PA PotterFest in Voldemort’s Hometown?

I received a note this morning from the lead person of the Edinboro Harry Potter Festival with some details about my travel and lodging (I’m speaking and hope to see you in the great northwest of Penn’s Woods this September!). He said in an aside that he was heading to Volant, Pennsylvania, about an hour down the road, for their ten hour ‘Potter Fest’ today. [Here is the Volant Fest Facebook page and a newspaper article telling all about it.]

Could there be a better town for a Potter Fest than one named ‘Volant’? There is a Potter County in Pennsylvania, “God’s Country,” but no Potter municipality or ‘Dark Lord Ville.’ Volant is the greatest by default. Curiously, the article and the Facebook pages don’t spell out the connection. ‘Volant’ is a name that plays an important part in the Hogwarts Saga.

Jo Rowling’s mother’s maiden name was ‘Anne Volant.’ Beatrice Groves, in her Literary Allusion in Harry Potter (p 138), quotes Rowling as having said that, because of the blow her mother’s death was to her, “she [Rowling] took the inspiration for Voldemort’s name from her mother’s maiden name because Volant (‘flying’) was the first French word she knew,” i.e., mort de Volant.

There is more to this choice than that — but there is that! I suspect someone in town gets the Dark Lord connection because the Fest is named “The Festival That Shall Not Be Named.” As it is planned in conjunction with a bar crawl down the small town’s Main Street provocatively called “Fantastic Drinks and Where to Find Them,” perhaps after a few Potter Potions the truth about Volant’s relationship with Lord Thingy will be spoken aloud…

Wish I could be there! Happy Harry Potter Birthday weekend, everyone, especially those celebrating at the Fests in Volant and Aurora, and the Literary Conference in London!




  1. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    I may well have missed all sorts of things between Emily Strand’s 27 January “Accio Festival!” post (including your comment of the same day) and this one, but, for the sake of thoroughness, I note that the Inklings Gesellschaft is having a Symposium on 9-10 September in Aachen, with 13 papers, among which, Friedhelm Schneidewind on „Religion
    und Ethik in Hogwarts, Narnia und Mittelerde – Ähnlichkeiten und Unterschiede in den drei

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