If you're a Harry Potter fan that has been living in a cave or off on a deserted island without Internet access this weekend, you might have missed that J.K. Rowling released 6 new stories about our favorite boy wizard and the magical world in which he lives as a sweet Halloween gift.
While I have already posted J.K. Rowling's story about Dolores Umbridge and the top things we learned from her excerpt, I realized that there are some facts that people who aren't signed up for Pottermore might still find interesting. A number of different sites have been writing up what they thought were the best details from the other five stories. While most of those are great tidbits of information, I still felt there were more to be shared.
So here are my top 17 takeaways from reading the other 5 newly released J.K. Rowling stories!
No promises, Snape.
Ministers of Magic
1. The Prime Minister has no say in who is appointed minister of magic. But in some cases the Minister and the heads of British state work together, and are sometimes even friends .We already kind of knew this, but Evangeline Orpington (r: 1849-1855) and Queen Victoria were good friends, although her Royal Highness didn't know about Evangeline's magical ties.
2. The first Muggle-born Minister of Magic was Nobby Leach in 1962. 1962, people! The first recorded Minister's term was in 1707. That's a long, long time before the Muggle-borns got any political equality.
3. Treatment of and involvement with Muggles has been a highly contested point. The Minister Archer Evermonde forbade the Wizarding world from getting involved in the First World War. Although it was illegal, many witches and wizards still helped as best they could. Witches and wizards helping out the Muggles. I love it.
4. Ministers of Magic tend to have pretty long terms in office. The longest-serving Minister was Faris ‘Spout-Hole’ Spavin, whose term lasted a whopping 38 years!
5. You have to be able to emotionally understand and comprehend death in order for the Thestrals to be visible to you. This explains why Harry, who had seen his mother die as an infant, couldn't see them until a few months after Cedric Diggory's death during the Tri-Wizard Tournament.
6. Luna was different from Harry in that although she was young when her mother died in front of her, she’s much more intuitive and open to understanding death.
7. Thestrals live mainly in the British Isles and Ireland but have also been spotted in France and Iberian Peninsula. Other parts of the world have their own equivalent to Thestrals, although they're not exactly the same.
8. While she was a student at Hogwarts, Professor Trelawney was in Ravenclaw! For some reason this shocked me. She seemed like such a Hufflepuff.
9. Sybill was briefly married but their relationship ended when she refused to take his last name, Higglebottom. Some think that this is because Trelawney is an old, prestigious name and Sybill liked using her family ancestry to feel validated.
10. Sybill was offered a job at Hogwarts by Dumbledore despite largely being a fraud. He considered her to have a lot of knowledge and power that she was unaware of. Therefore she and her future predictions needed protection.
11. She has a penchant for sherry and other teachers knew of her alcoholic tendencies. This...explains some things.
12. People hire seers to predict the futures of their children so that their names will match their destiny, personality, and future. This practice is becoming less popular though as people don't want their kids to feel trapped by their destiny.
13. Before it was a prison, Azkaban was owned by a powerful but little-known wizard named Ekrizdis who tortured and killed Muggle sailors on the hidden island.
14. Many people in the wizarding community wanted to destroy it after Ekrizdis died and his cloaking spells wore off. But the Ministry of Magic kept it around out of fear of what the Dementors would do when their home was destroyed.
15. Some of the more conservative, anti-Muggle politicians decided to make Azkaban the prison that we know of today. Only one Ministers since its creation recognized that it was hugely inhumane, but after his death none of the following Ministers did anything about it until Kingsley Shacklebolt became Minister in1998.
16. After the Battle of Hogwarts, when Kingsley Shacklebolt came into power, Azkaban was finally rid of Dementors and the guards are now Aurors that rotate on and off the island. Following this change, there have been no further breakouts.
17. According to J.K. Rowling's notes, the name ‘Azkaban’ is a mix between Alcatraz and the Hebrew word ‘Abaddon’ meaning “’place of destruction’ or ‘depths of hell’.”
So how do you guys feel about all of these new facts? I felt a little like this:
Sure, maybe there was nothing too groundbreaking, but I'm not picky when it comes to Harry Potter updates. I'll take what I can get. If I ever get to meet J.K. in real life I'll just say, "Please, sir (ma'am), I want some more" and throw in my best puppy dog eyes.
To read the whole stories yourself, all you have to do is sign up through Pottermore (if you're not already a member) and click through selected chapters in Order of the Phoenix. Lucky for us, The Independent has created a handy little guide to help us all find these hidden gems.