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?