By Jim Knippenberg
Photos by Joseph Fuqua II and Brandi Stafford
The Cincinnati Enquirer
They arrived armed and ready: Billowy capes, homemade brooms made for night flights, swords, eyeglasses held together at the bridge with white tape, pointy hats, lopsided grins, gelled hair pushed askew and, of course, magic wands - you never know when you'll need to execute a "swish 'n flick."
They were Harry Potter look-alikes. Fifty of them, ages 4 to 37, answered our invitation to drop by, strike a pose and help us celebrate the fictional wizard's birthday - which just happens to be today.
See photos of the runners-up and all the Potter look-a-likes who entered the contest|
Christopher Duncan, 11, Grant County, has the look and a prediction: In the next book, Harry will square off against Voldemort and, later, replace Dumbledore as headmaster at Hogwarts.
Jonathan Michael O'Dell of Kenwood - "I'm 5¾," he says - has the accessories down pat - the rumpled hair, the battered eyeglasses, even his wand technique looks wizard-ready.
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Hunter Dials, 5, of Clifton was one of our three winners because, well, he looks good and he strikes a great pose. And, he says, if he could do one thing that Harry does, he would "fight the big snake with my sword."
It was more than four hours of shooting, sometimes with Harrys lined up across the length of the studio. Which gave us time to find out a few things ...
Almost all of them say they'd be as great a quidditch player as Harry himself, who excels at the wizarding national sport. As Hunter Dials, 5, says, all you have to do "is move fast and catch things. I could do that." And anyway, what's so hard about it? "With practice you can do whatever you want," says Michael Martin, 12.
Most all of them would love to sit down and chat with Harry, but a few have other ideas. Ethan Smith, 11, wants a few minutes with the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry's gamekeeper "Hagrid - because he deals with the magical animals." Kevin Lindsay, 12, wants to talk to professor "Lupin, because he's a werewolf." Matthew Webb, 13, wants to pick dark wizard Voldemort's brain and "learn his secrets."
More than half of them (27), some as young as 5, have read the first four books in the series. Most are well on their way through the latest installment, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which was released June 21 and has already gone back for a third U.S. printing with 9.3 million copies circulating. All had read at least one of the titles.
But only the three lucky wizards declared the winners of our contest will receive the deluxe edition of Phoenix ($60).
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