fiction

Harry Potter Mystery: Are Wizards Immune to Hypothermia?

Anyone who has read the “Harry Potter” books and/or have seen the films must notice the lack of safety in the wizarding world. From the forbidden forest and deadly creatures at Hogwarts to Quidditch, wizards and witches seem to care little about safety.

That includes going into the water in cold weather. A good example is in “The Goblet of Fire”, when the Tri-Wizard champions have to compete in the black lake and each save one individual. However, they do it in February, where the weather freezes.

Although the novel doesn’t specify the champions’ outfits (I’m pretty sure, according to what I remember), in the movie, they wore summer attire, while everyone else wore winter gear. Fleur wore just a bathing suit, while the boys had knee-length shorts and tank tops. How were they not cold?

You’d think they would have worn long-sleeved wet suits, or did something to get the champions warmer. Do charms that prevent hypothermia exist in the “Harry Potter” universe? If so, does the black lake at Hogwarts have them?

Even if the answer to both questions is yes, there couldn’t have been any in that pond Harry jumped into in “The Deathly Hallows”, after stripping himself. After he leaped into the water, he didn’t seem to suffer one bit.

Lots of people point out that if there is a potion to regrow bones, there should be a spell or something to fix Harry’s eyesight. That way, he wouldn’t need glasses. So, could magic keep magicians from freezing and experiencing hypothermia?

fiction

Harry Potter Mystery: Are Godparent Roles Different for Wizards?

We’ve heard of godparents in the “Harry Potter” series. One obvious example is Sirius Black being Harry’s godfather, who spent much of his time in Azkaban. Harry is also named Remus’s son, Teddy’s, godfather. Ron and Hermione are godparents to Harry’s oldest son, James, in the seventh book’s epilogue, as well as his aunt and uncle, of course.

But they seem to serve more as mentors or other helpful adult figures rather than religious sponsors, which is what godparents really are in real life. It’s actually a common misconception for godparents to be guardians in the events something happens to their godchildren’s parents, although parents can still grant them legal withstanding. It’s rare, though, and rarer for kids to live with their godparents. Maybe that common misconception can be true if something happens to the parents, yet the kids are over 18, but don’t have enough money or jobs to support themselves financially. They could probably stay with their godparents, and the godparents can likely even take them in if they apply for their overage godchildren to be tenants (or whatever it is) and that gets approved. I’m not sure how that whole process works.

Anyway, religion does not play a huge role in “Harry Potter.” Yes, wizards and witches celebrate Christmas and Easter. J.K. Rowling has also revealed that there are Jewish magicians, such as Anthony Goldstein. I also read that Harry was baptized, so his parents must have been religious to some extent. However, not once has Sirius guided Harry through his faith. Maybe Azkaban and Sirius having to hide and even losing his life contributed. We also don’t hear a lot about Harry’s relation to Teddy Lupin and so forth. Lily and James did designate Sirius as Harry’s guardian, which could be why he was able to sign Harry’s Hogsmeade permission slip in the third installment. But I think Teddy’s grandparents were the designated guardians for him.

Someone on Quora asked why religion doesn’t receive much attention in “Harry Potter,” and somebody from the UK answered by stating that people there don’t usually discuss religion. Many places actually forbid talking about religion here in the US.  But my guess is that J.K. Rowling may have changed the godparent roles for wizards and made them more of other reliable adult figures for children instead of religious sponsors. Either for plot convenience or to avoid sounding too insensitive. What do you think?

movie

A “Hercules” Theory: Was Hercules Better Off Living as a Mortal? (1997 film)

Warning: contains spoilers***

Although the Disney adaptation of “Hercules” differed a lot from the original myth and was probably highly sugarcoated (which should not be surprising), it still pleases me a lot. I honestly like that stuff.

Anyway, onto the topic. Hercules was born a god, but was turned into a mortal by Hades’ assistants, Pain and Panic. The other gods look for him, but when they finally find him, he is mortal and can’t go back to Mount Olympus.

Years later, when Hercules is a teenager, he discovers from his adoptive parents that they actually found him when he was an infant and took him in. They also kept the metal Hercules had worn when he was a baby, and Hercules takes it to the temple of Zeus. That is where he discovers his true heritage and that he was born a god. The Zeus statue (which could be controlled by the actual Zeus in the movie) tells Hercules that he can become a god again if he proves himself a true hero. He tries to achieve that goal throughout the rest of the story and earns his immortality back. But then he realizes that he’d rather live as a mortal with Meg, his love interest.

So, this is where my question comes into place. Only gods can live on Mount Olympus, but can they leave Mount Olympus voluntarily? What if one of them wanted to go to the market, or go for a walk, or make friends? Are the gods allowed to do that?

Because Disney changes a lot from the original source materials, it’s probably a mystery if the gods can leave Mount Olympus and go out in public. But I am leaning toward an unlikely. I could be wrong for the Disney version, though. If I am correct, then I think Hercules would have been better off living as a mortal instead of a god.

If he hadn’t been turned into a mortal and got to grow up with his birth parents, would he have had limited understanding of the human world? Would he have been extra socially awkward from not being exposed to people?

What do you think?

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.

fiction

Harry Potter Mystery: What Happened to Lily and James’ Bodies Between Their Deaths and Burials?

Every “Harry Potter” fan or even pretty much anyone in the general public should know that Harry lost his parents as a baby thanks to Voldemort, and had to grow up with his abusive aunt and uncle. For those who really enjoy the series, Harry discovered his parents’ graves in the 7th installment. But who buried them? When? And why was there no funeral for them?

Shortly after his parents were killed, Harry is rescued from the house by Hagrid as quickly as possible. But the two don’t arrive at the Dursleys for another day, for some reason. This is commonly known as the “missing day”, which I didn’t know about until maybe a few years ago. But I will discuss the missing 24 hours in another post.

Here, I am just going to talk about what could have happened to James and Lily’s corpses after they perished. This will exclude events like Pettigrew’s betrayal and turning into a rat as well as Sirius getting locked up in Azkaban.

I learned that James’s parents had him quite old. They lived to see him marry, but not meet their grandson. Lily’s mom and dad also passed on, I think, and her sister, Petunia, was her only living family member. That is why Harry has to live with her until he comes of age. If he lives with a blood relative of his mom, Voldemort can’t go near him.

Anyway, it could not have been Petunia who buried Lily and James. She despised both of them.

Could ministry officials have buried the couple? Possibly, and maybe as soon as Harry was out of that area. Also, did Lily and James not have a funeral because there was no family member to arrange it, despite their wealth? Couldn’t Remus Lupin have planned it, even though he was just James’s friend?

I don’t know if people can plan and pay for events for those not related to them, whether they can get paid back or not. I am not sure how it works for wizards in the ” Harry Potter” series, either. I guess that will remain a mystery, as will who buried James and Lily and how soon.

fiction

Interview with Author, Tara Gilboy

As someone who enjoyed her book, “Unwritten,” I am interviewing the author, Tara Gilboy. See the questions and answers below and enjoy!

What do you find the most enjoyable about writing?

I think for me, brainstorming and coming up with new story ideas is always the best part of writing. I love looking at the world as a potential source of story ideas, and I love doing research on them. Of course, after that, the hard work sets in, as I then have to develop the plot and characters in those ideas. But I am always happiest when I am imagining new worlds and possibilities.

What genres do you like to read in now?

I am a very wide reader: I read in pretty much every genre! Right now, since it’s fall and getting to be Halloween time, I have been reading a lot of scary stories, but I also am a huge fan of historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, nonfiction, you name it. I do tend to read a lot of middle grade and young adult books more so than adult novels, partly because that is what I like to write, and partly because I love the way they focus on good, old-fashioned storytelling.

Who is your favorite character in your book?

It is so hard to pick just one! Gracie, my protagonist, is of course my special favorite, but I loved writing Cassandra because she is just so complicated and evil! And Gertrude Winters and I have a lot in common, so I have a special place for her too. And then Walter, of course…. I love them all!

Who is your favorite fictional character in general?

I think if I had to pick just one, I would say Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. When I was a kid, I was always happiest reading, so I think I am drawn to her because she reminds me of myself when I was younger.

Where do you get your ideas?

I wish I knew the answer to this! Ideas come to me all the time. Sometimes I’ll get an idea from something I read or from people I know. If I am searching for ideas, I will often visit a place like a museum or art gallery, because I always leave feeling inspired. The trouble for me is not finding ideas; it is selecting the right idea, the one I am excited enough about that I am willing to commit to it long-term. I often start stories and then put them aside halfway through because I lose interest in them. But I would say that my number one source for ideas is reading. Reading other books by writers I love always inspires me and makes me want to write. 

What other genres would you ever want to write in?

I have always wanted to write historical fiction, and in fact, I have probably started and stopped nearly a dozen historical fiction projects in the last few years alone. I love to read historical fiction and so have always wanted to write it, but somehow I always find myself either stalling or getting bogged down in the research. I feel confident, though, that I will finish one of these historical projects eventually! I also have an idea for a true crime story that I would like to work on, so I have been doing research on writing true crime narratives lately as well.

What was your favorite book as a child?

It is tough to pick just one! I was obsessed with both Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess

What types of scenes do you enjoy writing most?

My favorite kinds of scenes are ones that make me laugh. Sometimes the scene itself isn’t even funny, but I find myself laughing because I am so taken aback by what a character just said or did. I like writing scenes where the characters surprise me and go in a direction I hadn’t expected when I first sat down to write. Those are usually scenes with a lot of emotional intensity.

What did you struggle most with when writing your book?

I think in my first book, Unwritten, I struggled most with making the “rules” of my magical world clear. The concept I had undertaken, writing of a girl who is a character in a story, ended up being a lot more complex (and potentially confusing to readers) than I had anticipated when I started. I was really lucky to have a great workshop group and critique partners who helped me along the way. I also always really struggle with plot and structure. I find that plotting gets easier, though, once I have my character’s main goal or drive figured out. Until I know what my main character wants, I don’t really have a story.

What character can you relate to most?

I think I relate to Gertrude Winters the most, perhaps because we both share a love of writing. And in Rewritten, Gertrude is struggling with a nasty case of writer’s block, something I can definitely relate to!

Are there unique details you pick up on in fiction, either visual or written?

It depends on what and why I am reading. Reading is my absolute favorite thing in the world, and so I try to just let myself sink into the story. I don’t want to always be looking “behind the scenes” at the way a story is constructed. That said, after I’ve read a book I love once or twice, I will often go back to it and look at what specifically makes it work so well. And when I am struggling with something in my own writing, I often look at books or scenes that are similar to mine to see what strategies the author used to handle various issues that came up. For example, when I needed to write a scene about a fire, I read a lot of different books with fire scenes (for example, the fire scene in Jane Eyre, where Jane puts out a fire in Mr. Rochester’s bedroom) to see how other authors had handled it.

Do you ever notice elements in fiction that others don’t?

I think so, but then again, many of my students and friends notice things in fiction that I don’t too. I tend to look a lot at plot and structure when I am reading, and I have some wonderful friends who are always reminding me of the beauty of language and lyrical prose. I think we all look at slightly different things as readers and writers, and so we always learn from each other.

What is your writing pet peeve?

My biggest writing pet peeve is writers who show off at the expense of the story. It is something I used to struggle with when I first started writing, and I had to train myself not to do it. The plot and characters come first and foremost: writers can’t be afraid to cut paragraphs and scenes, even if they love the language, if they don’t contribute to the overall story. Also for some odd reason I dislike the word “myriad.” I’m not sure why, but it’s always been a pet peeve of mine.

Thank you so much for having me!