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Sky Alton

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  1. At first, you aren’t sure what you’re seeing but then you realise that all the walls, floor and furnishings in here are made of the same bronze vines which seem to be gently coiling themselves. None of the angles seem right: there are too many sides and faces to each shape. Even as you watch, there is a sinuous movement that seems to encapsulate the entire room and you’re looking at an infinitely different space, made up of tiny blue dots. In another instant, the dots blink out to be replaced with a sunrise, made out of tiny squares like tiles from a complex mosaic. These soon fall to the floor and shatter. The next change is so strange and inconceivable that you stagger backwards and slam the door.
  2. I think Grawp was probably lonely and concerned. Even if he was still partly angry at Hagrid for bringing him to the forest, Hagrid was the one who had been looking out for him for a very long time by this point. If you've not seen someone when you should have, you quickly start to panic: even more so when they're your only contact and the only one who treat you with kindness.
  3. I agree he probably would have considered the quidditch team as he knew they worked well under pressure. If I were doing it logically, I would have picked the people who had proved themselves most calm and reliable, as well as those who's spellcasting wasn't quite as eratic. The problem is, that Harry condemning those 3 as 'not who he would have chosen' makes it complicated to say who he would have picked because it's a very throwaway and sulky comment: it would probably depend on who looked more 'capable' and less argumentative to him in the moment (whether they were or not). My money is on Angelina, Dean or Lee.
  4. It seems decorations have been a bit neglected thus far so I will provide a forest's worth of paper chains, streamers and paper lanterns to drape liberally round the room. I'm all for recycling though so you'll be glad to know that I used everyone's exam notes to make them. We were finished with them and they were just lying around, after all. (… what do you mean you might need them for NEWTs?)
  5. I definitely think it was the right call. Even if we didn't have advanced notice about the specifics of occlumency and legilimency, I think she would have been right to be tentative anyway. The vision itself just didn't stack up: how was that going on in a government department in the middle of the day? Aside from that, as Tarma says, Harry has made some bad decisions under similar circumstances before. Asking him to try his hardest to be rational and objective (though near impossible for someone who's in emotional distress) really wasn't unreasonable on Hermione's part, given the danger involved.
  6. I took some standardised tests in Primary school and the early years of Secondary. It really only got serious once I moved onto GCSEs (which are essentially OWLs) as you need those to get the majority of jobs over here: I did them in 9 subjects (including Design with Wood and Metal which is still my proudest achievement to date as many people tried to discourage me due to the visual aspects). I moved on to do my A-levels (NEWTs) which allowed me to gain my place at university: there were officially 3 of those that I did the full 2 years of (history, Literature and Law) but I did 3 other subjects for a year each so I count that as an unofficial 4th combined.
  7. They might be the more vehement and strong willed centaurs (explaining why they're allowed to speak for the herd) but I would have thought their would be more tension within the group if their opinions weren't representative to some extent. While it's possible that the majority of the centaurs are following out of fear (we've seen what they do to people they believe are going against what's right) or a herd mentality, I think there would have been some sign of unrest even in the brief scenes we have with them. They're highly intelligent and opinionated individuals, after all. That being said, there are nuances and different levels of conviction (their differing attitudes to 'foals', for instance) that would probably become even more apparent if we saw them discussing such matters alone, when the immediacy of the situation wasn't requiring action and a more united front.
  8. I don't think it was a very practical decision because he really didn't have a suitable environment for Grawp to feel comfortable in. I also worry that it was quite a selfish decision to uproot him simply because Hagrid felt an emotional connection with him due to their family ties: Grawp certainly wasn't consenting to the move early on as he kept trying to return home. That being said, if the danger to Grawp's safety and health due to the hostility and bullying of the other giants was really as extreme as Hagrid seemed to suggest, perhaps the decision had some wisdom behind it. At the same time, I really dislike that Grawp's wishes were totally disregarded in this matter; while a giants way of thinking is different from a wizards, nobody can say he didn't make it clear what he himself wanted for his future. Sometimes we have to let those we love get hurt if it's their decision to stay in harms way. We can't assume we know best all the time.
  9. I would come up with an egg in red and gold tempered chocolate that constantly, magically shifts between being egg shaped and being the shape of a chicken to embody that old question of which came first; inside would be mini sugar quills and chocolate eggs. (I thought about having a chocolate phoenix that melts and reforms to sum up the wizarding version of that philosophical idea but thought the molten chocolate might get a bit messy.)
  10. I think a giant egg shaped ball of light that floats slowly. When it comes into contact with something, it shatters apart with a screech. A flock of jewel coloured birds shoots out and travels on mass, causing havoc and cheeping endlessly. If someone tries to remove them with any of the methods mentioned in the chapter, they each individually lay eggs like the original one they came from and more and more flocks appear.
  11. It's hard to remember but I'm sure it must have as it's our first real chance to draw our own conclusions about James in particular. Up until this point we've only had hearsay from other characters about what he was like and that tends towards making him sound like a saint or the total opposite. This contrasts interestingly with the only other fragment of direct speech we've had from him up until now: when Harry remembers him ordering Lily to run in Prisoner of Azkaban. I do remember feeling something of Harry's dismay after this passage as it really tarnished James for me for a long while as his conduct wasn't at all like the vague, heroic image I'd built up. The same isn't really true of Lily and the other 3 boys: we know slightly more about them (or maybe feel we do in Lily's case - her springing to the defense here is at least consistent with the main act that defines her in the series). Their actions make sense or at least show some emotional continuity based on what we know of them as adults. While Peter, Snape, Remus and Sirius might not be fine, upstanding citizens (or alternatively out and out villains in the case of the first two) here, their reactions mesh better with their flaws or strengths in later life. Lacking the chance to see more of James in the same way means his reputation, standing with us and the amount of contextual leeway we're willing to give him is really at the whim of the plot, even more than most characters. He's clearly a complex person (and yes, bit of a jerk) with a lot of growing up to do but we just don't get to develop a sense of him and his personality outside of this moment which probably works against him.
  12. What caught my eye about the article is it chooses all non-magical creature forms. I've been interested in this for a long time, seing lots of people who pick magical creatures as their patronuses when this is practically unheard of in the books. So I did some more digging to check up on the factuality behind this and another article on Pottermore confirms that magical creature patronuses are incredibly rare, though not any more powerful than ordinary creatures. This really interests me: as most magical creatures themselves aren't exactly rare (though maybe slightly rarer than your average cat or dog), why do they not occur more often as patronuses? I'd love to see a niffler or a puffskein patronus, for instance. That being said, I really like that patronuses introduce us to non-magical creatures we might not think much about or consider 'good guardian material': they remind me of demons in the His Dark Materials series for that reason. With such a wealth of non-magical animals out there with their own fascinating characteristics and symbology, I like that most patronuses draw from that. Interestingly, the article also supports the notion that most patronus forms will be animals that are native to the casters home: you can find stags, otters, boars, dogs and hares in the UK. (phew, I celebrate returning to Read-Along after weeks of being sick by boring you with a really long essay, sorry)
  13. I think the portraits probably accuse quite short people of losing their legs or feet to vanishing sickness. I think they'd prescribe walking into a pond on which the moon is shining and following the trail of light until the effected areas reappear (or, if the case is too bad for re-appearance to be possible, binding a poultice of demiguise hair to the area to prevent the spread). It's worth noting though that the portraits get bored very easily and have been known to diagnose patches of empty air with a terminal case of vanishing sickness for lack of anyone else to remonstrate with.
  14. I think she would have made a Log Cabin type quilt. Each block in this design traditionally has a reddish square at the centre to represent the hearth (or the heart) of the cabin. There's also some contrast with the sides of the blocks being done in lighter and darker shades. It seems like the kind of design that would appeal to Hermione as it takes some thought but she could also get into a real rhythm; also, the warmth inherent in this design suggests the warmth of the gesture she was trying to make. I'd like to imagine her curled up in front of the Gryffindor fireplace working on it.
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