This term is coming along quickly - hope you're all keeping up. Next week HPSoc will be participating in the termly inter-geeky-society Geek Quiz, naturally hosted online this time around. Do join us in coming along, and perhaps even go so far as to bring along a round! In the meantime, enjoy the hilarity (and questionable mouse-drawing...) of my personal selection of rounds from our virtual picture telephone using Broken Picture Phone during casual games in Week 3.
The end of Third Week (or rather start of Fourth Week) already in these strange times. Yet term still goes on, albeit in a more digital format: lectures, tutes and, of course, HPSoc. This week we managed to pull off Casual Games, but using online multiplayer versions of our usual games, including Picture Telephone and Pictionary (in place of charades), along with quizzes on Kahoot - not without technical difficulties of course. Nonetheless, I for one stretched more muscles laughing than from actual exercise this Thursday... No doubt I'll be posting some of the gems from Picture Telephone in the coming weeks. This week, however, in lieu of other submissions (and do feel free to send them in to me at my society email...), I have spend a little while this Sunday writing a short and very random little Harry Potter fanfic... Brownie points to anyone who can guess which book I randomly picked out my prompts from!
Needless to say, we are still running our events this term as best we can, so keep an eye out in your emails & our Facebook page!
A group of Fourth years had congregated at the Great Hall. Stood on top of the Slytherin table was none other than Maggie Switcher, who had transferred to Hogwarts at the beginning of second year. She was a right troublemaker, no doubt about that. It was of course unusual for Hogwarts to receive students from other countries, as the Sorting Hat had quite gleefully commented as Switcher took her place on the stool. That is to say her troublemaking was probably a side-effect of this; might as well give people more outrageous reasons to talk about you behind your back. This, therefore, was simply yet another of her wild ploys to get herself memorialised as “that girl who….”, rather than “that American girl”.
Her mother had been head of the Salem Witches’ Institute for years, not that that brought any sway at all in Hogwarts, which was frankly about as far removed from (or rather opposed to) American magical institutions as any organisation in the world. Nonetheless, spending so much time as a young child with a bunch of middle-aged witches that largely ignored her had resulted in one very bored child who spent a lot of time messing around with the various potion ingredients left scattered around the meeting hall by the lazier members of the coven. Therefore, though there would not have been much point in trying to get her way by name-dropping Salem, there was plenty point in threatening her teachers and fellow students with her wild card potions. One student who had dared make fun of the way she pronounced Wingardium Leviosa, for example, made the second grave mistake of not watching his drink at the main table. Unfortunately, it was a little troublesome for him to remember not to commit either error again, since his mind had been wiped. In fact, the poor boy struggled to remember his own name for several weeks…
Students at the back of the crowd stood on tiptoes as they attempted to glimpse just what Switch was doing with the table. Infuriatingly, those lucky students at the front of the crowd were sniggering periodically, resulting in an almost rhythmic swaying of the crowd as those at the back fruitless tried to push forward.
For those at the front of the audience, it was quite the sight. Where normally student could expect to find the wooden table filled with sumptuous food and assorted dining implements - or simply plain wood – today there was a miniature forest of a thoroughly unnatural and eerie green hue. The only one at that particular moment who truly knew what exactly it was supposed to be was of course Switcher herself, not only because she had planned it, but also because she was at the best angle to see her work.
It had taken her longer than she would like to admit to gather the right ingredients and brew them in just the right quantities to create the potion. Sneaking into the Forbidden Forest – where else? - to gather the cuttings for the forest itself had been a challenge too. But today, each component had come together just so and, having already placed the cuttings in the right places on the table, she had finally been able to reveal her masterpiece to her peers.
Switcher dripped a few last droplets of the adapted Regerminating potion and grinned fiercely. She had truly outdone herself this time. The students closest to her were leaning in, still sniggering occasionally (one claiming they could see a tiny centaur in amongst the tiny trees), though none were quite brave enough to risk touching it given her reputation. Impatient now, Switcher almost ordered them to come up onto the table with her. A few people gasped slightly, and some at the back of the crowd lost their nerve and snuck off out of the hall. It was one thing to watch mischief being done; quite another to actually participate in the mischievousness. One foolhardy soul, however, could not quite resist the temptation, and reached up a hand to the mastermind, who duly helped them up. Once there, they whooped and clapped Switcher on the back. More curious than ever, and naturally emboldened by the relative anonymity of not being the only one, more students climbed up to see what it was.
From above, it became suddenly obvious what it was. Naturally, of course, it was the Slytherin house crest. A perfect choice, since it would make removing it not only a hassle, but almost sacrilegious. How could the Head of Slytherin not let this slide when it was such a brazen show of House Pride?
It might technically be week 2 already, but nonetheless, welcome back all. What a strange time we live in; history in the making of the calibre of any of the great wizarding wars I should think. Except in this case, the magic we have at our disposal to combat our great enemy does not come from the end of a wand, but from the tip of a pipette, and the bottom of our hearts. I hope you are all as well as you can be in these times, and managing to adjust to the oddment of this term away from Oxford. We will, of course, still stay connected thanks to the other technological magics at our disposal, so do keep an eye on your owl post (email inbox) and Facebook for updates on what we'll be getting up to this term.
I don't have any fanfics for you this week, but the following are copies of a select few examples of Picture Telephone we played last term during casual games night. Apologies in advance for picture quality etc. Hopefully they can bring at least a shadow of the laughter we shared that night...
But before getting to that, let me leave you with a rather apt quote from the one and only Albus B.W.P. Dumbledore:
“WE ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS WE ARE UNITED, AS WEAK AS WE ARE DIVIDED.”
It may not be a Friday, but nonetheless there is another surprisingly plausibly in-universe fanfic from Lucas. Do make sure you read to the end though, or you'll miss the best part (imho). Enjoy, give it a like if... well, if you liked it, and don't forget that you, too, can send me your fanfics or critiques or theses related to Harry Potter! One week to go (for most of us)...
The Department of Magical Justice - By Lucas
Once upon a time, when Hermione Granger was at the Head of the Department of Magical Justice, she decided the magical world needed a public hearing on wand ownership. Any magical creature deprived of their right to own a wand could just turn up and ask for one. They should explain to the magical community what the ownership of a wand would change in their lives, and give evidence that they would use their wands reasonably if they owned one, and not organise any kind of revolt against the magical world.
Hermione would have expected house elves – or goblins – to come. Quite surprisingly, none of these creatures felt the need to apply for wand ownership. Instead, she had the surprise to see two magical creatures that she recognised at once. The first one was a Hogwarts ghost to whom she had never spoken: the Fat Friar, from Hufflepuff. The other one was Buckbeak, the Hippogriff Sirius Black rode to escape the Dementors when she was in third year at Hogwarts. She couldn't help smiling, but her personal assistant reminded her that she had to be neutral.
The Fat Friar spoke first. His argument seemed quite convincing: he had owned a wand, very long ago, and had never made anything wrong with it – no Unforgivable Curse, and even no unforgivable sin, since he had once been a monk. His wand had been very helpful of course – it had even provided him with a job. He had learned – and then taught – how to use it.
When asked how he would use his wand if he could not touch it, provided that he were given the right to own and use it, the Fat Friar seemed quite awkward. He tried to make up an answer, but it wasn't convincing. When asked to clarify his statement, the ghost ended up coughing that the Ministry should consider the question in detail, and ask the best wizards from the Department of Mysteries to work on the invention of a ghost-holdable wand.
Hermione thanked the Fat Friar for his courage, and told him the Ministry would consider his query further and let him know when they would have a decision.
Then, there was the Hippogriff. The first problem was to find an interpreter. There had been huge progress in the understanding of magical creature languages these last few years, but the most eminent linguist still had trouble understanding the meaning of the strange sounds made by Hippogriffs.
The Ministry ended up finding a scholar that claimed he might understand the general meaning of a Hippogriff's speech, without being able to translate the subtleties, providing that Hippogriffs were capable of many subtleties.
When the Hippogriff had spoken for quite a long time, the scholar give his translation: Buckbeak wanted a wand because he needed to defend himself against wizards. Indeed, wizards had taken the habit of riding Hippogriffs as if they were horses. Since Hogwarts' Care of Magical Creatures teacher Hagrid taught everyone that anyone who bowed in front of a Hippogriff could freely ride it, this Buckbeak Hippogriff's life had become a nightmare, and he decided he needed a wand to defend his dignity.
The Ministry felt quite awkward. Of course, they could not accept this query: it was a clear case of rebellion against wizard supremacy and a breach of magical peace. When they were discussing how they could reject his query politely, something very surprising happened. It seemed that the Hippogriff did actually understand what they were saying, and was getting all the angrier since the wizards were calling him "this barmy Hippogriff".
He shouted several times, but the people of the Ministry continued to be rude – and Buckbeak got very, very angry. Hermione tried to warn her colleagues, but it was too late. He took a bunch of Fanged Frisbees that were under his wings and began attacking people with them.
It took roughly two hours to calm down Buckbeak and it required the help of half the Aurors that were present at the Ministry. Of course, neither the Fat Friar nor Buckbeak were allowed to own a wand – and never was Hermione allowed to organise such a hearing anymore. Wand ownership remained a wizard privilege, and Hermione focused her political action on house elves.
Friday is here again, and with it another fanfic... This one is from a very interesting point of view, and could very easily fit in as an extra chapter in the main series. I hope this wholesome tale makes you smile as I did upon reading it. I wonder how early you'll be able to recognise the fanfic-staple characters within... Thank you to Jamie for writing and submitting this one to me!
It was the night before Christmas and all through the castle, no one was stirring, not even a mouse. The cats, however, were wide awake.
Although Crookshanks was of a rather more exotic lineage than most domestic cats, containing bits of Kneazle, Lynx and surprisingly West Highland terrier in his pedigree, his feline instincts saw him slinking down the stairs of the Gryffindor girls' dormitory to prowl the corridor of second year Hogwarts.
He soon picked up the scent he had been tracking for some time, that of Ron's pet rat Scabbers. The rodent was licking his whiskers halfway down a corridor in front of a grim stone gargoyle. Crookshanks crept closer, eyes glinting in the torchlight, until the rat suddenly squeaked, spotting the crouching cat.
But before Crookshanks could pounce and finally devour the tantalising meat the gargoyle jerked aside, exposing a descending moving cascade of stairs.
The cat slunked into the shadows as a swirl of blue robes and pointy black shoes strode out of the opening and down the corridor. In the confusion the cat had lost sight of his prey! He hissed, frustrated. Maybe he went up that staircase? The high stairs were no problem to the ginormous cat, and he soon reached the large round room located at the top. The room itself was in darkness, but that cat's eyes easily scanned the books, odd clinking machines and dozing portraits.
The strong burnt smell from the stick in the corner told Crookshanks it was a phoenix nest and he gave it a wide berth. No sign of the rat, but a shimmering light from a dark cupboard drew his attention.
It was a shallow pool of water, which shone as if under moonlight. Now this may have been an intelligent cat, but he was still a cat, and he was very thirsty after all that exertion under hot fur. So despite the weird shiny stuff, despite the strange cold tingly feeling on his whiskers, he lent forward and stretched out his tongue.
Panic! He was falling! But once again his natural cat instincts kicked in and his tail and limbs twisted in a complicated manoeuvre that put any human gymnast to shame and he landed elegantly on his four feet.
He was in another torchlit Hogwarts corridor. If he had been human, he would have noticed the light was uniformly greyscale, but as it happens cats can only see in black and white so he was unalarmed.
In front of him were the same black leather pointy shoes and long flowing robes that had strode past have earlier. The cat's arrogance at the man's interruption of his hunt was displaced by his desire for a familiar scent in these trying circumstances, so he mustered his best attention-grabbing "purrr..." and tried to rub against his legs. But alas, those familiar legs were as insubstantial as smoke!
The man had been peering through an almost shut door, but suddenly threw it open and strode inside, Crookshanks anxiously following in his wake.
In front of him was a bizarre sight, a schoolboy with scrawny build, glasses and tight curly brown hair. Sitting on the edge of a table, laughing as a huge white stag pranced on his left, antlers scraping the ceiling and on his right gigantic black dog sat on its hind legs sniffing the air.
And in the middle – there was that blasted rat!!
At the sight of the huge dog Crookshanks hissed, fur standing on end with claws at the ready, although the boy was almost as alarming. Somehow, although obviously human, he gave off a strong canine musk.
"Having a party are we?" said the man suddenly, clearing his throat.
The boy started, jumping to his feet, his face pale, "uh... uh Professor, we were just... I... I mean."
The animals gave snorts and barks of alarm, and then they all twisted, flesh ripping – the stag and dog imploded becoming tall and thin, the rat exploded into a crouched, shaking figure.
Now there were four boys in the room. Their eight eyes stared anxiously at the headmaster, who started to chuckle.
Before Crookshanks could rest, a familiar pair of hands grabbed his middle and lifted him up. A brief whirling motion and then he was being placed gently down on a carpet in front of a crackling fire.
The man in the blue robes and shoes was back and gently stroking his ginger fur. If Crookshanks felt any confusion about his strange day it could wait as he curled up on the wizard's feet, in front of the warm coals and went to sleep.
I know, I know, it's not actually Friday today, but better late than not at all. Today, I have an actual fanfic for you all (cue excited gasps?) following our Fanfiction Night in Third Week. This one is a very sharp and witty one from Adam, which I hope will remind you all that 5th week at Oxford is less horrendous than a bad week at Hogwarts nine times out of ten. Enjoy!
Hermione Granger and the Philosopher's Stone
"Wow, I never expected us to get along so well," Hermione said, "given that I'm rather more archetypally precocious and you're more... um... well, not that."
"Huh," Dudley grunted, nearly falling asleep. He still didn't understand who this girl was.
"Yes, precisely," Hermione replied.
"Where are we?" Dudley asked.
"For the seventh time, Dudley, we're in Professor Snape's dungeon," Hermione snapped, already frustrated at Dudley again.
"Who?" Dudley asked.
"Okay I'm just going to stop replying to these questions because you immediately forget the answers."
"Where are we?"
Hermione and Dudley were trying to escape with the Philosopher's Stone, which Snape had stolen after he sextuple-crossed the Order of the Phoenix and started working for Voldemort again. Hermione had worked out that Snape had enchanted the Mirror of Erised to give the Stone to someone who did not understand what it was for – not exactly an original idea of Snape's, but it meant she had to bring an idiot along for the ride, and the nearest idiot she could find was Dudley. They had bumped into each other at Kings' Cross Station when Harry was going home for the summer. Hermione, as she did every year, always snuck back into Hogwarts illegally to read all the books in the library. This time, she also had a secret mission from Dumbledore, whose crazy plan about getting Snape to sextuple-cross him on purpose made no sense.
"Quick, Dudley, we need to leave before Snape gets back," Hermione said.
Dudley snapped back awake. "What's a Snape?"
"Come on Dudley, put your shoes on." Hermione fetched Dudley's shoes for him – he had inexplicably taken them off and thrown them across the room when they entered.
"I'm sleepy," Dudley moaned, as Hermione forced the shoes onto his feet.
"Let's just stand up, and then..."
"What is happening here?" Snape was suddenly standing in the doorway.
"Where are we?" Dudley asked. "Are you my daddy?"
"Who is this?" Snape demanded.
"Dudley Dursley, Professor," Hermione replied.
"Fifty points from whatever house he's in, and five-thousand points from Gryffindor," Snape snarled.
"It's not even term-time, Professor," Hermione protested.
"Alright, enough banter," Snape said and with a wave of his wand he knocked Dudley and Hermione unconscious.
Hermione woke up in a cauldron, tied to Dudley. Dudley was also awake, but on the verge of falling asleep again.
The cauldron was resting on a pile of burning logs and the pair were slowly heating up.
"Come on Dudley, we need to escape!" Hermione said, having come to her senses.
"Who are you?" Dudley asked.
"For God's sake, come on..."
Unfortunately, Snape had tied them tightly and left them with no way to escape – he wasn't an idiot, after all. Hermione tried her hardest to do wandless magic, but nothing worked. They simmered for hours and then died. Then Snape took the Philosopher's Stone and Voldemort lived forever. The End.
This Thursday was the happy co-incidence of our AGM, and the second Triwizard task. Firstly, we held our AGM, which as usual also involved our elections. there was some position shuffling, including Freddie (of "Freddie, no" fame) as president and welcoming Julia into our ranks as publicity officer. We also gave a fond farewell to our hardworking social sec, Chinvati, who will be stepping down.
We then moved onto the main event, splitting up into three teams to decorate cupcakes and mix cocktails (and mocktails). Our judges - Adam and Chinvati - gave each team's offerings a score out of 50, but all the entries were spectacular (give or take some dubious-tasting cocktails), so it must have been a difficult to score them. In the end, though, it was Team Fleur who won out.
Team Who Must Not Be Named: Third Place (35/50)
The Jocks: Second Place (38/50)
Team Fleur: First Place (41/50)
Hello my dear Quibbler readers! It's been an age since the last post, but I hope you all had a lovely holiday season - welcome to a new decade - and are happy to be back among friends in the magic of Oxford! Hope you're all stretching your decorating fingers in preparation for the Second Triwizard Tournament Task next Thursday...
In any case, after the long hiatus, feast your eyes upon this magnificent fanart by the talented "Lame Scamander" - can you name them all? What's your favourite?
This week your humble Quibbler editor ran an event (helped significantly by the other committee members of course) and Witch Crafts take #1 was (imo) a success! We made a variety of beautiful (if mostly a tad small because I foolishly didn't double-check how big the chopsticks would be) wands, pipe cleaner Bowtruckles, various posters, chocolate frog boxes and more. There was even a dramatic Bowtruckle saga featuring Darth Bark v.s. the Chosen One, which I hope to post in its full glory next week (the main cast and the three-bean MacGuffin can be seen below though). As it stands, though, enjoy having a browse through some of this week's brilliant creations (and there is a little story in the mix there too - it is Fanfic Friday, after all).
Meet Gwendolyn and her son Trevor:
Today they have a photo shoot for a chocolate frog commercial.
At first, Gwendolyn supports Trevor from the sidelines.
She wants Trevor to do his best.
She gets all in his face because he isn't concentrating.
Trevor is not having fun.
Sixth week already, and finally I have another fanfic to post on a Friday! (Submissions from members very welcome... It can be a poem, an essay, a story - anything Harry Potter related really!) This one's by an anonymous author, starring Harry, Seamus, and some convenient Polyjuice Potion. Enjoy!
“Thank you so much for coming, mate,” Harry greeted Seamus who had just managed to climb through the window into Harry’s room.
“No worries man, as soon as I had stopped laughing about the fact that you turned your cousin into an actual pig, I came right away.”
Harry tried to look guilty but couldn’t avoid a little grin. “What would you have done if your cousin had eaten all the cakes your friends had sent you for your birthday?!”
Seamus started laughing again. “Brilliant, simply brilliant! I probably would have done something similar, although I might have accidentally blown him up in the process. Now, what do you want me to do?”
Instead of replying, Harry slowly raised a glass with a muddy, oddly blubbering substance in it.
“Polyjuice potion?! You want me to turn into your cousin?” Seamus exclaimed incredulously.
“Listen, I really don’t have a choice. Any other night I’d probably get away with it by making up some story about him staying at one of his friends, but tonight his Aunt Marge is coming over so he will need to be there. If you think I am lucky that the Ministry only told me off for using a spell, that will be of no difference if the Dursleys find out about this because they would probably let me starve to death in the attic before I could get to an official hearing.
“So, until I have figured out how to turn him human again, I will need you to take over and behave like Dudley.” Harry looked at Seamus desperately.
“Alright, guess I’ll do it, but don’t you think they’ll notice? I have no idea what your cousin is like!”
Harry gave a sarcastic life, “Oh, don’t you worry. Stare at the TV, only interact with them if you ask for more food and, most importantly, laugh if they insult me. My cousin’s basically got the emotional range of a teaspoon, so don’t you worry about your impersonation.”
Seamus nodded, looking not entirely convinced. He then held his breath, grasped the glass and drank the entire potion in one big gulp.
The doorbell rang. Immediately, a dog started barking menacingly outside the door.
“Aunt Marge has arrived,” Petunia screamed in her shrill voice and hurried towards the door, almost colliding with Dudley, who was slowly walking towards the kitchen. “I am sorry, Duddy boy, I didn’t see you there!”
Dudley let out a grunt and kept, somewhat awkwardly, moving down the hallway.
“Why don’t you go into the living room already?” Petunia said looking after him.
“Yes… right,” Dudley replied and stopped, slowly turning towards the stairs where Harry stood, gesturing towards a door to his left. Dudley nodded and went through.
In the living room, on the couch, sat the biggest muggle Seamus had ever seen. He was so big, in fact, he looked like Hagrid, in a suit, without the messy hair but with a lot more neck.
“Son, been over at some friend of yours for tea like I used to in my old days? Whatta boy!” he said with his booming voice, got up, and patted Dudley on the shoulder with his massive hands.
Dudley stumbled and laughed awkwardly. “Yeah, Mr D– Dad, I meant Dad!”
Vernon narrowed his eyes; he had obviously never heard his son speak that fast. At that very moment, an enormous dog sped into the room and started barking at Dudley. Before he could react, a woman as big as Vernon entered the room.
“Ripper!” she screamed, “silence!”
Seamus almost sighed out of relief, that dog one-third just as aggressive as Fluffy had almost blown his cover. Although he was to display emotions of the range of a teaspoon only, Seamus felt more than that. Pity for Harry, who had to endure this for years, disgust of their behaviour and fear that he wouldn’t be able to deal with this for one entire evening.
Suddenly, Marge had spotted him and before he realised what was happening, Seamus Finnigan received a smooch by Dudley’s Aunt Marge. Considering using an Obliviate charm on himself later, he sat down and avoided any response by turning to the TV. Apparently, as Harry had said, that was considered perfectly normal and none of the Dursleys paid attention to him when they sat down.
Dahria Kuyser is the current editor of The Quibbler. While she is unfortunately a Muggle, she takes great pride in the fact that she has no idea quite how many times she’s read the Harry Potter series, and in the fact that her trivia on the Wizarding World is far more extensive than that of the Muggle one. When she isn’t too busy practicing wand movements, she can be contacted through the Webmaster.
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