*This is a collaborative guest post
People adore Harry Potter for its heroism, imagination and wit, but there’s also a lot to be said about the darker and more sinister side of J. K. Rowling’s incredible world too. Voldermort and his entourage, even today, remain some of the most chilling fantasy villains to have ever starred on the big screen or been committed to the pages of a book.
What’s more, both wizards and muggles alike know that autumn, especially Halloween, is when the fabled Dark Arts begin to make their presence known in Hogwarts and beyond. Here’s a quick catch up of just what the Dark Arts really entail.
A more sinister sort of spell
The Dark Arts in the Harry Potter fandom are similar to the sorts of black magic tropes that we know from traditional fairy tales and folklore. In short, it’s any magic that can be used to harm another, like poisons, hexes, curses and even spells that can snuff out the victim’s life altogether.
Naturally, magic like this isn’t encouraged at Hogwarts, although fans familiar with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will know that not everyone is content to follow that guideline. Indeed, the most notable practitioner of the Dark Arts that we see in the Harry Potter series is Voldermort, together with his Death Eater followers.
Experiencing the Dark Arts today
While the films and books have wound down, fans are still enjoying the thrills and chills of the Dark Arts today. That’s thanks, in part, to the specialist events devised by Warner Bros Studio Tours every year, where the autumn season sees the Dark Arts and the Death Eaters become star attractions of the Harry Potter experience.
Masked, hooded figures of the Death Eater cadre will stalk around the tour’s recreation of Diagon Alley and they often pop up on carriages on the Hogwarts Express as well. Diagon Alley itself will have taken on a more sinister feel too, as if the Dark Arts themselves are twisting the appearance of this beloved location.
The Great Hall of Hogwarts also gets some spooky treatment between September and November. The set, exactly as it appeared in the movies, features in the studio tour as a stunning set-piece of Halloween feasting, with over 100 pumpkins decorating the proceedings. Food and drink of every sort can be seen here, in mouthwatering detail.
Beneath the mask
For film buffs, the Dark Arts tour also does its bit in showing just how the magic of the movies was created, specifically the Death Eaters themselves. The masked figures you see lurking around can be challenged to wand duels by aspiring wizardly visitors and experts will be on hand to explain just how the battles on the big screen took shape. You’ll be able to talk with prop designers and craftsmen and women who made the wands, masks and costumes for these epic set pieces and find out for yourself how the combat was choreographed to make for such exciting fights in the first place.
The Dark Arts could well add some spooky spice to the coming autumn so have your Patronus at the ready!