• Essay
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Okay, so we weren’t there as the Weasley children grew up, all seven of them in that wonderful magical house. But I think we can make some fairly shrewd guesses as to what it was like. After all, one thing is certainly true, and that’s the fact that siblings compete for their… Read More
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Often there is a fine line between arrogance and confidence, stubbornness and being willful. Snape, for one, accuses Harry of strutting around Hogwart, arrogant like his father. For the most part, I don’t believe Harry is arrogant at all. Arrogance is defined as follows: giving one’s self an undue degree of importance; having or showing feelings of… Read More
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We saw in Half-Blood Prince that Hepzibah Smith was distantly related to Helga Hufflepuff and that Hufflepuff’s gold cup was in her possession. We also saw that Salazar Slytherin’s line ends with T.M. Riddle/Lord Voldemort through the Gaunt family, which was in possession of Slytherin’s gold locket and a Slytherin family heirloom, the Peverell ring. But we haven’t been given direct information identifying the family… Read More
• Page Books one and two were both published in Britain before book one came out in the US. British fans got an eighteen month head start on American fans.  When book three came out, the US edition came out “only” two months after the UK edition.  This was the last time that… Read More
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After walking—or rather riding—up the staircase to the Headmaster’s office, one knocks on the door, enters, and is greeted not only by the face of the Headmaster, or Headmistress, but by soft snores coming from the wall. We are first introduced to the Headmaster’s office, and the decorations it contains, in Chamber of Secrets (CS12). Here,… Read More
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There is much we don’t know about wizarding education. How do younger wizards and witches get educated in basic skills like reading and writing? We see very little of this in the books, although obviously the kids entering Hogwarts have been trained in some of these basic skills or they wouldn’t be… Read More
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The way that witches and wizards think about everything, including spells, is completely different from the way we Muggles think about it. When we consider the mechanics of, say, aiming a spell at something, we ask “Muggle” questions like “Do you have to have line of sight?” that they would… Read More
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Let us take a look at the mysterious, amazing Marauder’s Map. But first, let’s look at the castle. If you research castles on the Internet, you will see that Hogwarts is a castle of unprecedented (mammoth, huge, gigantic) size. You might find some castles that have towers that are 7 commercial stories high,… Read More
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Contents The State of Play at Hogwarts Hogwarts Quidditch Results by Season Table of Gryffindor Players Notes Related Lexicon pages: “We haven’t won since Charlie left…” by Steve Vander Ark The Age of the Weasleys, by Troels Forchhammer Hogwarts House Quidditch Teams The Quidditch… Read More
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In a way, it’s true that there is no single central plot in Prisoner of Azkaban, because one candidate (Quidditch) lacks gravitas and another (Sirius v. Harry) proves to be an illusion. But in terms of what plotline drives the book, I would say it’s the latter. We “know” from very… Read More
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I read with interest the essay “Magic, Genes, and Pure Blood,” by glamourousgeek, being myself involved in research into the complex inheritance of magic, but I must take exception to the science expressed within it.[*] Even if the magic trait is inherited through Mendelian genetics (which does not quite… Read More
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The newly released Black family tree, now revealed in its full glory, is the topic of considerable discussion and is a source of considerable information on the relatedness of the various pure-blood  wizard lines. Many familiar names show up on that tree, including Weasley (blasted off, of course). Sirius Black comments in Order of the Phoenix, “Molly and I are… Read More
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Within the Harry Potter stories are many scenes that can be analyzed astronomically. As both an astronomer and a teacher, these interest me, and so I will present such analysis here. My goal is not to criticize Rowling when she is inaccurate in her astronomy (or, for that matter, to praise her when she… Read More
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Some American fans have raised the issue of being confused about the British education system. I am a Brit who is exactly the same age as JKR (a mere 5 weeks older) so I can explain, step by step, British schooling as we both knew it in the 1970s. Obviously… Read More
• Timelines and calendars Life at Hogwarts revolves around classes, naturally. However, as the castle is also the students’ home for most of the year, daily life consists of far more than just academics. The students arrive at Hogwarts on September 1 by Hogwarts Express. For the next nine or ten months they eat, sleep,… Read More
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Most authors expend substantial effort on description, describing scenes, events or characters so that readers will be able to visualise them. The best descriptions often offer no more than hints, keywords, a trained butler’s unobtrusive opening of a particular door. The reader goes through that door himself or herself. Rowling,… Read More
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Introduction One of the most intriguing ideas in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is that Professor Dumbledore set up events so that Harry would try and stop the theft of the Philosopher’s Stone by Voldemort. Many events in Harry’s first year seem to indicate this: his dealings with Hagrid, being given his father’s Invisibility Cloak (twice), his discovery of the Mirror of Erised, and his detention in… Read More
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A theory as to the nature and functioning of Divination as a magical art…  Divination is almost always misunderstood as “predicting the future”. Yes, it certainly is meant to do that, but successful Divination does not predict the raw future. Divination really predicts a future based on events that are currently happening outside of the wizard’s or witch’s… Read More
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I am an astrologer, and I observed the types of astrology Trelawney and Firenze teach (and presumably practice) are two different types. Trelawney’s astrology is natal or genethiliacal astrology. It consists of personal birthcharts and what will happen when Mars and Saturn make an angle. As Parvati said, it has to do with individuals and their… Read More
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Two Modest Predictions Dumbledore vivens . . . And Now Another: Dumbledore the Fraud Snape the Accessory The Unbreakable Vow Unbroken . . . Snapeque bonamicus The “Buddy” Plot Understanding Snape Harry the Adult The Proud and the Prejudiced Modest Conclusions Severe Spoiler Warning: This essay presumes that its readers have… Read More
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(by Nik the Hermit, our “man in the street”) J. K. Rowling has stated many times that memories and “echoes” from her own childhood became part of the Harry Potter Books. Two well-known examples are: The use of the surname of her two friends from her early childhood, Ian and… Read More
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Socks are closely related to a major, if not the major, theme in Harry Potter, namely Things Are Not What They Seem. The sock is a humble, even comical, garment, necessary but often unattractive and the archetypal boring Christmas present. J K Rowling, while getting full comedy value out of all this,… Read More