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Hogwarts vs. Notre Dame

Tae Andrews | Monday, September 3, 2007

July 21, 2007 has become the most melancholy day in the history of my life. Yes, the release date of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” marked the culmination of seven books and a bajillion pages worth of magic and mystery, but it also marked the end of an era for a generation of Potter-philes raised on the works of J.K. Rowling.

While watching fresh faces find their way around campus for the first time this past weekend, I thought of my own first days and nights on campus here at the University with a certain sense of nostalgia. That, combined with my depression at the end of the Harry Potter series, led me to recall my first impression of Notre Dame as I arrived as a skinnier and bright-eyed freshman: If there is any place in the world like Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, this is it. Well, besides the upcoming Harry Potter theme park, anyway.

Whoa, you say. Maybe I’ve had a pint too many of Butterbeer at Hogsmeade. But before you condemn me to Azkaban for dementia (and leave me to the dark clutches of the Dementors), give it a thought.

Notre Dame’s beautiful roaming lawns and quads practically beg for pickup games and footballs flying through the air, if not broomsticks and Quidditch matches. Our dining halls (okay; just South) replete with great wooden tables and mounds of food, are reminiscent of Hogwarts’ Great Hall.

The Notre Dame Bookstore is an easy equivalent of Flourish and Blotts, and books cost an arm and a leg at either institution. (Plus, if you order by credit card, you can have them magically boxed and ready for easy pickup.).

Like the wizard bank Gringotts, we have our very own Notre Dame Federal Credit Union (although it is not run by greedy goblins such as Griphook, but by humans) and mysteriously vanishing funds will make students wish they had more Galleons, Sickles and Knuts.

Another thing we Domers pride ourselves on is dorm spirit, much like the students of Hogwarts. While we have many more houses than just Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, there are a few parallels out there.

For my own part, I count myself lucky to be a Stanford Griffin, in the tradition of Father Griffin, our own ND equivalent to Hogwarts’ founding father Godric Gryffindor.

The lovely ladies of Breen Phillips bring to mind Hufflepuff, and Farley’s Finest are a good parallel to Cho Chang and Ravenclaw.

Of course, I suppose Zahm House would have to be considered a rough equivalent to Slytherin, though it’s hard to imagine Professor Severus Snape and Co. dropping their robes for Bun Runs and things of that nature.

Regardless of what dorm you get placed into, you’ll land on your feet. And like the students of Hogwarts, you will come to think of Notre Dame as home. You’ll find wise, eclectic and enthusiastic professors ready to impart wisdom and knowledge. You’ll find generous and benevolent upperclassmen, much like Fred and George Weasley, who tend to provide underclassmen with all manner of magical potions and elixirs, to comedic effect.

We have our own diligent and faithful NDSP officers, who patrol the campus with a constant vigilance reminiscent of Hogwarts caretaker Argus Filch and his cat Mrs. Norris, always keeping a ready ear out for mischief in the interest of student safety.

You’ll find a long line of wise and kindly University presidents (most recently, Father Jenkins and Monk Malloy before him, and Father Hesburgh before him) to rival the likes of Albus Dumbledore and the many wizened wizards who once held the post of headmaster.

In Notre Dame Stadium, like the Hogwarts Quidditch stadium, we have a distinguished list of fabled football forefathers including Knute Rockne, Ara Parseghian, Frank Leahy and now our own resident gridiron guru, Charlie Weis, to lead the Blue and Gold into battle.

So as you traverse the nighttime campus landscape and take in the lights glowing through the ephemeral mist wreathing the grounds (bringing to mind Number 12 Privet Drive, where the HP magic all began in the first place), one thing is certain about Notre Dame: Ordinary Muggles just can’t understand the magic of this place. So welcome to Notre Dame, First Years, and welcome home.