How Did They Do It?
Ah, June! The month of graduation, moving on, and for the ambitious witches and wizards at particular stages of their lives, finally achieving exactly what they worked hard for. Slytherin is famous for being the most ambitious House of them all, and for very good reasons! No one is surprised when we succeed. We're simply magnificent. That being said, there is one Gryffindor who turned out to be a success in nearly everything she did, and I admit that even I had discounted her. The focus of my article is how Ginny Weasley won the heart of Harry Potter.
When we first met Ginny, she was a shy girl, and Harry ignored her (can't really blame him, can you?) She even sent him an embarrassing singing Valentine – eek! – and then she became possessed by Voldemort, was used to open the Chamber of Secrets, caused Harry's really, really good friend Hermione Granger to be petrified (and others too) and then almost lost her life, and Harry's as well. Far from girlfriend material. Just... no.
But Ginny never lost her feelings for Harry. After talking to Hermione, she decided to get on with her life and act as if she didn't care. And so she did. When she found out she was too young for the Yule Ball, did she complain, “That's not fair!” No, she found herself a date, and – get this – she even danced with him! And Neville seemed to have had a wonderful time. Heck, Ginny actually dated a couple of guys and didn't spend hours in her dorm room crying over Harry Potter.
Ginny joined Dumbledore's Army and was quite talented at spell casting, too, although she did have quite a temper! She cast a Bat-Bogey Hex at Zacharias Smith because he was annoying her. Professor Slughorn caught her, and was so impressed, and saw this as a sign she was a witch who was going somewhere, that he invited her to join the Slug Club on the spot. She was no coward, and joined the group that went to save Sirius in the Department of Mysteries.
When her romance with Harry finally started blossoming, and she knew he was leaving to hunt horcruxes, she never begged him to stay. She accepted that he had to go. She, on the other hand, worked with Neville to do their part on fighting for the "good guys" at Hogwarts, including breaking into Snape's office. She even fought in the Final Battle.
She had a wicked sense of humor that Harry loved, telling people Ron had a Pygmy Puff tatoo, and referring to Fleur as “phlegm” behind her back. She also shared Harry's love of Quidditch.
I suppose Harry saw in Ginny someone who would never allow him to wallow in self-pity, someone who knew what it was like to have Voldemort inside her mind, who was funny, not clingy, and willing to fight for what she believed in. Someone with a nice, huge family who loved him.
Ginny, for her part, got the wizard of her dreams, by focusing on her own life and not obsessing over how to “win his heart,” so to speak.
Welcome to March! For me, along with spring, green, sneezing, and unpredictable weather, March has always been associated with good luck. As I am sure you've noticed, I've been blessed with many wonderful gifts, including tenacity, skill, good looks, and pure blood, but good luck seems to have escaped me. Other witches and wizards seem to have more than their fair share and have done nothing whatsoever to have deserved it and I'd like to know how. No, I am not referring to Harry Potter! Who would want to have HIS life?
For this column, I'll describe that lucky wizard, and you, my excited readers, may attempt to guess who he is. Maybe by describing him, I can unravel what makes him so fortunate.
The very first thing I notice about him is his size. No doubt he has *GASP* goblin blood running through his veins. Certainly no pure blood! And yet, he's a professor at Hogwarts and no one seems to judge him harshly because of height. Even Dolores Jane Umbridge measured him, but no mention of his size made her final report. Why?
His teaching style appears to be rather relaxed, compared to most. He doesn't demand constant attentio, and will even permit his students to chat, as long as they master the assignments. From what I've seen everyone, including Draco Malfoy of all people, seems to respect him. Imagine: students passing your class and you barely have to teach or maintain control of the group. If that isn't luck, then I don't know what is!
He's a dueling champion, but no one ever seems to remember that. When Gilderoy Lockhart began his Dueling Club, this wizard would have been the obvious choice to be his assistant, but instead the job was thrust upon Severus Snape. Just think: not having to listen to Lockhart go on and on about how gifted he is. What a bore! Could a wizard possibly get any luckier than that?
Did there appear to be any surprise or hurt feelings when he didn't join the Order of the Phoenix? Not that I'm aware of. No worries about taking sides or putting his life in danger. The professors still liked him and the students respected him – all four Houses.
Then came the Battle of Hogwarts. He most definitely knew which side he was on and he fought. Who did he fight? Well, remember the Death Eater who had a hand in the deaths of Fabian and Gideon Prewett (Molly Weasley's brothers) and murdered Remus Lupin? Antonin Dolohov was his name. Was, as in past tense, because this wizard single-handedly defeated Dolohov. Not only that, but he was dueling Yaxley when Voldemort declared a cease fire in the middle of the battle.
I say he considers it lucky very few remember his defeat of Dolohov. No embarrassing Order of Merlins. No being targeted by escaped Death Eaters or offspring of Death Eaters. Returning to Hogwarts and life as usual. Retirement being calm and peaceful. No stress. Maybe he'd get a kneazle.
Filius Flitwick has got to be the luckiest witch or wizard who ever entered the gates of Hogwarts.
I still have no clue how he was so successful. Maybe he'd developed better protection against the nargles than most of us have?
And so, the holidays have passed and it's a whole new year. As usual, I got amazing gifts under my tree because my parents love me and know I deserve the very best. Ever seen an albino peacock feathered quill? Exquisite! Just wait until Voldamorteen sees me writing with this next week in class... She'll be so jealous. Oddly enough, though, despite all of my all of mother's fine qualities, she isn't famous for being the Wizarding World's Most Wonderful Mother and Undeniably Most Nurturing Witch; instead, Molly Weasley seems to unofficially hold this title. Why in the name of Merlin is this? The reason completely escapes me. How on earth can you be considered Mother of the Century when all you get your children for Christmas are jumpers? This mystery is the subject of this month's column and maybe by the conclusion of it, I'll be a little bit closer to an answer.
1) Molly certainly seems to take pride in her culinary skills! Her family eats lots of tasty, healthy meals and rich, yummy desserts. Mealtimes seem to be one of the highlights of Weasley family life. I suppose this gives the family a sense of togetherness. No matter how their day went, they always know they would have a delicious home-cooked meal waiting for them.
My mother has a house elf who does all of our cooking. I eat alone, looking out of my bedroom window. The food appears and I eat.
2) The Burrow (it even has a name!) seems very homey and cozy: a place where a witch or wizard would feel safe and accepted. Comfortable furniture. Sturdy stuff, with nothing easily breakable.
My mother only buys the most expensive items she can afford. Very impressive. I don't even touch them, because I may move an antique out of position and mother would notice immediately. At least, I think she would. I haven't heard her say anything in a long time.
3) Molly is always passionately involved in her children's lives and wants the very best for them. She suffers when they suffer. She brags about their accomplishments and never hides her pride. When she believes they've done wrong, she never hesitates to set them back on the right track. How many mothers send their sons Howlers in front of their Hogwarts peers? She also never gives up on them, and this even includes Percy who slammed the door in his mother's face.
My mother never brags about me. Never loses her temper, either. In fact, she's very quiet. I never hear her voice. At all.
4) When the Weasley family gets extra money, instead of buying something she's always dreamed about (Celestina Warbeck concert tickets, perhaps?), Molly took the entire Weasley family on vacation to Egypt to visit her son Bill.
My mother would never do this. Last year, she spent a large number of galleons on a harpsichord once owned by Gottfried Heinrich Bach. He's so famous, I'm not even sure who he is. I don't remember her talking about him. Or anyone else, really.
5) When one of her children is ill, and this even includes her spouse of a number of years, she immediately goes to the hospital to be with that person.
When I become ill, my mother knows I am strong enough to fully recover on my own. She never visits me in the hospital. Now that I think about it, I can't remember the last time I've even seen my mother.
Perhaps by giving each of her children a homemade jumper every year, Molly Weasley is telling her children that even though they are all unique individuals with their own personalities, preferences, and futures, she loves each and every one of them the same and that will never change.
I hope you have the happiest of holidays and the joyfullest of seasons!! Uh... I'm off to find my mother. Until my next column, may your newfound knowledge help you on your journey to greatness.
The first subject for my column? Lord Voldemort. He worked hard to achieve total power over our world, and almost achieved it. Granted, he was a bit too ruthless, and while I know I probably should never admit that I don't believe in all that "blood purity" stuff, or subjugating muggles, I do want to be honest in my column, especially since it will be read and studied thousands of years from now. The question I asked myself is, how did Voldemort do it?
Here are the top five most important actions he took and some tips we can use, listed in no particular order:
1) If your given name doesn't suit the image you are trying to project, change it! Lord Voldemort's given name was Tom Marvolo Riddle. What sort of parent would brand an innocent child with a name like that? Let's think about this for a moment. "Tom" sounds too much like the name of a barman, or even a cute male cat. "Marvolo?" Was his mom obsessed with chocolate and decided to honor Mars and Rolo candies? "Riddle?" Seriously? No world ruler wants to be named after a joke. Heck, no ordinary witch or wizard would either. I'm so grateful my own parents showed exquisite taste when they named me.
2) Change your name to something more fitting, if necessary. Lord Voldemort. Now we're talking! The name "Lord" alone denotes power. Plus can you imagine someone saying, "May I call you Lord?" They would not even have to ask. Naturally, all of us know the "mort" in "Voldemort" means "death." That's scary! No one will even take a name like "mort" and turn it into a joke.
3) Let people know you could appear if they dare to speak your name. It did happen, you know. This reminds me of the Muggle game, "Bloody Mary." Say this three times in front of a mirror, and see who shows up... Go ahead. I dare you. Be sure to practice this with your chosen name (that's if you have to change it and weren't given a perfect one, like I was). If you don't have a name yet, use mine: "February Fortescue. February Fortescue. February Fortescue." It's safe. I'm not 17 yet.
4) Find a really awesome pet and be sure to select one that most people are afraid of. Lord Voldemort had that gigantic snake with dangerous venom. If I decide I need such a pet, I'll most likely visit the Forbidden Forest and capture a baby Acromantula. It would be perfect, and even better than a snake. Can you imagine a battle where someone dramatically says, "Neville, cut the head off the Acromantula!" No? Me neither.
5) Learn how to praise and make the other witches or wizards feel special. Practice phrases such as "There's no one else like you" or "No one understands me the way you do." It also helps if you can develop a really difficult skill, such as Legilimency. Legilimency, as we all know, is simply a big word for mind-reading. This talent is important, as you can use the information you gain in order to manipulate the person later on. Unfortunately, if you aren't gifted at learning challenging skills like I am, then maybe observing people closely will do. If you see a person smile, notice what that person is smiling at. Crystallised pineapple sounds disgusting, but there just may be someone out there who has it as a favorite treat. Remember those facts about them and then use it to your advantage.
That's it for this issue of SerpenTimes. My next column will be devoted to another unforgettable witch or wizard. May your newfound knowledge help you on your journey to greatness.