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A Celebration of Harry Potter teases new Hogwarts castle light show, mobile game at Universal Orlando

There's nothing inside your head the Sorting Hat can't see, the magical floppy wizard hat narrates during the new nighttime light show on Hogwarts castle.

The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle got a special preview this weekend at Universal Orlando's Celebration of Harry Potter, held annually since 2014. Like the light show that debuted during the holiday season, the Nighttime Lights use projection mapping and special effects to wrap the towering medieval school in lights and colors set to original music and scores from the Harry Potter films.

While the holiday show featured notable moments from the films' Christmas and Yule Ball scenes, the Nighttime Lights celebrates the four houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry — Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin.

A fluorescent green snake coils itself around the turrets of Hogwarts; a black and white badger digs itself out of the castle's base while yellow lights stream around it; the towers light up in an icy blue with swirling effects that move like eagle wings; and bright yellow and red lights swirl like flames while lions paw and roar around the bottom.

The new show is short, sweet and powerful. While the castle pulsated with light and color, the Sorting Hat extols each house's virtues and the surrounding trees flicker along to the music. The show ends with bursts of fireworks while the castle is covering in sparkling lights, making Hogwarts look like it's covering glitter.

Chelsea Tatham | Times

It's a worthy addition to Universal's lineup of shows and gives Harry Potter fans a reason to stick around Hogsmeade just a little bit longer at the end of the day.

It's best enjoyed with a sweet cup of butterbeer.

The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle officially starts Wednesday night. The remaining shows are scheduled to run Wednesday through Monday, and Feb. 7-12.

Step into your own Hogwarts story

This weekend, Celebration of Harry Potter attendees also got to experience a demo of the new mobile game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.

The role-playing game coming to phones and tablets this spring aims to give players their own unique Hogwarts story. Fans will get a letter invite to the famous wizarding school, get sorted into a house of their choice, attend classes like Charms and Potions, learn spells, make friends, go on magical adventures and battle rivals.

The game's timeline traces Harry's lifetime, but it puts players in the 1980s right after Lord Voldemort was first defeated by a baby Harry. Players won't be interacting with Harry, Ron and Hermione, but with characters like Nymphadora Tonks and Bill Weasley.

Hogwarts Mystery has a crisp, colorful style and lets players customize their avatar to their own detailed likeness. It's the first title from Portkey Games, the label launched by Warner Bros to create magical games based on J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. The next title will be Harry Potter: Wizards Unite in partnership with Niantic, which created the global phenomenon Pokemon Go.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is set to debut in the spring and will be available through the Apple App Store, Google Play and the Amazon Appstore.

Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] Follow @chelseatatham.

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