Thursday, September 22, 2011

Exciting new book release!

By Melissa Sarno, Hufflepuff

Honeywater Press announces the release of WHO AM I by award-winning author Gilderoy Lockhart.

The 1,045 page book hits shelves on September 23rd and features the psychological musings of the man who accidentally erased his own memory. One of the few permanent residents of St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, Lockhart uses the book to reflect on who he is, who he was, and, even, who he might become.

“We took a risk,” says Ebenezer Coolidge, a representative from Honeywater. “We want readers to open this book and find a new Lockhart. A little less refined. A little more undone.”

But early reviews of the book have not been kind.

Popular book blogger Winnifried Littlewock calls it “a nonsensical, babbling mess,” and goes on to say, “I’m not even sure [Lockhart] knows what the question is. Never mind the answer.”

According to a small group of existentialists at the Magical Who Institute, however, that kind of ambiguity is what makes the work so appealing. “We are all walking around asking the same question of ourselves. The fact that Lockhart never quite gets to an answer is refreshing.”

And many others are rallying for Lockhart, pleased that Honeywater Press took the author under its wing when none of the other big houses were willing. “I’m not going to read it or anything,” says one fan. “But I like that it’s out there.”

“We’re not expecting a huge crowd tomorrow,” says the owner of Flourish and Blotts Bookseller, where, years earlier, people were lined up around the block to get to a Lockhart signing. “But, hey, we’ll serve some Nettle Wine. Maybe that will lead to some sales.”

Melissa Sarno is Thestral Gazette’s celebrity reporter and co-president of the Herbology Club. When she’s not up to her ankles in mooncalf dung, you can find her accompanying the Frog Choir on harpsichord or writing Witch Lit in the Hogwarts Library. She blogs at

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Advice for Wizards and Witches

by Abby Gabby, Ravenclaw

Dear Abby Gabby,
I’ve accidentally scheduled two dates with two boys for the same night! What do I do?
~Split in two from Slytherin

Dear Split,
Well, it’s no surprise to me a sneaky Slytherin would do something like that. Get yourself a time-turner so you can be in two places at once! There may be one available in the school, but you’ll have to find the bearer, which shouldn’t be too hard. Just check all the advanced classes and if you see the same student twice— that’ll be your girl.


Dear Abby Gabby,
Is there a way to guarantee I won’t eat a bogey flavored Bertie Bott’s bean?
~Snot-shy from Ravenclaw

Dear Snots,
Yes. Just offer Ron Weasley a few— he’s notorious for getting bogey flavored beans every time. Then you should be fine to eat the rest without getting a bogey one. Just watch out for the vomit flavored bean—usually orange-speckled pink. That one’s a doozie.


Dear Abby Gabby,
I really want the guy I like to win a spot on the Quidditch team, but my Gryffindor conscience is not letting me do anything sneaky. What do I do?
~Honorable from Gryffindor

Dear Goody Goody,
Unwad your panties and perform a Confundus charm on the competition. Live a little—you never know how fun it is until you try. Besides, you can use it as an excuse to practice your charms. You never know when you might need this spell in a real battle.


Dear Abby Gabby,
There is this girl I really like in my Potions class. But I’m too shy to approach her! What do I do?
~Nervous from Hufflepuff

Dear Nerves,
Brew yourself some Felix Felicis potion to give you the confidence to ask her out! It will need to stew for six months, however, so during that time practice your smile!

Word of warning: it may make you overconfident, so I’d get advice from some who has had experience with it like Harry Potter or Ron Weasley. (There is a rumor going around that Ron was tricked and did not actually consume the potion the day of his best-ever Quidditch match, so take his advice with a grain of salt.)

Thestral Gazette advice columnist Abby Gabby, a member of the Ravenclaw house, prefers to keep her true identity a secret (for the sake of her trusted advisees, of course). She loves divination, lending a shoulder to cry on, and quite possibly has the slightest crush on Professor Firenze. She blogs as her alter ego, Abby Minard at Above Water.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Special Summer Edition: Attention DA Members and Friends of Harry Potter—Four days and counting

by Michael Di Gesu, Ravenclaw

LONDON - All week, O.W.L. results have been delivered over Great Britain to soon-to-be sixth years who waited with nerves bordering on a breakdown. Parents twitched anxious fingers over wands ready to hex their kids if they pestered them about any special owl deliveries ... my mum included.

Even with Umbridge and her tyrannical ways overpowered, most fifth years didn’t receive proper Defense Against the Dark Arts training and therefore many failed. Only a few of us (you know who you are) passed this course with an Exceeds Expectation or the coveted Outstanding. We had help from a very special person indeed.

Speaking of this special person, a new name for THE BOY WHO LIVED is on the lips of wizards young and old. Could Harry Potter really be THE CHOSEN ONE? This investigative reporter will dig deep to uncover every clue to see if the rumors are true. (Plus it doesn’t hurt to be in his inner circle.)

Last night, a snowy owl pecked at my window. It was none other than Hedwig, Harry Potter’s personal owl. What could THE CHOSEN ONE want from me? Could these be the answers to the questions I ran by him before term ended? Fat chance, he threatened to never speak to me again if I printed anything about him. But surely, he wouldn’t. Or would he? His mood swings lately would try anyone’s patience. But now that Umbridge is back in the Ministry and out of our hair, he should be more himself.

To my shock, the message wasn’t anything worth printing...just an invitation to the Burrow from Ron Weasley.

But wait! There was something in that scribble--the date, July 31. Four days from now, Harry Potter turns sixteen!

Let’s make this his most unforgettable birthday! Let’s give THE BOY WHO LIVED the best surprise party ever. Let’s honor him for all that he has done for us. After the tumultuous year we’ve all had, let’s get wild and show Harry how much we love him.

Write those letters, get those owls ready, and send Harry a cheery birthday message.

All you DA members, please get in touch with Fred and George Weasley before crashing this event. If anyone two people know how to crash anything, they do. Harry won’t expect a thing. Imagine his face as all of us DA members grin at him while hundreds of owls carry in warm wishes.

So don’t forget, blast those calendars with memory dust for Mon., July 31!

Four days and counting!

Michael Di Gesu is the Thestral Gazette’s investigative reporter. If you have anything to hide, he will sniff it out. When he’s not digging up secrets and sordid affairs, you’ll find him on the Quidditch pitch with friends Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. Terrified of flying himself, he’s yet to take flight with his buddies. Harry’s still working on it. “Someday I’ll get him on a broom!” Michael blogs at:

How will you help make Harry's special day even more wonderful?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Special Report from Hogwarts Florida Campus

by Lisa Galek, Ravenclaw

ORLANDO--Ever wish tank tops were part of the Hogwarts dress code? Do you long for ocean-side Potion lessons? Been dying to use that sunblock spell you learned last year? Then consider taking a summer class at Hogwarts esteemed American campus located in sunny Orlando, Florida! This reporter was lucky enough to be part of a wizarding convention there last week and has the full scoop for you on all the classes, shopping, and extracurriculars.

The first thing you’ll see when you arrive is a replica of our beloved Hogsmeade. You’ll be amazed at how close these American wizards have come to our own village. You’ll feel right as home as you take a stroll past the shops, buy a butterbeer in the street (I recommend the frozen variety), or enjoy a song performed by the frog choir. They have a branch of Zonko’s selling all kinds of magical mischief. There’s Honeydukes, too (watch out for the chocolate frogs – they not only hop fast, they melt fast). You can pop into Ollivanders to watch one lucky witch or wizard choose their very own wand. Or you can buy some quality Quidditch supplies at Dervish and Banges. If you want to write home to all your friends, stop at the owl post. There your letters will be postmarked from Hogsmeade, so everyone will know how you’ve been spending your summer.

Make sure you leave room for lunch, too! You can stop into the Three Broomsticks where house-elves are cooking up delicious British cuisine. It will run you a few Galleons, but it’s definitely worth it. Be sure to check out the Hog’s Head next door, as well. The barmen are very friendly, but the hog behind the bar has been known to grunt at patrons from time to time.

On the way up to the castle, you can stop for a quick ride with Buckbeak on Flight of the Hippogriff (approach with caution though… my hippogriff went soaring all over the place once I boarded!). For the especially brave, you can even race a Hungarian Horntail or Chinese Fireball on the Dragon Challenge. I chose the Horntail and I’m very pleased to say that I won… and survived.

Hogwarts castle is truly spectacular. As you walk through, you can chat with the portraits, get a peek into the Headmaster’s office, and even see some famous Gryffindor alumni in the common room. In the heart of the castle is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. It’s a remarkable adventure… if you’re feeling up to chasing a dragon through the grounds. Watch out for the dementors (I had stowed my wand before getting on board, so I couldn’t even cast my patronus!) and spiders (I clamped my eyes shut the entire time we were in Aragog’s lair. One run in with a giant spider is quite enough for me). Oh, and one more warning – the ride feels a bit like disapparating for the first time. I had to sit down for a short while after I left the castle… but I soon recovered and, luckily, didn’t end up looking like the victim of a bad Puking Pastille.

The only real problem I had with the Florida campus is that they let Muggles in! Of course, the little dears can’t register for classes, but you’ll catch them aimlessly waving wands in the streets and gawking in the shop windows everywhere you look (it’s like they’ve never seen a mandrake before!). And the place is constantly jam-packed. Some would say this is excellent for promotion of cooperation between magical and non-magical peoples, but I doubt those people have ever had the hem of their brand new robes trampled on by a group of wide-eyed Muggle tourists.

All in all, a visit to Hogwarts’ Florida campus makes a fantastic summer holiday. My only question is: Do they accept transfer students?

Lisa Galek is the Thestral Gazette’s adventurous travel reporter. She spends her days up in Ravenclaw tower plotting trips with the help of Charles, her enchanted talking atlas. When she’s not busy seeing the world via broomstick, she blogs at Read. Write. Repeat.

Which part of Florida campus appeals to you most?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Snape's Secret Admirer

By Jen Daiker, Hufflepuff

HOGSMEDE, INVERNESS—The secret is out at Hogwarts. A certain someone in a black robe has been receiving love letters from a student.

Have you noticed your girl doesn’t seem as interested in you? You’re not able to sweep her off her feet, even on the Quidditch Pitch? She may be hiding something.

Recently I’ve come across a secret stash of love letters to none other than Professor Snape. I can’t reveal my sources, but suffice it to say, I’ve cracked into a secret club more exclusive than Dumbledore’s Army. If you’re a member, watch your back—and your intimate correspondence.

The Hopeless Romantic
My Dearest Severus,

My feelings for you grow stronger every day. You respect me enough to let me know about my homework ahead of time. You praise me when you praise no one else for a job well done. No one has ever in my life talked to me the way you do. We’ve gone through so much together all ready, like the day when a student set his hair on fire. I believe we could get through anything.

You and I are destined to become the fairytale romance I’ve dreamt about. I’ve read many stories and listened to my friends’ stories of their childish crushes. But my love is for you is so much more—deep, rooted and true. I hope you feel the same.

Yours Truly,
Wanna be yours 4-Ever

Conjure Up My Love

I hope we can share a moment sometime during this school year and see where the sparks go. It’s my last year and I know I’ll need lots and lots of one-on-one tutoring in order to excel in my potions N.E.W.T. I’ve also scheduled my classes to make sure they’re close to you. If only we could slip away somewhere romantic to have lunch. How magical it would be.

I have an idea. Since you are indeed the potions master it would be nice if you could conjure up some polyjuice potion so we could meet in secret. You may have been thinking love potion but I don’t roll that way. I know our love is true. We can make this work.

Lover Gurl

Hidden Love
Steal-my-heart Snape,

I love you so much and you just don't know it. Sometimes I get scared to show it. It feels like when you come around me my mouth becomes grid-locked and all the words I want to say just stop.

My lips clutter because my love is so strong. Your eyes shine like big, glittery beetles. Your words flow like delicious butterbeer. Sometimes I want to open up to you and tell you how I feel --I guess I am too scared to open up and be real. Maybe one day I’ll have the courage, for now I’ll just pray for the perfect love potion.

I hope you share these hidden feelings too. I love you.

Thinking of you,
Never stop our love

Jen Daiker loves transfiguration, fizzing whizbees, and is a founding member of S.P.E.W. She has also been known to dabble with polyjuice potion. She blogs at unedited.

Do you think Snape is crush-worthy? Why or why not? Which of the teachers do you love most?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fast, loose and aria-belting: Professors after hours

by Laurel Garver, Ravenclaw

HOGSMEDE, INVERNESS--Think you know your professors here at Hogwarts? You just might be surprised what they get up to in their off-duty hours.

According to Cooper Bingley, golden-curled inhabitant of a Flemish-style portrait in the faculty dormitory, our professors get up to some pretty surprising stuff when away from the classroom.

Transfiguration professor Minerva McGonagall has never made any secret of her skill as an animagus. But you might be surprised how playfully she flaunts it when no one but the portraits are watching. Skinny Minnie, as she was known in her schoolgirl days, loves to stair rail surf in her fluffy slippers. While we're all tucked in our dormitory beds, she can usually be found sliding slipper-footed from staircase to staircase, top of the castle to the bottom, only to POOF--transform into her tabby cat form for a perfect landing every time.

Divination professor Sibyll Trelawney might have the gift of the inner eye, but her outer eye? Not so gifted. In fact, her eyesight is so bad, she's been caught not once, but a half dozen times snogging the portrait of Sir Cadogan. Granted, he is a dashing figure in his shiny armor, but surely his painted face could not have felt quite right.

Laughter might be the best medicine, but it is music that soothes the savage breast of our hospital wing matron Poppy Pomfrey. Both portraits and castle ghosts alike confirm that she loves to sing in the shower. Indeed, the ghosts gather three times a week to hear her belt out Puccini and Mozart arias.

"Madam Pomfrey's voice is an utter marvel of mellifluousness," said the Fat Friar, Hufflepuff house ghost. "It is a tragic loss to the musical world that she suffers such petrifying stage fright. "Alas, only we ghosts, portraits and occasional house elf ever have the joy of experiencing her tremendous talent."

Laurel Garver is Thestral Gazette's editor-in-chief and communications secretary for S.P.E.W. She sings in Hogwarts choir, dabbles in Mermish poetry and tirelessly campaigns for an intramural Pegasus polo team.

Which professor's off-hours activities surprise you most?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Elves Gone Wild

by Renaliss Divine, Gryffindor

It’s no secret that things have been a tad willy-nilly throughout Hogwarts castle of late. Students are painfully aware of the headmaster’s absence. Even the teachers are having trouble keeping events close to the vest. But this reporter has witnessed firsthand encounters that cannot be dismissed or ignored.

The once loyal and faithful creatures we have relied upon to keep the castle’s day-to-day tasks running smoothly appear to have gone mental. Luxuries that students and teachers alike have grown accustomed to have been thrown into disarray. What game they are playing at remains to be seen.

Of one thing we can all be certain…the house elves are hereby out of control.

Since the inception of Hogwarts, house elves have lived comfortably within its walls and have been happy to go about the usual business of their station. That is no longer the case. And who is their would-be target, you ask?

First years.

Yes…as if the task of being a first-year witch of wizard were not daunting enough, they have now become the brunt of seemingly unending pranks, though others are inevitably affected as well.

The accounts seemed innocent enough at first. First years were locked out of Gryffindor tower when the Fat Lady insisted that the pass code had changed. Then the stairways continued to move, trapping a group of Ravenclaw girls, who fell into fits of hysteria. Professor Sprout herself was overheard telling another teacher about unspeakable rashes breaking out among her first-year Hufflepuffs after a routine Herbology lesson. No one knows when her classes will resume.

The most eye-opening accounts surfaced when this reporter herself witnessed the elves, who are normally quite evasive, hexing food and placing enchantments on personal items. Events became even more dicey when the girls’ lavatory exploded, flooding an upper corridor and drenching a group of first-year Slytherins. Teachers were summoned immediately to help with the clean-up.

While humorous in nature, these pranks are clearly uncharacteristic of these fair, gentle creatures. So the question is obvious…what could be possessing the elves to act this way? And who has the power to override our dear headmaster? You can rest assured that this reporter intends to find out. Stay tuned.

Renaliss Divine is a sixth year Griffyndor who enjoys concocting new potions that can cure any hair or skin ailment. She is a slave to fashion, especially when tweaking up a plain old uniform. (If you need to borrow shoes, girls...this is your witch!) She blogs as her alter ego, Renae Mercado, at

Who do you think is making the Hogwarts house elves behave so badly?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Discovery: Mer-mating

By Runcel P. Yomeh, Hogwarts alum

HOGSMEDE, INVERNESS--The merpeople in Hogwarts lake have always been a point of extreme curiosity to the wizarding world. They are a notoriously secretive society, but this exclusive peek into their watery world was not at all a challenge to your top Magical Creatures Investigator. Gryffidor alumna Runcel P. Yomeh is pleased to present details in the formerly unknown mating ritual of the merpeople.

Most beings find love through physical attraction or mental connection. Not the mermaids—they seek it through violence. From the time they are able to hold a weapon, merpeople are trained in combat. Often mistaken as blood-thirsty and terrifying, merpeople can be very placid when no outsiders are around. But when a relationship is on the line, they must show no weakness. Love is found through hand-to-scaly hand combat.

It flares during mating season in early summer, when the waters begin to heat up. Females get a crazed look, like they ate too much gurdyroot. They flash the reflective underside of their tails to attract an audience. Males can't help but be drawn to this display—you can see the attraction connection in their slimy eyes. Once the female picks a worthy looking male out of the crowd, she grabs a spear, and the battle is on.

Males have no choice but fight for love, or die unworthy of it. They must defend themselves but not kill the female in the process; hold their own but not get killed themselves. It's a tricky balance that isn't always accomplished.

This reporter, through top secret witchy ways, got a firsthand look at the mating battle between one young female and her desired male.

The young male fought valiantly, not a scratch on him (she was a lovely match, after all), until the very end when his new mate pinned him to the mushy lake floor with her spear tip. But fret not, dear readers, this is how every successful mating battle ends. The male pinned to something by something sharp. (Though it's polite to avoid the heart or head if it's a win!)

There was a short, impromptu celebration for the couple immediately following the battle. The two then retreated to more private quarters to seal the deal.

Merpeople mate for life, much like hinkypunks. The new couple looked totally at ease with one another. But my investigation of the merpeople’s mating ritual was cut short. The giant octopus was not fooled by my disguise and I had to high-fin it out of there.

Next time, buckle up for the flight patterns of Hippogriffs vs. Thestrals. Who is really the king of the sky? The answer will stupefy!

Runcel P. Yomeh, alumna of Gryffidor house, holds a degree in Magical Creature Studies and prefers the quiet, stealthy life of investigating the unknown. She blogs as her alter ego, Colene Murphy, at The Journey.

Which magical creatures would you like Ms. Yomeh to investigate next?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cauldron Chatter: Cloaked Items

by Belicia Babble, Ravenclaw

It’s not just potions brewing at Hogwarts this year! Find out all the juicy details about your friends, classmates, and professors in my gossip column. Names have been cloaked to protect the innocent (and by innocent, I mean me!).

• Which colorfully-named Gryffindor girl has set her sights on a red-headed Keeper? Some late night spell casting might be in their future, but only if she can brew up enough love potion to snag him!

• Terror in the tea leaves! A Hogwarts professor has predicted the death of yet another student. I suggest he watch out for falling cauldrons!

• This Slytherin boy has found some admirers in a pair of first year girls, though more than one witch wants to know what they’re doing lurking around the halls with those scales.

• Which radish-wearing fifth year managed to charm her way into a high-profile Christmas party? It seems being friends with the #1 enemy of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named does have its perks.

• Get ready for a duel! This pair of (allegedly) platonic friends was recently spotted having a full-blown row over school books. Turns out someone can’t stand the thought of not being first in Potions!

• This pigtailed Hufflepuff got a little jittery before last year’s O.W.L.’s, but now friends are saying she’s gone weak in the knees for a certain Herbology classmate.

• Which member of S.P.E.W. recently inherited a house-elf? If he believes in elvish welfare so much, why won’t he just free the poor creature?

• She’s at it again! This red-haired flirt was recently seen canoodling behind a tapestry with her fellow quidditch teammate. 10 points for Gryffindor?

• This Ravenclaw beauty may have a new beau on her arm, but the word around the castle is that she’s been weeping day and night over the loss of her “chosen” guy.

• A certain Slytherin alumni doesn’t want you to know the awful truth – he was raised by muggles!

• Rumor has it that a know-it-all sixth year couldn’t keep her eyes off one of the Gryffindor quidditch team hopefuls during their recent tryouts. The player in question looked a little confused by her attentions… but quickly decided that he’d like to show her a few more of his moves.

• This Hogwarts professor has been seen slinking around the greenhouses late at night. Let’s hope Professor Sprout sics a mandrake on him!

Belicia Babble is the Thestral Gazette’s loose-lipped gossip reporter. She lives in Ravenclaw tower with Prattle, her Pygmy Puff, and loves prying into the personal lives of her classmates. Rumor has it she also blogs as the slightly more discrete Lisa Galek at Read. Write. Repeat.

Which of these objects of rumor do you recognize?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ask Abby Gabby: Advice for Wizards and Witches

My name may be Abby Gabby, but there's no need to use the stupify spell to keep me from gabbing! My lips are zipped, so ask this Ravenclaw gal for advice and I’ll give you an answer!

Dear Abby Gabby,
My erm...mandrake plant has horrible acne. How should I clear it up? I’ve tried everything! It really hates being made fun of in school. Especially in potions in front of Professor Snape.
~Spotted in Hufflepuff

Dear Spots,
While I find it hard to believe your mandrake plant is taking potions with Professor Snape, I’ll play along because I am kind and generous like that and would never put a student on the spot. Ha, get it? On the spot?

Anyhoo, mix up this dandy little brew I conjured up several years ago while experimenting with muggle chemicals:
~2 drops of what muggles call “Windex”
~an eye of newt
~a drop of spider venom (you can get Aragog to donate some)
~a pinch of belly button lint

Mix it all together and say: Acnio Destructo. Then apply to your—I mean, the mandrake’s—face and let sit for four hours. Rise off with cool water. Tip: do not keep on longer than four hours or else your face may just melt off.

I assume NO responsibility for the consequences. But I must say, my face has been as clear as a baby’s bottom for quite a few years now.

Dear Abby Gabby,
I can’t seem to get rid of this pesky house elf that keeps following me around. Any advice?
~Paranoid in Gryffindor

Dear Paranoid,
Trick his master into giving the elf his sock. Then the elf will be free and out of your hair. Works every time. Tip: keep the house elf as a friend, though—you never know when you may need him.

Dear Abby Gabby,
I caught my boyfriend sneaking off into the Room of Requirement the other day by himself. I tried to follow him in, but it shut me out. What could he possibly be doing by himself in there?
~Confused in Slytherin

Dear Confused,
There are two possible answers to this one:
A. He is meeting another girl, in which case you have my permission to put a hex on them both.
B. He is, um, how should I say this, meditating. In which case, leave him be and give him a couple extra smooches at the end of the day.

Dear Abby Gabby,
The boy I like has a disgusting pet rat. It’s been in his family for years. I really want to go out with him, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to his rat. What should I do?
~Grossed out in Gryffindor

Dear Grossy,
What you need is a cat. A big, fat, orange cat. Every time you come around, the rat will run away. Then you can cuddle with your dreamy wizard without worrying about the nasty rat. Tip: keep a close eye on that rat—if it doesn’t keel over from old age in the next few years, you may have more than just a rat on your hands.

Thestral Gazette advice columnist Abby Gabby, a member of the Ravenclaw house, prefers to keep her true identity a secret (for the sake of her trusted advisees, of course). She loves divination, lending a shoulder to cry on, and quite possibly has the slightest crush on Professor Firenze. She blogs as her alter ego, Abby Minard at Above Water.

What questions do you have for Abby Gabby?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Umbridge Unmasked

by Michael Di Gesu, Ravenclaw

LONDON— After maniacal decree number whatever, this investigative reporter decided to learn more about beloved High Inquisitor and Head Mistress of Hogwarts.

Hold onto your wands, broomsticks, and lunch, dear readers. Archives of the Daily Prophet reveal that Dolores Jane Umbridge was Miss Britain Witch 1947.

No, I didn’t put a spell on this article; you are reading correctly. That toad-faced, slack-jawed, sadist was once a beauty queen. What happened to her stunning good looks? For answers, we’ll have to grab a time-turner and go back more than half a century.

Thestral Gazette recently obtained sealed Ministry records from an investigator working deep undercover. They reveal that our so-called pure-blood Headmistress was born to not one, but two muggle parents: Dick and Jane Rumbridge of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. Oh, the irony of her torturing students like Harry Potter to tell “the truth.” Miss Umbridge, as she renamed herself, has plenty to answer for!

After winning her title, sources say the flaxen-haired beauty entered the Ministry of Magic weaving tall tales of her pure ancestry. No-one questioned it. Her sultry looks and girlish voice mesmerized all, especially the male population. Umbridge quickly rose to influential positions with skills that some say would make even Peeves blush.

Her vixen ways and heart-stopping good looks (I still can’t even fathom this) led to a torrid affair with Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge. Within a month of her connection with Fudge, Umbridge was appointed Senior Undersecretary. The two were seen everywhere together: the opera, the Quidditch World Cup, and even at a quiet little bistro in Paris.

The Minister’s wife, Tatiana Fudge, a half-Veela former beauty queen, caught wind of the affair. She hunted down the lovers and found them together in the Leaky Caldron’s bridal suite. Outraged, she cast the Bulgarian-Bullfrog hex: a complicated spell only Veelas can cast. To add insult to injury, Mrs. Fudge left Umbridge with only her girlish voice intact.

Surprisingly, Mrs. Fudge did nothing to her straying husband. Her reason? “My Neil is so very kind to heez staff,” she said. “Zat leetle vorm Dolly Umbridge took total advantage of heez kindness! I lay zee blame entirely on zat tart!”

Devastated to be hideous, Umbridge retaliated in the only way she could—by drafting legislation to oppress part-humans like Mrs. Fudge, including centaurs and werewolves. Our favorite Defense against the Dark Arts professor, Remus Lupin, is now in hiding because of her bitter campaign.

Feeling guilty for his part in Umbridge’s cursed transformation, and perhaps to remove her ugly face from his sight, Fudge appointed her High Inquisitor and Headmistress.

Will we ever be rid of her? Only time will tell. Our best hope is for part-human hybrids to rise up and do her in.

Michael Di Gesu is the Thestral Gazette’s investigative reporter. If you have anything to hide, he will sniff it out. When he’s not digging up secrets and sordid affairs, you’ll find him on the Quidditch pitch with friends Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. Terrified of flying himself, he’s yet to take flight with his buddies. Harry’s still working on it. “Someday I’ll get him on a broom!” Michael blogs at:

Which shady character should Michael investigate next?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Viktor Krum Reunites With Former Girlfriend

By Melissa Sarno, Hufflepuff

LONDON—Bulgarian National Quidditch player Viktor Krum was once again spotted with actress Anastasiya Dilov. The two attended last night’s premiere of her latest film, The Non-magical Exploding Tuba, a satirical take on the Muggle opera The Magic Flute.

The pair have been known for their tumultuous relationship, which began when the Bulgarian social climber crashed the Krum family’s annual pig roast. The known vegetarian reportedly used the Aguamenti spell and was said to have “wreaked havoc” on what was supposed to have been a “private family affair.” Despite her unorthodox methods, Dilov quickly won Krum over. “The girl’s got guts,” the six foot heartthrob said with his signature fist pump.

Of course, others argue that she may also wreak havoc on the famed Seeker’s heart.

Their initial split occurred while Dilov was filming on location in Romania. After Dilov was photographed hand in hand with an unidentified red-haired wizard, Krum reportedly went into a blind rage.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said a member of the film crew. “He apparated there in minutes and nearly took down the set with a Bombarda spell. If he wasn’t so worried that the International Quidditch Association would suspend him, I’m not sure what would have happened.”

Last night, however, the couple was all smiles, despite the fact that questions of Dilov’s fidelity are once again in play. The fashion icon wore a rare dragon skin coat to the premiere, claiming it was “a gift from a friend.”

“Galleons can’t buy that kind of thing,” said renowned fashion designer Augustus Tuttle. “I don’t even want to think about what a person would have to do to get a coat like that.”

Krum declined to comment, but was overheard muttering, “How should I know what she keeps in her drawers?”

Melissa Sarno is Thestral Gazette’s celebrity reporter and co-president of the Herbology Club. When she’s not up to her ankles in mooncalf dung, you can find her accompanying the Frog Choir on harpsichord or writing Witch Lit in the Hogwarts Library. She blogs at

Which celebrity of the wizarding world should Melissa investigate next?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Being Bullied? Weasel Your Way Out

By Jen Daiker, Hufflepuff

HOGSMEDE, INVERNESS—Are you sick of being your classmates’ guinea pig for jelly-legs jinxes and levicorpus spells? Before you beg your parents to transfer you to Beauxbatons, take heart. Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes is now beta testing a product sure to delight.

We'll Watch Your Back map (WWYB) tracks the movement of any Hogwarts students you wish to avoid. WWYB will give you the power to navigate Hogwarts safely and calmly. Better yet, you can achieve this safety without involving Hogwarts staff, freeing you from the fear of reprisals for ratting out your tormentors.

Headmistress Minerva McGonagall had only positive things to say about the product.

"Though I try to restrict certain Weasley products from the school grounds, I can't help but applaud this new item that will surely help the students feel more at home. We are aware that not everything can be solved with magic or even be brought to our attention. For those students who feel mistreated, this product will allow them to steer clear of trouble before it starts with privacy and minimal fuss. However, I would implore those targeted by bullies to also consider stopping by my office for additional support."

The Weasley twins aren’t looking to put the WWYB map in the wrong hands, so all students wishing to have a customized WWYB map created for them will undergo private testing to ensure that they truly are being bullied. Interested students are welcome to try out this new product. To sign up for the free trial period, simply stop by Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, 93 Diagon Alley, London, or send your request via owlpost.

Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes continues to grow as new products are constantly being introduced. WWYB should prove a great addition to the lineup that includes Puking Pastilles to aid your escape from exams and those adorable Pygmy Puffs, everyone’s favorite pet alternative.

What will they think of next? Only time will tell. If there’s a product you wish the Weasleys to develop, please stop in and share your ideas today.

Jen Daiker loves transfiguration, fizzing whizbees, and is a founding member of S.P.E.W. She has also been known to dabble with polyjuice potion. She blogs at unedited.

What products would you like Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes to develop?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mrs. Norris's Secret Identity Revealed

By Laurel Garver, Ravenclaw

HOGSMEDE, INVERNESS--Student concerns about the Filch/Norris relationship first surfaced when the school caretaker suffered a breakdown after his feline companion Mrs. Norris was left petrified. Though the attack was later confirmed to be the work of a basilisk, students whispered among themselves: “Why such a fuss over a silly cat?”

Why indeed is the long-haired tabby always close to Mr. Flich’s heels? And why the very human name?
Sources close to the pureblood Norris family now confirm the shocking truth: the feline stalking the halls of Hogwarts was in fact once named Clothilde Katz, a Durmstrang graduate and former undersecretary to the Minister of Magical Animal Welfare.

Katz met her late husband Archibald Norris at a Ministry of Magic holiday party. There, witnesses say, Mr. Norris conjured an entire thicket of mistletoe in which he privately wooed the young Miss Katz, a great beauty fifteen years his junior. Within six months, Katz and Norris wed in Durmstrang’s famed Gothic chapel, honeymooned in the Alps and settled in Ottery St. Catchpole.

A broomstick collision claimed Archie Norris’s life less than a year later, leaving his widowed bride heartbroken. The neighboring Filch family soon took her under their wing, frequently inviting her to join them for meals and conversation. It is also believed that they hired Mrs. Norris to provide private tutoring to their then-teenaged son, Argus.

Why tutoring? Ottery St. Catchpole resident Thomas Peepington explained, “Start of every term, them Filches all pretends like Argie gone to King’s Cross with the rest of the Hogwarts lot. Ah, but don’t I see ‘im plain as you please practicing stunning spells with the pretty young widow in ‘er back garden? He ain’t never got no letter from Hogwarts, did he? We always says Argie’s naught but a common squib.”

Clothilde Katz Norris was last seen in human form leaving the Ministry of Magic offices to respond to an emergency call for the Ministry of Magical Animal Welfare. According to the Ministry logbook, she was sent to investigate an illegal cerberus-fighting ring. And she was not alone. An unnamed “assistant” was also logged as accompanying her, via the Floo network, to the alleged fight-ring site.

Newspapers of the time claim that upon arriving at the scene, Mrs. Norris was vaporized by an unknown dark-magic curse. A quiet, corpse-less funeral was held and the Norris estate divvied out among Archie Norris’s surviving nephews. Soon after, Argus Filch left Ottery St. Catchpole to join Hogwarts staff as caretaker. He was accompanied by a handsome tabby he claimed to have “named after” his slain neighbor.

Our investigation has led us to new evidence that Clothilde Katz Norris did not in fact die on that fated emergency call. She was instead transfigured with a spell so powerful, no counter-curse is known. Seventh-year Slytherin Piers Whithin, who took a first in the legilimency O.W.L., earned five double-detentions with Mr. Filch in order to ascertain the whole truth.

According to memories expertly pried by Piers, Mr. Filch had purchased a black-market wand from Lichtenstein when none of Ollivander’s wands would choose him. Upon arriving at the site of the supposed cerberus-fighting ring, Filch turned the wand on his pretty tutor and spoke a spell he believed was a love-enchantment. Instead, Mrs. Norris was fixed in feline form. Mr. Filch sought help from Professor Dumbledore, who thought it best to offer Mr. Filch asylum at Hogwarts and hush up the entire incident.
"They're together forever all right," Piers said. "Just not the way the poor sod had been wishing."
Laurel Garver is Thestral Gazette's editor-in-chief and communications secretary for S.P.E.W. She sings in Hogwarts choir, dabbles in Mermish poetry and tirelessly campaigns for an intramural Pegasus polo team.

Who else at Hogwarts do you suspect is not who he or she seems to be?