Strange things are happening, and they are no longer confined to the wizarding world. Bridges less than 10 years old collapsing in the middle of rush hour, hurricanes that never appeared on the forecast tearing apart communities, gruesome, grisly murders. Amidst all of the chaos, Harry Potter is headed back to Hogwarts for his sixth year. With stories about a prophecy concerning Harry and his parents’ killer circulating the school, Harry has a lot to prove. Newly reinstated to the Gryffindor Quidditch team, he would love nothing more than to have a normal year; but with every overheard conversation, every accident, and every potion he brews, Harry knows that this school year will be anything but normal.
After all the whining that goes on in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, this book is like a gasp of fresh air. It moves through the story well, character communication is good, Harry stops doing stupid shit stuff. Sure, there’s a lot of dating/ feeeeeelings going on, but rather than allow them to slosh all over the work of pure art that is this plot, Rowling offers these romances as a tasty side, occasionally even a foil to the storyline.
I must say, I love the fact that we don’t get to Harry until chapter three. And the way the secondary character storylines are woven in, Bill, Fleur, Tonks, Lupin, Malfoy, Snape, Dumbledore, Slughorn, Hagrid, Dobby, Kreacher, etc… I could go on all day. It is ruddy perfect is what it is. Even Percy the prat.
Like the fifth book, everyone grows so much. The character development is off the charts. Maturity shows itself in everything they do, and everyone gets there at their own pace. Every character is such an individual that it often occurs to me when I’m reading these books that J.K. rowling must have had some magical help because it’s just too amazing for words.
It would be too easy to spoil this book by attempting to talk about any particular scenes, so I will leave with a quote:
“He will only be gone from the school when none here are loyal to him,” said Harry, smiling in spite of himself.
Obviously, this is a big favorite and I highly recommend it. I’m sincerely upset that I only have one book left to read, and I am so thankful that I get to read Harry Potter and The Cursed Child right after it, but then, once again, I’ll be at the end.
Frustrated and lonely, Harry is stuck at number four, Privet Drive, for yet another summer. Making matters worse is the lack of news from the wizarding community. The Ministry of Magic and The Daily Prophet are refusing to allow the truth to be printed, the magical world is completely in the dark. Worst of all, Harry faces potential expulsion even before the school year begins. With the Dark Lord back on the loose and a scary new Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher watching their every move, it might just be time for the students of Hogwarts to take their futures into their own hands.
This fifth story in the Harry Potter series is a tough one to get through. At 870 pages, it’s the longest book, and the first 100-150 pages move as slow as molasses. Even worse, just about every character (except Hermione, who accomplished this feat in book four without much fuss) hits puberty. Harry becomes whiny, Ron sulks a lot, and Ginny starts dating. Of course, all of the adults continue to treat them like children and hoard information from them, with naturally disastrous consequences.
On the bright side, this book introduces what I like to call the silver trio. Much like Harry, Ron, and Hermione are often referred to as the golden trio, Ginny, Neville, and Luna quickly spring to mind as a second grouping, which I like to call the silver trio. Ginny finally becomes a real person in this book, as does Neville and many of the other secondary characters. Luna Lovegood, aside from a brief mention of her family near the start of the fourth book, is really introduced here. Luna, in a way that only Luna could possibly do, quickly becomes near-central to the main storyline. It always surprises me how seamlessly J.K. Rowling weaves Luna into the story, with her odd habits and strong opinions. Luna, so shamelessly herself, is easily one of my favorite characters of the books, and we don’t even meet her until more than halfway through the series!
While it is widely acknowledged that this book is really too long to be its best, it is difficult to find things that could be cut out. The only possibilities would be the cleaning scenes and the emotional roller coaster that is Harry’s thoughts in this book. However since these things really make up most of the story and establish multiple relationships that are important later on, they really have to be left in.
The new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher is a nightmare. I actually had a teacher in highschool who closely resembled her in not just looks, and we subsequently warned anyone who would listen about “Umbridge”. I actually had an underclassman insist that I was wrong for an entire year because they were convinced another teacher should have the title. The next year they had a class with the real “Umbridge” and promptly apologized for doubting me. I am aggressively not sorry we gave her that nickname.
Personal stories aside, this book, although seriously massive and slow except for the last 100 pages, was pretty great. The character development is so on point it’s almost painful (because puberty). Everyone becomes so much more complex in this book and it’s wonderful. Definitely recommend.
Pottermore, that wonderful place built in the name of J.K. Rowling for all of the Harry Potter fans out there, launched it’s Patronus quiz today! As it firmly states that the quiz may only be taken once, I naturally took it six times, as I did with the Sorting Hat Quizzes.
Pottermore seems to be only sharing what a general Patronus is, rather than background on the what the specific conjurings mean (if they mean anything), so here are my results along with what I’ve found out about each of them, and the symbolism regarding each of the animals I was assigned to better understand how they might possibly represent me as my Patronus.
First of all, each Patronus was different. I had no doubles. Part of that is because the quiz doesn’t always ask the same questions, and part of that is because the whole thing is timed, so if you do get a question you’ve already seen it takes less time to answer it than it did when you had to read the question through. Unless you’re a robot and you got exactly the same questions, I don’t believe there is a way to get the same Patronus twice.
Second of all, any sites I used for researching this post will be linked at the bottom. Photo links are located below each picture for easy sourcing.
Now, on to the Patronuses! 🙂
1. The Stoat
Also known as an Ermine, in the winter its coat turns completely white. Related to the weasel, marten, fisher, and otter.
The stoat has a vast range, seen everywhere from North America to across Eurasia. You could call them global citizens. They symbolize royalty, purity, and strong morals mostly. There’s a myth about a queen in Brittany who was hunting a stoat and when they reached a mud pit, rather than cross it and ruin its fur, the stoat turned to fight in the face of certain death. The queen was so inspired by the animal that she kept it as a pet and made it the symbol of the royal family, their motto being ‘death over defilement’, meaning something along the lines of they would die before they would lower their standards, besmirch their good name, etc.
The stoat also symbolizes the spiritual journey to enlightenment; something or someone who has gone through all 4 spiritual seasons, including a dark night of the soul and being born again into a new dawn.
2. The Cat(s)
General Cat Symbolism
There is no specific symbolism for either the Ragdoll or the Ocicat, probably because they’re both specific breeds and symbolism tends to a generalized study. Cats are known to symbolize a bridge to the spirit world, communication, unpredictability, independence, and creativity.
a) Ragdoll Cat
The Ragdoll cat is a long haired domestic cat with blue eyes and mostly white fur except for bits of brown, especially on its face and paws. It loves people and tends to follow them about doglike. It loves to be picked up and gets its name from the way it goes limp when you do pick it up.
The Ocicat is a fairly new breed of domestic cat that looks like a tiny cheetah. They are known for being extremely sociable, affectionate, and intelligent.
4. The Black Swan
Much of the symbolism for black swans is the same as your average white swan, but there is a myth about how it got its dark color.
The story goes that in the aboriginal tribes of Australia, there were only a couple of women who knew the secret to making boomerangs. A group of men decided to steal the boomerangs, and to distract the women two of the men decide to turn themselves into swans and land on the nearby lake. The women were distracted by the birds’ beauty for a time, but they caught the men in the end. The women shoo the swans off the lake and they settle on another lake where some eagles live. The eagles attack and rip all of the swans’ feathers out, leaving them for dead. To spite their enemies the eagles, a murder of crows offer the swans some of their own feathers to create new coats.
Because of the trial that the black swans went through, they symbolize the spiritual journey, especially suffering and faith. Swans, in general, symbolize the journey to purity and perfection, as well as the balanced life. In Astronomy, the constellation of the Northern Cross is also known as Cygnus the swan.
5. The Osprey
Also known as a fish-hawk and a sea-eagle, the osprey is the only known bird in the eagle family that lives not just in the air, but in the water. Other eagles may grab fish near the surface or those that jump with their claws, but ospreys are known for diving under the water in search of food. Much of the fish that other birds eat are in fact stolen from ospreys.
The osprey symbolizes the guardian in much of Native American folklore. It also symbolizes acuity of sight, abundance, salvation, redemption, resurrection, the sun, nobility, deep creativity, good timing, respect, communication, vigilance, the soul, and a beacon. In myth, the osprey was the animal symbol for Hermes, the messenger. It is also known as a guide of souls, as it is the only animal that moves seamlessly between air, symbolizing the mind and the conscious as well as the land of the living, and water, symbolizing emotions and the unconscious as well as the land of the dead.
The osprey is known for going after what it wants rather than staying back and waiting for an opportunity. It is known for building strong boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others.
6. The Fox
The fox is known for persistence and patience, as well as creative, out-of-the-box solutions that often make it seem eccentric, if quick minded. The fox symbolizes loyalty, wit and quick thinking, longevity, protection from evil, fortune, luck, opportunity, the jack-of-all-trades, and the arrival of solutions. Foxes are known to adapt and ‘blend in’ to their environments. They can be tricksters as well as teachers, and they possess an uncanny ability to find their way around. They are often respected as guides and honored for their wisdom.
So there you have it, the six Patronuses I was assigned: Stoat, Ragdoll Cat, Ocicat, Black Swan, Osprey, and Fox. When I first got each one, I thought they were all completely different and didn’t really understand how they related to me or could possibly be my Patronus. After doing the research and better understanding the symbolism of each animal, however, I can see how they relate to me. As a proud Gryffinclaw Hornedwudgie with some Hufflepuff and Wampus tendencies, I can see how the strong morals of the Stoat, the communication skills of the Ragdoll Cat and the sociability of the Ocicat, as well as the faith of Black Swan, the vigilance of the Osprey, and the persistence of the Fox, could all represent me in some way. Even if I could cast a real Patronus charm and none of these animals came out of my wand, I am pretty grateful I had the chance to learn about them. They are daring and smart, loyal and cunning, just like the heraldry animals of Hogwarts, and I am proud to be associated with all of them.
30th September 2016 – EDIT: I’ve been getting a lot of questions asking me what I say when people ask what my Patronus is since I took the quiz multiple times. For all intents and purposes, I’ve been saying the Stoat, since that’s what I got the first time when I took the quiz the way a normal user would, not knowing what type of questions to expect.
What animal or fantastic beast is your Patronus? Head on over to Pottermore.com/Patronus to find out. You just need a Pottermore account to take the quiz. Let me know over on Twitter, and I’ll see y’all next time!
*Please note that I am not breaking down/explaining what each house represents in this post. You can find all of that information on Pottermore.com if you feel so inclined, rather than be forced to read it in its 100th reiteration here.
When J.K. Rowling, the author the wildly popular Harry Potter book (and film!) series opened up a website for Potterheads (fans of the series) in April of 2012, everyone immediately headed over to be sorted into their Hogwarts houses. The website was interactive and users worked their way through the stories, earning points for their house towards the House Cup that was awarded each year. I remember taking the quiz for the first time and finding out that I was a hat-stall. I answered the last question and was presented with a screen that asked me to choose between Gryffindor and Slytherin. I was pretty sure that was just the result it gave everyone because after all we were supposedly playing through the book series, and that’s the decision Harry ultimately makes. (I chose Gryffindor. Go Lions!) It wasn’t until I was scouring social media later that I realized people were actually being sorted into other houses. I had always wanted to be in Ravenclaw, and I remember taking the quiz about ten times before it finally put me in Ravenclaw instead of Gryffindor. I never got the hat-stall screen again.
When the site went down for renovations last year, I was sad, to say the least. But low-and-behold, January 28th, 2016 brought renewed hope. Pottermore was back up and running, but it looked very different. Gone were the interactive game, the dueling, and the House Cup. What we did get, however, was a ton of backstory and fleshy bits (aka my favorite parts) about the world of magic. Most importantly, we still had a Hogwarts sorting quiz. The unfortunate part of that being that it was a new quiz and a lot of people were upset by it, having already identified themselves by the houses they had originally been sorted into. I, luckily enough, was still sorted into Gryffindor (hooray!), though I was not a hat-stall this time around.
June 28th, 2016, heralded a new surprise for Potterheads: a second sorting ceremony. This one for the American school of witchcraft and wizardry, Ilvermorny, who’s backstory was revealed the same day. I took the Ilvermorny sorting quiz and became a Pukwudgie. Then I immediately scoured social media to discover what this meant. Since taking the quiz, I have discovered a few things. First was a post that I discovered via Twitter, discussing the potential correlations between Hogwarts and Ilvermorny houses. I reblogged it on Tumblr, and you can also find the original post here. Thanks much to Layne Morgan for putting that together. The second, which I found more recently, was an article that showed where users from each Hogwarts house ended up in Ilvermorny. It’s quite interesting! You can find that over at Hypable.
Mostly what I discovered is that Pukwudgie and Thunderbird are the most popular across the Hogwarts houses, and almost no one is in Wampus. Because of all the data floating around, I felt the need to do some research of my own.
I took each quiz 6 times, and these are my results:
Gryffindor: 3 times Ravenclaw: 2 times Hufflepuff: 1 time Slytherin: 0 times
Horned Serpent: 3 times Pukwudgie: 2 times Wampus: 1 time Thunderbird: 0 times
With Hypable’s article showing 36.3% of Gryffindors ending up in Pukwudgie and the same percentage in Thunderbird, I’m somewhat surprised by my findings. As far as the Hogwarts sortings go, I already mentioned that I was a Gryffindor who used to dream of being a Ravenclaw, so is it really a surprise that I got Ravenclaw a few times? In terms of what some Potterheads term ‘hybrid houses’, I’ve always been a Gryffinclaw. I found the singular Hufflepuff sorting interesting because my sisters were sorted into Hufflepuff in the original sorting quiz, so I guess loyalty just runs in the family.
*Please note that to take the quizzes you must be logged in to Pottermore.com. You can create an account for free using your email address.
Have you taken the sorting quizzes yet? What house(s) did you get? Let me know in the comments here or over on Twitter @Amanda_HHC.
Harry Potter lives with the most ordinary family, his aunt Petunia, uncle Vernon, and cousin Dudley Dursley in Surrey, England. He attends an ordinary school and eats ordinary food. Except, nothing about Harry is ordinary. Strange things happen when he is around. Dudley and his gang chase him and he’ll suddenly find himself on the roof of the school. A snake at the zoo tries to talk to him. He gets a bad haircut and his hair grows back overnight. Harry doesn’t really pay attention to these things, but they seem to bother his aunt and uncle. Then the letters arrive. Each one addressed to Harry’s bedroom in the cupboard under the stairs. Before he can read them, his uncle tears them up and burns them. But he can’t keep them from Harry forever. This first book in the Harry Potter series follows our titular character as he goes from ordinary to extraordinary and learns about his true past and his famous future.
Those of you who are Harry Potter fans will probably say that this has been the lamest intro to the series ever, but I’m trying not to spoil things for people who haven’t experienced it yet. Sure, the Harry Potter series has probably been spoiled 1000 times over for everyone who hasn’t read it by now, but just in case it hasn’t, I won’t be the one to spoil the magic.
This is my first time re-reading the Harry Potter series since I was about 7 and my mother started reading the books aloud to my brother and me. We read the first three back-to-back and then the last four as they came out. It was a truly life-changing experience. You could say that I was part of that generation that grew up with Harry. So, at this time in my life when I am working towards writing more myself, I thought it would be a good idea to re-read some of my favorite childhood books. Obviously, I’m starting with Harry Potter because the 8th story is being released at the end of the month.
Not having the read the books in nearly 20 years (it’s 17, but it’s close!), I didn’t realize how much I had forgotten. I was one of those annoying people who, after seeing the films, would pick apart everything that was different from the books. ‘The Dursley’s should have blond hair’ I’d say, and my family would roll their eyes and tell me to get over it. The more I watched the movies, the less I remembered what had been changed from the books. But delving into Harry’s magical world again after so long had just the same effect it did on me the first time around. It was awe-inspiring and wonderful and amazing. Just how I remembered. Knowing how it all ends doesn’t make me not want to read the series. In fact, it makes certain passages have even greater meaning.
There is a passage on page 99 when Ron is lamenting having to live up to his family’s expectations. He says that even if he does well, it won’t be surprising because it is expected. As I read this, I just wanted to reach into the book and give him a big old hug and tell him what the future holds. He’s going to be amazing. They all are, they just don’t know it yet.
Getting back into this series is so much fun, and I can’t wait to dive into Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets soon! As far as recommendations, go this is an obvious YES. The series as a whole teaches so much tolerance and understanding that it should be a mandatory read for everyone, especially in this day and age when the world is dealing with so much hatred and violence.
If you are looking for something family-friendly and interesting to read, Harry Potter is a go to. There is such a wealth of content that everyone from the ages of 5 to 105 will enjoy it and learn something from it.