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story.lead_photo.caption Wizardly students of House Slytherin work on potion bottles for the fourth week of Harry Potter month. This Saturday's lessons took place at the Patrick J. Ahern House, with each Hogwarts House seeking to apply this week's lessons in one of the last bids for points and victory. Photo by Junius Stone / Texarkana Gazette.

Harry Potter fans gathered Saturday for week four of Harry Potter month, this time at the Patrick J. Ahern House. This was the last Saturday before the Aug. 31 feast that will signal the end of the magical instruction. This instruction and competition began with decorating potion bottles that would contain the eldritch elixirs.

Hogwarts House Slytherin came prepared, bringing along one of the traveling trunks they created the previous Saturday, with some of them wearing costumes that suggested the shadowy, gothic look favored by the serpentine house.

Megan Stanfill, a longtime Harry Potter fan, is such an enthusiast that she has traveled to the United Kingdom to see some of the filming locations, such as the King's Cross train station used for the Hogwarts Express scenes. She wore the goth-girl look favored by some female Slytherin members. She got into fantasy at a young age, and her parents were not always comfortable with her passion.

"They were OK with Tolkien and Middle Earth," she said. "But the wizard focus of the Harry Potter world made them uncomfortable at the time. But things did get better."

Stanfill has played Dungeons & Dragons in addition to Harry Potter fandom, so she is not a stranger to controversies.

"I had to sneak the first Harry Potter book ('The Sorceror's Stone') past my family, as I borrowed it from a friend. I devoured it while reading it up in a deer stand," she said.

The Carter family also called Slytherin their home during Harry Potter month. They are a family full of fantasy literature enthusiasts, eagerly listing titles they have read.

"Septimus Heap, Percy Jackson, those are some others we had read," said Pam Carter, the mother.

"This kind of literature engages your imagination, unlike, say, television. Books engage you more and require you to do more of the work."

Ellie Carter, the daughter, also had her preferences, citing the Magic Treehouse.

"I also like books about dogs," she said.

Sawyer Carter, the son, said he appreciated Harry Potter's ability to endure all he went through.

"It is cool Harry Potter survived. I think he is cool," he said.

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