Accio, Dumbledore’s Anteaters
By Sara Naor
I am the Harry Potter generation. I grew up with Harry, dreamed of getting my Hogwarts letter and wished I was magic. By the time I turned 11, I was a full-blown fanatic and have had to cope with being cursed to live as a Muggle ever since. Luckily, for me and those who feel similarly, there is an outlet for my fanaticism: Dumbledore’s Anteaters. Dumbledore’s Anteaters is a Harry Potter-themed club that meets every Wednesday in SEII at 5 p.m. and is a mere $5 in dues. The club is an outlet for anyone who loves the books or movies to come meet others like them who are also spellbound by the series and the impact it has had on our generation.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with the books or movies, the club is a play off of the original Hogwarts club “Dumbledore’s Army” (or the DA for short). The DA was founded in the fifth book, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” as an underground rebellion movement spearheaded by Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger in retaliation to the restrictions on learning defensive magic imposed by their Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. As the books progressed, the DA became a fully functioning group and some veteran members even joined in the final battle against Voldemort in the last book.
Dumbledore’s Anteaters was started in winter quarter of 2009 by Caitlin McEvoy, who is also the current co-headmaster of the club. She however did not make it in an act of rebellion, she made it because she saw a void that needed filling.
“It was not hard making the club at all,” McEvoy said. “I saw that there was no club for Harry Potter lovers and that was inspiration enough.” The process for making a club at UC Irvine, while simple, does not necessarily mean the club will be a success. Luckily for Dumbledore’s Anteaters, this was not a problem.
“Our first meeting over 100 people showed up,” Ambrella Frantzick, current co-headmaster, said. “It’s always like that initially though, for the first two weeks when new people show up we see a lot and then as the quarter progresses less start coming.” Since its first meeting, Dumbledore’s Anteaters has gained over 200 members. Now, an average of 20 to 30 students attend each meeting.
The membership count becomes less surprising when you remember the sheer number of people who have read the books and seen the movies. The themes of friendship and the love conquers all mentality does not hurt the club either. Dumbledore’s Anteaters truly does try to promote these morals with their open and accepting behavior. Even if you are not part of the club in the beginning, joining in the middle of the quarter is simple as well.
Each new member is welcomed and sorted in the beginning of the meeting. “It is really fun,” sophomore Sabrina Bruce said. “The headmasters draw a hat on the board and they act as the Sorting Hat by asking you questions. Then they make a decision on your house and when we play games you get house points.”
The meetings involve a variety of Harry Potter-themed games. “I think my favorite one is Confundus Tag,” McEvoy said. “When the weather is nice we go out to the park and we split into two groups, students and Death Eaters. Everyone rolls down the hill and we start playing tag while dizzy. And as soon as the dizziness wears off I yell out ‘Confundus!’ and everyone has to spin in circles until I say stop.”
If physical activities are not your cup of tea, the meetings also include a variety of trivia games like Harry Potter Pictionary as well as fun classics like Death Eaters (Mafia) and Heads-Up Seven-Up.
They also have group discussions on topics and themes brought up in the books and movies. “When I started the club I thought I was the biggest fan, but when I met other people in the club I realized that there were definitely others who were bigger fans than me,” McEvoy said.
Besides their weekly meetings Dumbledore’s Anteaters also makes a point to do group activities outside of the weekly meeting. They will go to school functions like Live Nudes and there was talk of dressing up for a school sports event.
“The Yule Ball is one of our coolest events,” McEvoy said. “Every winter we have a Ball where everyone dresses up and we just have a good time. Last year it was really successful and we had a bunch of non-members show up. We were even able to hire an amazing band, Button Willow Locomotive.”
Those who have joined the club, whether it is their first quarter or third year have nothing but good to say. “I love it here,” Junior Galia Bs said. “People get my weird jokes and I like just hanging out with everyone and discussing Harry Potter related things.”
“It’s a really great club,” senior Jenny Compton adds, “You can relate and bond over similar things because everyone is like minded and chances are the similarities don’t stop at Harry Potter.”
Big fan or small, Dumbledore’s Anteaters welcomes all. “The DA can define your time at UC Irvine,” Frantzick said. “There are so many amazing and similar people. You can meet your best friends here.”
For anyone interested in more information on the club you can find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/groups/danteaters/ or attend the general meetings every Wednesday.