7 Panels I Should Have Submitted For LeakyCon 2016

I waited for months for the opportunity to submit panel proposals for presentation at this year’s LeakyCon. And then when it finally came… I blanked. I knew I wanted to do a Wizard Rock-focused panel, and if no one had organized it yet, I wanted there to be a genderqueer meetup panel. Besides a hastily thought of My Immortal panel (and I am so pumped that Tianna is doing a panel on both My Immortal and Beowulf), I just couldn’t summon up any more ideas. I guessed I just didn’t have that much to say, or that I actually didn’t have that many opinions. It is at this point that you should be laughing.

Within days, maybe even hours of the deadline passing, a great panel idea came to me. Then another. And another. Some of these, I suddenly remembered, were panels I’d wanted to do ever since my very first LeakyCon and being sad these subjects weren’t represented. So here’s a list in no particular order of 7 panels I have belatedly realized I should have submitted. I’m doing this partially in the hopes that it will make for enjoyable Content, and partially to get me closer to meeting this week’s article goal, but mostly so I’ll have this handy reference if the opportunity ever affords itself again.

Magical Games and How to Play Them

I’ve made no secret of my love for video electronic gaming, even going so far as to write an article not even remotely related to wizard rock and instead just about which of the Harry Potter video games are my favorite. I have played the handheld and console versions of nearly every movie’s games (I checked out at the Deathly Hallows games which were apparently pretty terrible), including every Gameboy game, the Quidditch games, the game secretly written by Maureen Johnson, and the Lego games. I have the dubious honor of having the worldwide top score in an online quiz about the Harry Potter video games. I’m qualified to talk about the games, and there’s a lot to say. For a lot of people attending LeakyCons, at least one of the Harry Potter video games were a part of their childhood, if not a force that dominated Christmas list after Christmas list. Hell, just look at how many people fucking lose their minds whenever Flipendo gets a canon shoutout. The Harry Potter series is probably the licensed video game series that has been through the most number of sea changes in the video game industry. A historical panel looking at the evolution of the Harry Potter games and how they were influenced by the evolution of video games in general could prove to be interesting and enlightening. Plus there’s all sorts of interesting trivia – do you know which game was created purely to fill the Holiday release hole left when a Harry Potter movie’s release date was pushed back to summer? Or which game was actually written by Maureen Johnson that is not a joke? Which games were actually based on the books and not the movies? Which game took inspiration from Gears of War? Do you know about the Chinese Harry Potter bootleg games? I’ve played them.


Wizard Rock Quiz Show

This morning, the ‘pedia did a game of #namethatwrocksong on twitter. I was not awake for the bulk of it because sleep is a mysterious and unknowable lover, but it seemed like a lot of fun. One of my fondest memories of the wrock twittersphere is way back in 2010 when Wrockstock did a similar game as a contest, with the prize being a free all-access pass to that year’s event. I still remember the rush of people trying to figure out each original song, people surreptitiously dm’ing each other, attempting to trade for valuable answers while shielding how many they themselves had figured out. It was a ton of fun, and something that could work really well in a live setting. LeakyCon is no stranger to pub-quiz-style events, and doing a shorter one only about wizard rock, with a heavy focus on audio recognition could make for a super fun panel – not to mention an opportunity for me to showcase some really deep cuts. Besides, being the universally loved and in no way controversial figure that I am, I’m the perfect choice to MC such a panel.

Gotta Cast ‘Em All – The Harry Potter TCG

The Harry Potter Trading Card Game was a real gateway drug for me – I’d never played a game like it, and it led to a lifelong fascination with the mechanics of collectible card games. Basically Magic: The Gathering for young’uns, the HPTCG had some hidden depth and was surprisingly well balanced for such a hastily pushed-out corporate tie-in. While unfortunately lasting only a few expansions and not making it past the release of Chamber of Secrets, a good game was left behind, one still beloved by certain pockets of the fandom. This panel would be in two parts – first, a brief history and explanation of the card game. Then, people could actually play the game using preconstructed decks! I have… a lot of old Harry Potter trading cards lying around. Hell, I’m still prolly gonna bring my Quidditch/Potions deck with me to this year’s con, just in case. I might even use McGonagall to splash Transfiguration. Oh, and this doesn’t flow in this little blurb at all, but I just really want to talk about it: There’s a card in the Chamber of Secrets expansion called “Lockhart’s Lecture” that makes it so every time you cast a spell, your opponent must say “Brilliant!” or they take damage. That’s still probably my favorite card in any trading card game ever, even including this card and this card.

Alternate title: No, Not That Magic Card Game

Aragog’s Revenge: Harry Potter on the Web

Yes, that is an incredible shitty name. Whateva. Point is, this would be a panel about Harry Potter websites, with a heavy focus on the 1999-2003 era. Harry Potter and Web 2.0 became A Thing at about the same time, and they actually ended up influencing each other. Anyone around at the time won’t soon forget the hubbub when Warner Bros. started suing 12 year olds, and how all the fallout from there ended up shaping a lot of how online fandom would be perceived and presented for years. This panel would cover both the official Harry Potter website and it’s bevy of interactivities and slight but fun flash games (remember how they had a game for every single position in quidditch? And how the Sorting Hat actually sang the song from the books?), and the slew of fan sites that came out. Much reminiscing about geocities will abound. Remember how you had to get an “official” crest saying you were part of WB’s “fan network” and put it on your site, even though it was literally just a .png? Or how the official WB forums had a section for fanfiction that quickly turned into an absolute cesspool of virgins writing about sex? Or going to “interactive Hogwarts” sites where each and every room had a different midi track that took at least 30 seconds to load over a dial-up modem? Good times, good times.

The Wizard Rock Chillout Panel

As much as I joke about it, I probably will never DJ a con. And that’s totally fine! It’s a fun pipe dream, but whateva. It would take effort anyway. But I would love to sometime host a “chillout panel”. This would work best at one of those cons held in a hotel. The idea is everyone would bring down pillows, beanbags, blankets, stuff like that, maybe some popcorn and hot chocolate, and everyone would just sit on the floor and hang out while yours truly plays some wizard rock classics. Pretty simple idea, but could be a really fun and relaxing experience.

Sean Biggerstaff as Oliver Wood – Best Casting Decision Ever?

The answer, is of course, yes. And the joke is penis.

You see, because “wood” is a euphemism for an erect phallus, and “biggerstaff” probably isn’t a euphemism for a large donger, but it damn well should be.

The Year That Harry Came For Christmas

In general, I, and I believe large portions of the fandom, tend to think of Harry Potter as a summer thing. Cons and tours are more likely then, almost all of the books came out in the summer, and many of the latter HP movies came out in summertime. However, Harry Potter as a Warner Bros.-owned global merchandising phenomenon began as a Christmas thing. And no year was that truer than 2001. At this point there’s gotta be plenty of teens going to these things that don’t really remember that year – hell, there might be some that weren’t even alive. This panel would provide both nostalgia for those who remember it, and a valuable cultural history lesson for those who don’t. While some time will be spent on the global mechanics of such a huge merchandising operation, most time would be spent looking specifically at the merchandise – the many gifts kids around the world eagerly hoped to be under their tree Christmas morning. The lego lineup alone could make for a full panel – it was absolutely massive. Then there were all the many, many board games. There was every kind of Harry Potter-branded classic board game WB could get their hands on, and when they couldn’t, they just made their own.

There was this game called “Mystery at Hogwarts” that was literally just Clue with wizards and a ghost. There were at least three different quidditch games, including a card game and a board game that functioned a little more like miniature air hockey than anything else. If it was a dinnerware, you could bet there was one in Gryffindor and Slytherin colors. And then of course there was the infamous vibrating Nimbus 2001, which came under scrutiny when it was found out that older sisters of the young children who got this gift were also very, very fond of it. Fun fact – I actually own that broomstick, and probably would go through whatever hassles necessary to bring it to a con.

Ayup. And those were some words about things! Hope you enjoyed them. Look for either another review or tweetstorm article later this weekend.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Christie
    Oct 11, 2016 @ 21:55:56

    The wizard rock chillout panel is def my favorite, but I also would love to attend a panel about HP+the web. I came to the internet game a little late for ppl my age (lol I grew up w/ my grandma as the one in charge of technology in my household, so you can imagine), and it’d be cool to see how the fandom and the internet grew together. I came into the HP and wizard rock fandom(s?) during the MySpace heyday, which has been talked about way more than the earlier days…


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