Magic on Mount Greylock: 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' book release celebrated


Photo Gallery | Mount Greylock, home of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

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ADAMS — The summit of Mount Greylock was a powerful place to be on Sunday afternoon.

Inside the Bascom Lodge, about a dozen fans of the Harry Potter novels took part in a ceremony where they created their own incantations, sang songs and played homemade instruments.

Outside? The summit was locked in a world of bright white mist. From the door of the lodge, the mighty Mount Greylock tower was literally invisible, serving notice that while the wizarding stories of Harry Potter are fanciful, there is real power in the roots of Greylock.

"I think it's wonderful the summit is shrouded in fog," said JoAnne Spies, a local singer-songwriter who also orchestrated Sunday's Potter event. "It's part of the magic."

Sunday's event at the summit was a number of locally-scheduled events to celebrate the latest Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," which hit bookstores around the world Saturday night at midnight.

The book isn't a novel, and author J.K. Rowling is not the sole author. Rather, the book is actually an adaptation of a play by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany presently playing in England. Rowling assisted in the writing, which is more than enough for Harry Potter fans.

The book was released on July 31, which is the birthday of Rowling _ and Potter.

Mount Greylock's tie-in, which is known by most Berkshire County residents, is that Rowling revealed in a recent short story that the summit houses Ilvermornay, a school for warlocks founded in the 17th century.

On Sunday afternoon, Spies led about a dozen enthusiastic Harry Potter fans in a series of magical exercises, which included singing, chanting and determining which "house" of the Ilvermornay School they are from.

In addition, she passed out a dozen homemade musical "instruments" for the students to play. The instruments were ingeniously constructed: An old petroleum tank as a percussion instrument; a series of plastic items filled with pebbles to shake and plastic packing bubbles to squeeze.

"There are a lot of fun instruments you can make if you use your imagination," she said.

Emma Rembach of Stockbridge, an acupuncturist, was one of the more popular students on Sunday. Rembach pulled a copy of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" out of her backpack just before the event began.

"I stopped by Barnes and Noble and picked it up just before I came here," she said. No worries, Remback added. The bookstore's shelves were heavily stocked with Potter books.

Remback reported that she's already read the six previous Potter novels.

"I bought the first two books at a garage sale for 50 cents each," she said.

As an acupuncturist, she said, "one of the things I do is help people find their own healing. I think joy is a big part of healing. I think this will bring people a lot of joy."

Diego and Noelia Salinetti of Tyringham were in attendance with their mother, Jenn. Diego, 12 has read all six Potter novels.

"I like Mount Greylock and I like Harry Potter," said Diego. "They're kind of like these really interesting adventure novels."

His sister Noelia, 10, hasn't read any of the books. But she plans to, she said.

"I've heard they're really good," said Noelia. "I want to read them."

She was slightly nonplussed when Remback pulled out the latest book.

"Wow," she said. "I haven't read the first six. Now I have another one to get to."

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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