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.

New additions to my Harry Potter Christmas Tree

I have never had any interest in braving the crowds for Black Friday shopping. For me, the day after Thanksgiving is the day to hang around the house, maybe catch up on grading, contemplate creative uses for Thanksgiving leftovers and start decorating the house for Christmas. This includes setting up my tabletop tree with all of the Harry Potter ornaments I have accumulated over the years. Hallmark keeps coming out with more each year; eventually I am going to need to get a bigger tree. Here are a few pictures of additions made to my collection since I first posted on this topic.

I have acquired quite a few buildings, most recently Hogwarts itself and Honeydukes Sweets.  Olivander’s and Gringotts have been around longer.  I have started setting all the buildings, except for the castle, which is scaled much smaller,  up around the base of the tree in some fake snow in the style of a Christmas Village.  The Honeydukes is especially festive, with the snow-covered roof. Note to self:  purchase some battery-operated lights to light them up.

Ornaments acquired in the last few years include the first Fantastic Beasts addition, the Niffler in the suitcase, and the first in a series of 3D book covers.  I only wish it said “Philosopher’s Stone” instead of “Sorcerer’s.”  There’s also one of Snape drilling Harry in his first potions class (another that plays dialogue from the movie) and, perhaps my favorite from an artistic perspective, one with Dumbledore and Harry exploring memories in the Pensieve.

Of course, like a lot of Hogpro writers, I am hoping the Cormoran Strike series will become popular enough to merit such merchandising tie-ins.  Can you imagine the holiday scenes?  Lula Lovegood’s body in the snow?  The near-collision on the snowy highway? Strike punching Whitaker in the gut? A yapping Norfolk terrier with a chorus of “Shut up, Rattenbury!”?  The possibilities are endless.

Veronica Roth’s Next Book, “Chosen Ones” to Be Published in April

Longtime readers know me as the resident Divergent junkie.  Like a lot of readers, I was disappointed in Allegiant and, though I read Roth’s science fiction duology: Carve the Mark and The Fates Divide Us, the books didn’t grab my imagination enough to post about them.  Not that I didn’t mean to; it just kept moving farther down my priorities list, especially with so much cool Cormoran Strike stuff to write about.

However, I continue to follow Roth’s work. Today, the publication date for her next novel popped up on my social media.  I must say, I am really intrigued by the preview and I hope this is an indication that Roth is returning to her strengths. 

More after the jump.

[Read more…]