Pottermore: I Just Solved Snape’s Logic Puzzle

Sorry I’ve disappeared into Pottermore for the past couple of days. I will be back tomorrow, I think – or possibly Monday – to write up my general thoughts.

In the meantime, I just wanted to let everybody know that on Pottermore, you will have an opportunity to solve Snape’s Logic Puzzle. And when you get to that point in the story, you will find that one of my two final solutions is correct. :)

If you have visited Solving Snape’s Logic Puzzle, then you will know that figuring out the single final solution is impossible without actually seeing the layout of the bottles. You can only narrow it down to two potential positions for the “Forward” potion. (No such problem exists for the “Backward” potion).

I’m not going to reveal right now which one of my two solutions is the correct one. I’d like to give you an opportunity to solve the puzzle for yourself when you get to Pottermore.  But I will say this: while it was a solution I anticipated, it was not the solution I expected… though I think it was kind of the solution I was hoping for.

Feel free to use my Logic Puzzle notes when you get to Pottermore. Goodness knows I did!

Merlin’s Pants! I’m a Slytherin!

So…… I’ve been playing on Pottermore since this morning. I have collected all sorts of stuff, read JKR’s additional content (all of it delightful), acquired a wand (Maple wood, unicorn tail hair, 10 3/4 inches, slightly springy), and finally gotten sorted.

When I read up on my wand components, my wand seemed to be a prestigious wand belonging to a high achiever who is exceedingly unlikely to go into the Dark Arts. This made me think: “Prestigious high achiever. Maybe I’m not so Ravenclaw after all. I think I could be moving in the direction of Slytherin.”

Anyway, I did my best to give the Hat my honest answers. And trust me, it’s fairly impossible to tell exactly which questions are going to put you into which House. My first response (an honest one) was clearly moving in the direction of Ravenclaw. But after that, the questions became increasingly murky.

All I can say is that – after reading the House History – the outcome was rather a pleasant surprise! Even though I’m not particularly cut-throat, I am a fairly ambitious high-achiever. And now it looks like I am destined for greatness!

Because……
(skip to the bottom now if you don’t want to read the spoiler)


The title of this post is not a fluke. Merlin was a Slytherin.

So… where are you hoping to get sorted on Pottermore?

Waiting for Pottermore: The Fanfiction

This afternoon, @Lord_Voldemort7 proclaimed on Twitter:

#dcquake. Yes, it’s true, I did just rock your world.

I’m tempted, of course, to make some joke about Lord Voldemort being unhappy over not getting his Pottermore email. But I won’t go there because I’ve got something much more important to talk about.

I’m in the earthquake zone, and I felt the house shake and heard books fall off the shelves, and then I searched the basement for my skittish cats and found myself taking phone calls from my sister on the West Coast and my husband in DC – just making sure that everything was okay.

When I finally settled down to eat my lunch, I saw that there was an email in my Inbox.

No… not THAT email. It was an email from the CoS forum letting me know that someone had just replied to a thread that I subscribe to. The thread had lain dormant since last November, and when it first went silent I checked it compulsively to see if there was an update – much like we’re doing currently with a certain Pottermore email.

Today, the update came. And it wasn’t just from someone. It was from Inkwolf.

My working hypothesis is that it was Inkwolf’s update (published about 30 minutes before the quake) – not Voldemort’s displeasure – that caused the earth to tremble.

So, “Who is this Inkwolf?” you ask. “Who is this person who can cause the earth to shake and buildings to evacuate up and down the East Coast?” Amirite?

Oh, Inkwolf is just the author who improbably put Severus Snape on a yacht and sorted Albus Severus Potter into Slytherin. In short, she’s one of the funniest, most inventive HP fanfiction authors out there. And after nearly 10 months since the last installment, she has finally published a new chapter in her The Prince of Hogwarts novella.

“But I don’t read fanfiction!” you say.

Yeah, neither did I… until a CoS forum contest made me write a story. Later, someone pointed me toward Inkwolf’s uproarious Hogwarts Staff Meeting, and I was hooked… at least on Inkwolf. :)

The objections to fanfic are, essentially, that it copies someone else’s characters and world and is therefore stealing. The problem with that argument is that it perfectly describes William Shakespeare – who took all of his main plots and many of his characters from other sources. It’s what he did with them that made them his own creative work. Another problem with the argument – at least as it relates to J.K. Rowling’s characters and world – is that she actively endorses most Harry Potter fanfiction.

In her Pottermore announcement, JKR said that it was the fans’ astounding creativity that inspired her to create Pottermore. I know she reads HP fanfiction because she has spoken about some of her favorites. It’s possible, then, that the fanfiction itself played a role in bringing us Rowling’s newest addition to her world.

So with that out of the way, let me just say that I think reading a bit of Inkwolf would be quite an entertaining diversion while waiting for the Pottermore Welcome email to arrive!

Here is a list of Inkwolf’s work:

  • Hogwarts Staff Meeting: alternate universe, laugh-out-loud funny
  • The ASP at Hogwarts: next generation adventures of Albus Severus Potter, Scorpius Malfoy, and a new cast of characters. Often funny, and often serious.
  • The Prince of Hogwarts: Prequel to The ASP, focusing on the first year of her most popular ASP character: Albert Severus Prince. Reading The ASP first is highly recommended!

Anyway, I think I’m going to take my own advice and go read that new Inkwolf chapter. If you choose to read some Inkwolf too, have fun! And let us know what you think on the Comments thread.

Waiting for Pottermore DH2: The Taunting

A fifth batch of emails has been sent out, and there’s still not one for me.

So with that in mind, Expecto Patronum! continues the “Waiting for Pottermore” series…

Note: While we continue the never-ending wait for the Pottermore email, we carry on bravely with our discussion of the DH2 movie…

“Severus Snape wasn’t yours,” said Harry. “Snape was Dumbledore’s. Dumbledore’s from the moment you started hunting down my mother.”

I, and a lot of people, waited for that line in the movie…
and it never came.

After thinking about it, though, I have a theory about why the filmmakers cut it.

It was redundant.

In the book, Harry needs to say it out loud (or think it internally) so that the reading audience gets the point of what he sees in the Pensieve. Yet even with several pages of Harry circling around Voldemort, proclaiming that Dumbledore planned his death with Snape, there remains a tiny contingent of readers who still insist that Snape was truly working for Voldemort and that Harry was merely taunting Voldemort with Snape’s loyalties. He didn’t really mean it. *shrug*

In the movie, though, it’s kind of impossible to miss, or explain away, Snape’s true loyalties. Film is a visual medium, and here is what the viewers (and Harry) get to see…

"You have your mother's eyes"


"... and you're special"


"He doesn't need protecting..."


"So... the boy must die?"


Sure, Severus cradling Lily’s body at Godric’s Hollow is extra-canonical. And sure, Severus never actually says “You have your mother’s eyes.” But movie-only viewers don’t have the advantage of reading the text… over and over and over again… and thinking about its implications. They need to have things spelled out visually. And this approach to the backstory does have JKR’s highest blessing:

“They do it perfectly in the film, that was a place I was very glad they were faithful to the book. Snape’s journey is important, it’s such a lynchpin of the books, the plot can’t function without Snape.” ~ J. K. Rowling

After witnessing the series of images from Snape’s demise through the Pensieve memories, the viewing audience has no question that Severus loved Lily from the time he was a child or that he had been working for Dumbledore – and against Voldemort – ever since the Dark Lord started hunting her down. Viewers don’t need Harry to tell them that. And so, in the movie, he doesn’t.

I’m disappointed, of course, to find one of my favorite moments missing. But I’m appeased by the recognition that it was not necessary to show it. How about you?

Let us know in the comments.

Waiting for Pottermore: Stupefied

Here’s an amusing follow-up to the last post on DH2. Enjoy!

And speaking of stupefied…

Luna is now a Gryffindor. Yep, Luna actress (and big HP fan) Evanna Lynch sorted into Gryffindor on Pottermore.
(Many thanks to janinavalencia for finding and sharing that information).

Here’s what Evanna tweeted out about the experience:

Ahhhh umm errrrrr…. Just got sorted. Slight identity crisis. Need to sit down and process this… #pottermore

I’m in Gryffindor. #Pottermore #confusion #shock #pride #happiness #LUNADONTLEAVEME!!!

I don’t know what to do. I feel like Jo just told me I’m a man. I’m SO utterly confused.

Gryffindor! Woahhh what an honour! I’m so happy! But confused! But happy! BUT CONFUSED. #Pottermore #farewellravenclaw

Dammit, now I have to change my whole bleedin’ wardrobe!!! #pottermore #butredandgoldarenotmycolours

Sorry for the tweet explosion… I’m just…having a moment. #farewellravenclaw #pottermore #JowhathaveyouDONE?!

Sounds a bit stupefied herself, doesn’t she?

I guess we can now use this pic with feeling!

Luna in her Gryffindor Lion hat

Waiting for Pottermore DH2: choices, choices, choices

Note: While we wait for the Pottermore email, we continue our discussion of the DH2 movie…

But first… you need to know about the most deeply horrible, astonishingly EVOL poll in the history of humankind:

It’s the Anglophenia Fan Favorites poll, in which we are given the choice of voting between Alan Rickman and Benedict Cumberbatch or between Colin Firth and David Tennant.

In fandom terms, that translates:

Professor Snape (or Colonel Brandon/Alexander Dane/Hans Gruber/ Sheriff of Nottingham) VS. Sherlock Holmes.

and…

Mr. Darcy VS. Barty Crouch, Jr. / The Tenth Doctor

Yikes! Those are choices that really hurt – probably at least as much as the choices the filmmakers had to face in translating the second half of Deathly Hallows to the screen.

Choices that hurt

Let’s say you’re doing a book that fans are passionate about. There are moments that fans have been dying to see…

Fred’s death, for example. Or Snape’s loss of Lily’s friendship. Or Dumbledore’s backstory. Or Snape saving Lupin’s life and telling the portrait not to say “Mudblood.” Or Harry taunting Voldemort with Snape’s true loyalties and giving Riddle one last chance at remorse.

But you’ve got this other audience to account for… the audience that never reads the books and only sees the movies and that could care less about the intricacies of wandlore.

How do you make a movie that gives the book-fans enough of what they want to see and is still comprehensible for the movie-only fans? That’s the dilemma that the filmmakers were faced with. And they left every single one of those “dying-to see” moments out… yet managed to leave most fans feeling satisfied.

Let’s talk about a few of those choices…

The Mudblood Incident

One of the key complaints I’ve heard from one small corner of the fandom is that the film’s portrayal of “The Prince’s Tale” makes Severus Snape look like an innocent victim by failing to present the “Mudblood” incident or its aftermath.

Okay, I personally wanted to see this material on the big screen, but after giving it some thought, I realized that it presents a devil’s snare of potential difficulties. Here is what I wrote about it on the CoS forum:

I would have liked to see them include the “Mudblood” incident too, but in thinking it over, I realized that its inclusion is fraught with all sorts of potential difficulties for other characters – difficulties that I doubt the filmmakers wanted to unleash, particularly given the raw emotional power of Rickman’s overall performance.

As soon as Rickman’s Snape starts showing the depth of his pain, he’s got the audience in the palm of his hand. If the pain had started sooner, beneath the portrait of the Fat Lady [when Lily cut off their friendship], it could have swayed movie-only audience opinion in directions that the filmmakers would not have wanted – like against Lily, for instance. That wouldn’t be fair, since he used the word [Mudblood] on her, but film is an essentially emotional medium, and film audiences love redemption stories – especially when a character is in love. Film audiences generally want to see all but the most monstrous characters given a second chance after they’ve blown it in a big way.

In that context, the filmmakers probably made the right decision to cut the incident. They could not really tell which character(s) would get hurt the most by showing it, and filmmakers like to know exactly what audience impact will be.

There are additional problems with its inclusion as well. David Yates used a portion of SWM (“Snape’s Worst Memory”) in the OotP movie, but he did not incorporate the “Mudblood” incident. Adding it for DH2 would require re-shooting the earlier scene or working some digital magic to insert Lily into it. And that, of course, would mean casting a third actress to play Lily’s part – and getting Alec Hopkin (Teen Snape) back to utter the unforgivable word. (ETA NOTE: The additional material with a third Lily that was originally shot for OotP and then cut would not help since Harry is in the frame – in completely the wrong clothes and without all of the battle grime and gore that we see in TPT).

In addition, I think that the complaint that the exclusion of the Mudblood incident makes Snape look like an innocent victim is a product of very short-sighted thinking. What is most visually striking about the incident (and film is a visual medium) is watching James Potter and the Marauders launch an unprovoked attack on Severus Snape. In all likelihood, including the incident in the film would make Snape look even more like a victim.

Little James is puckishly cute as he runs through the halls tipping over his “victims'” school books.

This James, though, is hardly “cute” as he attempts to remove “Snivelly’s trousers”:

I would humbly submit that the filmmakers just didn’t want to go there with James, particularly given that they will later need to present him sympathetically in the Forest… and there’s really very little story to get the movie-only crowd to buy in to that sympathetic portrayal once the filmmakers re-unleash SWM. It’s hard enough already for many book readers to make the leap of faith into believing that James simply changed, and book readers have information that the movie-onlies don’t possess.

The choice the filmmakers made, then, was to make nobody look very much like the victim, and nobody look very much like the perpetrator. For purposes of the film, it was probably a wise choice.

Weasley Loss and Gain

Some book fans are angry at not seeing Fred die. And one big question many fans have asked is, “How the heck did Percy get there?”

That’s a good question! But there are actually other people whose return is a bit confusing – for instance Cho Chang (what’s she doing there in the Room of Requirement when she graduated the year before?) and Luna Lovegood (how’d she get there ahead of Harry, when she’d last been seen at Shell Cottage?). In the case of the Ravenclaw girls, my assumption is that they are there mainly to answer Harry’s question about the lost diadem. And yes, they are supposed to be there, even if the film never quite lets us know how they arrived.

Percy, though, has one of the book’s more dramatic entrances into the Room of Requirement, and we never see that drama in the film. I do think, though, that the filmmakers’ decision (while perhaps making Percy’s sudden appearance confusing for book fans ) actually makes matters less confusing for the general movie audience. Percy’s estrangement from his family has never become an overt plot point in the films. We do see Percy doing Ministry duties at cross-purposes to Harry and Dumbledore, but that’s about as far as that subplot goes. And let’s face it, without the subplot, many movie-only fans probably don’t really remember who Percy is anyway.

So, that nixes Percy’s big entrance because the big entrance would simply not make sense. And sorry, but if we nix Percy’s big entrance, we also nix witnessing Fred’s death. Yeah, we could still see Fred die, but we wouldn’t see it in the context of his welcoming Percy back into the family and later Percy throwing himself on Fred’s dead body.

If we remove Fred’s death from the context of Percy’s return, we may as well see Fred lying already dead in the Great Hall. And that is the choice the filmmakers made. Rather than go for overkill by showing Fred die on the screen and then show his family mourn, the filmmakers went the more subtle route of showing him already dead, surrounded by his family.

Whether we actually see Fred die or not, this scene still has tremendous emotional impact. I have not gotten past it once without breaking into sobs.

Dumbledore’s Backstory

King’s Cross is a big disappointment to many people. The wandlore, the backstory, Dumbledore’s remorse – all of it is missing.

Most of the essentials, though, were presented in DH1. And when the filmmakers decided (ACK!!!) to negate Grindelwald’s big moment of defiance and remorse, they couldn’t exactly go deeply into the Grindelwald plot in King’s Cross. In fact, I predicted in November that this would happen.

At least Ciaran Hinds’ fabulous performance – bringing to life Aberforth’s hundred years of bitterness – implicitly verifies the depth to which Albus Dumbledore had sunk in his youth. If we want to know more detail about the manner in which Albus’ choices sacrificed his sister’s life, we can always consult the books – or at least the nearest Potter fan. :)

Honestly, though, I did miss the King’s Cross wandlore. I suppose I experienced a bit of it vicariously through the interaction between Harry and Ollivander at Shell Cottage. But after all we’ve seen of the wand, would it truly have been too much information for the general movie audience if Harry had briefly discussed the Elder Wand with Dumbledore?

Well, at nearly 1500 words, this post has now gone on too long (thanks for making it this far with me!). So  I think I’ll devote my next DH2 post entirely to the element I missed the most… and why I think it made sense for the filmmakers to cut it.

Until then…