were growing up and were just as human as we were. When Harry was infatuated with Cho Chang, similarly, many of us were slaves to the throes of adolescence. When Harry got bogged down in teenage angst in “Order of the Phoenix,” many of us (myself included) were tired of his character’s whiny antics, unaware that we were likely just as angsty if not more.

And when “Deathly Hallows” was released, it was very much the end of an era. I was a sophomore in high school, edging out of adolescence and threatening to become a bona fide young adult. Ten years and thousands of pages later, the series was about to end. Fans, myself included, feared for their favorite characters’ lives, and we feared not having any more “Harry Potter.” After all, once the boy wizard was all grown up, we couldn’t be far behind, right?

While the wait between books was grueling, the film adaptations lightened the load. Adapting “Harry Potter” was a big commitment for Warner Brothers, an implicit promise that they would adapt all seven books of the franchise into films — eight, in fact, when the seventh book’s narrative proved immune to dilution. The first debuted in 2001, and while the franchise’s early films are never quite as good upon second viewing, it was a magical moment to be a Potter fan the first time John Williams’ iconic, perfect score swept up and Albus Dumbledore walked on screen.

As a whole, the film franchise had its ups and downs. The first two films are the weakest, with painful CGI and soulless direction by Christopher Columbus, who transplanted all of the story and character work from the books wholesale but forgot to include the heart and playful sense of adventure that hooked readers to begin with. “Prisoner of Azkaban” stands among the best of the series thanks to the visual brilliance of director Alfonso Cuarón, who coaxed all of the beauty and wonder out of Hogwarts that the previous films sorely missed. Once David Yates took over the series for 2007’s “Order of the Phoenix,” the films became even more visually stunning. Not to mention more enthralling thanks to the progressing acting skills of Daniel Radcliffe. The two-part “Deathly Hallows” films end the series on its highest note with a wholly satisfying climax.

It’s easy to complain about the “Potter” films, as many characters or plotlines that added flavor to the books were cast aside. Sure, it would have been nice to spend more time with Sirius in “Order of the Phoenix” or work Hermione’s obsession with house elves into “Goblet of Fire.” But it can’t be denied that, even more so than the books, they were very much a lesson in growing up alongside these characters. The books were great, but the films let us watch Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson shoot up like beanstalks, grow their first whiskers and become adults right along with us.

As the final film is released, my days as a teenager are numbered. I’ll be turning 20 in a few months. It’s something of a landmark age, a warning sign of adulthood lurking beyond the auspices of college. It’s funny that the final “Harry Potter” film is hitting theaters just before I enter the awkward transition from young adult to bona fide man-child, that the franchise I’ve spent countless hours with reaches its definitive conclusion just as my teens do the same.

And who hasn’t spent a ridiculous amount of time with Harry and company at Hogwarts? My copies of the books have been read more times than I could begin to guess, both by me and the friends I lent them to. The movies, every one of them, have been an opening night affair, another welcome trip to Hogwarts. “Harry Potter” is arguably the cultural cornerstone of our generation, a phenomenon that even “Potter-haters” couldn’t escape, and one of the best fantasy series ever written. While we didn’t quite get to learn magic at Hogwarts with the characters, we spent hours and hours following the series. The feeling of sitting down with a new novel or having the lights go down for the next movie was more than magical enough for me.

Printed on 07/14/2011 as: Harry Potter puts spell on generation