WIZARDING CRIMES : IMPROVED SECURITY
JULY 2016, DIAGON ALLEY - The Daily Prophet was on site during the launch of the Ministry of Magic's newest effort to increase the quality of crime prevention within Great Britain. The latest programme, named 'At Your Service', under the Aurors Department, look to bridge the gap between the wizarding public and their public servants. A task force was formed to implement the changes that will begin in stages, starting from the bustling cities all the way to the more rural farmlands.
'At Your Service' is the brainchild of the Head of the Aurors Department, Mr. Harry Potter, who took the cue from his Muggle upbringing, where both the police and the community team up to coordinate neighbourhood watch. For this programme, a team of Aurors consisting of three to five members will be 'adopting' a city or town, and they will begin the recruitment of community members who wishes to keep their neighbourhood safe.
Talking to Mr. Harry Potter, the Daily Prophet was informed of the programme in detail. "When I was growing up, we would have these neighbourhood watches, where a member of the police force would join a group of people from the community to patrol the area and make sure everything was safe. Everything was done voluntarily, and it helped to keep the crime rate in that area quite low. Since we are talking about the wizarding community where the threats are a bit different, members of the community that are recruited will be permitted to take action if there are suspicious activities in their neighbourhood. Of course, the team of Aurors assigned to each town or area will monitor them very closely. The last thing we want is to have anyone from the public injured or harmed in any way."
The launch of the programme has received positive reviews from the general public. Mr. Huxton from Leicester was thrilled with the announcement. "By golly, I am all for this! The public should also be made responsible for their own safety, in my opinion. At least this gives us the opportunity to be more hands-on on the matter of our own security."
Another gentleman from Diagon Alley, who wishes to remain anonymous, was also on board with the idea. "Great idea! I mean the more people safeguarding the neighbourhood, the better, right?"
However, there were also some naysayers in the public. A Mrs. Adella Johnson found the idea absurd. "What utter nonsense! We don't know the first thing about public safety and I am made to believe that these groups of volunteers can do a good job? Pish-posh!"
The programme was launched by the Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and was attended by many dignitaries from the Ministry as well as the community. The Daily Prophet wishes the Aurors Department good luck and hopefully, the new programme will continue to keep Great Britain safe.
ECONOMY : HEX ROUNDUP
All around HEX I have seen lots of people selling, trading, and auctioning Pride and Cursed Child items. The Pride items are Pride Bears, Rainbow Feather Boas, Slytherin Feather Boas, Gryffindor Feather Boas, Ravenclaw Feather Boas, Hufflepuff Feather Boas, Flags of Acceptance, and Rings of Acceptance. The Cursed Child items are Scorpius Malfoy's School Trunks, Rose Weasley's School Trunk, and Albus Potter's School Trunk. These items were being sold at really expensive rates and sometimes traded for each other. People had held SAs for them, and I'm sure people were paying hundreds and thousands for them.
If you want to buy those Pride and Cursed Child items, here was the price range. For the Pride bears it was 150k to 400k galleons. The rainbow feather boa was traded for all the House boas, but I believe it wss about 100k to 300k. The Gryffindor Boa wss auctioned for around 60k to 70k average. The Huflepuff Feather Boa had been seen being sold in user stores for 100k. As for the other feather boas, I assumed they would be around the same price. The Flags of Acceptance sold at a user's store was 500k galleons. I believe the Rings of Acceptance was about the same price.
Here were the highly desired Cursed Child items. Albus Potter's School Trunk wss sold from 350k to 450k galleons. It was auctioned for 140k to 400k. The Scorpius Malfoy's School Trunk wss about the same price. A store was selling the Rose Weasley's School Trunk for 500k, but that was the only price that I could find for her.
If you are wondering why they were so expensive, here were the description: The pride bear symbolizes comfort. The description is squeeze this bear whenever you want a little courage.
Rainbow feather boa is for looking awesome. The description is a fabulous rainbow boa, perfect for any outfit. All of the boas were showing pride for your House. Red and gold for Gryffindor. Silver and green for Slytherin. Blue and bronze for Ravenclaw. And last, but certainly not least yellow and black for Hufflepuff.
The Flag of Acceptance is for the right to marry a person of the same gender. The description is love wins. Celebrate the historic United States Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality that happened on June 26, 2015. The rings are for the same thing. Love conquers all. These symbolize the historic United States Supreme Court ruling regarding marriage equality on June 26, 2015.
The Cursed Child items were expensive because they are the school trunks of the Harry Potter next generation kids. Albus Potter's is a plain, yet sturdy, school trunk. Scorpius Malfoy's is symbolic because it's passed down for generations. Rose Weasley's is pink and NOT a hand me down, thank goodness.
These were all of the economic news for the Pride and Cursed Child items. Keep up with the latest things on HEX with the Daily Prophet. Ciao!
REGIONALS : GOOGLE EXPANSION
LONDON - Google is planning to open a new headquarters in London that will feature Harry Potter-themed rooms, sleeping pods, a running track and cookery classes. The project is expected to be done in 2017, and 120 engineers are expected to move into the new space.
The headquarters are set to be near buildings on 6 Pancras Square, and construction will be ongoing while engineers settle into recently-built offices around.
Architects created rooms named after the famous Harry Potter settings such as King's Cross and Platform 9 3/4. The King's Cross-themed room will contain staff who are working on popular products such as Google Play and Android.
Along with the Harry Potter themed rooms, Google has also planned for the building to be environmentally-friendly. A carbon consultant was hired to bring the carbon footprint down, which resulted in the reduction of 2,100 tonnes of CO2 emissions. According to Google, that's enough carbon to power 900 flights from England to Hong Kong.
The building was also created to be a comfortable and pleasant work environment for employees. The plan includes employees getting free food and drinks throughout the day, along with access to the 900-meter track.
Employees are also encouraged to nap during office hours. Google has spent �5,500 in sleeping pods which are described as the "world's first chair designed for napping in a workplace".
Another pleasure offered to Google employees in the new London headquarters is the cookery classes that will be taught by Dan Batten, a former employee of Jamie Oliver.
On the outside, Google plans to create a Hollywood Boulevard-style "Walk of Fame". Included in this Walk of Fame will be 17 stars for YouTube celebrities with a significant number of followers.
Architect Simon Alfred said the plan was to create an environment that could bring imagination to life.
"The core focus has been to create a highly-adaptable workplace that can respond quickly to requirements of an ever-changing technology company," Alfred said to BBC.
Since Harry Potter is a big part of London's culture, it only seemed natural to incorporate some of the themes into the London headquarters.
"Everyone in England loves Harry Potter," London native Courtney Appleford, 19. "Harry Potter has been ingrained into British society."
To date, Google has three other offices in London, and the new office will be a nice addition to the company's state-of-the-art facilities.
INTERNATIONAL : DANIEL RADCLIFFE
This month, we celebrate the birthday of the wonderful Harry Potter, who is turning 36 at the end of this month.. It has been many years since the last book and movie, but Harry has not been forgotten. Harry was portrayed in the films by Daniel Radcliffe. The films took up ten years of his life, but they were just the beginning of Radcliffeâs acting career.
His most recent acting project was in the recent film Swiss Army Man, which came out on July 1. In the film, two friends, Hank and Manny (who Radcliffe plays) are traveling on a plane when, unfortunately, the plane crashes, killing everyone but Hank. Hank goes crazy from isolation and then befriends his dead friend, Manny. Throughout the film, Hank and Manny go on crazy adventures through Hank's insane imagination and in the end - well you'll have to watch it to find out. For the premier of the film, Radcliffe played dead on the red carpet, just like his character Manny.
Radcliffe also starred in the movie Victor Frankenstein, which came out in 2015. He played Victor's assistant and main character of the movie Igor. However, this film was not very popular with critics and viewers. Variety said that, "This skewed take on Mary Shelley's classic never shows enough sparks of life to justify reanimating its nearly 200-year-old source," and Screen Rant said "Victor Frankenstein is an entertainingly kooky, but otherwise messy and slapdash re-imagining of the Frankenstein mythos."Most other critics did not give the movie more than 2.5 stars.
Horns, which came out in 2012, was another movie in which Radcliffe was a star. Unfortunately, it wasn't very popular either. The movie was a take on the novel by Joe Hill and was supposed to have a "Grimm-Brother's" feel to it, but Empire said that, "The final product never lives up to the promise of its contemporary-Grimm-brothers conceit." Screen Rant said that "'Horns' is the sort of concept that just didn't translate effectively from page to screen." Again, most critics merely gave the movie a subpar rating, with most going only up to 3.5 stars.
But, not all was bad for Radcliffe. The rom-com What If, released in 2013, was a bigger hit with the critics. Radcliffe played a medical school dropout who tries to hide his attraction for his new friend, a bubbly artist who already has a boyfriend. Rolling Stone said "What If doesn't break new ground. But it has charms to spare, and Radcliffe and Kazan are irresistible. No ifs about it." Empire, while it also had some critique, said that the movie was "Formulaic, familiar and predictable, but also likable and well-cast, with enough verve to keep it out of the rom-com bargain bucket." The film got an average rating of 4 stars.
Daniel Radcliffe has starred in a number of other movies, but he has also starred in a few Broadway shows. Equus tells the story of a psychiatrist who attempts to treat a young man (Radcliffe) who has a pathological fascination with horses. He also starred in the musical comedy How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying that tells the story of a man who reads the book How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and goes out and follows what the book tells him.
Radcliffe is still young and his acting career is just getting started. He is bound to be in plenty more films, plays and musicals, and in the future he will be remembered for more than just the Harry Potter films.
POLITICS : BREXIT AND ITS IMPLICATIONS
As we know, the British Muggles have decided through a referendum that they no longer want to be a part of the European Union. After months of campaigning, scare mongering and blatant attacks on the credibility of both the Stay and Leave campaign, the people chose. And with that the British government imploded. Prime Minister David Cameron resigned, officially leaving office in late September.. Boris Johnson, the former Mayor of London and one of the leaders of the Leave Campaign was stabbed in the back by Michael Gove in his bid to be elected Prime Minister. Following on from that Michael Gove was then forced out the running as well.
As for the Labour Party, there have been no votes of confidence in their leader, Jeremy Corbin, and his own members have urged him to resign. Due to his reluctance, he's lost almost half of his shadow cabinet. The coup is still ongoing with another member eager to take a shot at being Labour leader. Angela Engle is thought to be putting her name for the job in the next few days. Even UKIP's, the right wing party, leader resigned (again), because his dream had come true: England would no longer be part of the European Union.
Now, what does all this mean for the Wizarding World? More than what you would initially think. First of all, the new Muggle Prime Minister, whether it be Theresa May, or Andrea Leadsom, will have to be made aware of the presence of the Wizarding World, a conversation that has never come easy. While our government is not directly affected, those who live in the Muggle world will be. They will be going through the same uneasy future as Muggles. Whether you`re a Muggle-born, a witch or wizard with only one magical parent or even if one just lives in a Muggle community, these next few uncertain months will be hard for them.
What we know so far about the damage caused from this referendum is that the Pound has fallen to a thirty-one-year low against the dollar and has also had a severe impact on its worth against the Euro. The sudden shock and realization that people voted on mass to leave the EU hit hard. With a weaker Pound, holidaymakers will be hit during the summer when travelling to the Euro, getting less for their money than they would before the results of the referendum. Not only that with a weaker Pound it will make the price of British imports rise and could increase UK inflation. The stock market took a hit as well with the FTSE dropping, however, it recovered in the next couple of days thanks to the inclination that interest rates will be cut.
However, England has not yet left the EU. Until Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is put into effect, the process to leave the EU will not begin. Only when this is triggered will a meeting be made in order to iron out the detail and discuss the ramifications of this decision. One thing we know for sure is that David Cameron is reluctant to initiate this article. With only a few months left in office, the duty will most likely fall to whoever succeeds him. Even then, it is thought to take between two and three years for the process to be completed, if at all. A second referendum has been petitioned and many protests have been held outside of Downing Street in order to veto our self-expulsion. I`m afraid the only thing we can do is wait to see how this plays out.
In order to compensate for this turn of events in the Muggle world, the newly created Department of Economy for both Wizarding folk and Muggle-Borns has been authorised to start drawing up solutions to this problem in order to give stability to our Wizarding community.
SPORTS : HARRY POTTER AND HIS QUIDDITCH START
This month we celebrate Gryffindor and the famous Harry Potter. Now, we look back to the first time Harry Potter rode a broom, the event that led him to be the youngest Seeker in a century. Let's see what his teammates, friends, professors, and enemies thought of the event!
Ron Weasley: I couldn't believe it! Harry had never touched a broom in his life and all of a sudden, he's up in the air whizzing around like he had been flying for years! He got the Remembrall back and gave Malfoy a little kick to his ego.
Hermione Granger: I suppose the whole thing turned out fine, and it led him to being the youngest Seeker in a century, but it was rather ridiculous! I told him not to be so stupid, but of course, he ignored my suggestions. Sure, he got the Remembrall back and proved Malfoy that he wasn't as good as he thought, but he could have gotten hurt, or gotten all of us in trouble! Thank Merlin that he had that hidden talent!
Professor McGonagall: If I were thinking like a professor, Mr. Malfoy and Mr. Potter would have been in a lot of trouble for flying around without supervision; Mr. Potter had never even flown in his life! But, I saw talent! Mr. Potter flew with such great ease, and he was able to find and catch the Remembrall so easily, that I couldn't resist but to help my House and Quidditch team by getting them a Seeker instead of taking away House points!
Draco Malfoy: Ridiculous! I was doing much better than Potter, and it was just luck that he caught the Remembrall while McGonagall was watching! If it weren't for Potter and his luck, the Gryffindor team would have been on their knees begging me to go easy on them!
Marcus Flint: The whole thing should have never happened! It was totally unfair for the other Houses that would have LOVED to pick a first-year to play for their team! And, it was also unfair for other first-years that were also very good and capable of playing for a team! Oh, and getting a very good broom for FREE?! No one knows who got him that Nimbus 2000, and it wasn't him or his family - cause he doesn't have any! So, someone got him a broom that he didn't have to pay for when the rest of us have to pay, and can only get Cleansweeps and Blue Bottles! Stupid, stupid, stupid Potter. The whole thing was ridiculous.
Professor Snape: His mother would have been proud. One-half of me wants to be proud and help him for his mother, and the other half of me wants to strip him of all his House points, get him kicked off the team and break his broom; he is his father's son, after all! It was rather unfair that Mr. Malfoy got nothing and Mr. Potter got to be the Seeker when Mr. Malfoy was certainly better.
Professor Dumbledore: Mr. Potter's talent was seen and approved by Professor McGonagall and it was she who had him put on the Quidditch team. Many have said that there should not be exceptions, but it wouldn't have been fair for Gryffindor to not have had a Quidditch team because they didn't have a Seeker. So, we allowed Mr. Potter to be Seeker so the team could play, as he did have enormous talent.
So there you have it! All the different views of Harry Potter's experience in one article! It can't get better than that! What did you think?
June was a very busy month for HEXians as we entered summertime and classes came to an end. While we had the usual contests in the usual forums, we also had some very special activities and the promise of more to come! Did you participate in these contests, activities, and applications this June?
The Adventures of Mrs. Norris - Ever wondered what was going on in the minds of Filch and his beloved cat, Mrs. Norris? This month we delved deep into this infamous pair, discovering their deepest secrets and aiding them in their endeavors.
Arts and Graphics Hiring - The Arts and Graphics forum was looking for new staff members this month. Congratulation to errikkagrey, SuperSquirrel, Sara, and bizarre!
Magical Archives Hiring - The Magical Archives was looking for some new staff members! Applications were due July 9th.
Daily Prophet Hiring - The Daily Prophet hired some new writers this month! Perhaps you noticed some new faces in our last edition, but let's welcome lalala99, Lee Ainee, PCZDJ, Quidditch1001, Rudolf Brand, soft987, xpastelprincessx and, well, me!
Roleplay Teaching Center Hiring - The RPC Teaching Center was looking for tutors this summer! Congratulations to our new tutors, and if you didn't get in, be on the lookout for the next opportunity! Remember, applications are always open, but that doesn't necessarily mean your application will be looked at right away.
In Loving Memory - We all miss those characters who died in the Battle of Hogwarts or elsewhere in the series. Just as missed are the actors and actresses who played Harry Potter characters that have since passed from this world. Now, you can remember everyone - the characters, the actors, and the actresses - in a brand new forum In Loving Memory.
Homeward Bound - Adventures and journeys can be fun and exciting, but in the end we all have to head home. The Welcome Center aided us in our journey home with Homeward Bound, where we celebrated and remembered our great time at Hogwarts as we left for home. Congratulations to everyone who won something in the raffle - don't forget to collect your prizes!
Sixth Services to the Welcome Center Award - This award is not your standard award - it isn't given out on a monthly basis, but rather every once in a while when the Welcome Center feels that someone truly went above and beyond in making sure everyone feels welcome on HEX. This month, the award was given to the well-deserving St Owl, so let's congratulate her for everything she's done to make HEX a better place!
The Hogwarts Cooking Festival - This month made culinary history as, for the first time ever, Hogwarts hosted a cooking festival! This ultimate roleplay extravaganza required participants to make a tasty dish in one hour, using ingredients found in the Black Lake. Congratulations to all of the winners!
Caretaker Concoctions - This June the Great Hall and the Entrance Hall joined forces to bring us Camp Hogwarts! House points and grand prizes were on the line as Hogwarts hosted a summer camp. This event ended July 14th.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Is anyone else extremely excited for what some call the eighth Harry Potter book? To celebrate this monumental event, HEX launched sitewide activities, hosting various challenges in twelve different forums. There was writing, graphics, puzzles, scavenger hunts, and more - something for everyone!
As always, watch for new activities and contests, because there is always something going on with Hogwarts Extreme!
I heard Harry Potter broke his right arm and leg during an indoor Quidditch match against his wife, Ginny Weasley, and their children. How is that possible? Is he alright?
By Lee Ainee
~ from Concerned Fan
Dearest Concerned Fan,
Concerned fan, your concerns a very much appreciated. Unfortunately, the rumors circulating about Harry Potter suffering a Quidditch injury are both true and false. Yes, it is true he suffered injuries, but he did not play any Quidditch, from what our sources pointed out. They said that Harry Potter was only spectating the match. Ginny, his wife, was training his son, Albus, for his tryouts for the team. They said that the kid, much like his father and his grandfather, was a prodigy in the sport. As his mother supervised his training as a Beater, the kid accidentally hit the Bludger towards his father, who was sitting on a chair, sipping on very hot coffee. Our source had said that the impact flattened Harry's nose and his face suffered first degree burns thanks to the hot coffee.
As of the moment, Harry is in St. Mungo's, having his injuries taken care of. Rest assured, he is fine and would be seen back in action after a week or so. Please pray for the man's speedy recovery.
Is Harry Potter doing well at the Ministry of Magic? I heard he was running to become the head of the Auror office. Is that true?
~ Auror Wannabe
Dearest Auror Wannabe,
My dear, where have you been hiding all this time? Under a rock? In a cave? Or maybe a pineapple under the sea? Wherever that is, you are a tad too late. Mr. Potter has been the head of the Auror office since 2007. The details of the promotion are unknown, but we assure you that the promotion is well deserved. In fact, recent statistics show that during his Dark-wizard-hunting days, many practitioners of the Dark Arts were either reprimanded and sent to Azkaban or turned a new leaf. He is a great inspiration for young witches and wizards out there, especially if they plan to be a part of the most coveted force in the Ministry of Magic.
With that said, I do hope you pursue your dream to become an Auror. I do wish, whoever you are, that in the future you will be featured in one of the articles here on the Daily Prophet with your amazing work as an Auror. We will be cheering for you!
Rumors are circulating that Harry Potter has found the existence of a Crumple-Horned Snorkack, much to the disbelief of the naturalist Luna Lovegood. Is this true?
~ from NOTLunaLovegood2k16
While I don't know if you really are Luna Lovegood, Harry has not found an existence of a Crumple-Horned Snorkack. We know of this because Ronald Weasley debunked this rumor. In an exclusive interview with the Daily Prophet, he has revealed that they did not find any Snorkack. However, Ronald did find something of equal interest. He disclosed to us that they saw a shadow of the Loch Ness Monster in one of their expeditions in Scotland, with Harry taking a souvenir photo of it.
Details of this encounter are unknown, as the Ministry of Magic has a strong secrecy law. But, word has gone out that the monster may or may not be just a work of a Dark wizard near the Highlands or some Muggles playing pranks. So, to give you a final answer, no Crumpled-Horned Snorkack anywhere. We still hope that Ms. Lovegood will find them in the future.
Does Professor Neville Longbottom, a former Gryffindor and my professor in Herbology, have a girlfriend? If not, can I be his forever?
~ from I<3NevilleFerEver
Unfortunately for you, my dear, Mr. Longbottom has already tied the knot with Miss Hannah Abbott. As for the details of the wedding, we have no information about it except that it was held last 2014. But that is not my concern, dearest. Engaging in a relationship with someone so much older is a big no-no for you, let alone your very own professor. Although, I cannot stop you from loving someone, please let not this love of yours blind you from your responsibilities as a student. I have tons of Hogwarts professor crushes in my time at Hogwarts, so I know how you feel.
With that being said, I wish for your happiness in search of your forever. Until then, study hard!
Can somebody give me Hermione's portrait?
~ from a Hermione Fan
Dear Hermione Fan,
I am sorry, my dear letter sender. As much as I know that you love Hermione Granger, I cannot give you a portrait of the lady. I can list a ton of reasons for this, but the main cause why the Daily Prophet cannot give you the portrait is its availability. Miss Granger has been a very significant presence in the wizarding world, proving to us time and time again that being a very intelligent witch does not need to come from pureblood families. Surely, shops would have at least a memorabilia for her, right? Alas, her husband, Ron Weasley, had the means and the galleons to buy out every Hermione-related items around Diagon Alley, and that includes her portraits.
However, my ever-so-trusted sources tell me that there are still two Hermione portraits being auctioned. If you do want one, I suggest you bid on them. With that, I wish you all the luck!
STARBURST! : AN INTERVIEW
Hello everyone! My name is Sara, and this month we celebrate Gryffindor in honor of the famed Harry Potter's birthday. Harry Potter had a little birthday surprise when we recently heard about a Muggle play, all about him and his family, 19 years after he won the Wizarding War. As many wizards and witches know, JK Rowling is a Muggle who suddenly had a brilliant idea about a boy wizard named Harry. Rowling wrote seven books about the life of Harry Potter up until the last year of his schooling at Hogwarts. Every detail is true, confirmed by the real Harry Potter. Rowling, as mentioned, is a Muggle, so it is astounding that she dreamt up these true events. Of course, there are theories about how she got her information.
As mentioned, this month Rowling and the Muggles are releasing a play called the Cursed Child that tells the story of Harry Potter's oldest son, Albus Severus Potter. The play showcases his struggle growing up with Harry as his father and living up to the legacies of the two famed headmasters of Hogwarts after whom he is named.
After going undercover to watch the play, Harry Potter confirmed that the events are, once again, 100% true. I had the amazing opportunity to interview Harry Potter himself, to see what he thinks about the crazy, uncanny relationship between Rowling's stories and his life.
Sara: Hello, Mr. Potter! It's an honor to meet you. Thank you for coming today, and, on behalf of the DP, I wish you a Happy Early Birthday!
Mr. Potter: Ah, thank you for having me.
Sara: It was recently released that you went undercover to go see the Muggle play, The Cursed Child, that tells the story of your son and family 19 years after you left Hogwarts and won the Wizarding War. What did you think?
Mr. Potter: Well, to be honest, it was rather astounding. The play itself was excellent, but it was very eerie to know that someone somehow knew all about your life. Yes, the 19 years between Rowling’s books and this play have not been told, but the rest of it is so true it's scary.
Sara: And how do you think Rowling knows this much about the wizarding world and your life?
Mr. Potter: It's very difficult to say. There are so many possibilities. Some say she could be a witch in disguise trying to gain fame in the Muggle world. But I can believe, from my experiences, that someone somehow collected memories of all these events and gave them to Rowling as dreams in hopes of exposing the wizarding world to the Muggles.
Sara: Many are trying to put Rowling before the Ministry of Magic and other wizarding councils, including MACUSA, to have her put in Azkaban for threatening the possible exposure of wizards. What do you think about that?
Mr. Potter: It's rather ridiculous, as there is no evidence against her, especially if she is a puppet for the true culprit. Also, kidnapping a famous muggle author would raise suspicions and muggle authorities would be searching every nick and cranny for her, and may even REALLY uncover our world. There's no reason to punish someone that has not been proven guilty.
Sara: That's all for today, Mr. Potter. Thank you for your time, and I hope you have a very lovely birthday!
Mr. Potter: The pleasure is mine. Thank you.
So there you have it, straight from the mouth of Harry Potter! Have an excellent summer and we'll have more exciting news next month!
AUNT EDNA'S : LET'S PARTY!
Hello, dearies! Welcome to another segment of Aunt Edna's! As you all very well know, Harry Potter's birthday is at the end of July, and I thought what better way to fill up my column with the 'how-tos' of organising a Gryffindor-themed birthday bash! With a few tweaks and adjustment, this guide can also be helpful if you are planning a birthday party for any other House theme as well!
Step One : Venue is everything!
If you are having a large party, you will want to book a large enough venue for your guests to sit and eat, as well as boogie down. If dancing is not on the itinerary, make sure you have enough space for your guests to move around and mingle. After all, a stuffy hall is a sure-fire way to end the party disastrously.
Step Two : Menu, Menu, Menu!
A Gryffindor-themed party would not be a Gryffindor-themed party without the perfect menu. Opt for more daring tastes such as spices and chillies, as well as exotic ingredients. After all, Gryffindors are daring and brave - bold flavours are the way to go! Make sure to decide in advance if you want it to be a full-course dinner or something more casual like a cocktail party. If you decide on the latter, make sure you have enough food stocked so that your guests will have something to munch on until the party ends.
Step Three : Decor is in!
Decorations also play a key role in creating an astounding ambience. Think reds and golds for your decorations. Bold accents work as well, and dim lighting will set the mood even further. Aim for something cosy, rather than anything polished or ultra-modern. After all, Gryffindors are creatures of comfort.
Step Four : Activities for all!
You cannot have a birthday party without fun activities! Find activities that everyone can join, regardless of age or gender. That way, your party will feel more inclusive and fun for everyone. Try adventurous games to reflect the spirit of Gryffindor, and have great music playing in the background. Be sure to have enough activities to keep your guests entertained, but do not bombard them with too many.
Step Five : Keep good time!
Don't be too rigid with your timeline. Some guests may be early and some might be fashionably late. Give a leeway of 15-30 minutes for the start of your party, and don't end your party too late. If you guests are having fun doing something, do not pester them to stop and do something else just to follow your schedule. Have fun and go with the flow!
Well, those are five steps to a great Gryffindor party. As a host or hostess, make sure to put your best foot (and outfit) forward. In doing so, your guests will have a great time and you will have a party to remember!
MONTHLY RECIPE : GRYFFINDOR RED VELVET CUPCAKES
Truth be told, when I was asked to make this month's From the Kitchen column, I had absolutely no idea where to begin. For one thing, I don't have any knowledge with anything cooking or food related. I mean, I'm good with eating them, yes, but making them is an entirely different matter! Thankfully, I went to ask help from that Muggle device called 'Google' to look for something Gryffindor-related.
With Gryffindor's house colors of red and gold, I figured something like red velvet cupcakes would match the House pride occasion, so here's a recipe I found for it! (Well, that, and I absolutely love red velvet cupcakes, so I couldn't resist!) The recipe is taken from the Food Network.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Pernigotti
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
Red Velvet Frosting :
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups (3/4 pound) sifted confectioners' sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 1 minute, until light. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients alternately in 3 parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mix until combined. Stir with a rubber spatula to be sure the batter is mixed.
4. Scoop the batter into the muffin cups with a 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop or large spoon. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Cool completely in the pans and frost the cupcakes with Red Velvet Frosting.
Directions for the Red Velvet Frosting :
1. Place the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium speed just until combined. Don't whip! Add the sugar and mix until smooth.
ON THE STREETS : SUMMER IS HERE!
Summer is fast approaching! The sun, sea and surf are waiting to be explored and we took to the streets of HEX to talk to some of our awesome members! We asked them about their plans and what are they expecting to happen on and off HEX!
My plans for the summer include looking for a job. I also plan on taking advantage of my new found free time, by getting things done that I have been putting off due to lack of time. I am very excited for Ninja Kitten’s surprise and cannot wait to find out more information about it. ~ Alyssa Whitten, Hufflepuff
I am really looking forward to summer and seeing what Hex has in store for us! I'm guessing that the surprise has something to do with Quidditch and Duelling. Perhaps a Quidditch match with duellers trying to distract the opposing team's Quidditch players while protecting their own team? I'm sure that no matter what the event turns out to be, it will be an amazing one! ~ starrystar, Gryffindor
This is my first year on Hex, so I am very excited for the summer surprise. When I think of summer, I think of pool parties, and lemonade. So maybe we could have a site-wide pool party, complete with mascot-themed water wings, and drinks with tiny, magical umbrellas? Or there could be a competition where each house has to set up a lemonade stand, and the house that sells the most wins? (Ravenclaw would probably win, because they would research the perfect lemonade recipe. Meanwhile in Hufflepuff, we'd probably just give our lemonade away to anyone who looked thirsty, and completely forget it was supposed to be a competition.) No matter what the summer surprise is - I bet it will be a lot of fun! ~ Mira Stark, Hufflepuff
OH, summer is here! I really do hope that the summer surprise would be something fun, like treasure hunting maybe? Or scavenger hunts? I guess I would also love it if we get to make something, ya know? I bet most of us would love making things, like a cake, or just something fun for ourselves. I'm pretty excited for this HEX's summer surprise, especially this year, since I've been way more active as compared to the previous years, so this is, like, my "first time" celebrating summer with HEX! ~ yourkucing, Ravenclaw
My summer plans include at least one good bonfire on the beach after a day by the ocean... preferably while watching some glorious fireworks. Am I excited about Ninja Kittens secret? Ohhhh yeah. I've been hearing everything from they are bringing back the Triwizard Tournament (because this is a leap year) complete with students from Beaubatons and Durmstrang to it's some kind of Wizarding World Cup to there is something new in the wind that has a tie into the Summer Olympics... Wizard Style. Whatever it is, I know NK is up to something special and I can't wait. ~ CrimsonElm, Gryffindor
I actually joined HEX a bit late. So, I didn't get the full experience of my classes. But if you mean real life classes those were great! I didn't get the grades I wanted, unfortunately, but they were good grades nonetheless. This summer I actually will be going to Florida. We'll be going to Disney World and Harry Potter world (more excited about the latter to be honest). And then I'll have a few summer programs that will be like school, but that's about it. ~ pastelfox, Ravenclaw
I am always excited when it comes to Hex Surprises. This will be my first summer here on Hex, so my mind is going wild with great expectations of what the surprise will be. I am going to take a very wild guess, and say that the surprise will be a great contest where we have to create a story about being sent to a Muggle Summer Camp! We might even run into other Hogwarts friends there, and have to survive singing Kumbaya, and roasting marshmallows without magic! Hahaaa. Top prize winners can win prizes such as a first place ribbon, s'mores, handmade bead necklace, and other crazy things that you'd make at camp. ~ SevsGirl, Slytherin
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