By Kaitlyn Njoroge
Kristen Capano, a senior English and self-design publishing and editing double major, was the first to walk up to the wooden podium.
“‘Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much,’” she recited from the first page of a series of novels that have changed the world.
On Wednesday, April 25, Sigma Tau Delta, the College’s English Honors Society, and The Order of the Nose-Biting Teacups, the College’s Harry Potter Club, hosted a marathon reading in Bliss Hall Lounge of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” J.K. Rowling’s first novel in the Harry Potter series.
“A lot of people have read Harry Potter, so (this event) is a great way for people to come together through literature and bond,” Capano, who is also a member of Sigma Tau Delta, said.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., anyone at the College was welcome to read a section of the novel aloud while enjoying snacks and homemade butterbeer.
Felicia Steele, one of the advisers of Sigma Tau Delta and an assistant professor in the College’s English department, has been attending marathon reading events hosted by the honor society since 2002. Past readings have included Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings, according to Steele.
“We’ve done it lots of different ways,” Steele said. “In the past, we’ve had marathon readings for major anniversaries. So that was the reason why in 2016 we did Shakespeare’s sonnets, because that was the (400th) anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and death.”
Attendees were also given a “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” trivia paper to fill out, which tested their knowledge on the novel.
An hour into the event, Diane Steinberg, one of the advisors for Sigma Tau Delta and an assistant professor in the College’s English department, came bursting into the lounge dressed from head to toe as a witch. Students laughed as they watched Steinberg read ahead with her own copy of the book, attempting to complete the trivia challenge first.
Some attendees, including Lisa Director, a sophomore English and secondary education dual major and Sigma Tau Delta member, brought her own copy of the book to read along with the speaker at the podium.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of Harry Potter ever since I was a child — ever since I could remember. The idea of just reading it for a day straight for a few hours in a row until it’s done was really cool to me,” she said.
Director sported a tattoo of the Deathly Hallows symbol above the Hogwarts crest that read, “Never tickle a sleeping dragon” in Latin.
At this year’s Sigma Tau Delta National Convention, students at the College suggested that other chapters of the organization continue the tradition.
“I already know five or six chapters across the east coast who are also going to do a marathon reading,” Capano said. “It’s not only bringing the College together, but also the eastern region of Sigma Tau Delta and Sigma Tau Delta members across the country.”