Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

Next Chapters of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban   Leave a comment

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The next eight chapters of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is out. I enjoyed it, even if as I have mentioned in my previous article, I hoped there were more to it.

There are new things, however. It was a nice surprise to hear audio clips in scenes where there was no interaction. I was surprised and pleased about it. I usually listen to the Harry Potter audio books at work and it’s great especially when you don’t have time to sit down and read.

My favorite chapters are here as well. The Marauder’s Map, in particular. I have always wondered what happened to the map after the fake Moody borrowed it from Harry and thanks to JK Rowling’s new content, I found out that Harry got it back when fake Moody’s office was empty. I also found out how they were able to plot the map of Hogwarts being an animagi and with the help of the Invisibility Cloak. I also thought that from the time of James, Sirius, Remus and Peter, the map came into different hands before being confiscated by Filch and finally beinb stolen by the twins. It was in fact confiscated from the four of them and stayed in Filch’s drawer for the next, I dunno, couple of decades probably, before the twins got it. I do wonder, still, how the twins discovered how it works. Maybe a bit more insight? Anyway, I especially loved how they visualized the entrance to the secret passage from the statue of the humpbacked, one-eyed witch. And the witch’s name is Gunhilda of Gorsemoor. She developed a cure for Dragon pox according to the chocolate frog. The visit to the Honeydukes was a treat. How I wish I could grab all those sweets! Makes me want to get myself some chocolates and candies next time I’m out shopping.

I also liked Peeves’s drawing in the Flight of the Fat Lady. He was making laughing sounds and sitting on top of the student’s head. I think he stole that scene from the Fat Lady.

The details on the dementors is amazing. You can see their bony hands and the sounds they are making will give you the creeps. Add the background of thunders and you get a really scary moment there.

I am not content though with the chapter on the Three Broomsticks. I hoped they brought us inside, at least. It was cold outside, to be honest. And that snowball I picked will surely melt in my trunk.

The Patronus charm is also inteoduced of course. There’s a scene in the classroom where Professor Lupin was teaching Harry. I can’t wait till book 5 to finally discover what form my Patronus would look like. Even now, I hope that Pottermore will make sure that we each get to know the shape of our Patronuses.

Harry’s head afloat in front of the shrieking shack was wicked fun as well. You can see Draco and his friends running away from fright. I am also glad that they incorporated what the map said to Professor Snape when he tried to discover its secret. Snape gets to be called for his abnormally large nose, an ugly git, an idiot and a slimeball. Hahaha! That never fails to give me a good laugh everytime I read that part. I can only imagine how Snape hated them. Then fate later on decided that he should save Harry out of his love for Lily. Then he threw some floo powder to summon Lupin and it was a very nice scene.

Last is the Quidditch finals which Gryffindor finally won! It was a very happy moment.

2012 in review   Leave a comment

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted December 31, 2012 by kitpotter in Commentary

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban   Leave a comment

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has always been my favorite. I’ve been looking forward to this since Pottermore opened.

Unfortunately, Pottermore did not live up to my expectations.

Let me first cite the good points. In terms of graphics and animations, this book is even better. The visualization of the scenes were great. I love the scene where we banish the boggart. On my first try, it was a mummy and when I returned for a second run, it was a giant spider. I suppose it changes every time. I also liked the scene with the Knight Bus where you have to catch the galleons as it tilts from left to right.. Though, there’s still a room for improvement there.

Now, let’s get to the bad points. First, there were very few moments in each chapter and there’s hardly anything to do. There is almost no interaction except during the part where you banish the boggart (which was cool!). There is also hardly anything to pick up or collect. I only managed to earn a total of 16 house points. Now, I’m not sure if that is the same for everyone. There is a possibility I may have missed on an item or two.

There were five new information to uncover – Aunt Marge, The Knight Bus, Professor Kettleburn, Sir Cadogan and Boggart. These new information were a treat but honestly, there’s not really much to learn about them.

In short, in terms of content, I wasn’t really satisfied. I find myself going back through the chapters hoping I missed something but unfortunately, that was all there was to it.

Things I hoped they could have done:
* Access to Knockturn Alley – actually I was hoping this was opened back in Chamber of Secrets when Harry accidentally ended up there when he travelled to Diagon Alley using Floo Powder
* Opened the Florean Fortesque Ice Cream Parlour – because that’s where Harry did his homework
* An interactive scene when Harry blew up his aunt
* Harry’s room in The Leaky Cauldron during his stay
* More items to collect besides Bertie Bott’s Every Flavoured Bean
* An interactive game with the Monster Book of Monsters
* An interaction with the Hippogriff or with Harry flying Buckbeak
* New spells and potions
* More valuable content or new information – though I suppose this is J.K. Rowling’s call

These are just a few, I suppose. But they would have made a difference.

Still, there are more chapters coming and I’m still keeping my fingers crossed. Maybe somewhere out there is a redeeming chapter. They better not blotch my favorite scenes with the time turner.

A Very Special Day   Leave a comment

Today is a very special day.  For three very important reasons.

1.  JK Rowling’s Birthday

Yes, Happy Birthday to Queen Rowling!  Thank you for bringing us Harry Potter and the magic of reading books.  Your legacy to us will live on.

2.  Harry Potter’s Birthday

The boy who lived. Your character has inspired many of us.  To be courageous and fight for what we believe is right.  To stand up to the truth. To love and let go of hate. To believe in magic. And so many things I am unsure how to put into words.  Happy Birthday!

3.  Pottermore Anniversary

It seemed only yesterday that more than a million Potterheads were clamoring to get hold of the Magical Quill.  And I am proud to say that I was one of them.  Even prouder that I was a Day 1 Pottermore Beta.  I stayed up for hours, unsure when the first clue would be released, wondering what time zone should I take into consideration.

The most important thing about Pottermore is that I met a lot of good friends, too!  Potterheads just like me.  Suddenly, I am no longer alone.  Happy Anniversary to us, Pottermore Family!

Just Saying   Leave a comment

At first, I don’t really mind that a lot of people often mistake Ravenclaw to be associated with Ravens.  However, it seems that we are being accused of having identity crisis to the point to being rude.

So, just to make things apparently clear, here is an excerpt from our Welcome Message:

“Our emblem is the eagle, which soars where others cannot climb; our house colours are blue and bronze….”

It is also quite apparent, if you look at The Great Hall, that an eagle appears on our emblem and not a Raven.

I have nothing against ravens.  However, if we are referring to Ravenclaws, it is common sense to see that a raven, which in popular culture symbolizes death and ill omen, does not logically match with our house motto, “Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.”  Eagles, on the other hand, appears as the principal icon for books, films, songs, broadsides, pamphlets, cartoons, radio and television, comics and various other aspects of popular culture.  In other words, it symbolizes higher learning.

Gryffindor’s crest is a Lion.  Nobody questions why they are not represented by a griffin – even though a griffin is part lion. It is represented by a Lion because lions, in popular culture, symbolize courage. Hufflepuff is represented by Badgers, not because of its name, but by the characteristics exhibited by that animal which is perseverance.  Slytherins are symbolized by a Serpent, which, if I’m not mistaken is characterized as sleek, powerful and often misunderstood.  So I hope it is clear that the name does not necessarily follow the animal that represents each houses’ emblem.

I know that the fight for the House Cup between Ravenclaws and Slytherins is pretty tight but there is no need for name calling or insults.  I do have friends in Slytherin and I’m sure they will not tolerate such behavior as well.

Posted September 13, 2011 by kitpotter in Commentary

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Inside Pottermore   Leave a comment

At the moment, the site has been down for about an hour or so.  Now that it is back, I can’t seem to brew any potion.  It’s not a big deal as I understand that it is still on beta stage.  What irritates me though is that I can’t contribute to the house points and after moving from 2000th place, I’m almost about to reach 1000th, I will slip down the ladder again.

In the meantime, while I am unable to brew potions, I’ll just write about my thoughts on Pottermore.

Firstly, I need to get this out of my system – it’s just great! It isn’t perfect but I love it.  And I maybe speaking on a biased point of view because I doubt there would be anything about Harry Potter and his world that I would never like. So there, I got it out. This was definitely worth the wait.  I felt I reached rock bottom when my Welcome Email did not arrive last Thursday.  Getting it on a Friday night was even better.  I’ve got all weekend to enjoy the site – though now, it’s not working quite right. But that’s beside the point.  When it was working well, I am simply enchanted.

The graphics is just amazing.  The detail that was put into each and every moment in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is just top notch. It’s exactly the way I imagined Diagon Alley and Hogwarts, as well as Harry’s cupboard under the stairs. There is something in that cupboard though that I know I have yet to discover.

The additional information that JK Rowling did not include in the books are such a welcome treat.  It’s like we already have a cake in the form of the seven novels, and now we get to have an ice cream to top it off.  I think I had tears threatening to fall when I read Professor McGonagall’s background story. The wandlore is definitely one of my favorite new information that JK Rowling provided.  Unfortunately, I can’t seem to be satisfied just yet.  There’s still a lot I want to know. I hoped there will be more information about the students, the professors and of course, our Houses.

So let’s get to the items I wished they could improve on.

First on my list is the background music and sound effect.  It will add more feeling and depth to the story.  It may be distracting for some, but it can have an on/off option if they prefer not to have it.

Potions is great.  It is a bit hard at the beginning but after a few practice rounds, I finally got the hang of it.  However, we’ll have to purchase the ingredients and when we burn the cauldrons, we need to buy new ones.  Now, that is a bit tricky.  It is not easy to brew the potions, especially the complicated ones.  One would probably burn more than a cauldron or two.  And we only get 500 galleons.  We can get additional galleons as we proceed with each chapter but once we got them all, we no longer have a way to earn them anymore.  On the Help site, it says, once we used up all the galleons, the next allowance will be provided on the next term – when Chamber of Secrets is out.  I don’t know if Harry, Ron and Hermione bought their ingredients before.  I knew they bought the cauldrons and the supplies they will need but I always thought that the ingredients all came from the student cupboard.  And if we use up the galleons way before Chamber of Secrets, there is nothing else left to do except Wizard Duel – which by the way, has never worked properly.  So I think they should either lower the prices or give us more galleons.  The timer for making the potions is also quite fast.  I wish they could allow more timeframe for that.  I can understand that brewing can take at least an hour but 1 or 2 minutes to concoct the potion before it brews is just frustrating. It’s like there’s a tick tock ringing in my ears every time.

Wizard Duel – I have never been able to duel at all.  It has, since my entrance, been under system maintenance.  So I guess, I can hardly comment on this except that hopefully it will work so that we can finally see how it goes.  I’ve tried the practice rounds and so far, I’ve no problems with that.  Maybe this is a bit more complicated as this involves two players.

Unfortunately, we can only do Potions and Wizard Duel.  I was really looking forward to Transfiguration and Charms.  Now that I think of it, it would also be cool if they have Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures.  The PC-DVD, PS2 Games and even mobile games has these subjects.  So I am quite confident that they can include more interactive games based on the subjects and some tasks that we can do to earn more house points.  And I was so looking forward to Quidditch.  I hate to admit that I am quite disappointed that the most significant detail that defined Harry’s world is excluded.  Oh sure! We had a chance to catch a snitch.  But it’s just the snitch moving and it’s not really hard to catch.  The Wizard Chess would also be a wonderful addition and Gobstones too.

Now that we have also been sorted into different houses, I was also looking forward to getting more information about the House we are in.  A lot has been complaining that they do not want the house they were sorted into.  I think mostly, we have all formed such close affinity to Gryffindor because Harry himself was in that house.  Others, who are confident of their traits, see themselves in a certain house but ended in a completely different house are also dissatisfied. I also wanted to be in Gryffindor but after reading the information on Ravenclaw, I knew that the Sorting Hat put me in the correct house.  However, I still find it lacking.  I want more.  Maybe we can also explore our own common rooms and dormitories.  It will surely encourage those who did not want the house they were placed. We’d also like to explore the whole castle, the lake, Hagrid’s Hut and the Forbidden Forest.

Another thing on my list is communication.  We can only leave comments on the dashboard but we cannot send messages to friends.  I know this is mostly for protection of those who are underage but hopefully they can just add age restriction and allow those who are of age to communicate.

I guess that covers my list for now of the things I hope Pottermore could address.  Whether these can be achieved is completely in their hands.  I just hope the next book would come quickly.  This waiting game is surely exhausting and completely gets on everybody’s nerves.