Hogwarts Mystery Barely Scores an Acceptable Owl.

Besides reading Harry Potter in Spanish over the holiday, I picked up Hogwarts Mystery for the first time in months and started playing again. I started the game shortly after it was released, and played regularly for a while, but it is the sort of activity I find it hard to sustain long-term.

The Pro’s:  You definitely feel immersed in the world of Hogwarts.  My character is Thelma Peterswarren, and she is currently a fourth year Ravenclaw.  She has mastered the Animagus-form of an eagle and recently learned her Patronus is a Winged Horse (the fact the the two creatures are supposed to be the same notwithstanding..)  Bill Weasley is one of her best friends, and she is not getting to know Charlie, so she wrangled an invitation to the Weasley’s for Christmas this year (via Flying Ford Anglia!). And, like me, she is just now getting to her first Quidditch game; unlike me, she immediately decided to try out for the team.

The “mystery” itself is mildly interesting…  the brother of my character, Jacob, was expelled from Hogwarts, and has since disappeared.  The disappearance is related to the mysterious “Cursed Vaults”, which the protagonist is as determined to find as Harry was the Chamber of Secrets. Between searching, she gets to hang out with friends like Rowen, Penny, Ben and Tonks, and tangle with her arch-enemy, Slytherin Merula and a nasty Professor Snape.

The downside of the game is the pacing.  The bulk of the tasks are the same, whether they are classes, side quests or special events.  Basically, you look at graphics and tap things outlined in blue. Each tap costs a point of energy, and each energy takes 4 minutes to regenerate…  so it takes over three hours to fill up; my storage gets me through maybe 1/2 to 1/3 of a task.  If you are away too long, your “stars” expire and you have to start over. So, if you are not checking in every 2-3 hours around the clock, your progress is painfully slow.  You earn coins, jewels, books, etc along the way, but it can take weeks to save up for the next thing you want to buy—  like nifty new Ravenclaw gear for your room–and any you spend there is less you have to spend on emergency energy if you come up short.  You can always pay Muggle cash to move faster, but I swore, like in Pokemon Go, I was not going to do that.

The dueling is fun if you like a good game of Rock Paper Scissors.  There are cute touches, like getting to choose the name “Fang” for Hagrid’s new puppy. There are other tidbits that may or may not be relevant:  why are Merula’s parents in Azkaban?  Why did a werewolf kill Penny’s sister?  But overall, the game is too frustrating for me to play it too often— only when I have nothing better to do.  I sometime wonder how long before I just go look up the mystery solution online.

In other news, thanks to the support of a number of Potter Pundits and friends of this blog, I am 80% to the way of my goal for the Ecuador Skillcorps 2020 team.  (ignore the strikeout, the link works!)  The Hufflepuffs are leading the way in donations, in support of Dr. Laura Crysel’s personality theory work. I have five more days of my campaign, so please help me fill the Gringott’s vault. It isn’t cursed.  You can also get my magical, house-colored shirts at my Bonfire Store, but the Make Magic variety is only available for a day or two longer.

 

Papanatas! Llorones! Baratijas! Pellizco!: A “few words” in Spanish.

I have made it through the first audiobook reading of Harry Potter y la piedra filosofil, and was pleasantly surprised at how much I could understand, given the length of time since I have done any serious Spanish study. I am now working my way through a second time slowly, listening to the audiobook while reading along with the text. I have made it through the first seven chapters, through the much more alliterative “Sombrero Seleccionador” chapter. I have picked up a few interesting tidbits that I would like to share.

First, I am reading a print translation from Spain, while the audio version appears to come from the Americas, which probably accounts for some of the vocabulary differences: the use of medias versus calcitines for socks, for example. Most notably, the print version distinguishes between the familiar (vosotros) and formal (ustedes) plural you’s, as is preferred in Spain, whereas the audio version uses ustedes for both, as is common in Latin America. I had already mentioned that audio uses buho for owl, and the print lechuza, but interestingly, Hedwig is called una lechuza in both versions. This seems to be correct, since Hedwig, as a snowy owl, lacks ear tufts.

I noticed that, when Hagrid turns up on the Hut-on-a-Rock, Harry addresses him as usted, the formal you that would be typical for a child speaking politely to an unfamiliar adult. When Harry wakes up the next morning, he switches to the familiar tu, the pronoun a child would use for an adult more emotionally close to them. Thus, Spanish readers have a clue that Harry has come to trust Hagrid fully, even before Rowling tells us a few pages later.

Other differences cannot be explained as simple European-American language differences.  For instance, the print version makes a small but significant change to Hagrid’s line:

“What? My — my mum and dad weren’t famous, were they?” “Yeh don’ know . . . yeh don’ know . . .” Hagrid ran his fingers through his hair, fixing Harry with a bewildered stare. “Yeh don’ know what yeh are?” he said finally.

The print version changes the last to “No sabes lo que ellos eran?”–  or “You don’t know what they were?”  — making this line about James and Lily, in the past, not Harry, in the present.

Some even more intriguing gleanings from the Spanish translation after the jump. [Read more…]

Have Yourself a Harry Little Christmas

My family celebrated Christmas today and, predictably, I added to my Harry Potter Christmas Tree.  I added Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes to my miniature village underneath. But the big new thing this year is the Hogwarts Castle Tree Topper, with interactive ornaments.  I now have the castle and the Ron and Harry talking ornaments; the Hermione is supposedly waiting for me under the tree at my mom’s house.  It was quite an engineering feat getting it assembled, but fortunately, I had my son’s help.  It is a bit top-heavy for my miniature tree, but I think it still looks pretty cool.  Even if we know that a truly authentic Hogwarts saga tree topper would be a petrified gnome dressed as an angel. Note the remote controller is also an ornament, shaped like the Hogwarts seal.

If you want to see and hear part of the interactive “show,” see Castle  and Train dialogue.

In addition to the theme music and train meeting from the Sorcerer’s Stone movie, the audio includes the Sorting, the chess battle, and Voldemort demanding the stone from Harry.  And that is without the Hermione clips included, yet.  With 4-5 other ports available  on the “Keepsake Power Cord” for future ornaments, I predicting there are Hagrid, Dumbledore, Voldemort and possibly Draco or McGonagall still to come.  You may someday be able to hear the entire movie audio  on your Christmas tree.

The ornaments were not my only Potter gifts.  In addition to the Wizarding Wheezes, I got a new Marauder’s Map planner, that has not only a full year calendar, but lots of cool stickers.  For instance, I was able to mark the days my son and I go back to school with Platform 9 3/4 labels.  I also opened presents while sipping coffee from the Harry Potter Christmas mug my daughter gave me last year.

I’m looking forward to blogging more during the holidays and a new year of full of exciting Harry Potter, Cormoran Strike and perhaps even some more Veronica Roth in 2020.  I have her recently published short stories for part of my vacation reading.  In the meantime, Happy (Gregorian) Christmas to those who celebrate and to all a good night and a merry holiday season.

A gentle reminder to readers that I am continuing to raise funds for the children’s center in Guayaquil, Ecuador and for my volunteer work with autistic children.  Please consider a gift. Mention that you saw the link on Hogwarts Professor and I will send you a handcrafted Harry Potter thank-you gift. Funds are also being raise through Do With Not For shirt sales.

 

Why I’m Reading Philosopher’s Stone in Spanish

With my upcoming trip to Ecuador with the Global Autism Project, I need to brush up on my Spanish.  I took four years of the language in high school and did a minor during my undergraduate years at Emory University, but I’ve had few opportunities to use it in the 30 years hence, so I am quite rusty.  So, what better way to re-familiarize myself with the language than to read (and listen!)  to a very familiar and beloved story en espanol?  I’m both listening to it on audiobook on my daily commute and reading a copy that my daughter was given in high school. My ultimate plan is to do both at once.

I am pleasantly surprised at how much I can understand, though my familiarity with the English book certainly helps.  I am also intrigued by the minor differences I see between the English and Spanish translations and also by a few changes that I see between the audio and print versions.

Mas depues de la salta! [Read more…]

Giving Tuesday: Sponsor a Hogwarts Professor for the Global Autism Project.

Dear Readers:

I recently had the privilege of being accepted as a Skill Corps Volunteer with the Global Autism Project for July 2020. I will be part of a team traveling to Ecuador, to work in a center for autistic children and provide training for teachers and parents.  My university’s Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement is providing a seed grant for the project, but I need to raise 80% of the funds to make this trip a reality.

I am hoping Hogwartsprofessor.com readers who have enjoyed my Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Divergent and Cormoran Strike postings over the years will consider a donation to this cause on this Giving Tuesday. Skill Corps teams travel to places where schools and services for special needs children are scarce, with the long-term goal of establishing self-sufficient local centers.

No gift is too small.  The funding site is here for those who would like to donate.

Many thanks as we enter the holiday season.