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Kids form Harry Potter club

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer

Maryanne Baker belongs to three Harry Potter clubs online. Now the 12-year-old is helping to bring the magic to the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada.

“I know a lot of people who come here who love Harry Potter,” she said. “The author is really great. When you read it, you see all the pictures in your head.”

Baker helped organize the Harry Potter club, drawing between 15 to 20 participants to the two meetings so far.

At the first meeting, students were divided into four houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw — the same houses students are divided into at Hogwarts, the wizard-training school in the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.

As in the books, members compete to earn points for their house, although they will not compete in the popular game, Quidditch, where contestants fly on brooms. The prize is yet to be determined, but it may be a pizza party.

Baker assumed most members would want to be a part of Gryffindor, the house of Harry Potter, the books’ hero, and his two best friends Ron and Hermione.

But it turned out the most popular house was Slytherin — the alma mater of antagonist Lord Voldemort, the lord of dark magic, who killed Harry’s parents and is trying to kill him.

“I’m a Hufflepuff,” said Nathan Dieneman, 15, with a grimace. “I wanted to be a Slytherin just because of the emblem they have. I like snakes.”

The Harry Potter books captivated the nation, from children to adults, with vivid details of a magical world — and Hollywood helped.

“I guess the movies got some people hooked, too,” Baker said. “Once they saw the movies, they wanted to read the books.”

The club plans to watch the movies at future Tuesday meetings.

It took Baker only three days to read the 870 pages of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” the recently released fifth book in the series.

“I never put it down. You should have seen my eyes, they were so red,” she said. “My first favorite book was the second one but now it’s the fifth. I thought it was the funniest and the saddest. It’s my new favorite.”

She said she is drawn to the magical setting of wizards and witches and resents implications that it is evil.

“There’s nothing sinister about it,” Baker said. “If people want to get rid of Harry Potter, they need to get rid of most of the Disney movies because most of them have magic in them, too.”

Chelsey Perkins lauded the morals of the boy wizard.

“I love Harry Potter,” she said. “He’s cool and he’s a good role model. He’s a hero and not afraid of anything.”

Baker was selected as a member of the Ravenclaw house.

“I like it,” she said. “The description of Ravenclaw is the smart house and I’m mostly smart. Plus, I like the name.”

The least favorite house: Hufflepuff.

“I don’t know, I guess it sounds kind of babyish,” Baker said.