End of Semester Freakout!

Hey everybody. I have not forgotten this blog. I’m just flailing around beneath a huge pile of Research Papers at the moment. I should be back this weekend!!! And when I do return, I’ll respond to the comments that readers have been leaving.

Thank you for reading and thanks for the comments. I’ll be back very soon now.

More House Elf Duties…

Well, it’s in the nature of things that I fulfill my House Elf duties and let readers know what has become of me.

In a nutshell, I started reading CoS… and then I got sick! I’m fine now, but I haven’t managed yet to carve out some space to talk about Harry’s trip to the Burrow… and how the Weasley Twins introduce us to dark rumblings about Lucius Malfoy and the social status associated with owning House Elves.

Please be patient. My teaching schedule has me going extremely long days on Tuesday and Thursday, which then has me playing catch-up on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. And getting sick did not help matters.

Things should even out  with next semester’s schedule. But I may be a little bit sporadic for the next couple of months. Or maybe I’ll post a bunch of argumentative posts on various HP topics that interest me. :lol:

Anyway, I’m still here. And I don’t intend to go anywhere. I just need to clear some space, and then I can post freely again.

Mucho Quickie Update

Hi everybody! My semester started yesterday, and I was assigned an entirely new class on Friday, so I spent the weekend working on a new Syllabus.

Things should settle down a bit by the middle of next week, and I’ll try to sneak in another content-oriented post in the next few days. But I’m kind of jammed at the moment.

To quote the next character I’m going to write about: “thought you ought to know.”

Just “Like” Magic!

Okay, folks. I’m getting prepared for the Fall semester – which means that I’m putting together syllabi for the classes I’m teaching. I haven’t done this in 10 years, and it’s amazing how much additional language you need to put into syllabi these days, given the more highly advanced state of technology. And then next week, I’ve got professional development activities on campus. And the following week… classes!

What this means is that for the next week or so, I may just dribble out a post here and there. But I’m aware that I owe you a post on Dumbledore’s enchantment of the Mirror, a post on Quirrell’s seduction by Voldemort, a post on Harry’s encounter with Voldemort, and at least one post on Dumbledore’s explanation to Harry. I’ve also got guest posts lined up before we quit PS/SS.

And then we’ll be ready to move on to CoS.

In the meantime, I just wanted to draw your attention to some magic buttons. WordPress has kindly added a “Like” button to the bottom of each post. So if you like a post, please “Like” it.

If you really like a post, Twitter has just today given you an easy way to broadcast the post through your Twitter network. And WordPress has decided to support it!

To tweet a post, click the “Tweet” button at the bottom of the post. It will go out across Twitter… just like magic.

So here you go… you wanna tweet? Tweet This!

The Task Most Made of Awesome?

I can’t believe it’s been Saturday since I last posted… but then again, I can. My husband’s out of town, and I’ve been running around all over the place, and today I had to keep the kitties calm while they were locked in a room because workmen were installing a furnace.

So, before we move on, let’s take a poll!

Which House Head’s task beyond the Trap Door is most made of awesome… and why?

Please explain your choice in the Comments thread!

I’ll be back to check after I’ve had a chance to see this Alan Rickman movie that’s been in my queue forever. Something called Sense and Sensibility.

ETA: I just remembered… some of you are dropping in randomly and haven’t read the last four posts! So if you need a refresher on the tasks, here you go…

And with that, I really will go watch my Rickman / Austen movie. :)

Master of Death? (gasp!)

Well, it’s official. After completing four challenges, I won the “Quest for the Hallows” contest on the CoS Forum! And that, according to Professor Dumbledore, makes me “Master of Death”… whether I like it or not.

So here’s how it all breaks down:

Task #1: The Elder Wand: For the Elder Wand task, we had to write a story (or submit a graphic) about one person who was canonically Master of the Elder Wand.

I found the whole idea of writing a fictional story terrifying because I have always rather emphatically not specialized in fiction. But I entered the contest to help my House (Gryffindor) get enough entries into the contest to rack up some House points. I honestly never expected to win anything myself. But I got an idea, and people really liked it.

My entry took “2nd Place” and “Best Overall” (thanks to split votes between “Best Story” and “Best Overall”). Here’s my entry. And here are my banners:

Task #2: The Resurrection Stone: Having done well in a task, I was excited going in to the next one. For the Resurrection Stone task, we could create a HP-related story (or image) or a Personal story (or image) showing how we would use the Stone.

The most popular HP-related scenario was to bring Fred back so that George could say goodbye. But I did something entirely different. I was a bit confused by the task. When the instructions said you, I thought they literally meant me (not a narrator). Since I did not want to use the Stone, I came up with an elaborate workaround on how I could use the Stone without actually intending to use the Stone.

The entry took 4th place for HP-related story and 5th place overall. No banners this time, but I did get extra points. Here’s my entry.

Task #3: The Invisibility Cloak: After placing in the first two tasks, I was one of the contest leaders. But this was the task that I thought was going to destroy me. We had to cover something that we never wanted to see again with a Cloak of Invisibility unlimited by size. But I just didn’t see any logic in merely covering something if the thing was still actually there.

So I thought and thought and thought… and ultimately overthought it! Eventually, the only logical thing I could think of to cover was my garage. I didn’t want to remove the garage. I just didn’t want to see it. I knew I had no chance of winning the task the minute I saw the winning entry (Entry 17). But at least I placed 4th again! (oh, and here’s my entry!).

Task #4: Master of Death: Having placed in all three tasks, I was now in 2nd place in the contest overall, thanks to cumulative points. In the final task, we had to tell why we would or would not unite the Hallows and become the Master of Death.

Within a day, I got an idea. How about a narrator from the distant future, looking back on the past – sort of like the Babylon 5 episode “The Deconstruction of Falling Stars”? Eventually, this idea morphed into a post-apocalyptic Wizarding future in which goblins rule.

I knew the idea was potentially catastrophic for my contest chances. But being a Gryffindor, I reasoned that now was the time for a bold move, not a time to play it safe. I decided that if I was going to go down, I was going to go down in flames. Here’s my entry. Thankfully, enough people liked it that it again got into the final round of voting… and this time I tied for 3rd place (and I won a whole new banner!):

Tallying it all up: At this point, I was the only participant in the competition who had placed in all four tasks, and this gave me the highest cumulative score, which gave me First Place in the Contest. But there was an additional surprise. Because I also scored the highest number of House Points in the contest, I was the 1st Place House Champion (Go Gryffindor!). So here are  those cool banners:

Finally, what all this means is that I get the title “Master of Death.” And even though I don’t really want to be MoD, I do like the banner:

I put all of my banners into that nifty little animated GIF that opened this post. It is now my sig pic on the CoS Forum.

ETA: Oh! I forgot the best part! My big prize was the User Title of my choice! Custom User Titles are highly coveted on CoS (they appear right under the username). I chose, of course, my favorite HP quote: “Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!”

Okay… snarking is open now on the Comments thread! Have fun!

A Few House Elf Duties

This is proving to be a hectic week. I’m taking a Math course, and I have a midterm next week. So I’m busy trying to relearn everything that we learned before Combinatorics broke my brain.

At any rate, this is my explanation for the Snapespicion post that strings together a bunch of quotes and offers precious little analysis, and I’m sticking to it! I will revise that post and re-post it after I finish my midterm! And we will also move on with the re-read… after I finish my midterm!

Okay, so now that I’ve informed readers of where we are and when to expect some more (and better) re-read posts, I’m finished with performing the house elf duties mentioned in my title. Now we can move on to some search terms!

Here are a few more search terms that have landed people on this blog. Some of these have pretty simple answers… and some are just perplexing:

Search term: who said nitwit! blubber! oddment! tweak
Answer: Albus Dumbledore, in his opening remarks at the Welcoming Banquet the first night Harry was ever on Hogwarts grounds. Harry, consequently, asks his prefect (Percy Weasley) if Dumbledore is a bit mad.

Search term: le patronus de drago malefoy
Answer: He doesn’t have one. For starters, Hogwarts does not teach the Patronus charm. Harry learned it in one-on-one lessons from Remus Lupin and in turn taught it to Dumbledore’s Army. Secondly, JKR has said that Death Eaters cannot cast a Patronus – with the exception of Severus Snape, who is no longer a true Death Eater by the time the series begins.

Search term: can you learn expecto patronum in year 5
Answer: Not in the Hogwarts curriculum… though you can learn it from Harry if you are a member of Dumbledore’s Army.

Search term: how to get past professor snape poa vide
Answer: I don’t have an answer! But I’d love to know what this is all about! I searched google using that search term and came up with nothing. I mean, I did see the link to my blog on the first page of Google results. It landed me at “Forgiveness and the Final Pensieve” – one of the first posts I ever wrote. And sure enough, somebody landed on that post on June 27… but oddly, the search term was not used until June 28, and then it was used twice. I’d like to know what page the searcher landed on!

Search terms: godric’s hollow map / map of diagon alley
Answer: I looked these up too, and the closest I came was this (from the theme park). This blog does not appear to be in the first five pages of Google results for either of these search terms, so I’m a little surprised that people landed here using these terms.

Search term: why isn’t hagrid in half blood prince
Answer: Ummm… he is.

Well, that’s it with search terms for now. I’ll be back soon to clean up the Snapespicion post and carry on with the re-read! But first… that Math midterm! Wish me luck!