Swiss smut and smut accessories retail chain, Magic X, will have to halt production of its popular “Harry Popper” condoms after losing a decade-long legal battle with Warner Bros. 

The multimedia giant began proceedings in 2008, alleging that the condoms infringed upon the Harry Potter trademark it shares with author, J.K. Rowling. Lawyers representing the company at the time argued that the condoms put the image of its client, “at risk.” 

Magic X responded by pointing out the Harry Popper trademark was registered in 2006 and that the product, which features a bespectacled condom brandishing a magic wand on the box, had nothing to do with Harry Potter.

It seems a touch pointless in the face of such airtight logic to point out that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in 1997, nearly a decade before the randy retailer developed its entirely original brand of prophylactics.

Needless to say, the aurors of the Swiss courts were similarly unimpressed by Magic X’s arguments. After ten years of legal quidditch including an appeal to the Swiss Supreme Court, the sex shop chain has been ordered to cease production of the condoms and pay over 150,000 francs in damages. The courts decided on that sum after Magic X failed to provide figures on the profits they’ve made on sales of the condoms.   

At this juncture, we at GeniiOnline would like to remind all you budding young wizards to always wear protection to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted curses.  

You know that funny feeling you get in your chest when you see a good magic trick? That little beat-skipping spark of joy that cuts through the crusty, build up of cynicism that’s slowly settled around your soul during the long, arduous years of adulthood? Well, that’s how I feel about a good margarita. 

And bad margaritas.

And actually just tequila in general, come to think of it.

But there is a certain kind of magic in good booze, which is why the cocktail masterclass offered by Harry Potter-inspired watering hole, The Cauldron, sounds like it’s right up my (Diagon) alley. The one-hour-and-45-minute course mixes booze with a splash of Harry Potter-inspired magic, letting punters “wield working magic wands and molecular mixology to brew drinkable elixirs.”

Tickets for the short semester of magical mixology cost £29.99 plus a small deposit for the magic wand, which they want back at the end of the lesson. Prospective students obviously have to be 18 or older.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has only been stateside for two weeks, but it’s fair to say the play has left quite a mark on America’s theater scene. Not only have legions of critics and fans fallen under its spell, but it is racking up favor from the awards circuit too.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been nominated for ten Tony Awards. It will vie for the coveted Best Play prize, along with Best Leading Actor, Best Featured Actor, Best Featured Actress, Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Sound Design, Best Direction, and Best Choreography. Kudos to the whole cast and crew!

The Tony Awards are scheduled for Sunday, June 10. The show will be broadcast at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on CBS. With that many nominations, odds are good it will be a magical night for somebody in the Potterverse.

The world of Harry Potter has already conquered the page, the screen, and the amusement park, so perhaps it fated for the wizarding saga to one day take over the stage as well. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has just opened on Broadway in New York City after a smashing success in London. The first reviews are in, and American muggles have been delighted by the show.

“…when you get a load of the illusions pulled off right before your eyes — mostly with old-fashioned sleight-of-hand and crafty lighting; only occasionally with more elaborate techno-trickery — it’s not hyperbole to call the show sheer magic.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“With every magic trick — a phrase that feels reductive and yet, is precisely accurate for the dozens of casual illusions that populate the stage — the crowd bears witness to something spectacular, something that dares you to challenge your expectations of what’s possible to be done in the theatre.” – Entertainment Weekly

“The Cursed Child is a triumph of epic proportions, not only heaven for Potterheads, but a marvel of stagecraft that will soon be the stuff of legend.” – Rolling Stone

“…what happens includes some of the most eye-boggling illusions you’ll ever witness, without a visible wire or trap door in sight.” – The New York Times

“[Director John] Tiffany spares no indulgence as his lavish production unfolds, giving us acrobatic wand fights, polyjuice transformations, flying Dementors, and a stunt involving water that still has me boggled.” – Vanity Fair

“The show is filled with triumphant theatrics and adventurous action. It’s suspenseful and exciting in ways that plays rarely are. Plus it’s still got the heart, humanity and warmth of a Rowling novel.” – People

Given the hype and popularity of the show, acquiring tickets might take a magic act of its own. The five-hour stage performance is happening at the Lyric Theater in New York City, and tickets will cost you more than a few galleons. Check the official website for more details.

UPDATE (4/5/2018):

While savvy Google Play users have had access to the soft-launch for a few months now, the rest of the world will finally gain access to the hallowed halls of Hogwarts when Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery finally launches on iOS and Android devices on April 15, according to VentureBeat. Read below for full details of what you can expect when you launch the game for yourself in a couple weeks.

UPDATE (1/23/2018):

Looks like the app is coming sooner than we thought. Originally slated for a “2018” release date, Touch Arcade reports that prospective students are able to attend Hogwarts now, as long as you have an Android device.

The game is currently listed on Google Play as an “unreleased app”, which likely means this is a soft launch meant to test out the servers and other online functionality before the game gets a wide public release on all mobile devices and storefronts. Still no word on when the game is “officially” out or when iOS device owners can expect to play it, but if you’ve got a compatible Android device, you can hop in now and let the rest of us know if it’s good.

Original Story:

If you’ve ever wondered what life would be like at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, wonder no more. A brand new game called Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is set to release in 2018 for Apple and Android mobile devices, giving you the opportunity to create your own character and go on adventures in the magical school.

Described as “the first mobile game in which players can create their own character and experience life as a Hogwarts student”, Hogwarts Mystery will let you master new spells, attend classes taught by your favorite (or least favorite) instructors, make friends, and battle rivals. You can see a brief glimpse of the game in the trailer embedded above.

Hogwarts Mystery is the first title released under Portkey Games, a label created by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to publish games based on J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. The title is being developed by mobile studio Jam City, who have worked on games like Marvel Avengers Academy and Panda Pop.

There aren’t a ton of other concrete details available yet, but you can register for updates by visiting the game’s official website.

Theme park rides have been delighting Disneyland and Universal Studios guests for decades. While some of their attractions are decades-old themselves, people flock to them again and again because they’re entertaining, create a sense of wonder and (for some adults in the crowd) evoke happy childhood memories.

Part of what makes these rides so entertaining is that many of them include effects that, to the average viewer, defy the laws of reality. Disneyland’s The Haunted Mansion, for example, includes a dining room scene where a gaggle of transparent ‘ghosts’ dance through tables and hang from chandeliers. Another example a short walk from The Haunted Mansion is Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin. At the end of this ride, Roger uses a movable hole (you know, like the ones you see in cartoons) to make a tunnel appear on what looked like a solid wall. Universal Studios has impressive illusions as well; if you head to their Orlando theme park, you can step into a re-creation of London’s King’s Cross Station and watch your muggle friends melt into a brick archway that takes you to Station 9 ¾ (just like Harry Potter!).

Most theme park guests, if they think about it at all, likely imagine that these effects are from cutting-edge technologies (Holograms! Lasers!). These illusions, however, come from techniques developed more than 150 years ago, a time when the horse and buggy was the most advanced mode of transportation.

How have these antique techniques stood the test of time? The answer is obvious to those well-familiar with the history of magic: Magnets.

Wait. Sorry.

Not magnets…that’s the wrong M-Word. Today’s M-Word is Mirrors.


So, what about mirrors? Well, mirrors (and clear polished glass) cause reflections, and sometimes those reflections—when they are angled properly and appropriately lighted—get projected in ways that make people think they’re seeing a ghost or something in front of them inexplicably appear or disappear.

Let’s start with the dancing ghost effect in The Haunted Mansion, which is a favorite example of one of the oldest illusion reflection techniques. Despite what some may think, the spooky spirits aren’t holograms: no lasers were involved in the development of this illusion.

Have you ever stood outside on a cold, dark night and looked longingly at something in a shop window or (hopefully not) into someone’s home? If so, when you looked into that well-lit space, you might have seen a transparent image of yourself in that room. This phenomenon stems from the same principle that creates the specters of The Haunted Mansion, where the ghosts are reflections through silvered glass of animatronics found above and below the ride’s moving car.

This effect is commonly known as Pepper’s Ghost (much to the chagrin of its co-inventor, Henry Dircks), and was first presented in 1862 by John Henry Pepper on the Royal Polytechnic stage in London. Pepper intended to present his illusion as a scientific curiosity, but immediately realized the effect had the potential to be more than just a scientific presentation. “He was ready at the end of the first performance to walk out on stage and start to explain to everybody how it worked, because that’s what he did as a science exhibitor,” Jim Steinmeyer, an illusion creator and historian who has documented the science and history of Pepper’s Ghost, explains. “But when he heard the response to it…he never explained it on stage.”

This technique moved from the theater to sideshows and eventually to theme parks. Today, several attractions use Pepper’s Ghost; for example, this concept in conjunction with other mirror-based effects is what makes people magically walk ‘through’ the wall to Station 9 3/4. Other rides also use this technique in tandem with digital video technology. In the queue for Universal Studios’ Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey, for example, guests watch Harry, Ron and Hermione chat on a balcony and then disappear under Harry’s Invisibility Cloak. Here, the image guests see of the magical trio is the reflection of digital video through a sheet of glass, the same basic technique that Pepper used in the 1860s.

Beyond The Ghost

Pepper’s Ghost was one of the first mirror-based illusion techniques, but not the last. “It inspired a number of important illusions,” Steinmeyer says. “It started people thinking about those principles of reflection and the use of mirrors on stage.”

By 1865, Pepper’s colleague Thomas William Tobin developed a technique called The Sphinx, which used a tri-mirror setup to make a portion of a person or object invisible to viewers (viewers in the right sight line, at least). The Sphinx was quite popular when it premiered, and designers use similar concepts in theme parks to this day. For example, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride at Universal Studios uses this technique to hide the mechanics that make a crate rise into the air, giving the impression that it is floating. Similar methods are also what cause the tunnel to suddenly ‘appear’ to riders on Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin.

Other theme park rides use double parabolic mirrors to create hologram-like images. For this technique, two concave parabolic mirrors are sandwiched together, with the top one having a small hole in its center. The mirrors then reflect a 3D image above this opening of any object placed inside the parabolic sandwich. This phenomenon is used in optical illusion toys and is also used in rides like Snow White’s Scary Adventure at Disneyland, where the Witch offers guests a poisoned apple that passes through their hands if they try to touch it. The apple guests see is not the actual apple, of course, but a 3D image created by parabolic mirrors.

From the Stage to the Theme Park

It took almost a century for Pepper’s Ghost and other mirror-based illusions to make their way from the theater to theme park attractions. Once designers incorporated them into the ride experience, however, it became clear that these techniques had found a home in amusement parks.

Theme park rides are perfect for this type of illusion because everything a person experiences on a theme park attraction is controlled, from when they see something, to how long they see it, to what angle they see it at. This precise level of control gives ride designers and engineers an ideal environment for creating illusions. “You can guarantee what the sight lines are…that gives the ride a new impetus, and that’s where you see these fantastic, wonderful, perfect views of these effects,” Steinmeyer explains. “[Designers] use the motion of the ride itself to create the progression of the illusion or the special effect or the story.”

And that illusion is made even more fantastic by the fact it’s seamlessly integrated into the world of the ride—of course spooky ghosts are haunting a haunted house, and of course a cartoon rabbit can carry a removable hole he can stick on anything. For Station 9 3/4, the illusion helps people relive a favorite scene from the Harry Potter books and movies; they’re in that world, not just reading or watching it.

And remember, these effects aren’t some new-fangled discovery. As Steinmeyer explains, “Successful tricks like this are really simple, elegant, and slightly crude in terms of how they’re done.” And so, the next time you’re at Disneyland and your know-it-all friend comments on how cool The Haunted Mansion’s holograms are, just smile smugly and nod your head. 

What’s in a name? As the organizers of this summer’s Downtown Aurora Magic festival have learned, the answer is: a big legal mess. This isn’t the first time fans of magic have gathered in Aurora, Illinois, to share their passion. But last year the event had a much more specific focus as the city’s Harry Potter Festival.

“Last year, [film studio Warner Bros.] allowed the use of the name (Harry Potter) and activities for small local festivals, but this year they have revised their policies and have said there can be no more festivals,” Kate Purl, the event’s director, told the Chicago Tribune. “We’ve decided to do a magic festival instead.”

The sudden intervention from Warner Bros. means that what was a sold-out, two-day festival is now a scaled-back, one-day affair. Attendees will still be treated to costume contests, classes, crafts, games, and more. According to the Facebook group, a new website will be available soon with additional information.

Tickets will cost $10 and go on sale Saturday, March 24, at 9 a.m. central. The Downtown Aurora Magic festival will be on Saturday, June 9, from 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. Until the website goes live, Facebook is the best place for Potterheads and magic fans to get the latest updates. There are still some options out there if you want the Harry Potter experience, such as Leakycon, but the new limitations from Warner Bros. could mean that tickets for these events disappear faster than mugs of butterbeer on a cold night.

We may not have the ability to create potions or wands made with unicorn tail hairs, but the modern world does have some little hints of magic to it. For example, the British Library’s exhibit for Harry Potter: A History of Magic is now available as part of the Google Arts & Culture app. That means, wherever you are, you can explore the images, interviews, and articles behind the popular exhibit.

It’s not quite as good as waving a wand, but the interactive magic that lets viewers examine the Ripley Scroll with its philosopher’s stone recipe is a kind of magic in its own way. Other documentation includes work from master magician of the written word, J.K. Rowling. The online version includes an early sketch the author made of the Hogwarts grounds and her original pitch letter.

Other real-world magic includes the tiny computer that fits in your pocket but still allows you to immerse yourself in the Harry Potter world. (For you muggles, that’s the mobile game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.)

Everywhere you look, it seems there’s a new opportunity for Harry Potter fans to experience yet more of the fictional world come to life. The latest one offers wizards and witches a chance to leave Hogwarts and set sail for magic on the waters of the River Thames.

Barge Lady Cruises is hosting two Potter-themed cruises later this year in the UK. The dates are August 5-11 and August 19-25, and the lucky guests will get to see real filming locations, including Warner Bros. Studios. If this, ahem, floats your boat, then you’ll have to be both loaded and quick on the draw: the Magna Carta barge only fits 8 guests.

Sadly, that means your chances of boarding the barge are on the slim-to-none side. But there are many other ways to scratch that Potterverse itch. There’s a brand new mobile game that just got a soft launch on Google Play earlier this week. There’s Leakycon in Dallas this August (sadly already sold out). And there’s a traveling exhibit blending both the fictional and the fantastical worlds of magic.

Harry Potter fans who missed out on a chance to snag tickets to LeakyCon next year, take note: the pre-sale has been so successful that the upcoming convention in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas will be moving to a larger location.

According to GuideLive, the event was originally going to be hosted at the Hyatt Regency, but due to overwhelming demand, the convention planners have secured the much larger Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center from August 10-12, 2018 instead.

No guests or events have been revealed just yet, but LeakyCon 2017 featured appearances and autograph sessions with Harry Potter film actors like Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas) and Katie Leung (Cho Chang), and other members of the production crew.

Since the convention is moving to a larger venue, tickets will be made available again on December 6 at 2pm Eastern. Maurader Passes are $349 and include reserved seats for panels and complimentary autograph line tickets, while the general three-day pass costs $149. For more info and ticket purchases, head over to LeakyCon’s official site.