Being stuck at home due to a worldwide pandemic can feel scary, claustrophobic, and overall “un-magical.” Lucky for us, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has announced a new online service for any wizard of any age in need of a particular pick-me-up potion: “Harry Potter at Home.”
In a tweet, Rowling said that “parents, teachers and carers working to keep children amused and interested while we’re on lockdown might need a bit of magic.” How will Harry Potter at Home cast this spell? By offering “special activity kits from Bloomsbury to Scholastic, to nifty magical craft videos (teach your friends how to draw a Niffler!) fun articles, quizzes, puzzles and more.” The service promises to cast “a Banishing Charm on boredom,” and promises different material every time you visit. After all, “just like Hogwarts and its staircases, this page will be changing all the time.” If you or someone you love are a huge Harry Potter fan, or in need of something fun to do with your quarantined family, this site might just be the ticket.
But that’s not all Rowling and her publishers are doing during these struggling times. Teachers everywhere have an open license for all seven Harry Potter books, and are recording themselves reading them aloud for kids. Plus, on Audible, the first audiobook narrated by Stephen Fry is available to download for free. And, folks who use OverDrive libraries, including apps like Libby or Sora, can find a free copy of the first eBook to read or listen to. In times of strangeness, it’s nice to know that Rowling’s wonderful wizarding world can still be used to provide comfort. After all, what is Harry Potter if not a story about people finding their own versions of magic to triumph over scary unknowables?
For more on what to do during these times, check out the deets on the AFI Film Club, where everyone watches a new, classic film each day.