In celebration of the cinematic release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Winthrop University students transformed Roddey Hall, a campus residence hall, into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on Friday and opened their doors to curious students.
In their own take of J.K. Rowling's popular series, Winthrop students created "Harry Potter and the Roddey Hollows" to give students the "full Harry Potter experience," event organizers said.
After swearing an oath that they were "up to no good," students were given a map to navigate the magical, shifting corridors of "Hogwarts" to their classes, where they made their own wands and learned to brew potions, cast charms and read the future.
Moving from class to class, the first-years encountered various characters from the series brought to life by Winthrop students.
Among the characters were Moaning Myrtle (Ginny Walker), who cried near the water fountain until Harry Potter (Nathan Rouse) convinced her to dry up; The Fat Lady (Jessica Agee) - a portrait that comes to life - who tried futilely to crack a wine glass with her shrill soprano; and Bellatrix Lestrange (Jamie Bellah) who tempted students to join the dark forces of Lord Voldemort, Harry's mortal enemy.
The project came about after Winthrop sophomore Catherine Davies wanted to have a party to celebrate the newest Harry Potter movie release.
Last summer Davies was counting down to the release, and decided she "wanted to have a party somewhere, somehow and it kind of transcended into a big classroom experience" once other students got involved, she said.
About 20 students were involved in the production, including the character actors and the prefects who guided the students.
The event organizers picked up students at the DiGiorgio Center in a van dubbed "Hogwarts Express" and shuttled them to the event.
Ryan Hilton, a USC-Lancaster student who heard about Winthrop's Hogwarts and came with some friends, still had his pink "love potion" after touring Hogwarts.
"It was pretty good, they did a really good job," said Hilton, who said he's a big fan of Harry Potter books. "You could tell they put a lot of effort into it and it was worth it," he said.
Winthrop student Patricia Clark said she enjoyed it more than she anticipated, especially the "ghosts and the funny people" positioned throughout the building.
The project was funded through the Resident Students' Association, said Evan Russo, a graduate student and residence director for Roddey Hall.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is the first of a two-film treatment of the last novel in Rowling's series. The movie grossed more than $24 million Friday at its midnight release, according to the Associated Press.