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Becoming Neville Longbottom: A True Gryffindor

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“But you are a pureblood, aren’t you, my brave boy?… You show spirit and bravery, and you come of noble stock. You will make a very valuable Death Eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom.” “I’ll join you when hell freezes over,” said Neville. “Dumbledore’s Army!” … Harry pulled the Invisibility Cloak from inside his robes, swung it over himself, and sprang to his feet, as Neville moved too. In one swift, fluid motion, Neville broke free of the Body-Bind Curse upon him; the flaming hat fell off of him and he drew from its depths something silver, with a glittering, rubied handle— DHs In SS/PS when Neville tries to stop Hermione, Harry, and Ron from sneaking out, Hermione hits him with the full Body-Bind curse. For this he earns his very first points because, as Dumbledore says, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” Dumbledore declares Neville brave even when everyone else thinks he’s clumsy, talentless, and cowardly. At the end of CoS Harry is struggling with whether he should have been placed in Slytherin. Dumbledore assures him that only a true Gryffindor ... Read More »

In Defense of Ravenclaw

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by Nolan Lately, I have had to endure multiple verbal attacks on the honor of my house.  To provide myself with support to combat these detractors, I visited sites on the internet to ally myself with ideas from other Ravenclaws.  What I found, however, did not buttress my arguments, but rather fulfilled the insults I had to endure.  It was clear that members of my own house did not understand our motto and purpose, and continued to perpetuate the stereotypes that non-members began.  So I would like to describe what a true Ravenclaw should be, and how the Ravenclaw mentality affects the entire wizarding and muggle community. First of all, I must give a run-down of the basic trait of each house.  Gryffindor house is known for their bravery, Hufflepuffs are loyal, Ravenclaws are smart, and Slytherins crave power.  Each house carries its own stigma or exaggeration.  Hufflepuffs are useless (because that house takes in anyone who does not fit in anywhere), Gryffindors are reckless, Slytherins are evil, and Ravenclaws are arrogant, socially awkward, and just plain boring.  While I could defend each house, for they all need it, I will stick to my own house for this essay. J.K. ... Read More »

Becoming Harry Potter: Facing Your Draco

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“You see, I, unlike you, have been made a prefect, which means that I, unlike you, have the power to hand out punishments.” [Draco] “Yeah,” said Harry, “but you, unlike me, are a git.” –OotP Harry and Draco’s dislike of one another from the beginning is anything but subtle. Draco is everything Harry despises—selfish, judgmental, snobbish, cruel, disloyal, and cowardly. Harry is everything Draco wants but can’t admit—famous, talented, adored. The two spend years rivaling one another. Draco is vicious to Harry and his friends. And Harry snaps back on occasion. Yet, in the end, Harry saves Draco’s life. Why? Because of what makes him Harry and not Draco. Harry is love where Draco is hate. That love gives him the ability to be kind even to his enemies. To risk his life to save the very ones who tried to kill him. When we face our Dracos the most important thing is that we don’t become Dracos ourselves. The means are more important than the end, because the means define who we are. If Harry had let Draco die, or killed him, he wouldn’t be the boy of such strong character we adore. He would have, like Barty Crouch, ... Read More »

The Suspects of Cuckoo’s Calling

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by hpboy13 One of the most impressive things about Rowling’s books is how cleverly she leaves clues throughout the text, which we then find on rereads and just think to ourselves, “Damn, she’s brilliant!”  You know the ones: Hermione knocking over Quirrell, Snape accusing Harry of stealing Polyjuice ingredients in Year 4, etc.  I love catching these things on rereads. But some of the things we sometimes forget to appreciate on our umpteenth reading is how carefully Jo lays red herrings and fake trails.  This struck me on a recent rereading of Goblet of Fire: how Jo pointed the finger of blame at Crouch Sr., Karkaroff, and Bagman.  Goblet of Fire has a striking resemblance to Cuckoo’s Calling – it’s a whodunit.  The “crime” is putting Harry’s name into the Goblet of Fire, and we spend the book trying to figure out who did and why. The first time I read GoF, I was nine years old, and powered through the book, so I don’t really remember any theories I may have had.  But I am now in my twenties and considerably more well-read, so my mind was whirring as I read Cuckoo’s Calling.  I’d like to share my observations.  ... Read More »

Becoming Ginny Weasley: Brave, Strong, Beautiful

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Brave “The thing about growing up with Fred and George is that you sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” –OotP Strong “Yeah, size is no guarantee of power,” said George. “Look at Ginny.” “What d’ you mean?” said Harry. “You’ve never been on the receiving end of one of her Bat-Bogey Hexes, have you?” –OotP Beautiful “A lot of boys like her,” said Pansy, watching Malfoy out of the corner of her eyes for a reaction. “Even you think she’s good-looking, don’t you, Blaise, and we all know how hard you are to please!” –HBP Why did Harry fall for Ginny? He never noticed her (romantically) until sixth year. She was beautiful long before that. What got his attention was who she was on the inside. The strong, brave girl who could hold her own with Fred and George. The girl who, like Harry’s mother, was unafraid to face Voldemort and possibly die to save others. The girl who did not hold Harry back from his destiny even though it meant she may never be with him again… And he [Harry] knew that at that moment, they understood each other perfectly, and when he told ... Read More »

Becoming Ron Weasley: Loyal Sidekick

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When we first meet Ron Weasley he is alone in a train car. The youngest of six boys. Tucked away. Forgotten about. But then, Harry Potter asks if he can sit with him. From that moment on, everything changes. He is the best mate of the most famous wizard around. This will be both his greatest blessing and his greatest struggle. In year one, Ron looks into the Mirror of Erised and he sees himself as Head Boy and Gryffindor captain clutching the Quidditch cup. His whole life he’s been overshadowed by his brothers and now by both of his closest friends. All he wants is a bit of glory. Then, in the forest, hiding from snatchers, with a piece of Voldemort’s soul next to his, he breaks and he abandons Harry and Hermione. But he comes back… “He must have known I’d want to leave you.” “No, he must have known you would always want to come back.” –DHs What is great about Ron is that he is loyal through and through and he’s not afraid to admit when he’s messed up. Both in Goblet and Hallows, Ron has had to ask Harry for forgiveness for abandoning him. Both ... Read More »

Review: The Silkworm

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The Silkworm is Jo’s follow-up to The Cuckoo’s Calling, and while it’s a solid book, it’s not quite as good as its predecessor. This is my review of the second Cormoran Strike novel; I shall strive to keep it spoiler-free, but if you want to avoid even vague hints, click away now. Read More »

Becoming Harry Potter: Gathering Your Trio

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“Anyone sitting there?” he [Ron] asked, pointing at the seat opposite Harry. “Everywhere else is full.” –SS/PS “But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.” –SS/PS Friendships may begin by accident but they are fueled on purpose. Ron and Harry happened to sit in the same car on their first trip to Hogwarts. Harry could have just as easily wound up in Draco’s car. Does that mean they would have been friends? Only if Harry chose to be Draco’s friend, which he is given the opportunity to and refuses. Why? Because he sees the character of Draco and, owing much to his own character, chooses Ron. Together Harry and Ron chose Hermione. Not for her wits or intellect, but because she stood by them in the fight with the troll and took the fall when it wasn’t her fault. Circumstances brought the trio together, their choices kept them together. Neither Harry, Ron, nor Hermione were without their faults but they each found in the others something worth investing in. Harry’s selflessness. Hermione’s unwavering bravery. ... Read More »

Becoming Hermione Granger: Brave and Intelligent

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“Are you sure that’s a real spell?… Well, it’s not very good is it? I’ve tried a few simple spells just for practice and it’s all worked for me. Nobody in my family’s magic at all, it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter, but I was ever so pleased, of course, I mean, it’s the very best school of witchcraft there is, I’ve heard—I’ve learned all our course books by heart, of course, I just hope it will be enough—I’m Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you?” –SS/PS That’s our Hermione. Determined, brilliant, and overbearing. But underneath all of that is unwavering bravery. “…I hope I’m in Gryffindor, it sounds by far the best…” –SS/PS Hermione admits years later that the Sorting Hat thought of putting her in Ravenclaw, but her mind had been set before she stepped onto the Hogwarts Express. She was going to be a Gryffindor—Brave and intelligent. Hermione Granger can beat out any Ravenclaw in a test of wits (she’s the top of their class) and she is one of the bravest Gryffindors in history. She sent her family to safety in DHs and stayed by Harry’s side until the very ... Read More »

Becoming Harry Potter: Escaping the Dursleys

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“The wizards represent all that the true ‘muggle’ most fears: They are plainly outcasts and comfortable with being so. Nothing is more unnerving to the truly conventional than the unashamed misfit!” –J.K. Rowling The Dursleys are true muggles. They detest uniqueness. Abhor imagination. And care so much about what everyone else thinks of them that they can’t see who they truly are. In order to become Harry or Hermione or Ron or Neville or, especially so, Luna we cannot be true muggles. We have to be unashamed misfits. Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Our friendships shape our character. For Harry to become a wizard, he had to leave behind the true muggles and go to Hogwarts. He had to go some place to feed the misfit inside. He didn’t cut off the Dursley’s completely, though he probably would have if he could, but he spent the majority of his time with friends who fed into the person he wanted to be. The same is true of Hermione. She loved her parents, but they were dentists. To be a witch she had to go where the witches were. Ron ... Read More »

When Are You Going to Outgrow Harry Potter?

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by Amy Luder When I was younger, Harry was my best friend. We were conveniently the same age at the same time, so we effectively grew up together. Harry was my solace and my confidant. I knew that no matter how bad my day had been, I could always rely on Harry and his friends to cheer me up. We had many similarities (with the exception that a Dark Lord didn’t try and kill me every year), I really felt like I could relate to Harry in ways I couldn’t relate to my ‘real life’ friends. I naturally decorated my bedroom and school books in dedication to the Harry Potter series and attentively followed the fandom sites so that I could have my daily dose of Potter. I attended midnight showings and queued to get the books the minute that they were released. I ensured that I read the new books within a day so that I couldn’t stumble upon any spoilers. The Deathly Hallows was released when I was sixteen. I felt as if part of me had died and I went through a mourning process. It was then that I started being told I would outgrow Harry Potter, ... Read More »

Becoming Harry Potter: Identifying Your Scar

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Our scars show us where we have been but they also lead us to where we can go. “Don’t you want to know the secret of your scar?” Lucius asked Harry in the Department of Ministries, the answer perched temptingly in Harry’s hand. The reason for the lightning bolt that had become part of his identity not only because of how it was caused but also because of the person it produced. Harry was given a scar by a great act of evil, but he was also given a scar by a great act of love. Without the combined force of Voldemort’s killing curse and Lily’s sacrificial love Harry would not have a lightning bolt scar. The question in the beginning of Harry’s story, the one presented throughout the books was which of these powers Harry was going to choose to posses in the greatest quantity. He chose love. Harry’s lightning bolt scar is a symbol of great love. Great love of a mother for her son and great love of that son for his friends. Harry’s scar showed where he had been and gave him the opportunity to grow into who he became. But, and this is very important, ... Read More »

Editorials Serial Feature: “Becoming Harry Potter”

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In this new Editorial series, MuggleNet will help you grow to be the character that you admire so. From Harry, to Ron or Hermione, Ginny, or Neville. Check back every Friday for the next installment! Share your thoughts using #MyPolyjuicePotion on Twitter & Facebook. Read More »

May Quibbler Contest Winner: Mrs. Arabella Doreen Figg

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This editorial is the winning entry for the Forgotten Characters contest.  by Hannah Wegg I have always been very fond of Mrs. Figg, even before her true identity was revealed. I always got the impression that there was something mischievous about her. Just the notion of Harry having to visit this “…mad old lady” (Philosopher’s Stone, ch.2, p.22, 1997 paperback UK edition) every year and endure a whole day of looking at cat photos and eating moldy chocolate cake – I imagined J K Rowling chuckling to herself as she wrote it. The descriptions of Mrs. Figg are not very detailed, she is not portrayed as an important character and we don’t know very much about her, but I would like to explore that and to see if, actually, she may have been more crucial to the story then we would at first believe. Mrs. Figg is first mentioned in chapter two of Philosopher’s Stone. It is Dudley’s eleventh birthday and the Dursleys are looking to get rid of Harry for the day so they can go out and have a nice time without him. We are told that, usually, Harry would be sent to Mrs. Figg’s, but this year ... Read More »

Should ‘Fantastic Beasts’ be directed by Alfonso Cuarón? We battle it out here!

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A heated debate as to whether or not Alfonso Cuarón should be the one chosen to direct 'Fantastic Beasts' can be found right here in the MuggleNet Editorials. Share with us your opinion on the subject in our comment section below the article. Read More »

The Five Crucial Problems of Harry Potter

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by Spenser Milo Originally posted as an article on Based on Nothing Ah yes, the wizarding world of the Harry Potter franchise. The books, the games, the fanfiction! All of these hve their place in pop culture, particularly in the last ten years. Back in 1997, when author J.K. Rowling wrote the first book, she wrote “there won’t be a child in our world who doesn’t know his name,” and now, well, who doesn’t know at least a little about Harry Potter? Thanks to the immense popularity and brilliancy of her writing, the books became movies and then more people were exposed to Rowling’s novels as both the film franchise and books were being released. It’s just too bad the movies aren’t very good. Now hold on, hear me out here! If the movies were indeed any good as a whole, wouldn’t they be able to stand on their own? The fact that most of the films require a friend sitting next to you who has read all the books to fill you in on just who the hell some of these characters are and why certain characters are acting the way they are doesn’t equate to a good film. Instead, it ... Read More »

The Battle of the Women: A Critical Look at the Molly/Bellatrix Duel

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By: Sophie_atHogwarts Let me begin by stating what is bound to become the obvious to everyone reading this entire essay: I do not like the Molly/Bellatrix duel and probably never will. Why? The main reason is because it clearly illustrates a more old fashioned side of the Harry Potter books. Let me also start with a disclaimer: I sincerely believe Rowling created many strong female characters which defy stereotypes. This cannot be emphasized enough. The HP books are full of positive messages and themes and the characters created are vivid and complex. In this case though, Rowling reduces both characters involved to old fashioned tropes and reinforces stereotypes. How do I believe she is doing that? Is she doing that? Now that the unpleasantness is out of the way and my own subjectivity out in the open it is possible to begin an analysis of this duel and the reactions it has received. It seems as though the duel has polarized the fandom and everyone has an opinion about it. You either like it or you don’t, you were either cheering when reading it or going “WTF, where’s Neville?” The fandom is spilt into fans loving the scene, skeptics which ... Read More »

The Two-Way Mirror #16: Heirs and Inheritances

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By Daniela Grab your seats for the question of the century: “What did Harry find out in Chamber that foreshadows something he will learn in Prince?” Yes, I know, there isn’t exactly a lot left to chew on here, considering that hordes of reader Piranhas have already torn to shreds whatever meager clues there were… From what I have seen, I think most major predictions for HBP based on CoS have already been made by other readers. My aim with this editorial is not to shock you with the novelty of my prophecies. Rather, I want to share with you a discovery of a different nature: just how beautiful Rowling’s writing is. As I think you may have noticed in my previous editorials, I am fascinated by the numerous parallels that Rowling builds in her books. Since these endless parallels appear to me to be something of a stylistic device dear to Harry’s author, I have decided to consciously adopt them as a method for reading and understanding and maybe predicting what happens in Potterverse. I will call it the “mirror method,” and I will use it in various ways. I am sure all of us use this method to ... Read More »

The Pure-Blood Little King

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by Pete Happens Every person that has searched for the half-blood prince’s identity has had their own specific way of searching. Personally, I thought that looking for “royalty” or “nobility” references would be the best bet at finding a clue. I started my pursuit as I reread the first five books, and what I came upon was shocking. The most blatant clue stood out at me in the fifth book. Not only did it figuratively stand out, it literally did. It was in bold, it was large, and it was a chapter title: “The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.” JKR does not just give any old phrase the honor of being a chapter title, so this must be important. However, this was not the only mention of nobility in the chapter. If one graces there eyes on pg. 116 (of the American edition) they will find that Sirius destroyed a silver “spider” with a book entitled Nature’s Nobility, A Wizard Genealogy. Plus, for the icing on the cake, the actual word “royal” is used with Sirius saying, “My parents, with their pureblood mania, convinced that to be a Black made you practically royal.” Other, non-word references continue to appear that the Black family ... Read More »

The Battle for the Soul

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by Lady Alchymia Good and evil are very well traveled subjects in art and literature and there are many different literary models which Jo Rowling might have chosen for her heroes and villains, but most western allegories can be traced back directly or indirectly to the early Christian poet, Prudentius (c. 400 AD). Prudentius was enormously influential for one very simple reason — he gave the people exactly what they wanted. Before Prudentius came along, Christian dogma was a tad fuzzy when trying to explain what people should and shouldn’t do in order to keep their soul free from evil. This would never do! Prudentius rearranged and relabeled a few existing ideas and created a very popular set of seven virtues that could used to cure seven corresponding vices. The idea was elegantly simple -– and even better, everyone could understand it! Liberality (largesse) cures Greed Chastity (chivalry) cures Lust Kindness (mercy) cures Envy Abstinence cures Gluttony Humility cures Pride Diligence cures Sloth Patience cures Wrath If only he’d stopped there… Unfortunately for us, Prudentius was a truly woeful poet. His tediously long epic poem is right up there with Vogon poetry in my humble opinion. But Prudentius’ ideas were ... Read More »