Photographs by Barbara Šaric / Interviews by Rachel Baker
There are nearly 1,000 members in The Group That Shall Not Be Named—the tri-state area’s Harry Potter meet-up society—and 99 percent of them are legally adults. It’s the largest non-online-only Potter group in the world, and when they gather to practice the dark art of dress-up, they often do so in the city. On the eve of the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, the final film in the series, we asked them about life inside their self-created Hogwarts.
Irvin Khaytman, 19, as Snape
Accounting student at NYU; lives in Dyker Heights
You’re quite a fan of Snape, I see.
Absolutely not”I don’t like Snape.
Then why do you dress up like him?
He’s a very fun character to be, because you can be snarky and sarcastic and insult people. For example, I would call Gryffindors stupid. Because they are.
Who’s your favorite, then?
Luna Lovegood. She’s kind of the outcast, the oddball of the group. That’s how I’ve felt about the Muggle world. Photo: Barbara “aric
Ana Gondring, 29, as a Ravenclaw witch
Job coach; lives in Passaic, New Jersey
Where do you get your hats?
From Witch to Wear, in Texas. They range between $90 and $130. They’re worth it!
Are you bummed that it’s all ending?
For me, it’s not. I’m only bound by the end of my creativity. One character I’ve been working on is Rosemerta, the barkeep”you have to have creativity and logic to make a good cocktail.
Are you good behind the bar?
I like making drinks. My favorite is a Brandy Alexander. Photo: Barbara “aric
Jonathon Rosenthal, 31, as a Ravenclaw wizard
IT consultant; lives on the Upper East Side
Why a Ravenclaw Wizard?
I usually go as the movies’ Cornelius Fudge, but when it’s warm out I don’t want to.
Ah, so this is your summer character.
I wear even less sometimes. The robe is optional.
I hear you’re dating Ana the Ravenclaw Witch.
Our interests aligned”we’re science-oriented.
So if she were, say, a Slytherin “?
Well, I have a little Slytherin in myself. But if she was a Gryffindor I might not have been interested. They’re too headstrong. Photo: Barbara “aric
Caitlin Neal-Karhut, 21, as young Snape
Writer; lives in Flushing
I’ve been a heavy Snape fan since 1999. I feel a connection with him. I understand his feelings and emotions, and the anger he had as a child. Because I was picked on.
Ever switch to other characters?
I have done Harry and Lestrange. I used to do more older Snape and just recently I started doing Young Snape.
Well, you’re pretty young, so that makes sense.
Yeah. Older Snape required a lot of makeup. For the movie I’m going as him, though. Because he dies, so in memory. Photo: Barbara “aric