Salazar’s Pit Viper: Another species named after our shared text.

The trend of naming new species after Harry Potter characters continues.  The latest addition to the Slug Club (which, to my knowledge, has no actual slugs in it yet….  hey, slug researchers, why don’t you find a horned one and name it “Horace?”) is Trimeresurus salazar, a new, bright green pit viper recently discovered in India. Zeeshan Mirza led a team of five self-described Potter fans on an expedition that discovered the magical creature in the Pakke Tiger Reserve in July 2019.  According to the report in The Indian Express:

They almost named the species ‘Nagini’, after Lord Voldemort’s snake but then later decided to “save it for when, and if, they discover a new cobra species since Nagini was a cobra.”

“Childhood experiences largely stay with you,” said Mirza, “When I was growing up, JK Rowling was a big part of my childhood, and perhaps everyone else who has read the book. Now what better way to honour and thank her than naming the species after one of her characters?”

Eriovixia gryffindori

Interestingly, the discoverer’s hat tip to Mr. Slytherin extends to the fantastic beast’s common name, which they hope will be Salazar’s pit viper, not to be confused with the Basilisk, Salazar’s pet viper. This also brings some balance to the Hogwarts’ founders, since Godric Gryffindor had a Sorting Hat-shaped spider named for him in 2016.  I’m waiting for Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw to get their turn.

The snake joins a dinosaur, an extinct lizard, two wasps, two stink bugs, four spiders–the three others are named after Aragog–and an elusive crab in species with Wizarding World-inspired names.  You can read about five of these in my earlier posts: here and here.  If you want to know about the six others I’ve added to my list since 2017, follow the jump.  

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Queen City Mischief and Magic Readalong continues: Louise reads Chapter 13 of CoS.

The Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival is continuing its Harry Potter readalong, and I was asked to do a chapter of Chamber of Secrets.  Click to tune in, or go the the QCMM Facebook page to see the whole series.

They are also taking volunteers to read from Prisoner of Azkaban, so if you’ve been dying to read “Cat, Rat, Dog” to the world , now’s your chance.  I’d be especially glad to see academics who have contributed to QCMM in the past (I mean you, Lana and John) do a reading.  Costumes and props optional.

We have LOVED the different ways you have all been presenting chapters of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and are currently scheduling readers for “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” If you are interested, please message us [on Facebook] or on Instagram and let us know if you have a chapter or date preference. Other than making sure you include that we have permission from Scholastic and JK Rowling, you may present your chapter in any way you’d like! We can’t wait to experience this continued creativity coming from our fans.

Rowling’s New Twitter Header Means The Faerie Queene is a Strike 5 Theme?

As many of us are anxiously looking forward to the release of the fifth Cormoran Strike novel, Troubled Blood, this September, the latest change to J.K. Rowling’s Twitter account may have some clues. The novel’s title has several possible origins, including Edmund Spenser’s epic poem The Faerie Queene. With her recently changed Twitter header, which includes an image from a beautifully illustrated 1890s edition of The Faerie Queene, Rowling and her crime-writing alter-ego Robert Galbraith may be laying the groundwork for a Spenser-scaffolding installment in the adventures of the ever-fascinating Strike and Robin Ellacott. Some of us truly hope that is the case.

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Pottering around the house in the midst of the COVID-19.

This particular Hogwarts Professor has had her academic workload suddenly quadrupled as she tries to move three classes, one lab, two thesis students and two interns online.  But, I wanted to pop in and suggest a few ways Potterphiles with more free time can entertain themselves during confinement.

First, the fine folks at Audible.com have made many great books available for free, including some good young adult lit and classic works of literature.  Check them out and, if you find something you want to discuss here, include it in the comments.

Second, JKR has relaxed the copyright on Harry Potter, and allowing teachers to read aloud to students.  Among the many conducting read-alongs are the Head Girls who run the great Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival; check out their Facebook page to tune in.  Another choice would be my friend and former student Dylan’s YouTube presentation. 

Finally, my sweet sister-in-law sent me a link to a Virtual Harry Potter Escape Room, created by Peters Township Public Library.  I’ve only just gotten started, but it looks pretty good.

All for now…  stay home and stay healthy, everyone.

 

 

Final Day for Make Magic for Autism T-shirts.

My Make Magic for Autism T-Shirt campaign ends tonight at midnight EST.  This is the final opportunity to purchase a shirt (in your favorite house color) in support of my Skillcorps Ecuador Team for the Global Autism Project. 

I am hoping to have a long-term partnership with the organization, and there will be many opportunities for fundraising in the future. Which makes me wonder, what would a clever Cormoran Strike t-shirt look like?

For those who are wondering, the Global Autism project cancelled its February trips, in an abundance of caution for the coronavirus. This resulted in a loss of 1/3 of the organization’s revenue, making our current work that much more important. July SkillCorps trips are still planned, in hopes that the corona virus will no longer be a threat. If those trips get canceled, too, I’ll be re-booked on a later one. The virus won’t last forever; autism will.

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”- Albus Dumbledore.