The most surprising thing about a recent sneak preview of Universal Studios’ new Wizarding World light show, Nighttime Lights, was not the astonishingly non-pyrotechnic glory of Hogwarts Castle awash in imagery from the four houses of Hogwarts Academy of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Last year’s opening-night festivities had ended with something similar (albeit to the accompaniment of John Williams, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and fireworks), and, at the time, it seemed unthinkable that some version of it would not become a permanent, or at least seasonal attraction. Magic is no longer the exclusive property of that other park, after all.
What was surprising was the crowd’s reaction, particularly when the colors and icons for Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff shot across the walls and ramparts.
For too long the female-founded houses have played second fiddle to the battle between the lion and the snake. But no more. Cheers and applause for the raven and the badger rose at near Gryffindor levels (obviously, no one cheered for Slytherin) from groups of visitors.
Playing several times each day after the summer sun goes down, Nighttime Lights, which officially debuts Friday night, is not an exact replica of the opening-night ceremonies. There are no fireworks, or L.A. Phil, but Williams’ score is omnipresent, immersing the crowd in strings as the Sorting Hat explains the possibilities and reminds visitors that “there is nothing I can’t see.”
Including, apparently, the long-awaited rise of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff.