Hundreds of Harry Potter fans descended on King’s Cross station in London on Sunday to mark the first day back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The magical educational establishment from JK Rowling’s fictional wizarding world traditionally opens its doors each year on September 1 and is celebrated with Back To Hogwarts Day.
Fans gather each year at the busy transport hub to recreate the scene of students pushing through a wall to the hidden Platform 9 and 3/4 where the Hogwarts Express train awaits them.
Wachirun Terakosolphan was one of scores of fans at the station for the communal countdown to the famous locomotive’s 11am departure, which was marked “Edinburgh via Hogsmeade” on the departures board above the concourse to represent the village where the fictional school is based.
“I felt I turned back to be a young boy again when being surrounded by a group of Potterheads who are so much into in the same thing,” the 30-year-old, originally from Thailand, told the PA news agency.
— ติดต่อ-สอบถาม (@wachi_gamelin) September 1, 2019
“I grew up with this magical story, so did they… It’s a bond between this story, characters, casts and the fans.”
Mr Terakosolphan said it was his first Back to Hogwarts Day, which this year included a dance performance from the cast of the West End musical Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.
— Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (@CursedChildLDN) September 1, 2019
Journalist Stefanie Gerdes was also at the King’s Cross event, which she estimated was attended by more than 300 fans, with many dressed as their favourite characters from the books, films and stage franchise.
“Harry Potter has been such a big part of my life growing up, so doing this feels a little bit like fiction coming true,” she told PA.
— Stefanie Gerdes 🏳️🌈 (@MissSGolightly) September 1, 2019
“It’s also nice to have such a big, public celebration of fandom itself – something that’s so frequently a thing where young people find home and a community to express themselves, but which is often shamed and laughed at.”
Last year the September 1 celebration was attended by actors Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law, who surprised fans ahead of the release of the latest in the Harry Potter spin-off film franchise Fantastic Beasts.