WIZARDING CRIMES : MATTHIAS FAMILY MURDER
NOVEMBER 2016, GODRIC'S HOLLOW, WEST COUNTRY, ENGLAND - Festivities quickly approach, with the lure of family, friends, and fellowship getting exhausted students and adults through that homestretch before winter break. Unfortunately for the friends and relatives of the Matthias family, this happy season has spiraled into tragedy and grief.
By Cassandra Lovegood
Lucy Davison had no idea what she was soon to discover when she headed out to Diagon Alley to meet up with her best friend, Daphne. After reportedly waiting for an hour and a half for her childhood friend, Lucy traveled via the Floo Network directly to the Matthias family's home, where the family of five lived. Once she arrived, she found the bodies of the brutally murdered Matthias family, excluding Daphne. Lucy immediately fled the premise, leaving her backpack behind. When Aurors arrived at the Matthias home, it was revealed that fleeing may have saved Lucy's life. Her backpack had been attacked with a knife, shredding it to pieces, revealing that the killer had still been inside the home when Miss Davison was there.
As Aurors investigated the scene, they realized that Daphne Matthias was not among the dead and was missing from her home. From extended family and friends, it was revealed that Daphne would have been home with her family at the time of the murder. The sizable inheritance she'd receive from her family's death had her briefly contemplated as a suspect, before her body turned up in the middle of Hogsmeade.
Aurors are currently investigating this horrible crime and have released the following information to the press. The Matthias family knew their murderer as they had allowed him into their home. It is suspected that he had earned their trust so that he could Apparate directly into the home. It was there that he killed the youngest child, just minutes after his arrival. The two teenagers and parents are thought to have suffered before dying.
James Matthias is believed to have been tortured with Dark curses before Muggle methods were employed to end his life. His parents, William and Bridget Matthias, both had injuries that indicated their killer paralyzed them before they were killed. Daphne Matthias was then abducted from her home and tortured for several hours before she was finally murdered.
There are currently no leads as to who murdered the family. There were no clues left at the scene, and the family had no enemies. Friends all say that the family was kind and friendly to all who knew them, and the brutality of the murders continues to shock everyone who were close to the Matthiases.
William and Bridget were both employees at the Ministry of Magic, with William working in the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office and Bridget being a secretary in the Magical Law Enforcement Unit. Holly was five years old and attended Miss Pearl's Wizarding Pre-School. James was a third-year Hufflepuff at Hogwarts School of Witchraft and Wizardry, while Daphne was a sixth-year Gryffindor and a Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
The service will be held at 3 PM on Sunday at Godric's Hollow. Friends and family respectfully ask for only friends of the family to attend. If you have any information about the killing, please contact the Auror Office immediately.
ECONOMY : SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY
Galleons exchanged hands all over the country last Saturday, on the first Small Business Saturday of the month. The shopkeepers in Diagon Alley started a campaign based on a similar one that Muggles in America seem fond of. "The idea is to get people connected with their local shops so that everyone's local economy booms. When all the small businesses excel, the whole country wins," explained Ian Dandridge. Mr. Dandridge is the owner of a small store named Play It Again, which specializes in used Quidditch equipment.
Diagon Alley may have started this movement, but many other towns and districts have since become involved. Madame Rosmerta, our lovable bar owner from Hogsmeade, was also in on the action. "My friend Tom, over at Leaky, told me about Small Business Saturday as they had all started planning, campaigning, and making flyers. I just knew Hogsmeade could benefit, too," Madame Rosmerta told me excitedly.
She was not the only shopkeeper from another town to be inspired. Overall, England and surrounding countries have earned an estimated 58 million galleons, 22 million of which is accounted for in Small Businesses. Everything from local cafes, to clothing stores, to thrift shops, to all sorts of business premises were frequented this past Saturday. Clearly, these merchants were successful, but what does this really mean?
Chaplin Jones, an economist who works for the Ministry, rather emphatically expressed why this is such a big deal. "The Small Business Saturday event was phenomenal! The more local, small businesses are utilized, the more money that will be circulating in each and every town. As each town begins to grow, the entire country begins to grow. Our country is made up of many magical communities. Our whole Ministry is founded upon the building blocks which are these small towns. So, if each building block is the strongest it can be, our Ministry will also be at its strongest."
While it was clear that this event made economic strides, this reporter wanted an answer to a very simple question: did the people enjoy it? One shopper, Miss Lacey Green, fondly said, "I love shopping! There were so many sales, and everyone was so friendly. I got a brand-new set of gobstones and managed to snag an ink well for free!" Another, more subdued, shopper decided he "had never even known some of these small stores were here." It seemed everyone had smiles on their faces this past Saturday. And I doubt that had anything to do with numbers or breaking off trickle-down economics. Small Business Saturday grew communities economically and spiritually, and I can't wait for the next one!
REGIONALS : REMEMBER, REMEMBER...
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
November 5th is an important day in British Muggle history, but it should also be a date marked on wizarding calendars worldwide. Why, you ask? Well, it was actually an attempt by twelve wizards (and one poor, unfortunate Muggle) to overthrow the monarchy at the time, King James I, and instigate anti-Muggle hatred. As we are all well-aware, most of these attempts don't go down too well (this is for you, Lucius Malfoy, if you are reading this).
What's that, I hear you ask? What does a Muggle king have to do with calendars and Lucius Malfoy? Allow me to enlighten you.
King James I, in fact, had a number of wizard bodyguards – hired by the very first Ministry of Magic – in an attempt to calm down anti-Muggle gestures.
However, this was unknown to this group of early degenerates, who went about their business gathering as much gunpowder as was humanly possible (and a little more) and charming it to cause the biggest, earth-shattering "KABOOM!" they could manage.
Not long before the set date to destroy the Muggle Parliament and the King, one of these wizards made the decision to visit a fortune teller, who very promptly informed him that he must "beware of all knives, swords, spears, arrows, axes, hammers, protruding table legs, particularly sharp stones, and, above all else, explosives." This may seem like a fairly inclusive list, and any normal witch or wizard may choose to just brush these assertions aside. This, however, was not the case.
Petrified, this wizard returned to his colleagues and informed them of the dangers. The twelve of them set about kidnapping a defenseless Muggle on his way back from the market (and stealing his shopping at the same time, the nasty creatures). Once captured, Guy Fawkes, a name now infamous among Muggles, had the Imperius Curse cast on him; this is something Muggles are, naturally, not aware of.
With this particular problem solved, the wizards had Fawkes carry each of the thirty-six barrels down into the cellar underneath the House of Lords. They were about to light them when Guy Fawkes was caught right in the act.
Again, unknown to the wizards, Fawkes had temporarily escaped from the Curse and had sent a letter hurriedly to his brother-in-law, warning him not to be there on the night in question. His brother-in-law had, of course, warned the King's guards (the wizarding ones), who set about capturing Fawkes.
Using very skilled Legilimency, the guards discovered who the other vegetable-stealing plotters were, and were able to see that Fawkes was innocent. Luckily for him, he was free.
However, at the time, the guards were not acquainted with Obliviation and could only see one way of keeping him quiet: hanging, drawing, and quartering him. What a gruesome end for a man who only wanted his tomato soup.
To celebrate this day, wizards and Muggles all over Britain have been lighting fireworks at displays and in their gardens, producing magnificent displays in the night sky, which everyone has found enjoyable (unless, of course, you are a grumpy so-and-so, who drew the curtains as tightly as you could on this night and curled up in bed with the radio on full blast).
This means that Ministry workers are once more dashing up and down the country, desperately trying to stop the daring witches and wizards from cracking out Weasleys' Wildfire Whiz-bangs and Dr. Filibuster's Fireworks at Muggle displays. Although they have been doing an excellent job, some displays can still be seen going on for weeks afterwards, as poor Mr. Baumgartner found out the difficult way: authorities finally managed to extract him from the Catherine wheel one week after he had become attached to it.
We at the Daily Prophet highly recommend that you go out and celebrate this failed attempt at anti-Muggle-violence in style, but we also ask that you consider the health and sanity of your diligent Ministry workers while you are at it.
Have fun, be safe, and avoid any and all Catherine wheels!
PIRATES, TURNIPS, AND FLYING RICE BALLS
Ah, November – or, as we like to call it in my household, pre-Christmas. It's that time of the year when you're ripping down the bats and the skulls, but all you can do is gaze longingly at the boxes of holly, wreaths, baubles, and Christmas trees.
Yes, on the whole, not many witches and wizards really know what to do with themselves this month. So, to alleviate this boredom, what should you do? Should you begin Christmas shopping? Maybe it's time to start preparing yourself for snow (if we're lucky enough to get any more than a pathetic dribble of it again this year)? Or perhaps you should start stocking up on gas supplies and blankets, in case it becomes unbearably cold?
Let's face it, though – who really wants to be doing that when there's so much fun to be had throughout November that's just a quick Apparate away!
For example, for ten days in mid-November, there's a Pirate Festival (yes, you heard me right) on the Cayman Islands. Grab your hook, peg-leg, eye patch, and trusty parrot, and head on over to the George Town Harbour, where you'll find a literal pirate invasion, along with parades, firework displays (if you're not getting enough of that over here), street dances, costume contests, and much more!
Just be careful when playing cards with your fellow pirates – it's kind of hard to play when you're sitting on the deck (my apologies for that one, dear readers).
Maybe pirates aren't your thing, however; maybe you prefer things a little more inland. How about quite literally "in land?" In Switzerland, on the second Saturday in November, a small town on Lake Zürich, named Richterswil, celebrate their own turnip festival, aptly named the Räbechilbi Turnip Festival. Personally, I believe this is excellent – not enough appreciation is given to this quite marvellous vegetable.
A parade featuring 26 tonnes of carved root vegetables is the main highlight of the event. Although this may not sound very entertaining at first, it's actually fascinating. Somehow, these Muggles manage to shape them to resemble anything from elephants to their very own turnip temples. My guess, of course, is that there must be some wizarding interference; either that, or Switzerland has some very talented Muggles!
Finally, are you looking for a quirky event involving different types of food, much excitement, and a great sense of togetherness? Then, look no further than Indonesia's Rice Cake War (known as Perang Topat).
Every sixth full moon in the Sasak calendar, Hindu and Muslim residents of Lombok, east of Bali, unite together to, believe it or not, pelt each other with boiled rice. After this all-out war is finished, the leftovers are both distributed among the participants and spectators, and the rest is then buried in the fields to ensure another season of healthy crops.
Of course, the Indonesian Ministry of Magic would like to issue a warning that no magic is to be used in this event – keep it Muggle; don't give yourself an unfair advantage.
That is all for this month, readers. If any of these events have piqued your interest, then remember: an Apparate a day keeps the boredom at bay (pirate pun intended)!
POLITICS : INTERDEPARTMENTAL DRAMA
Harry Potter is a very celebrated figure in magical culture. Wizards and witches everywhere admire and praise him for defeating Voldemort and restoring peace, which we have now enjoyed for many years. There's no such adoration between departments at the Ministry of Magic, though. In fact, the Daily Prophet has caught wind of some interdepartmental fighting going on over there.
Any educated witch or wizard knows the seven departments of the Ministry: the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, the Department of International Magical Cooperation, the Department of Magical Transportation, the Department of Magical Games and Sports, and the Department of Mysteries. Though we may not know the inner workings of all of them, we know which ones exist.
Of course, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement is in charge of all the other departments … except for the Department of Mysteries. This is where the conflict begins. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement (MLE) wants control of the Department of Mysteries (DOM). But why? Who's right?
The answer is, neither department is objectively right. But both sides have solid reasoning and plans, with a couple of bad points. So, in this article, we will lay out the situation for you. Then you can decide with whom you agree.
First, the story: MLE has been doing exceptionally well. It has recently started new delegation-and-productivity systems that are getting things at the department, and those departments under its control, done at top speed. The DOM, however, has been suffering. They are falling behind on work and projects. Its staff is unhappy, and there are even rumors of corruption. MLE brought this matter up to the Minister's Office the day the DOM's new head of department began work. This made for a rough first day on the job for him, of course. The MLE and DOM were told to resolve this between themselves, and to alert the Minister only if they had reached an agreement. Now, to present the arguments from each side:
The MLE's plan is to take over the DOM. The main changes this would cause are that the DOM would partake in the systems that the other departments are using, and that the DOM's work would become more public. There is a possibility that the DOM would be annexed into MLE if this were to happen. This plan would allow for the entire Ministry of Magic to be on one page and have easier, clearer communication, get the DOM back on track, and limit systematic problems, making issues easier to find and fix should they occur. However, this would give the MLE almost complete control of the Ministry, possibly causing corruption and/or causing MLE to be overwhelmed. Also, this would publicize the affairs of the DOM somewhat, and the possible annexation would entirely throw off the balance of power within the Ministry.
The DOM's plan is to stay independent. This would keep the Ministry basically the same, and wouldn't have a large effect on the balance of it. This would not throw off the Ministry's progress and would keep the DOM's affairs private, which is important for their work, allowing them to fix their problems as they see fit. The thing is, this could cause some standing friction between MLE and the DOM, set the stage for more systematic errors and unnecessary complications, and may stop the DOM from making significant progress.
As you can see, both alternatives have their own advantages and disadvantages. What do you think?
SPORTS : QUIDDITCH WORLD (C)UP(DATE)
Hello, my fellow witches and wizards! My name is Sara, and this is your November edition of the Sports column of the Daily Prophet. Now, let's get started on this month's sports events thus far, though it seems the whistle has already been blown!
At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the House Quidditch teams are in their third match of the season. The first game of the season saw Ravenclaw go head to head with Hufflepuff, where those clever eagles won by an outstanding 200-0. The second match was Ravenclaw vs. Slytherin, where Ravenclaw kept their winning streak going, beating the snakes 200-100. The current match is of course Slytherin vs. Gryffindor, and it's Gryffindor's first match of the season. Has their practice prepared them for this match against their rivals? So far, as I am writing this article, they are in the fourth round of the match, with Slytherin ahead by 50 points. Will Slytherin be able to keep their lead and redeem themselves from their loss to Ravenclaw, or will the mighty lions come around to snatch the win?
On the national Quidditch level, we are still in the early stages of the season; there have only been four weeks' worth of matches so far. Currently, the Appleby Arrows, Puddlemere United, and the Holyhead Harpies are undefeated. Many say that the Holyhead Harpies, an all-women Quidditch team, is only flourishing thanks to their outstanding Quidditch player, Ginevra Weasley. However, rumors have been flying around that she has plans to retire within the next two years, as she now has three children with Harry Potter, and has been playing with the Holyhead Harpies for ten strong years.
Either way, they have been playing tough, and next week, the Harpies are going up against the also-undefeated Puddlemere United. Right behind them are the Chudley Cannons, Yorkshire, and the Wimbourne Wasps with a record of 3-1. Then, with a tied record are the Caerphilly Catapults and the Ballycastle Bats. Montrose Magpies and Lancashire both have one win each, while the Falmouth Falcons, Tutshill Tornadoes, and Wigtown Wanderers have no wins.
There have been several minor injuries reported from all teams, but those were quickly healed. No players have missed any games due to injuries. Unfortunately, the exciting Quidditch World Cup is not held this year, so we won't be focusing on teams internationally. Only two more years to go! Until the next issue, keep up with the latest Quidditch news, and if not, the Daily Prophet will fill you in next month!
By Desiree Snow
For this issue of Hex Report, who better to write it up than the Queen of Social Media herself!
No, don't go looking for Alice Rosebud. I was talking about me, of course! But kidding aside, here are the latest happenings on Hex:
Troll in the Dungeon! Again?
The Magical Theories forum hosted a mind-boggling puzzle that would have befuddled the smartest troll. But two lucky Hexians were able to solve the riddles and came out triumphant!
1st: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone + 4000 House Points = marglegod
2nd: Booga-Booga Pumpkin + 2500 House Points = Wizardique
Gamer of the Month
Guess who the greatest cryptographer is? Come on, guess! Give up? Well, our gamer of the month is the greatest cryptographer! Congratulations Charlie599
Club of the Month
The Club of the Month for October is Dark Mark Manor
, and it was founded by Lee_Quill on July 26, 2016. Loyal Death Eaters and Dark Arts practitioners are welcome here. If you want to explore your dark side, then head on over to Dark Mark Manor.
Arts and Graphics
The A&G forum was filled with pumpkin spice this October! Despite the sweetness overload, these talented Hexians still managed to snag some shiny Galleons and lovely House Points:
1st Place: 10,000 Galleons + 3,000 House Points = Vie Noblefury
2nd Place: 5,000 Galleons + 2,000 House Points = Gemz Bond
3rd Place: 2,000 Galleons + 1,000 House Points = Merri Patil
1st Place: 10,000 Galleons + 3,000 House Points - LadyReeseKightkens
2nd Place: 5,000 Galleons + 2,000 House Points - Sternbeere
3rd Place: 2,000 Galleons + 1,000 House Points - Scribe
House Staff Elections
House Staff elections have come and gone. We're excited to see what the newly elected staff for all four Houses have in store for this term.
Halloween Event: Carving Out Memories
Halloween is now over as well. Did you have fun growing pumpkins and participating in Slytherin's Halloween site-wide?
QUIDDITCH: GRYFFINDOR VS. SLYTHERIN!
Rival Houses fight each other for glory on the Quidditch pitch! It's a match that you don't want to miss!
Excited to see what's in store for next month? Don't forget to visit The Newsstand
again to read more!
I'm having a hard time with non-verbal spells, but I'm a grown witch! I'm afraid to confide in my friends because they might laugh at me. But I'm not getting a handle on casting spells non-verbally by studying alone. What should I do?
Don't fret. Many adult witches and wizards struggle with non-verbal spells! It takes a good wand and a lot of concentration to be able to cast non-verbal spells well. Sometimes, people even fudge silent spells to look more impressive by whispering incantations under their breath! The best advice I can give you is to ask one person at a time, without giving yourself away. The next time you see a friend perform a non-verbal spell, ask him or her to teach you by saying, "That one has always been tricky for me. Would you show me how to cast the spell properly?" Once you've aced your first non-verbal spell, you can ask someone else to help you with the next one! (And the next, and the next … ) Soon you'll be speechless at how good you've become!
I just moved to the UK and don't know many people. I work for the Ministry of Magic, but despite being surrounded by a lot of coworkers, they all seem to have known each other from Hogwarts. I just can't fit in! How can I make more friends?
~ Lonely at the Gillywater Cooler
It is so hard to move anywhere and start over, even more so to a whole other country! Language barriers and cultural differences can be especially isolating. I understand that not being able to talk about your old school or professors can make you feel left out of a lot of workplace conversations. The best thing you can do is to stop trying to make your own experiences imitate theirs. Instead, celebrate the differences. Your coworkers probably know each other's stories and experiences by heart. They'd love to hear about a different part of the world, its culture, and its sports. Speak up for yourself. Try introducing some of your traditions to the workplace. They'll be a welcome change, and soon, you'll be the center of attention at the cooler!
I'm a recent graduate looking for a job. I swore I'd never go into Ministry work, but it seems like there's nothing else out there! How can I find a job I truly love?
~ Sad Grad
First of all, congratulations! It's a big deal to be job-searching after so many years of studying. Of course, it's also scary and difficult not to have the assurance of going somewhere. It does seem like the Ministry is all there is, for one simple reason: media. You've read your whole life about different Ministry departments! You probably have family that works there. You haven't been exposed to the amazing businesses and non-profit organizations popping up around the country, spearheaded by young people just like yourself!
Once upon a time, Ministry work was the expected career path, aside from being one of the few paths available. It offered such versatility, too – the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, the Auror Office, the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, and more – that any other enterprise didn't stand a chance. My best advice to you is to research. Think of three things you really love, and then start searching for positions that do those things. Keep your mind open to new possibilities! Maybe there's a job that isn't exactly what you want to do, but has some of the things you value. You might find it's your dream position, or at the very least, it gets you started in the right direction.
My brother and I were born less than a year apart. Everyone thinks we're twins, but he's older and better at everything. I feel like a huge family disappointment, and it's as if I can't do anything that he hasn't done first – and better! What should I do to make my own mark?
A lot of siblings have faced this! Even the famous Ronald Weasley once thought he was the youngest brother of five older, better, and smarter brothers! I'm sure you'll agree that each of the Weasley brothers is famous in his own right, but now, Ronald is the most famous of all. Give it time. You never know where life will lead you, or when you're going to discover your true calling. In the meantime, try everything! Maybe you're a musical savant, an artist, or a magizoologist. You won't know unless you try, and at the very least, you would be better than your brother if you're the only one doing it!
Help! My new owl flew away with her first letter, and I think she got lost! I don't know where she is, or how to find her. How can I make sure she gets back to me safe and sound?
~ Mailer Mistake
Many fledgling owls have not been properly oriented with finding their way home. She might have delivered the letter and not been able to find her way back! The best thing to do is to take the sheets off your bed and bewitch them into the nearest tree. The smell of home and the bright sheet will make sure she finds her way back to you. Best of luck!
STARBURST! : HESTIA'S HEARTH
For those outside the wizarding stage, there's a new rising star! Apollo Dorsett, as handsome as his namesake of the rising sun, is taking the theater by storm in the new Carim Eslamboly play, Hestia's Hearth. Dorsett plays the smug but sweet scavenger, Geoff. The play is about a rag-tag band of uneducated boy wizards trying to foil the ploy of the nefarious schemer, Yafercovich. He was the impostor on the Russian throne after the fall of Tsar Alexander, gaining his position by obliviating the memories of his competitors. The street urchins, led by Geoff, must choose between the rising revolution and the threat to the wizarding society. With an unexpected love story blossoming between two of the characters, the fantastic performance by the invisible orchestra, and the classical score produced by composer Suki Rottman, Eslamboly's masterpiece will leave the audience spellbound – sometimes literally – in their interactive seats.
Yet, it's difficult to deny that Dorsett manages to set himself apart as a shockingly talented individual. An accomplished baritone, magnificent dancer, and unbelievably good actor, very few eyes were dry by the end of the first act, and no hands were still at curtain's call. Dorsett, 15, hails from Somerset and is the eldest of four siblings – Diana, Ceres, and Juno. Neither of his parents has ever shown an inclination for musical talent, but Dorsett was singing for his supper by age three. Performing on the streets in East Open, Dorsett was a busker, famous for his golden curls and strong voice, only adding tap dancing and acrobatics to his repertoire as he grew older. His younger brother, Ceres, joined him when he was five and Apollo was eight. The brothers became more famous for their flips and dances than for Apollo's music.
Apollo's audition for Hestia's Hearth occurred at the beginning of his fifth year at Hogwarts, and he skipped a Hogsmeade weekend to attend the open call for young performers. After being cast as Geoff, Dorsett took a leave of absence from his studies to train daily for the opening in November, just in time to mark it an instant holiday classic. Hestia's Hearth is slated to run through late July, and Dorsett will return to school the following August for his O.W.Ls (if he isn't picked up for the next musical smash hit, that is). As a fun family addition, Ceres occasionally moonlights as an extra when the chorus falls short; you can spot him easily as he is the smallest of the band of boys, and the primary acrobat.
Hestia's Hearth features two solos by Apollo Dorsett, "The Pocket Pantry" in the opening act of the band of thieves looking out for their own, and "What Can I Do?" in the building climax of the action in his struggle against Yafercovich. The writer and director, Eslamboly, and the scorist, Rottman, will both be nominated in December for a Morgan – the notable magical musical and theater award named for the infamous witch Morgana. There has been no word yet on any nominations for Dorsett, but with his breakout role, Starburst readers are surely watching this star being born.
AUNT EDNA'S HOLIDAY ADVICE
Hello all, and welcome back to my advice column! This time of the year is busy for all, as almost everybody is getting ready for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. Here are some suggestions from your favorite gal around here to get the best out of both holidays.
Before Thanksgiving, you want to finish shopping as early as you can
since everything good will be sold out sooner than you think, especially the turkeys since everyone wants to buy one of those. Oh, but a fair warning for you as well: you don't want to go shopping too early, either. Nobody wants to eat sour food, darlings.
Now, to go all out, make your Thanksgiving dinner special by adding candy to the kids' food and maybe even the adults'
. You know, the candy from Halloween last month? If you have any leftovers, put them in your desserts. This will make your dinner more fun and unique because the food typically served on Thanksgiving is not sweet.
The last tip I have for Thanksgiving is to be thankful
. Write cards to the Ministry of Magic to tell them how much you appreciate them. I know this is a no-brainer, but when I was young, I used to take my magic, my family, and everything for granted. So please show your gratitude, and be glad that you are a part of this wonderful magical community.
Now that I have covered everything serious, let's move on to happier subjects. Presents! Everybody loves to receive them, but not everyone likes to give. To get cheap but thoughtful gifts, just follow these simple instructions:
- You must head to the shops right now! This is important because all the good items will be sold out by the time Christmas rolls around, and the price of items will just get higher and higher the closer you get to Christmas.
- If you won't go to the shops this instant, don't wait until the last minute, either. Again the price thing, but also, waiting until the very last minute is going to get you nothing but gift cards. They are the most predictable and least thoughtful gifts in the universe. Don't get people gift cards for Christmas! Birthdays? Gift cards are fine. Christmas? Nooo (I'm shaking my head at you if you buy your family and friends gift cards).
- Look everywhere for coupons. Don't cheat and conjure yourself some. Scout around for them; I promise it will be fun.
- You can totally make your own presents. Buy something that you can personalize from Crafty Witches, and you'll be good to go. These are the most thoughtful gifts because you have put time and effort into them. Make sure it's something useful, though!
I must end here, for it's not quite Christmas yet, and more good tips will be revealed in due time. Have a great Thanksgiving, host dinners, and last of all, be safe!
MONTHLY RECIPE : CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BROWNIES
By Cassandra Lovegood
I don’t know how many of you celebrate Thanksgiving, but in the United States, one of the most enjoyable aspects is all the food! It’s practically tradition to stuff yourself silly and eat the leftovers for the next few days. For a food lover like me, it’s wonderful. However, if you’re in charge of bringing something to your family’s Thanksgiving, you may be out of ideas. Well, lucky for you, the Daily Prophet is here!
This treat is one that I’ve had few times in the past, but it’s truly delicious! (Especially to a chocolate lover like me!) This recipe is for a dessert called chocolate chip cookie brownies, which pretty much says it all.
Things You Will Need:
- a small mixing bowl
- an electric mixer
- 8x8 baking pan
- a spoon
- a knife
- 1 stick of salted butter
- 3/4 cup of white sugar
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of chocolate chips
- 18.9 ounces of brownie mix
(with needed eggs, oil, and water for said mix)
- Using an electric mixer, cream butter and the sugars in a small mixing bowl.
- Add vanilla and egg, then cream until the batter is smooth.
- Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir until they are incorporated.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Store cookie batter in refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare the brownie mix as directed on the box.
- Pour the batter into the 8x8 baking pan.
- Place pieces of cookie dough over the top of the brownie batter.
- Press gently on the dough so that it sinks down into the batter just a little bit.
- Cover with foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
- Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes, and then cut into serving pieces.
You can, of course, use boxed mix for the cookie and brownie batters or make both from scratch. It’s all up to you, and don’t feel anxious about messing around with the recipe until it’s to your liking! You can share this delicacy with family and friends, or eat it in your kitchen at 2 A.M. (What? Personal experience? Sadly, no. Well, not with cookie brownies at least. Maybe one day.) However, I wish you happy holidays and happy baking, HEXians!
ON THE STREETS : PUMPKINS AND PREFECTS
Have you ever woken up on a sunny weekend morning, clambered out of bed, forced yourself to get dressed, made a bowl of cereal, and pondered, "I wonder what people think about pumpkins?"
Well, let me give you the answers to this intriguing question! In our last issue, our beloved HEXians expressed their excitement for the upcoming Halloween celebrations, and many were eager for the return of the pumpkins.
Now that the season to be spooky is over, here's what some of our lovely students thought about growing these orange delights while the event was going on.
“I'm enjoying the change in pumpkins this year. When I did this event last year, I couldn't spin the wheel because I didn't get my pumpkins to Hagrid-sized. This year, everyone can spin the wheel, and it's so exciting because I can get an item from the wheel.”
~ RazorBlade2, Gryffindor
Who doesn't love free things?
“I can do pumpkins! I love them. It's so cool how easy it is to get galleons and rares, but you have to be around A LOT to get a Hagrid-sized one!”
~ SatyrsRock, Hufflepuff
I wonder how many people did manage to grow Hagrid-sized pumpkins. I'm guessing that the vegetable patch at Hogwarts must have been very crowded during the pumpkin season.
“I don't know much about the elections,
but the pumpkins are awesome.”
~ Kboop374, Hufflepuff
Who could deny that? The point about the elections brings me nicely to the second part of "On the Streets" this month.
Unless you have barricaded yourself in your dorm this month and refused to leave until all the bats have been removed from the common room, you will be well aware that House Staff elections have taken place. By the time this article is released, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff will have a new set of House staff, and Slytherin will have a new Head of House, a new Assistant Head of House, and four new Prefects!
Here's what our HEXians had to say about the elections.
“The House elections can be quite exciting, because of the number of changes that the Prefects can make happen between their being elected and their final day in office for that term, as well as how they help their Houses.”
~ Purplegems3, Slytherin
It's very true! The House Staff do a wonderful job bringing changes to their Houses.
“I don't know much about the elections, though for us ‘puffs, we had a group of people campaigning as soon as the gates opened (so to speak). The gang really impressed me with the level of detail and time that they obviously spent in creating their campaign ads.”
~ Venuxiatus, Hufflepuff
I agree. I was blown away by the standard of campaigns I saw!
“I've been looking at the Hufflepuff campaigns, and a lot of them seem really well-prepared! I like the idea of the elections, and I might be running for Hufflepuff Prefect sometime in the future! For now, I'll just sit and watch.”
~ Salari25, Hufflepuff
I really look forward to seeing you and others running for House staff in the future!
So, there you have it, dear readers! Those were just thoughts from some of our readers, but I would also like to know: did you enjoy perusing the campaigns? Were you a natural green thumb, or did you destroy every plant you had touched, just like me? Head on over to The Newsstand
and let us know – we'd love to hear your opinions!
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