Muggle pundits are split on some of the toughest questions facing the electorate this campaign season: Will incumbent Lord Voldemort form a minority government? Or could Hermione Granger swing into power? And what’s up with this Potter fellow?
“What surprised me is how much adults have really latched on to it,” Wes Kinghorn laughed. “People online are choosing the candidate they would vote for and giving their reasoning.”
Kinghorn, a History postdoctoral scholar, is the mastermind behind a series of viral London North Centre election signs featuring characters from the Harry Potter series.
“I saw a guy online a few years ago that did a Darth Vader sign during an election. I thought it was very clever. That sat in the back of my mind. I thought it would be so much more fun to have an entire roundup of characters going against each other, so you can have a real competition.”
Candidates running for ‘election’ to represent the London North Centre include Lord Voldemort from Your Ontario Death Eaters Party; Hermione Granger of the Dumbledore’s Army Ontario Party; Harry Potter of the Gryffindor Ontario Party; and Remus Lupin of The Marauders.
Kinghorn, who will begin teaching Geography of Tourism this January, loves exploring places, how we interact with them and why we go. In his new course, he even looks at imagined places and tourism around them, such as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.
Not only were the campaign signs fun to create – the price was also right for the joke.
“There was a sale on the signs at the print shop,” he laughed.
“The real idea was for the kids. There are a lot of kids on this street and some of my friends’ daughters are really into Harry Potter. I thought wouldn’t it be fun for them to wake up one morning and, magically on their street, have all of these signs for Harry Potter appear.”
He told his wife, Western professor Wendy Dickinson, and their neighbours, whose lawns share some of the four signs, to expect the fun to extend a block or two in each direction and, perhaps, a few folks on Twitter would get a chuckle.
“Let’s just say I expected to have a little fun and, honestly, never thought it would go further than this street,” said Kinghorn, who added his wife is remarkably supportive of his ideas because “I tend to do a lot of strange things.”
Since putting the out the signs just prior to the Thanksgiving weekend along his Princess Avenue neighbourhood (near Palace Street), his Potterish antics have appeared on CBC, The New York Daily News, a pair of newspapers in Quebec, Fox News and been shared more than 55,000 times on CTV’s Facebook page.
“The sweetest one (interview request) came from a children’s magazine in the U.K. that wants to run a story about how this engages children,” said Kinghorn, admitting the attention has been tiring but, at the same time, he has enjoyed the smiles.
“When you post anything online anymore, there is so much vitriol. With this, no one has said anything negative – out of thousands of people interacting with these images. Not one person. It’s nice to see.”
Those thousands of comments have also offered up a few suggestions as to who should run in the next election. Kinghorn expects to see a couple new candidates, including Luna Lovegood and Bellatrix Lestrange, to battle for the top spot in London North Centre.
And perhaps a ballot box next time so folks can actually vote for their Wizarding World candidate?
“That’s a possibility,” chuckled Kinghorn.