Zacharias Smith (Not Your Usual Hufflepuff)


by Madam Pintsize We first meet Zacharias Smith in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. He joins the DA, despite the fact that he seems reluctant to do so. It always struck me as odd that he would be a Hufflepuff as he differed so much from Ernie, Hannah, Susan, Justin, and Cedric — the only other Hufflepuffs we have any character information on. Let us look at the qualities that Helga Hufflepuff’s House contains, according to the Sorting Hat: “Where they are just and loyal, Those patient Hufflepuffs are true And unafraid of toil…” [SS, pg. 118]“For Hufflepuff, hard workers were Most worthy of admission…” [GOF US, pg. 177] I don’t know, he just never fit my idea of a Hufflepuff and it seems as if the Sorting Hat would agree with me. Compare him to the other Hufflepuffs we have met throughout the series and you’ll see how he stands out. However, I was re-reading HBP for the fourth or fifth time when I got to the chapter about Voldemort visiting the “very old, very rich witch,” [HBP US, pg. 433] Hepzibah Smith. Now, I don’t want to blow this out of proportion (remember Mark Evans?) but it is ... Read More »

The Burrow: Songs of the Sorting Hat, Week 1

The Sorting Hat

Original songs by various songwriters So you’ve returned despite the danger, All the warnings that you’ve heard. Ah! Some new faces! Such a pity To jeopardize more afterward. You can’t be blamed, though Giving up now will only bring evil sooner… near. But if you’ll listen, there’s a lesson In the song that you’ll soon hear. Yes, hearts are heavy, some still shaken From this loss we all still pine. But still he’ll help you through his memories, And not just those within our minds. Com,e sit now, children, as I speak here. Justice is well overdue. Before he gathers all seven pieces You must destroy… You-know-who! by: Debra A thousand years ago, at least Students ate at the first Hogwarts feast. ‘Twas merriment that filled the air All were happy, and without care. But what is good will always end; Three of the founders lost a friend. Thus began eternal war With the fourth founder at it’s core. The one who birthed you should matter not But tempers ran so strong and hot Slurs were flung; they broke many hearts, Tore united Hogwarts apart. Tranquility seemed far away But yet it came – it found a way. The school ... Read More »

Gleam in His Eye


by Apple Face During my post-HBP re-read of the whole series, I came to the infamous ‘gleam of triumph’ in Dumbledore’s eye at the news that Lord Voldemort had used a trickle of Harry’s blood to create his new body, and I was struck by a sudden idea: what if this blood transfusion (of sorts :)) fulfilled a part of the Prophecy? Let me explain. The Prophecy This is where the story starts, with Trelawney’s first prophecy. Its exact wording goes thus: “The One with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies…. and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives… The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…” OotP p741 (UK hardback) As we all know, Voldemort heard part of this prophecy from Mr. Greaseball (no I won’t get over it :)) and, one Halloween night, set out to Godric’s Hollow to fulfill the terms of ... Read More »

Madam Puddifoot’s: Professor Trelawney’s Secret Crush


by Daniela Teo I wrote this editorial pre-HBP, but post-HBP the conclusions remain the same. Professor Trelawney’s crush is still just as doomed, especially now that the man of her dreams has gotten together with someone else. The behavior of this special someone in HBP even towards someone that he likes remains consistent with his behavior towards Sibyll, although I think he was avoiding Sibyll with even more determination. Another character I discussed in this editorial, Lavender Brown, revealed in Half-Blood Prince the same inclinations I had supposed she possessed as early as Prisoner of Azkaban, and that are consistent with the style of the pendant she gave to Ron, “My Sweetheart.” Unfortunately, Lavender also showed in HBP the same lack of insight as in PoA. Enough introduction – on with the story. Was it obvious to anyone out there like it was for me that Sibyll had a little crush in PoA? Upon detecting the signs of the crush and hunting down the clues of what may have happened behind the curtains, I had a joyous time putting together this little piece of omitted story. Why was it left out? I don’t know, but I’d really like to ask Rowling: did Trelawney ... Read More »

The Magic Quill #65: Hiking, Birdwatching, and Wandmaking, Part One


by Robbie Fischer, concepts contributed by: Ace Gray and Angelbot After a long, long ride in the ore carts – mostly downhill – the prisoners were stood on their feet again. The bonds on their hands were cut, and a heavy door slammed behind them. Merlin pulled the sack off his head and groaned. Five other voices added their groans to his in the darkness, lit only by Rigel’s cloak of visibility. They were back at the entrance of the Pit. “Look on the bright side,” said Rigel, with an attempt at cheerfulness belied by the catch in his voice. “At least they didn’t take our things this time. And they left us all together, too. The Durmstrang lads could be a help, sometimes.” “They could also slow us down,” Merlin said under his breath. He didn’t dare complain aloud, since it was his idea to “rescue” them. “Let’s find that chamber with the seven tunnels, and keep trying different ones,” Rigel suggested brightly. “I think those clowns will escape before we do,” Merlin grumbled, as the group began moving forward. “And all they have to do is keep drinking wine until they find a genie.” “Ach, but ze headaches ... Read More »

A Rebuttal of Common Arguments Defending the Enslavement of House-Elves


by Kelly L.  I’ve read several essays defending the enslavement of house-elves, and find them all to be ill-conceived at best (and disturbing at worst). The arguments most typically used are: (1) “But they like serving people,” and (2) “They’re not humans, you know.” Overall, I find it highly disconcerting that so many of my peers actively argue for (or at least passively accept) slavery in any form, even within a fictional story. I don’t think there are any justifications for such a practice than can withstand the test of decency. Moreover, I cannot see how any author would embed the lesson that slavery is acceptable into a tale of the eternal struggle of good versus evil. Fortunately, none of the arguments that defend house-elf slavery hold water when examined closely. I’ll address argument (2) first. Foremost, it is important to point out that this exact argument was used to justify the slavery of human beings for centuries. For example, because black people do not look like white people, they are clearly (in the minds of bigots) not equal. Indeed, some argued that those of African races were more closely related to the ape than those of European races; they ... Read More »

The Watch!


by Lenora Just before we’re distracted by the effects of love potions and poisons, Ron unwraps a watch decorated with stars and planets. Could it be the same watch Dumbledore checked in the very beginning of PS/SS? He took a golden watch from his pocket and examined it. It was a very odd watch. It had twelve hands but no numbers; instead, little planets were moving around the edge. We’re told in HBP the gift was from his parents, but, given the dropped box of chocolate cauldrons, he clearly wasn’’t paying that much attention. If DD was planning his death, perhaps he wanted to pass on this important piece of equipment before he went. It would be like him to send it without any information besides “use it well.” The watch may function as a miniature version of the heavens, so he can time his moves precisely – the same heavens the centaurs watch so carefully. Consider these SS/PS quotes from the centaurs: “Remember, Firenze, we are sworn not to set ourselves against the heavens. Have we not read what is to come in the movements of the planets?”and later, “Good luck, Harry Potter,” said Firenze. “The planets have been ... Read More »

Magical Education in Great Britain


by Diana Johnston The Declining State of Magical Education in Great Britain Okay, I’’ve got to admit it- I’’m a “school junkie.” I love school! (Pathetic, yes, I know.) I’’ve always enjoyed taking tough subjects and exploring new ideas, and even though I’’ve just graduated from college, I’’m already looking for more subjects to take through online classes. If you start a conversation with me, I’’ll almost always manage to start some sort of heated debate over various philosophical ideas. With this in mind, it was only natural that when I got hooked on Harry Potter, my main interest was the organization of Hogwarts and the content of the magical education that these children were receiving (I really don’’t care about who’’s dating whom!). However, I was quickly disappointed in what I read about Hogwarts, and somewhat alarmed as well, over the poor quality of magical education available. Let’’s consider the coursework available to Hogwarts’ students. All first and second-years take the same courses: Potions History of Magic Transfiguration Charms Defense Against the Dark Arts Herbology Astronomy Third-years and above have the ability to enroll in additional classes, including: Arithmancy Divination Ancient Runes Care of Magical Creatures Muggle Studies Now, ... Read More »

Draco Malfoy, a Werewolf?


by Harry Seeker Is it just me, or does Draco Malfoy exhibit the symptoms of a werewolf? Throughout Half-Blood Prince, we are treated to a barrage of hints and clues about our Slytherin friend, both in his behavior and appearance. We know that he missed a Quidditch match against Gryffindor, a deadly rival. Draco’s disappearance is odd in light of the fact that he never would miss a chance to outperform his nemesis, Harry Potter. We also find out from Hermione that he did not hand in his Transfiguration homework for two days in a row. Why would Draco do this? He is relatively a good student and is gifted enough to enter McGonagall’s N.E.W.T. level class. What is going on here? On page 321, Harry’s observation of Draco is interesting (emphasis mine). Harry stared at Malfoy. It was not the sucking-up that intrigued him; he had watched Malfoy do that to Snape for a long time. It was the fact that Malfoy did, after all, look a little ill. This was the first time he had seen Malfoy close up for ages; he now saw that Malfoy had dark shadows under his eyes and a distinctly grayish tinge to his skin. Compare this ... Read More »

A Message from Beyond the Grave


by Maya I almost hate to do this. It’s not that I didn’t love Dumbledore. I am devoted to him through and through. It’s not that I want people to give up on making theories about what happened to Dumbledore and how that will affect the rest of the story. In fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing a wider variety of ideas. It can be fun to think of this stuff! When reading through “Dumbledore is alive” theories, I was surprised I wasn’t running across ideas along the lines of “there’s a secret passageway under the white tomb” or “Dumbledore bewitched Molly’s knitting needles so Harry’s next Christmas sweater will have a secret message woven in.” I’m writing this because I think most of the current theories of Dumbledore being alive are something worse than farfetched or overly optimistic– they’re not very well argued. You can consider this a debunking or constructive criticism. Either way, I’ll make a deal with you. Hang in here with me through all my counter-arguments to the idea that Dumbledore faked his death. (It’s not the shortest read, but it seemed safer to be thorough considering how good the “Dumbledore is alive” folks are at finding ... Read More »

Spinner’s End: Jo’s Woman Through and Through


The recent release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has made me contemplate what a truly inspirational woman JK Rowling is. I am not a small child nor even a teenage fan. I am five years older than Jo herself, and I am at a point in my own life when I am seeking the example of women to admire and aspire to – women who exemplify the kind of woman I wish to be. One person who often springs to mind when these thoughts begin to churn is JK Rowling. I believe it was shortly before the premiere of the first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, when I first saw an interview with JK Rowling. I do not, now, remember what the television program was, but I still clearly remember how I felt after seeing it. I felt alive. I felt connected to my own desire to write. I felt inspired by the possibilities. And I felt that it was high time I read Harry Potter. Everyone who has dipped even a little toe into the Potterverse knows JK Rowling’s story: divorced, unemployed, single mother, struggling to keep hearth and home for her baby daughter and herself… until one day ... Read More »

The Underground Lake Season Two SNEAK PEEK!

Gringotts Cart Ride - Diagon Alley

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the lake… Well folks, I have returned! Sort of, anyway. First, I would apologize for my severe disregard of all things Underground Lake, except that I am not sorry. I am not sorry because I am currently very deep in my probing re-read of Book Six. My hiatus, folks, has been for your benefit. SO, what I thought I would do since you all have been so good and so patient is give you a nice taste of what I have lined up for this season. I also plan to take care of all old business here so that when the season premiere of Underground Lake Season Two comes, we can delve straight into it. First, unfortunately, I have a list of grievances. Grievances I have only one grievance in my hiatus. And, oddly enough, it happened last night. I’d like to share a quick anecdote. As many of you know, school is starting all over the country. Many of my best friends have finally caught up with me and are starting college. Every year at this time, I do something that I usually don’t do. As most of ... Read More »

The Two-Way Mirror #23: Harry and Nagini: Voldemort’s Living Horcruxes?


By Daniela Before the Half-Blood Prince came out, I wrote an editorial about the steps Voldemort took towards immortality in the editorial Does Dumbledore Know Why Voldemort Didn’t Die? The evidence that I used as I developed the editorial was Dumbledore’s interest in Harry’s point of view when he possessed Nagini in the Department of Mysteries, and Dumbledore’s subsequent interaction with the silver instrument and his mysterious question “But in essence divided?” I found Dumbledore’s enigmatic answers and questions suggestive of the fact that Voldemort must have a divided soul. Interestingly, after reading HBP, I realize that the argument I used to suggest that Voldemort might have a divided soul can also be used to show that Harry is a Horcrux. I will quote certain parts from my previous editorial that I find useful. The first part deals with the question of possession: I think there may be something that we are taking for granted, and for that reason we don’t see what Dumbledore sees. Just like Harry, we don’t know much about the magic world. Once we found out there were all these spells possible in the Potter universe, we started believing that just about anything is possible if ... Read More »

The North Tower: A New Light on the Prophecy

Hall of Prophecy

by Maline Hi everyone. Sorry about the cliff-hanger at the end of my last piece. What can I say, I felt a bit evil. Today’s article is going to take a closer look on the Trelawney prophecy, or, more precisely, on the circumstances surrounding that prophecy and what they tell us. First thing to note: What Dumbledore told Harry in OotP and HBP doesn’t tally with what else we discover in HBP. At all. In OotP, we are told that the eavesdropper heard only the first part of the prophecy before being discovered and thrown from the building. In HBP, in the Weasleys’’ broom shed, Dumbledore tells Harry that they are the only two people who know the full terms of the Prophecy. Dumbledore’’s memory in the Pensieve clearly shows Trelawney delivering the entire prophecy in one go. JKR has stated that unless tampered with (e.g. what Slughorn did), a memory seen in the Pensieve is an objective account of what happened, not the person with the memory’’s own take on events. We know from PoA that when Trelawney delivers a true prophecy, she goes into a trance-like state and doesn’’t remember any of it afterwards. On the other hand… In HBP, Trelawney tells ... Read More »

The Burrow: For Neither Can Live While the Other Survives

Hall of Prophecy

An original editorial by RedSparks “For neither can live while the other survives.” For the last two years, we have all been contemplating the meaning of the prophecy. In the wake of the Half-Blood Prince, we have so many new questions to ponder that the prophecy hardly seems exciting. Already, speculation runs rampant in editorials and the forums: Is Snape really evil? Did Dumbledore plan to die, sacrificing himself so that Snape and Malfoy could live? Can Malfoy be redeemed? Will Harry go back to Hogwarts? Will there even be a Hogwarts to go back to? Who is R.A.B., and did he successfully destroy the locket? Or was it Regulus Black, and the locket is somewhere in Grimmauld Place or stolen by Mundungus? And what are the remaining Horcruxes? This last question is where I think people might go astray in their thinking. As we see in the Pensieve, Slughorn tells Tom Riddle that Horcruxes are very dark magic – so dark that they are a forbidden topic at Hogwarts. Slughorn indicates that, in order to create a Horcrux, the wizard hides a part of the soul in an object outside the body. Then, if the body is destroyed, the ... Read More »

Miserabilis Praefero


by DemenTom I switched to the Order of the Phoenix layout on MuggleNet the other day, and not only did my screen change from “green and purple on black” to “blue on black” (which was the effect I was going for), but I found myself feeling a sudden pang of sadness and nostalgia. That’s right – sadness and nostalgia. You see, I remember when Book Five of the Harry Potter series came out. It is my favorite of the series so far, but only because it is the longest. I just love these books – and I, frankly, don’t want them to end. And therein lies the problem. You see, with the recent release of Half-Blood Prince, the end is now truly in sight. All that remains is the last volume in the series, Book Seven. Only once more will we be able to open a brand-new and (hopefully) not-yet spoiled Harry Potter book and read it for the first time. After this next book, the only “mysteries” left in the HP universe will be quibbles and details. The tale itself will be complete. Strangely coupled with this weird sort of presentiment of grief and loss is a tremendous feeling of anticipation. I, along with hundreds of millions of ... Read More »

The Color of a Soul: Is Harry Potter a Better Person Than Draco Malfoy?


by C.R. Windsor Everyone knows Draco Malfoy as the obnoxious twerp whom Harry Potter loves to hate. Malfoy is sleazy, arrogant, conniving, foul-mouthed and vicious… but is Harry really a better person than Malfoy? It could be argued that, based on Harry’s tendency to break rules, or on his personal feelings toward Malfoy as a peer, he may rank even lower on the scale of humanitarianism than does Malfoy. (Harry, after only a very short time, is led to actually hate Malfoy; and it certainly cannot be said that either is more or less inclined to follow or break rules.) However, if one focuses solely on the manners in which Harry and Malfoy each treat the people around them, and how others, in turn, treat them, that person will likely find Harry is the more sociologically advanced individual. Based on what Harry and Malfoy value as ‘Codes of Acceptance,’ the reader can perceive more about their personalities. While having good people skills certainly does not make one a heroic character, when accompanied by his or her thoughts, actions, and emotions, as Harry Potter’s are provided to the readers, they can speak volumes about the color of a person’s soul. To ... Read More »

The Absence of Fawkes: Why I Believe Dumbledore Chose to Die, or ‘Choice Over Fate’


by AMS We must honor the dearly-departed headmaster in the greatest means we can: though it may not seem so, Dumbledore did NOT succumb to fate; he defiantly chose to die. Nuthin’ like puttin’ it righ’ out there, eh? Before you write me off as a quack, let me explain. I was reading HBP like everyone else: drop-jawed from 12:01, 16 July to midnight, 17 July [almost literally – I kept to my baby-rearing duties]. At the end of it, I was poring over the scene at the end, when of course Dumbledore dies by that scum-git Snape’s spell. No, I thought. He HAS to come back. Snape was just playing…. He didn’t come back. Snape wasn’t playing. Of course, I had it all explained away: Snape was innocent, this was all according to plan, etc. I was going through the stages of grief, and denial was rampant in my mind. But as much as I denied it, Dumbledore was still dead at the end of HBP. Then how can I say that Dumbledore chose to die? What caused my mind’s eye to consider this possibility was a very conspicuous absence: Fawkes. Every time we read of him leading up to The Death, Fawkes was sad, somber: ... Read More »

Fantastic Beasts and Where They’’ll Pop Up


by Jen Cunningham As we all know, J.K. Rowling just loves to drive us Potter-heads crazy with a combination of slightly subtle and obscenely obvious clues. To propel us further into insanity, she released two books who’s proceeds go to a charitable cause (Comic Relief) shortly after the publication of the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (GoF). These books, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, by Newt Scamander, and Quidditch Through the Ages, by Kennilworthy Whisp, were created to resemble actual literature from the wizarding world and their purpose is to let Muggles like us have a little more insight into the wonderful fantasy world created by Rowling. In particular, Beasts hold the most interesting information regarding the wizarding world. Upon first reading it, Potter-heads immediately recognize several creatures that Rowling had already mentioned in her first four books, including unicorns, werewolves, red caps, dragons, flobberworms, hippogriffs and many more. Some recognized the descriptions of creatures to match previously unnamed beasts from the books; for instance, close examination reveals that Aragog and his motley crew of gargantuan ravenous arachnids are actually Acromantulas, a species that originates from Borneo. A statement in the book reads, “Rumors that a colony of Acromantula has ... Read More »

A Departure From the Expected


by TDR From our very first Hogwarts feast, the most intriguing character in the Potterverse has been Severus Snape. Draco Malfoy gave him a slight run for his money in Half-Blood Prince and set us to speculating whether he will turn to the Order for protection as Dumbledore offered or become fully entrenched in the ranks of the Death Eaters. But ever since Harry received the glare and the scar-pang (actually from Quirrelmort, of course) inSorcerer’s Stone, we have mistrusted Snape… and not without cause. As each book passes, we learn another little snippet of information about him: the back-story is revealed slowly and each new part seems to throw another, more contrasting, light on Snape. The debate over whether or not Snape is really good or evil is the second-most hotly debated subject since the publication of HBP- eclipsed only by the mysterious R.A.B. I’m sure I am not alone in saying that the most shocking part of Book Six was not the death of Dumbledore – JKR herself said, in her interview with Emerson and Melissa, “…the hero must go on alone… it’s a question of when and how” – but rather the fact that Snape did it. We’ve been handed evidence ... Read More »