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Dear new student:

Welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! Thank you for accepting your offered place at Britain's premiere school of Magic; we are excited to have you join us. Attached is your orientation packet to help guide you though your first few weeks at Hogwarts. If you are Muggle-raised you will also find A Parent's Guide to Magical Britain enclosed. Although it says "A Parent's Guide", you, the student, are encouraged to read it with your family so you may learn something of your rights and responsibilities as a junior citizen of the Wizarding world.

Your time at Hogwarts will likely be very different from your life at home. While it is incumbent upon you to make the adjustment, the Hogwarts faculty and staff are committed to helping you transition from childhood to being an adult Witch or Wizard.

HOUSES

You may have by now heard of Hogwarts' House System which Sorts students based on their personalities. While in the past students were Sorted into Houses upon their arrival at Hogwarts, today we recognize that a person's personality is extremely fluid at age eleven, and that their priorities and interests can change day by day, especially as they learn more about the world of adult Wizards. Sorting can be an important part of self-discovery, but we have opted to wait for final House Sorting until the beginning of a student's third year. This way, you will have time to get a sense of what place you might like to have in the Magical World, your interests and priorities, and even what kinds of other people you would like to spend most of your time around. Your House will be your family and home at Hogwarts, so a good fit is especially important.

First and second year students live and study together in Ickle House (also called Lower or Unsorted House). You will still go through the Sorting ceremony, as this is part of how Hogwarts recognizes you as a student, but you will automatically be assigned to Ickle House if you are under thirteen years of age. Your Head of House, House Matron, and Prefects (sixth and seventh year students drawn from all four Upper Houses) will all help you adjust to life at Hogwarts and in the Magical world. They will counsel you both academically and personally, mediate conflicts, guide you through the ins-and-outs of Hogwarts, ensure school rules are followed, and lend a sympathetic ear if you simply need to talk.

CLASSES

In addition to the Core Subjects of History of Magic, Transfiguration, Charms, Protection (formerly Defense Against Dark Arts), and Potions, first and second year students will take two classes to introduce them to life at Hogwarts and the larger world. All first and second years attend Methods, which will teach you to cope with the academic rigors of Hogwarts and be a successful student: how to conduct good library research, effective study skills, how to safely practice for practicals, time management, and essay writing. As our students come from diverse academic backgrounds, remedial tutoring in these topics, as well as literacy and numeracy, are available for students who require it in addition to regular classes. Just remember, you would not have been offered a place at Hogwarts if the faculty did not have full confidence in your ability to do well here.

First and second year students are also required to take Introduction to Magical Britain. This is a civics class, focused on a Wizard's rights and responsibilities as a citizen of Magical Britain, law, Britain's place in the larger Magical world, the relationship between Magical and Muggle Britain, and the functioning of various Magical institutions such as the Ministry, Wizengamot, Gringotts, and the school system of which Hogwarts is the crown jewel. In the first two months of the first year, students will be divided according to their upbringing: Muggle-raised students will receive instruction in magical matters their Wizard-raised peers learned as children, including an introduction to Wizarding culture; Wizard-raised students will conversely receive an overview of modern Muggle life, so they may understand their fellow students and the entirety of the world of which Wizards are a minority.

Because most Magical incantations are not in Modern English, first year students receive an introduction to Latin, focusing on the language elements salient to the formation of Magical incantations and naming conventions. Second year students take a similar class focusing on Ancient Greek. Further classes in both these languages are available as electives, which you may begin to take in your third year.
projectspace: (Default)
I've been vaguely poking at a sort of continuation of this entry (which is also turning into a Defendor fanfic if you stand on your head and squint) and a story about Snape being saved from death and de-aged/sent back in time for a do-over to see if he's worthy of becoming an Alchemist1 after his "assumed" death at Nagini's, er, fang. Both stories have the same problem: so far they're much more about logistics and planning than plot.

I freely admit I am Bad At Plot. Part of this is because I don't really understand How Things Work, including People. I mean, I get cause and effect, but all those unseen steps that go into other people's decision-making and all of the things between the cause and the effect, I don't know what they are, and unlike the root cause, I can't necessarily extrapolate them from the effect. This could be why I am so fond of procedurals, even as I recognize they are nothing resembling accurate.

I also am not good at seeing opportunities for action. "What does one do in school?" Well, one goes to class, studies, socializes with friends at lunch... How people got themselves into trouble I will never know. I always say I never smoked pot because I didn't have clue one how to find a dealer. This is still true. As hard as it is to write people who are smarter than you, it's that much harder to write people who have more agency/initiative than you do. Perhaps it's because I grew up in a fairly adventure/trouble-free area.

But really, the shape of the gears is at least (if not more) interesting to me than the configuration. Given what we were shown in the books, could the Trio have created the Marauder's Map? Could Severus? Or were Moony, Padfoot, and Prongs2 so uniquely smart and that powerful that they and only they could have managed such a thing at any age? How exactly does a street-level superhero go about gearing up without his credit card history giving him away? With the realism/grit knob turned up, what would be important for a superhero to have?

On the other hand, I know most other people don't want to read 500 words about how 10-year-old sent-back-in-time Snape finds paper to write his obsessive lists on or how a street-hero structures his shopping trips.






1Alchemists are sort of the Hidden Masters/Shadow Rulers/Illuminati/Whathaveyou of the Wizarding World, and Nicholas Flamel was the hidden king, which is why his failed protege/liaison to the wand-wavers Dumbledore started losing political influence after his death sometime just before or during the beginning of Chamber of Secrets.

I happen to like the theory because the Wizengamot doesn't seem to be well-thought out (as seen through the Harry filter). What exactly are their powers? They are both the Legislature and the Judiciary? What exactly is their relationship to the Ministry? What is the Ministry's relationship to the governance of the outside-of-Britain Wizarding World?


2Wormtail is braver than other characters credit him, but I always see him as someone with more cunning than intelligence, and he was certainly not as rawly powerful as his friends.
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I've started on a vaguely Arthurian/British mythology Harry Potter story based in large part off [livejournal.com profile] swythyv's (the older newspaper hattery especially) and Red Hen's theories, with a good dollop of Whitehound thrown in, as well as my own speculations.

Unfortunately, as plot and I are not the best friends, I seem to be bogged down in world building (as well as figuring out what my POV character's and Bad Company's glasses of water are). Here's what I have of the Wizarding World (sans Harry filter and wand-waving foolishness) so far:

Read more... )

Butterbeer

Sep. 27th, 2006 01:03 pm
projectspace: (woozle)
Wanted to get this train of thought down before I forgot it.

I've always been a little dissatisfied with the Butterbeer recipes found on the intarwebz. They all seem to be along the lines of "add butter/butterscotch syrup to cream soda or root beer". That's butterscotch cream soda, not Butterbeer. I've been considering making my own sodas (several methods put forth on the web sound fairly easy, with the greatest difficulty lying in the ability to find high quality extracts in the flavors I want), and butterscotch was sort of on the list, so proper Butterbeer seemed like a logical step from there.

A couple things collided in my various and sundry researches over the last couple days: there was mentioned, on one of the Make Your Own Soda sites that hops is one of the ingredients in root beer. Butterbeer is at least slightly alcoholic (Winky gets rather drunk off it), so the possibility of actual butterscotch-flavored beer wasn't too far from my mind in the first place. Especially since one of the best soda-making tutorials I found on a Google search came up from Brew Your Own, a homebrewing magazine (the library subscribes). Right, off to the Florilegium Beverage archive for a look at the brewing threads. Wherein I found that the Medieval definitions are (generally) that ale is an unhopped malty brew thing, and beer is a hopped malty brew thing. In the 1400's (well before the Secrecy Act and separation of the wizarding world from the Muggles), the Brewers Guild petitioned the Mayor of London to ban brewing with hops. The Beer Brewers Guild and the Ale Brewers Guild were separate until the 1500's (still before the Seclusion). Hops were a beer component before wizards left the Muggle world, and thus were known to wizard brewers (and used by them) at time of the Seclusion. The key is that Butterbeer is indeed a beer.

That all leaves us with a definition of Butterbeer as a hoppy, malty, butterscotchy brew thing. Probably don't want to drunken up the kiddies (plus, beer brewing sounds rather effort-intensive); better to leave it as a soda than let it ferment. So...a syrup base with hops, malt (malted milk instead?), and butter/butterscotch as flavoring mixed with soda water? Which is a little better/more accurate than "make butterscotch-flavored root beer". I think.

Someday I may even get off my lazy ass and try this. After I get off my lazy ass and make Cinnamon Vanilla soda, the desire for which kicked off this entire line of thought in the first place.

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