Saturday, July 16, 2016

Leviosa Recap: Day 1 and Day 2

I took a late flight on Wednesday, July 6th to fly out from Boston to Las Vegas for Leviosa, which is a Harry Potter and a YA lit convention like no other. Despite the late arrival to the Green Valley Ranch Resort at 1:00 am PST on Thursday morning, I was so happy to be in Nevada. Green Valley Ranch Resort is located on the outskirts of Las Vegas in Henderson. The rooms are huge and the bathroom is very spacious as well. I pretty much dragged my bags from the front desk across the pool area to the East Tower. A shower was in need and I went to bed to wake up early for my first day in Vegas!

The view of East Tower at 1:00 am at Green Valley Ranch Resort

Day 1

Las Vegas is blazing hot. Coming from Boston, I have only experienced mild and humid summers. Never have I felt the wrath of the dry heat. The first day was very low key. I had nothing planned besides browsing the vendor hall at 4:00 and attending the Welcome Feast at 7:00. Because I was rooming with two con staff members and a first time Harry Potter convention goer, I was roped into volunteering with putting together badges and manning the hall that leads to the vendor hall area. I seriously felt like I was manning the third-floor corridor. I even got a Harry Potter security sash.

Selfie time during security duty
Krissie did a very good job with the vendor hall booth selection and of course, Alexandra did a fabulous job running registration. There was never an instance of chaos or line con. The con was a success in every way! Also, I love my other roommate, Kristina. I couldn't ask for better roommates. I felt like I've known them for years even though I've seen one a couple of cons before and I met two of them for the first time at Leviosa.

I spent a good hour or so browsing the vendor booths for gift ideas for people. From wands to pins to soaps to teas to Butterbeer concentrate, there is something for everyone. Check this list for vendors who've attended Leviosa.

The Welcome Feast  had an amazing array of wonderful appetizers, main dishes and desserts. I was stuffed after the feast. Of course, I sat at the Ravenclaw table and I was able to reconnect with my friends David and Alyse. Gareth was there, Krista and my roommate Kristina. I also met someone named Davina who is a local.

Day 2 

The first full day of the convention was crazy. It was my busiest day and I even had to skip some of the programming because I was so tired. A rule of thumb is the 5-2-1 rule at any convention or conference. I highly suggest people have at least 5 hours of sleep, 2 full meals and at least 1 shower per day. Of course you can sleep more, have more meals and take more showers but 5-2-1 is a must!

My first panel of the day was a YA lit one. Pantsing vs. Plotting: How To Novel was a fantastic panel. Alexa Donne moderated and the following authors joined the discussion: Kamilla Benko, Roshani Chokski, Susan Dennard, Lindsay Riber, Robyn Schneider and Michelle Schusterman. I will go more into detail about the panel at a later date in July or August with a full panel recap.

Pantsing vs. Plotting Panel
The next panel I attended is a Harry Potter one. "Hallows, not Horcruxes”: Notes on “The Tale of the Three Brothers” and the Presence of Fairy Tales in the Harry Potter series was a very interesting panel that was a nice segway to the next panel that occurred in the same room.  

Sorcerer's Stone: 7 Obstacles for 7 Books was lead by Irvin and whoa was this one of my favorite panels during Leviosa. Not only did Irvin bring props to show us but he created a wonderful table for his attendees to fill out with notes. Thanks Irvin for thinking about the Ravenclaws! 

His mind blowing analysis about the books and how certain objects from the Sorcerer's Stone mirrors certain books or scenes in the books is fantastic. He shows how J.K. Rowling foreshadows everything from book one all the way to book seven. Symbolism is very important. I might have to use these notes for my next re-read of the series. I plan to do a recap of this panel in the near future as well.

Message board

I decided to take a break for lunch and also skipped a panel I wanted to go to because I was reuniting with some of my Harry Potter friends in the Common Room. Can I say that the message board there is hilarious!

After lunch I attended Same Story, Different Skin - Remixing Retellings in Multicultural Fantasy with Roshani Chokshi and Thao Le. It was fascinating to hear them talk about their favorite fairytales and what retellings they would like to see in the near future. I liked how they spoke about how to make a retelling your own and not just a mere imitation. This panel also had a lot of the audience involved which was fantastic!

I was so pumped to attend Psychology of the Marauders which Janina Scarlet, the director of Serverus Snape and the Marauders and part of the cast of Severus Snape and the Marauders (Kevin Allen, Mick Ignis, Dani Jae, Paul Stanko and Justin Zagri). I loved how we got to talk about each Marauder and a bit about the fan film. I am a huge fan of the Marauders so there was no question that I was definitely attending this panel.

Roshani and I

After the panel, I attended an author signing with Lindsay Riber, Michelle Schusterman, Susan Dennard, Roshani Chokshi and Alexandra Bracken. I was so excited to chat with all the authors about the Pantsing vs. Plotting panel and I chatted with Susan about being a Ravenclaw and about Pottermore. I finally got to meet Roshani and she is amazing! I loved all the outfits she wore during the convention and I was able to get a photo with her! I can't wait to see her again at the Boston Teen Author Festival. Alexandra is super sweet and I was able to get a couple of my books signed. 

After the book signing, which literally only took 20 minutes for me from lining up to meeting everyone and getting things signed, I headed back to my hotel room to change since the robe and the sweater was getting quite hot. I changed into a Marauders dress for the rest of the evening.

Kristina and I went to get dinner before we attended to VIP cocktail hour which of course had to be outside. Thank goodness I changed my outfit since it was blazing outside at 7:00. It was probably still in the 90s during that time. It was nice to chat with the attendees and the special guests. For most of the time I was in Vegas, it was about 106 degrees. The cocktail hour wasn't that bad at all but I wish it was inside since it was super dry and hot outside.

Green Valley Ranch Resort's palm trees

However, I was able to capture a picture of Peeves with three drinks and the view was immaculate! Palm trees in the sunset is postcard perfect! 

Peeves and three drinks

Chris Rankin opening up karaoke
Kristina and I decided to venture to the room before heading toward Karaoke hosted by Chris Rankin, aka Percy Weasley. Not only did we have a good time but Chris was awesome. He is super nice and he loves attending Harry Potter conventions as a fan. He is down to earth and loves the fandom so much. In fact he even wrote his thesis on fandom. I have met Chris a couple times at Ascendio and at MISTI-Con but at more of an academic keynote or panel environment. It's nice to see him in a more casual element. 

I ended the night attending a pajama party at the Common Room totally by accident. I love wandering the halls at night and found some friends to hang out with past midnight. The first couple of days were fantastic and I couldn't believe how I almost decided to not attend Leviosa. Check out Tuesday for a recap for the last two days of my Leviosa adventures.

I will be discussing more about the Harry Potter and YA Lit panels I attended during the last couple of days. You can also check some of the Instagram photos and tweets under the hashtag #NicoleAtLeviosa.


  1. Aaah everything sounds so fun! I wish I could have gone! Can't wait for your recap on those panels, I'm very interested to hear about them :)

    1. It's so much fun! I love attending Harry Potter conventions and I was excited about the YA lit track too! I hope you can attend one in the future.