Now that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is out in bookstores, Houston Potterheads need a new outlet for their Potter-mania. And it looks like they've found it – this weekend, more than 500 Harry Potter nerds will gather at three Houston bars to compete in “The Geeky Cauldron: A Harry Potter Quiz,” a trivia quiz centered around the Boy Who Lived.
Each of the quizzes – held at Neil's Bahr, Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park and Little Woodrow's (the Heights location) – starts at 3 p.m. and should take around three hours. And, just in case the fans weren't rabid enough, there's money on the line: Since each player has to fork over a $5 cash buy-in, the winning teams will get to divvy up half of the pot. (The other half covers operating costs.)
“We were expecting high demand for it,” said Ken Brill, director of PR and marketing for Geeks Who Drink, the Denver-based bar quiz company that hosts “The Geeky Cauldron.” Geeks Who Drink typically hosts a Harry Potter-themed quiz every two years, Brill said – this year, more than 70 venues across the country will host the quiz on Saturday. “That said, we're very, very far past what we did last time for our Harry Potter quiz… We anticipate that every seat in every one of these bars is going to be filled with players.”
“It was so huge,” added Katie Dressi, who will host the quiz at Little Woodrow's. “We started out with one location [in Houston] and then it sold out in about ten minutes,” so Geeks Who Drink added two more venues.
Participants are required to register their trivia teams – which can consist of up to six people – online prior to the event. (This reporter chose “Umbridge's Inquizzatorial Squad” as a team name.) You can still register, but don't fret if you see that all Houston's venues are “sold out” or “on standby.” Brill anticipates that many registered teams will likely drop out at the last minute, giving everyone else a chance to play.
“We're expecting that, at least right now, everyone on our standby list is going to get placed in a venue,” Brill said. Team captains on standby will get an email by Friday if they're going to be able to play.
The quiz will consist of eight rounds of eight questions. Writers at Geeks Who Drink have been at work dreaming up questions since June, as each question is rigorously fact-checked to avoid any technicalities that could give a team an edge. The majority of the questions will focus on the seven books and eight movies, though players can expect a smattering from The Cursed Child, the upcoming film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Pottermore, Harry Potter's official website that sometimes doles out updates and secrets about the wizarding world.
“If you're capable of asking if that's going on to be on the quiz, you probably know enough,” Brill said of questions on material beyond the main books and movies.
Want to don wizarding robes and paint a lightning bolt on your forehead? Go right ahead. Players are encouraged to dress up, and the quiz hosts at each bar may choose to hold costume contests. When asked if she planned to hold one, host Dressi replied, “Absolutely.”
And if you can't make this weekend's Potter-extravaganza, don't worry – Geeks Who Drink hosts normal bar quizzes every Tuesday at about 40 different venues around Houston, Brill said. Upcoming themed quizzes will focus on the Joss Whedon TV show Firefly and the long-running CW show Supernatural.