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?