The Burrow: My Perfect Job: I’ll discover a cure for what ails you

An original editorial by Jill D.

Lately, I have become quite fascinated with all things Harry Potter. I read and re-read all the books, looking for the latest clues, and trying to figure out the entire plot of Half-Blood Prince before it comes out July 16th. I also am quite addicted to the editorials on MuggleNet, particularly the North Tower. I enjoy picking apart the HP series with a fine-tooth comb, looking for all the tiny clues and hints of allegory. Alas, I have forgotten something extremely important about this fascinating series and its wonderful author, JKR. That is, I forgot about it until this month’s topic for The Burrow came up. I forgot it was all supposed to be fun. I was in danger of over-analyzing every minute detail that came along and forgetting that JKR may have written some of them not as clues, but as mere entertainment. Nevermind the fact that it wouldn’t necessarily fit with the Potterverse canon. I actually broke away from my analytical mindset and allowed myself some moments of creativity.

I must confess that I didn’t completely break away from the technical side of things. I am a professional scientist. I spend my workday in a lab, wearing a lab coat and using chemicals to conduct experiments. I have a sneaking suspicion that although the Sorting Hat repeatedly puts me in Ravenclaw, Potions would still be my favorite subject, in spite of Professor Snape. So I got to thinking: couldn’t I be a professional Potions Maker/Research Scientist? Surely there are wizards that have to conduct scientific research. Professor Lupin mentioned that the development of the Wolfsbane Potion was relatively new. A potion that complex must have been developed by somebody who set out to solve the particular problem of Werewolf violence. What other potions have been discovered in recent years? The Mandrake Draught, perhaps? I also assume that would be a difficult potion to brew. So, a Wizard Scientist would simply have to find an ailment that plagues the general Magical Population and then try to solve that problem.

I am assuming, of course, that these potions are so complex that the average wizard is not going to stumble upon the brew by accident. Not that great scientific discoveries haven’t been happened upon in that manner, but I think that the majority of the complex potions have been created intentionally. After I realized that I could have a wonderful job researching wizarding plagues, I narrowed my focus to the even more complex question: what, exactly, would I try to solve?

I began mentally thumbing through the books, trying to figure out what problem intrigued me the most and which of those could be helped by a potion. I decided I would set out to fix the problem of accidental human transfiguration into animals, much like Hermione’s mishap with the Polyjuice Potion. I chose this because a potion mishap caused the ailment, and I figured it could be solved by a draught of some sort. It also took awhile for Madame Pomfrey to fix Hermione, so there’s obviously not a very good cure out there. The other reason I decided to research this particular problem is the great potential for this ailment to become very debilitating. In Order of the Phoenix, when the kids all troupe up to the hospital wing in St. Mungo’s to visit Gilderoy Lockhart, there is a woman in there who seems to be more dog than human. Judging by the fact that this ward is for the “permanently” disabled, there’s probably not a very good cure out there for this woman’s particular ailment either. Maybe she had a potions accident like Hermione, but maybe not. However, I still believe that I would be able to concoct a potion that could help that poor woman out.

So there it is, my magical job in the Wizarding World. I would be a fantastic research scientist who would discover new potions to cure ailments. First off, I would cure the awful animal/human mishaps, and then I would move on to other things. I could invent potions like Pepperup, but instead of curing the common cold, I could cure stomach flu. The possibilities are endless. I can’t wait to get into that lab!

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