Saturday, January 13, 2018

Review - Pottermore presents 3-1

Original Titles: Pottermore presents
Series: -
Author: J. K. Rowling 
Published: September 6th, 2016

Publisher: Pottermore from J. K. Rowling

I should probably warn you that this will contain spoilers, but they aren’t the usual ones, because the story itself is the one told in the Harry Potter series. This collection tells us about characters we already know from it, expanding their personal stories, both before and after what we could already read. If you have read the series, then go ahead, although it’s not any fun if I tell you what there is in this small collection from Pottermore. You should go and see for yourself, because the Queen of Magic has done it again. Here, I’ll discuss a lot from what I’ve read in the three little books, so if you want the surprise, you shouldn’t keep reading. Stop right here.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Now let’s dive in.

I don’t have enough words to express my happiness and excitement when I discovered these three little books, nor to express how much I loved them. This is pure perfection. More of my hero J. K. Rowling doing what she does best, filling the few pages that form this articles with her clever lines, her unique sense of humor, a wide amount of details, and of course, the magic that only she can create. What could possibly go wrong? 

I already tried to put my love for Harry Potter 
into words, and the huge role it has in my life, in my article A Witch’s Life for Me, that I wrote in tears, and it wasn’t enough, because I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain how much I own to this story. Once again, upon meeting all these beloved characters (yes, even the villains), it’s like finding my friends, people I’ve shared a big part of my life with, and that will always have an especial place in my heart. I’ll go book by book from now, so I can tell you all about my favorite parts, that had me laughing out loud, and mostly wanting to hug each and every one of these characters, and wander the places that took me in when I most needed a refuge. There’s true magic in this world, a uniqueness that it is just captivating, and keeps growing and growing, and coming to life in new ways with each word our so beloved Joan puts down. No one builds characters as she does, so realistic and relatable in a world so different from our own. And no one made me love a fictional world as much as she did, because the feelings it created (and still creates) are the furthest thing from fiction.

Let’s go.

In Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, we get to know about Minerva McGonagall, long before we knew her as the Transfiguration teacher and head of the Gryffindor house, and also after the Second Wizarding War. The Sorting Hat had the same doubt with both her and Hermione: Ravenclaw or Gryffindor?Curious, very curious, don’t you think? But her story starts long before that. Here, we get to know about her parents, her family, her first love, her husband, her passion for Quidditch and her strong wish to see Slytherin smashed. It’s a side of her we never get to see in the books, and she’s as fascinating as every single character Joan has ever created within the Wizarding World. Also, we get to know more about our dearest Remus Lupin, and it had me almost in tears. I miss him so much, and I was delighted to have the chance to deepen into his story, his childhood and the sad start of his lycanthropy. But, more than anything, we can know the side of the story that isn’t in the books, around his relationship with Tonks and how much he loved her, even when in the series they don’t get much page time. Reading that he “was married to the woman of his dreams” just made my heart swell. They are definitely two of the people I love the most in this world, and they will forever live in my heart. 

On the other hand, we get to know a lot more about werewolves, and also about the whole process to become an Animagi, which is incredibly interesting and difficult, and I admire James, Sirius, and Peter 
even more (yes, Peter too), for the lengths they went to be there for their friend, turning his nightmare into the best moments of his life. They risked everything to make someone else’s life a little better. Those are true friends. And of course, I once again admire what a genius Rowling is, for having detailed the process step by step. Bravo!

Also, Sybill Trelawney’s backstory! We all knew she was a fraud as a seer, I always say that there’s no need to be a seer to know Neville would break a teacup, like she told him in Gryffindor’s first Divination class. But still, she, as all the other characters, has more depth and complexity than it is let on in the novels, and I truly cracked up as I read about her. I couldn’t stop laughing! But, as I could have helped it! After all, she didn’t get married because “she refused to adopt the surname ‘Higglebottom’”, and one of her hobbies is “practising making doom-laden prophecies in front of the mirror”. I just couldn’t, I couldn’t. J. K. Rowling is a genius. Oh, and Sybill was a Ravenclaw in school, I never thought about that. 

And finally, there’s a small section dedicated to Silvanus Kettleburn, professor of Care of Magical Creatures, before Hagrid, a true passionate about the subject, who also appears briefly in Dumbledore’s notes, in Tales of Beedle the Bard. You should read them if you haven’t yet!

My favorite line from this book? “After all, you don’t have to be a sword-wielding Gryffindor to be a hero; sometimes, all it takes is having your heart in the right place”.

*wiping a tear away*

In Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists once again I was surprised of how many layers and details lay hidden in this world, and it’s amazing to get to know them. I will never get tired of the Wizarding World, and here we get a deep look into its politics, the successive Ministers of Magic, and both the creation of Azkaban and its fate after the Second Wizarding War, when Dementors stopped being the guards (thanks to the great Kingsley Shacklebot) and were replaced by Aurors. It was both funny and surprising to find known names among the list of Ministers, that may or may not be related to other characters we know from the novels, like Diggory, Parkinson, Rowle and Lestrange (*gasp*).

Getting to know Dolores Umbridge was interesting, but I hate her so much, that I’m glad she paid for what she did in the end. She was always ashamed about her muggle part of the family, and hated and denied she was a half-blood, she even lied about her family to convince everyone she was a pure blood (like she does in Deathly Hallows). Oh, my, Rowling’s genius subtleties! I was not surprised to know she used to be a Slytherin, but her wand, being made of a birch tree, among all the other types of wood in the world? I just couldn’t, I absolutely love Rowling! No one does this better. Obviously, I was not surprised at all that her status says “unmarried” (her true love was power), right next to her hobbies including “adding flounces to fabric and frills to stationary objects” and “inventing instruments of torture” in the same sentence. I mean… *laughing so hard I may fall from my chair*

As for Slughorn, he was never a favorite of mine, and it surprised me that such a good-natured man could be a Slytherin. Though not all of them are evil, I think that arrogance was key in sorting him into that House. He always boasted about being in contact with the best of the best, of discovering the talents of those who later became successful Quidditch players, or teachers, or Ministers of Magic. He’s one of the characters I’m less interested in, but even so, the best part of his story was to read his attitude during the Second Wizarding War, trying to look after his students instead of listening to the Carrows, and fighting in the Battle of Hogwarts, redeeming the Slytherin house from the unpopular fame it gained over the centuries. Poor man, he always thought Harry was an eminence in Potions… And it is funny to think that one of his names is Flaccus, because, even when I know Rowling named him after a Roman poet, in Spanish, “flaco” means “thin”, which is exactly what Slughorn isn’t (I don’t think Joan picked it because of that, but still).

The Polyjuice Potion’s creation is absolutely amazing, it is everything so well thought, that I just have to applaud Rowling. She thought about EVERYTHING, gave every component a meaning related to transformation and duality, even when they weren’t mentioned in the novel. Same with Quirrel, whose name, Quirinus, comes from the two-faced Roman god, also known as Janus. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I always wanted to know more about him, as he only appears in the first book, and there’s nothing about his past, so this comes to shed some light into his story. He was a Ravenclaw! I always imagined him to be a Slytherin, don’t know why, though I believe it has to do with his special guest living in the back of his head. *thinking* Yeah, that must be it.

As for Peeves, I believe we all wanted to know more about him, after all the chaos he caused as practically the master of disaster in Hogwarts. I remember laughing to tears as I read Filch and Peeves constantly butting heads, and especially after Fred and George Weasley asked him to make Umbridge’s life a living hell, something that, for the first time, the entire school agreed with, teachers included. It was a great insight into its origins.

As for the third book Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, it is the school’s turn to reveal some of its infinite secrets. “But if Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore says even he doesn’t know all of Hogwarts’ secrets, well, neither do we.

Hogwarts is home for me. It is the place I went where I needed a rest from the world and meet my friends, where I knew magic existed and it could make me feel like anything was possible. That feeling will never die. This world is alive, and it is like not even Rowling herself knows every secret Hogwarts keeps. As for the stories told in this book, I admit I never thought about why a train from King’s Cross, that is, a muggle transport, was chosen to take kids to school, when there’s tons of magical means to get there. But again, Rowling comes and answers every question, telling us why nor portkeys, nor apparition, nor broomsticks were useful to go to Hogwarts. She has an answer to any question we could come up with!

Oh, the Sorting Hat! I can’t even start to tell you about how many times, when I was a kid, I imagined myself with the hat on my head (and I know ALL OF YOU did it too, Potterheads). I’m a proud Ravenclaw, by the way. It is definitely one of my favorite parts of the school, and I didn’t think it could make mistakes, though it is true that people change through their lives, and perhaps they deviate from the path they were going through at eleven (like Pettigrew’s case, he should have been a Slytherin, because courage wasn’t really his thing). But I do believe that the Hat sees the potential of each student. Look at Neville! He didn’t believe himself to be a Gryffindor, and honestly, we didn’t believe how someone like him could be in that house. But that the person doesn’t know his/her own bravery yet doesn’t mean that they aren’t brave, and that’s what the Hat saw: Neville’s true courage even before he himself discovered it.

And I also have a theory around why Hermione ended up in Gryffindor instead of Ravenclaw. I mean, her brain would have been a good reason for the Hat to place her in, literally, the House of intelligence. But I think that, even for a witch with muggle parents, Hermione can be very skeptical and not very open minded. Compared to Luna Lovegood, and her crazy theories and beliefs, I believe Hermione not only is a Gryffindor because her courage is bigger than her intelligence, but because she’s not willing to learn things that can’t be found in the pages of a book and proved with cold hard facts. And in my opinion, that is essential to be a Ravenclaw. The real question is why Cho Chang was a Ravenclaw, don't you think?

The Hufflepuff common room FINALLY!!!! I always wanted to know it, even when Harry never went there. Although my favorite is Ravenclaw’s (duh), I was always curious about where the Hufflepuffs spent their spare time, and what better place than a simile badger’s set? Perfect. Just perfect. I always liked Hufflepuffs, they seem to be nice guys, and of course, I love Professor Sprout. 

As for the Marauder’s Map, I always wanted to know more about the generation that created it. Only James, Sirius, Remus and Peter, of all people, could have invented an artifact especially designed to insult Severus Snape *laughing out loud*. Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite book, although I love every single one of them. For some reason the third one stands out to me, and I love it. It’s important to say that the Marauders never meant any real harm when they created it, only mischief and rule breaking, which is something I’m sure James would be proud to see in his son. Long live Moony, Padfoot, Wormtail and Prongs! (well, Wormtail not so much).

Oh and the lake! You know, my favorite of the three tasks in the Triwizard Tournament has always been the second, around rescuing someone from the merpeople. If Hogwarts is a world in itself, the lake is another completely different, but as fantastic and fascinating as the one above the surface. 

As I said, this collection is perfect. This third book also explores the Philosopher’s Stone, the Mirror of Erised, the Chamber of Secrets, the Hogwarts portraits, the Sword of Gryffindor, and the mysterious world of time magic, inside the Department of Mysteries, and around the creation of Time-Turners. I can’t cover every detail here, so I just went for my favorite parts, which is already a lot. As you read you will keep repeating “Rowling is a genius”. Not only because of the Wizarding World, but because she is the one who sat an entire generation to read, and I’m proud to be a part of it. I could never, ever thank her enough for letting me into this world, to roam the halls of Hogwarts in the company of Harry, Ron and Hermione, my best friends (and for a long time, the only ones that I had) who took me with them in countless adventures. Through magic portals, and time, to the depths of the lake and Hogwarts itself, to the Room of Requirements and down the Whomping Willow… And they will keep being my best friends. Always.

I’ll stop here with my favorite line. 

We leave you with these small pieces of advice: tread carefully when using a Time-Turner, stop searching for the Chamber of Secrets –unless you’re a Parselmouth– and don’t linger too long before the Mirror of Erised.

You are warned, Potterheads. Tread carefully.


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