fiction

Harry Potter Mystery: How Could Almost Every Sixth-Year in “The Half-Blood Prince” Turn 17 by April, When the Cutoff Wasn’t for Several Months?

Everyone who is familiar with “Harry Potter” knows that a young wizard or witch can start Hogwarts when he or she is 11 and is expected to attend 7 years there. That means that by the time a student reaches his or her 6th year, he or she will turn 17 either during the school year or summer.

However, when Harry is a 6th year in “The Half-Blood Prince”, many of his classmates turn 17 by April, and only a few remain 16 by then. Sounds crazy, huh? Only Harry, Ernie, and Draco (as well as Neville, who wasn’t in that scene for some reason), remain under 17 by April, and therefore, have to stay behind while the others in their year can take their apparition tests.

I remember how shocked I’d felt when I’d read that scene, at age 13. Even then, that felt very odd and unbelievable to me. I recall thinking, That’s supposed to mean every other student’s birthdays are close together? No other 6th-years who aren’t 17? That can’t be. I’d also come up with my own theory where maybe there were students with birthdays between April and August in Harry’s year, but were all expelled during the previous years.

But it was not until recent times when I discovered that Harry’s year is quite small. A lot of fans guess that fewer babies were born in the magical world during the late 70’s and early 80’s, when Harry’s peers entered the world, because of the dark times and first wizarding war. Maybe it became worse by the spring. I don’t know.

Another thing that I learned recently is that the cutoff for Hogwarts is August 31st, not September 1st. People on Quora said that if a child turns 11 on September 1st, he or she has to wait another year before he or she can start Hogwarts. Crazy, right? It would make more sense if a child who turns 11 on September 1st could start Hogwarts that day. I mean, that does technically count as being 11. If it’s your birthday, you are your next age. For example, if you turn 18 on Election Day in the US, you can vote. It’s if you turn 18 after when you have to wait.

However, in the UK, cutoffs in August are typical and standard. If there are schools in Britain that start in August, then a cutoff of August 31st makes sense. But for those that start after that, a cutoff no later than the first day of school, would be more rational. In New York, it’s usually the opposite. The cutoffs are often in December. I was born November 22nd, 1993, but graduated high school in 2011. So that meant I turned 5 a couple of months after starting kindergarten. I used to hate being the youngest in my grade and would say, “I’m too young for this grade. I belong in the grade below me.” That would have been true for me if I lived in many other states where the cutoffs are before my birthday, like in September. It’s rare for American school’s cutoffs to be earlier than September, though.

Anyway, now that I’ve gotten to learn these things, maybe it makes sense for almost every 6th-year in HBP to turn 17 prior to mid-April.

travel

My Most Memorable Moments on a Girl Scout Trip to London in 2008


Many years ago, when I was 14, I went on a trip with my Girl Scout troop to London for 5 days. I enjoyed it, except where we stayed. But I am not going to talk about that here.
Instead, I will focus on a few memorable moments that happened there. So, without further ado, let me get started.

1: Mature t-shirts in an outdoor flea market 

On our last day in London, we toured more sites and then shopped at a flea market. I noticed some t-shirts with naughty language, but there was one word I didn’t know the meaning of. So, I  asked my mom loudly what it was. But she whispered me the definition. I will stop there on that.

2: Low-quality fish n’ chips

I know, the UK is known for having awesome fish n’ chips. I did have good ones, too. However, the first night there, my troop ate at a restaurant where the food quality wasn’t what I expected. I even told my mom the fish tasted like a frozen kind.

3: Excitement on Legoland 

On our way back from Stonehenge, we passed a park called Legoland, and everyone got excited. But the guide said, “We’re not going to Legoland.” Not only was it not part of the itinerary, I think it was also closed.

4: Touring the London Dungeons 

Although it was memorable, it was far from my favorite. It scared me and I experienced haunting effects in my room at night. I might have had trouble falling asleep. I don’t remember. But visit that at your own risk, no matter how brave you think you are.

I don’t know when international travel will be safe and normal again. But when it resumes, be careful. Also, keep in mind that some of the places might have gone out of business either recently or a long time ago, whether related to the pandemic or not. Discovery Times Square in New York City is an example.

If you choose to go to London when it’s safe again, you can consider these places and activities I’ve listed. Just check to see if they still exist.

movie

Let’s Get Kicking with This Critique of “Early Man” (2018)

I’ve always wanted to watch this film as the trailer engaged and cracked me up a lot. Then I saw it recently on my computer and really enjoyed it.

So, without further ado, let the critique begin. I’ll start off with the strengths.

1: The humor

I cannot keep track of how many times I’ve laughed throughout this movie. It was made by the same company who did “Wallace and Gromit”. The characters were fantastic, especially the main one, Dug, who was voiced by Eddie Redmayne. You probably know him from the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise.

Some of the funny moments include the giant duck, the rabbit, and the characters’ actions.

2: The rabbit

I can’t skip this one. The rabbit acted silly and excited, even when over a bonfire. It did a hokey pokey move while tied to a stick. Even though it’s a minor character, I still enjoyed the bunny.

3: The twists and turns

This film brought a lot of surprises. One example includes the giant duck. A not-so-bright member of the cave people tribe sees a duck from a distance, wants it for food, and hits it with a rock. Little does he and the others know that it’s a giant duck, which becomes of use later. I won’t say how.

Another surprise was when Dug is lost in the civilized village near a stadium, he sees an attractive girl named Goona, who ends up helping him and his tribe win the soccer (or football outside the US) tournament. I predicted Dug and Goona would become a romantic couple. Well, barely at most, which I admire since that feels a little cliched to me.

4: The importance of teamwork

When the cave people have to win a soccer game with the civilization nearby, after being banished from their valley, someone (I don’t remember whom) points out that what they possess is togetherness. I considered that a great moral.

Now onto the parts that I felt could have been better:

1: Chief is only in his early 30’s—about 32

What?! He looks so much older. I thought he was no younger than 60 at first. I get that the creators probably wanted to emphasize on how cave people didn’t live very long. I’m not sure if it’s prehistorically accurate for early 30’s to be elderly with old age signs during the stone age. But for today’s standards, it’s way too awkward.

2: Why are there cave people during the time the dinosaurs went extinct?

This, for sure, is prehistorically inaccurate. Humans didn’t come about until millions and millions of years after the dinosaurs perished. In the movie, though, unlike the tribe Dug belongs to, the humans during the dinosaur times had no speech. Still—I hope this doesn’t mislead children into thinking cave people and dinosaurs co-existed together. Nope.

3: Why does Dug’s pet pig sound like a dog?

He howls and barks, but never oinks. Unless that’s prehistorically accurate, it looks kind of sloppy. That being said, he and Dug do share a sweet bond.

4: Some hidden (or not-so-hidden) adult content

This movie is rated PG and is supposed to be family-friendly. However, there were a few moments that shocked me, such as when Dug slipped into the shower under a naked man’s legs. Of course, they don’t show anything that would make parents forbid their kids to watch it. Still, as an adult, I was pretty astounded by this. Hopefully, it glossed over children’s heads. There were a few other subtle, but mature moments as well.

Regardless of the even amount of strengths and weaknesses, I would rate this film 5 out of 5 stars. The humor is what really drew me in. And I would still gladly recommend it to everyone of all ages.