My TBR List For the Holidays

I’m lucky enough to have a day job that provides quite a bit of time off, especially around the holidays. So with a rather large break looming, I’ve stacked myself a bit of a reading list, and I simply cannot wait to settle in for some time away from the office with lots of good books. Here’s what I’m reading over the holidays this year!

Name of the Wind

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OMG, Kendall you haven’t read this book? Are you serious? You HAVE to read this book! You’ll love it I just know it! Yes. Yes. I know. I need to read this book. Honestly, I want to read this book. I have absolutely no doubt that I’ll love it.

So why haven’t I read it just yet? Honestly, it’s because I’m a snob. I currently only have this book in digital format on my iPad from DAW Books. I’ve said it before, but allow me to reiterate that I hate reading books digitally. A big part of the reading experience for me is getting to hold a book while I fall into a story. Still, I’m really working hard to not buy books so flippantly (space has become a real issue) so I’m not allowing myself to buy a hard copy of this book until I read it once and officially can say that I love it. So I’m carrying on digitally (yes, this is totally and completely a #firstworldproblem), and despite my love of what I’ve read thus far, it’s been a lot of starting and stopping on this book. However, I’ve decided that now is the time to read this book and officially get into the Kingkiller Chroncile series. I also put the book on hold at the library if I prove too pretentious to read the ebook.

Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 1

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I’ve watched and loved the Netflix Jessica Jones series, so I decided that I should probably check out the source material, too. A while back, I picked up Jessica Jones vol. 1 from Marvel for myself, and for one reason or another just never read it. I am absolutely going to remedy that this break.

Especially since we’ve got quite a bit of a wait between now and the release of Iron Fist, Defenders, or season two of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Daredevil, I need something to distract me from my Netflix Marvel withdrawal.

One thing I’m especially excited to see is how the characters in the show and the comic are different and alike. I’ve heard that Kilgrave was amped up quite a bit for the Netflix show, so I’m really excited to see how Tennant’s Kilgrave differs from the original Kilgrave from the comics.

Harry Potter A L’Ecole des Sorciers

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I absolutely adore the Harry Potter books. I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t grow up reading these books, and first journeyed to Hogwart’s as an adult. Regardless of my age, I found the books completely magical and wonderful.

After my trip to Europe earlier this year, I was really inspired to continue learning and beefing up my French language skills. I was able to successfully get me and my husband around France with the French I remembered from high school and the skills I gained from using Duolingo, but the reality is hearing a language in IRL is a lot more overwhelming than just interacting with isolated sentences with a word bank at the bottom. So one of the things I’m doing to help beef up my French vocabulary (because I absolutely plan to return to France someday) is reading books that I’m familiar with in French. The obvious place to start was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I found the entire series in a French mass market edition from the publisher Assimil. While I’ve only bought the first book (I figure it will take me a while to get through the whole thing), I’m really excited to start expanding my French language learning into the Wizarding World!

What books are you reading over the holidays? Tell me your TBR list for the month in the comments! 

Interview with Gwenda Bond About Lois Lane: Double Down

I’m a big fan of Gwenda Bond and her amazing Lois Lane series, and I’m so happy to have her back on the site to talk about the second book (which you can buy RIGHT NOW), Lois Lane: Double Down. If you’re like me and loved the first book, you will not be disappointed by the second installment in Gwenda’s Lois Lane saga.

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Here’s a quick synopsis of the book:

Lois Lane has settled in to her new school. She has friends, for maybe the first time in her life. She has a job that challenges her. And her friendship is growing with SmallvilleGuy, her online maybe-more-than-a-friend. But when her friend Maddy’s twin collapses in a part of town she never should’ve been in, Lois finds herself embroiled in a dangerous mystery that brings her closer to the dirty underbelly of Metropolis.

The book is fantastic, and much like the first book, you get to see a side of Lois that is pretty much completely seperate from Clark Kent/Superman. I mean, yes, there is SmallvilleGuy, but he’s very much a tertiary character. It’s mainly a point of dramatic irony for us to smile knowingly at what’s to come in Lois’ life. But what I love is how fully developed Lois’ character is, and it shows us what a truly badass character is, even though she’s just a regular human woman from earth. It’s not only Kryptonians who can be heroes!

Of course, Lois is a character who has been in the Superman universe since the beginning. She’s got a long and storied history, so taking up the mantle to write about her has got to be intimidating to do once, but starting a series about her as a teen? That’s a HUGE task to take on, and the fact that Gwenda has taken on the mantle of writing a continuing story of this character is something that just amazes me, so I wanted to ask Gwenda some questions about creating this new side of Lois, and what we can expect to see–if anything–coming from Lois in the future, her place in the DC universe, and any plans she has to incorporate other DC characters.

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Kendall: Obviously trying to capture an iconic character in a new original work of fiction is tough. Did you find it easier or harder to write about her in book 2?

Gwenda: Both! It was easier in a sense because I felt like old friends with Lois and the rest of the characters heading in. It was nice to spend time with them again. But it was harder in the sense of trying to make sure I escalated the stakes for everyone and didn’t just retread the same ground as the first book.

K: With all the refocused attention on Superman (and Lois) with Dawn of Justice releasing, did that play into how you wrote your story or pictured Lois in the scope of the DC Universe?

G: You know, it honestly didn’t. I didn’t have access to information about the movie in advance and my books are in their own continuity. That said, obviously both stories are informed by the history of Lois and Clark as characters. I feel like I’m more drawn to the sense of optimism in my favorite Superman stories. It’s funny, because of developments on the Flash TV show I am increasingly asked by teens which Earth the books are set on, though. I stole an answer from someone on twitter: “Earth Awesome.”

K: Did anything surprise you about Lois as a character as you were writing her in book two?

G: Lois is constantly surprising as a character. I always feel like in any given situation there’s only one answer to the question “What would Lois Lane do?” so I’m always trying to make sure I land on the right course of action for her.

K: What music do you think is on Lois’ iPod?

G: Stuff that Maddy and SmallvilleGuy have given her, so a mix of classic things and new stuff. The Pixies and the Bowerbirds, the Breeders and Beyonce. I feel like some Prince and Bowie would be in there this year, for sentimental reasons.

K: Why did you decide to show Superman as SmallvilleGuy as opposed to removing him from the story entirely or having him as a real character?

G: When you have the opportunity to write young Clark Kent, you write young Clark Kent. ;­) In a world­-building sense, Superman is traditionally the first superhero in stories focused on him. I didn’t want to lose the science fiction elements of the story, and so having there beginning to be strange things happening as young Clark is exploring his powers and also having Lois be one of the first people to discover that felt right to me. And I feel like the relationship of Lois and Clark is such an important part of the Superman mythos. I was never worried in the slightest that she wouldn’t be able to share a story with him and still be the star. I didn’t see any downside to having him present as a part of the story, and, in fact, his and Lois’s scenes “together” are some of my favorite to write. But it also felt like a very modern way to nod to the history of the Superman/Clark secret identity, and to allow their relationship to develop as friends first and over time through their chats and in the game. I also really wanted Lois in Metropolis.

K: Are there other characters from the DC Universe that you want to bring into Lois’ life?

G: *inscrutable face* We’ll just have to see, won’t we? Maybe there’s one already there…

K: What do you envision for Lois’ future? Are we going to get a book three?

G: I’m not allowed to answer quite yet. I understand that’s completely unsatisfying! But I will say that I don’t think Lois’s story is over.

Thanks so much to Gwenda for taking some time to answer my questions. Be sure to pick up a copy of Lois Lane: Double Down, and follow Gwenda on Twitter! If you’ve read Double Down, let me know your thoughts about the book in the comments! 

Distracted Blogger 2016 Summer Reading

Even though, where I live, we had snow like literally two weeks ago, I’m officially calling it summer…

…or spring, at least. I just want it to be a season where I’m not always freezing.

ANYWAY since it’s getting warmer, it’s time to start planning out my summer reading! Here’s what I’ve got on the docket:

Bloodline by Claudia Gray

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Image credit: Penguin Random House

I bought this book the day it released, and I cannot WAIT to jump in farther (I’m on like chapter two right now). The story centers largely around Leia, as the cover suggests, and it takes place in the space between Return of the Jedi and Force Awakens.

Leia is a Senator in the New Republic, and after years of peace she is beginning to sense the breakdown of the era of peace as the New Republic becomes divided between those wanting a galaxy united under one ruler (how could that possibly go wrong) and a galaxy where each world was given sovereign governing rights. Understandably, Leia is super wary of the people wanting to unite under one ruler.

While I love a good story about Leia kicking ass and taking names, I’m also interested to see how much of Han and Ben we get. I’m assuming they’re saving Ben’s Kylo Origin Story for the actual films, but I’m eager to see a bit of their kid prior to becoming the Dark Side’s whiniest soldier.

Aftermath and Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig

Okay, so Aftermath has been out for a bit, but I only got myself a copy a couple weeks ago. Imagine how STOKED I was to hear that because I’m late to the party, I won’t have to wait too long until the second book in the Aftermath trilogy. Aftermath: Life Debt comes out July 12! Of course I’ll have to wait a while for the third book, but that’s Future Kendall’s problem. The Aftermath trilogy, like Bloodline, takes place between Episode VI and Episode VII, and gives us the details of how the galaxy went from chaos under the Emperor to peace to somehow being in chaos again under the First Order. I am so excited about these books, I can’t even.

Lois Lane: Double Down by Gwenda Bond

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Image credit: Switch Press

This is the second book in Gwenda’s Lois Lane series, the first being Lois Lane: Fallout. I’ve been reading this one for a bit, and I LOVE it. Gwenda is doing something totally awesome with Lois, and I love getting to see her as a teen, chasing down stories, and helping the little guy. Of course it’s also fun to see her interact with SmallvilleGuy, but I really like how Gwenda is portraying Lois. Even though she was occasionally portrayed as nothing more than a damsel in distress in the comics, Gwenda shows Lois as she really is. Lois is a hero in her own right. She might not be from Krypton and she might not be from the House of El, but Lois is a badass and she fights for justice. Since she isn’t bulletproof herself, it kind of makes her that much more of a hero. Lois is human just like the rest of us, but she still never hesitates to put herself in harm’s way. I just love that about her. Plus, she’s hella sarcastic which is the quickest way to get to my heart.

Investigating Lois Lane by Tim Hanley

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Image credit: Chicago Review Press

I had to toss a non-fiction book into the mix, right? Plus, I feel like this one is a great chaser for Gwenda’s book. Tim Hanley investigates the history behind the Lois character, and discusses her evolution throughout the comics and even into television shows and movies.

Like I said before, Lois wasn’t always portrayed as a strong, capable character, so it will be really cool to see how she’s changed over the years and how different mediums have treated the character. Here’s hoping they mention something about Terri Hatcher’s version of Lois lane and those epic, nineties pantsuits with the shoulder pads.

But in all honesty, I’m really excited to get to read something that takes a critical, almost academic look at comics. Taking a genre studies in comic books and graphic novels in college is what made me fall  in love with them, so I can’t wait to read something about comics that goeses beyond  a basic love for the art form and does some deep dive into character evolution. Plus, I don’t have to write a research paper after reading this, so HUGE bonus!

What is on your summer reading list? Have you read any of the books on my list? If you have, give me your non-spoilery thoughts in the comments! 

Easy and Fun Ways to Celebrate Your House Pride Day

This week is all about Hogwart’s house pride! Let’s hear it for our favorite wizarding school!

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Today is Slytherin Pride Day, which is my favorite thing since I was recently re-sorted into Slytherin with Pottermore’s new and improved Sorting Hat quiz. While I did suffer a bit of an identity crisis, I feel more at home in Slytherin than I ever did in Gryffindor. Being sorted Gryffindor didn’t really make a lot of sense–apart from my desire to share a house with Hermoine. I’m a Slytherin through and through, and I’m super proud of it! This is the first year I really feel “at home” in my house, so you KNOW I’m celebrating Slytherin Pride Day!  But how do you really celebrate a day dedicated to a fictitious grouping of people from our favorite, fictitious school? So glad you asked…

Quick note: I realize the entire world is not made up of Slytherins, so even though my suggestions will lean Slytherin, you can modify them to better celebrate your house’s unique attributes. Not a Slytherin? Here are your house pride days: Hufflepuff was March 20 (so…I hope you celebrated!), Gryffindor is March 22, and Ravenclaw is March 23. 

Dress for the Day

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Whether you’re wearing an everyday cosplay outfit inspired by your house, or you’re simply adding a house sweater to your outfit (like I’m doing today), dressing for the day is the key to starting off your house pride day right. If nothing else, just wear something with your house’s colors to show your house pride.

Read Up on Your House History

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Each Hogwart’s house has a rich history behind it. You can find loads of info on the different houses on Pottermore, and once you’ve been sorted you’ll get a bunch of info about your house (and some downloadable house wallpaper for your phone and computer, because obviously). But learning about your house is a great way to really boost your house pride, especially if you’re feeling weird about where you’ve been sorted.

Host a Quidditch Match

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Unless you’re already in a Quidditch league or you’ve got a TON of Potterhead friends in the immediate area, this one may take a bit more planning. Still, playing Quidditch is a great way to boost house pride, and keep the magical spirit alive. There are even official rules for the Muggles among us.

Watch Your Favorite Harry Potter Film

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Jamming eight movies into one day is a tall order, especially if you’ve got work or school. Instead, just pick your fave and watch it on your house pride day. Of course, if you want to watch all of them, watch about a film a day to stretch your Potter celebrations out over the course of the week.

Live Up to Your House Traits

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The best way to honor your house is to hold true to those traits it values most. For Slytherin, that’s cunning, ambition, resourcefulness, shrewdness, and being determined. For Gryffindor it’s bravery, nerve, chivalry, courage, and daring. For Hufflepuff it’s dedication, patience, kindness, tolerance, and loyalty. Ravenclaw‘s house traits are intelligence, wisdom, creativity, individuality, and acceptance

What is your favorite thing about your Hogwart’s house? How are you celebrating your house pride day? Let me know in the comments! 

5 Fandom Friday: Geeky Tattoos I Want

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I love tattoos, and I’m blown away by the skill it takes to be a tattoo artist. The thing is, tattoos are, like, forever. That kind of commitment freaks me out something fierce, and always gives me pause when I think about getting some ink. Sure, maybe today I’m cool with getting a geeky tattoo, but will I love that fandom/show/character enough that I’ll still be proud of my tattoo when I’m 50? I want to be sure whatever tattoos I get will be important and meaningful to me for the rest of my life. So while I have quite an extensive list of tattoos I’d like to get, who knows how many–if any at all–I’ll actually end up getting. Though my list spans all sorts of areas in my life, here are my top 5 geeky tattoos that I’d love to get.

Rebel Alliance Symbol

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Image credit: Chris-Alvarez/DeviantArt.com

If I’m honest, the chance of me getting this tattoo is super small, but all you have to do is do a quick Google search of Rebel Alliance tattoos to see how awesome these babies look. I’ve been a Star Wars fan since I was a kid, and have always though Princess Leia was a complete and total badass. I think getting a tattoo that signifies a group of people fighting against oppression for freedom is kind of awesome.

Anti-Possession Sigil

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Any hunter worth her salt has an anti-possession sigil. Sam and Dean got this tattoo, and both Kevin Tran and his mother got it as well. While I don’t actually think it would keep demons from possessing me, I do like the idea of something on your skin reminding you to keep evil away. Plus, it’s also the sort of unofficial symbol of the Supernatural fandom. Loads of people in the Supernatural fandom have this tattoo, but I love the instant-bonding that can bring.

Deathly Hallows Symbol

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Much like the anti-possession sigil, loads of people have this tattoo, so this isn’t necessarily an original idea. BUT I kind of love the idea of having a small Deathly Hallows symbol somewhere on my body to align myself with the hundreds of other Potterheads out there with a similar marking. It gives almost a weird sense of community, and I think that’s awesome. Being able to instantly bond with someone over a shared fandom love is something I’ll always value, regardless of my age.

“…all was well”

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I’m a big fan of the idea of getting a literary-inspired tattoo, especially getting actual words tattooed on your body. I absolutely adore how J.K. Rowling ended the Harry Potter series, and these three little words pack such a meaningful punch to me. Despite all of the fear, pain, the fighting, the death, and the destruction, Harry and his friends had come out the other side, stronger, happy, and safe. Life wasn’t perfect, but all was well. It’s one of those things you cling to when times are hard, and the books’ message of bravery, loyalty, and friendship make the conclusion of Deathly Hallows that much more impactful to me. I’d love to have that phrase tattooed on me forever.

A Scarlet Pimpernel

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Image credit: preesterjohn1/DeviantArt.com

The Scarlet Pimpernel is one of my all-time favorite books, and I love the film version with Sir Ian McKellan. I’ve been watching the film and reading the book since I was a kid, which is why, out of all of these, this tattoo is the most likely for me to get. The Scarlet Pimpernel would mark his letters or announce that he had been somewhere by leaving a small drawing of a scarlet pimpernel (a flower). I’ve always loved the idea of getting a small scarlet pimpernel tattooed just behind my ear, hiding it just out of sight like all of the scarlet pimpernels Percy Blakeney had around his home.

What tattoos are on your geeky tattoo wish list, or what geeky tattoos do you already have? Tell me about it in the comments, and, as always, check out my other Fandom 5 posts. Follow the #Fandom5 hashtag to see what everyone else is talking about today–and be sure to follow me on Twitter to follow the hashtag–-and be sure to check out the brains behind the Fandom 5 linkup, the awesome Kristen and Megan (who happens to be the proud owner of a Deathly Hallows tattoo herself). 

The History of Magic in North America: 1920s

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Image source: Pottermore.com

Well, kids, we’ve reached the end of our magical journey with Pottermore’s Magic in North America series. If you haven’t, be sure to check out my quick hits from 14th-17th Century, 17th Century and beyond, and the history behind Rappaport’s Law. Today’s history lesson focuses on the 20s–which is, of course, the time period in which Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set. Here are some quick hits on what it was like being an American wizard in the Jazz Age:

    • Wizards fought alongside No-Majes in WWI. The No-Majes weren’t aware of this, of course, and the wizards mostly fought against enemy magical factions. However, they did manage to gain several victories and stop further loss of life.
    • Despite sitting alongside No-Majes in the trenches, Rappaport’s Law was not relaxed during or after the war.
    • Wizards started using the name Dorcas to describe someone who was an idiot or inept–which is kind of not cool. Yeah, Dorcas should have been more wary before spilling all of her magical secrets to her Scourer boyfriend, but to be fair, she didn’t know he was a Scourer at the time. Plus, I’m pretty sure every single one of those wizards who would roll their eyes and call someone they didn’t like a Dorcas had their own stories of when they got bamboozled, cheated, hurt, or lied to because they were blinded by infatuation. Not cool, American wizards.
    • In 1892, there was a thing called the Great Saquatch Rebellion, and it was exactly what it sounds like. I’m a bit upset that we don’t get to hear more about Big Foot having a heyday, though there is further reading in the wonderfully-titled book, Big Foot’s Last Stand.
    • Magical creatures, ghosts, and other non-human entities of the magical world were on serious lockdown in the US since they could alert No-Majes to magic pretty quickly by simply existing near a No-Maj…magical creatures on the loose, it seems from the preview anyway, will be the big focus of the Fantastic Beasts movie.
  • The MACUSA President in the 20s was a witch from Savannah called Madam Seraphina Picquery.
    • Unrelated to our history lesson: why do wizards always have such bizarre names? Seriously? Although Ron was a pureblood and Hermoine was Muggle-born, so maybe it isn’t just witches and wizards. I mean, look at the names of celebrity babies. They’re all Muggles/No-Majes…as far as we know
  • At the end of the 19th century, American wizards needed a wand permit to carry a wand in an attempt to keep tabs on the magic happening around the country, and to help ID those perpetrators of magical crimes.
  • Ollivander may have a monopoly on wand-making in Britain, but in the US there were four great wand-makers. Shikoba Wolfe, Johannes Jonker, Thiago Quintana, and Violetta Beauvais.
  • Thunderbirds are sort of an American relative of Phoenixes. And here I always thought they were those fancy planes you saw at air shows…
  • Most importantly, the magical community did not take part in prohibition. President Picquery was totally cool with wizards having their hooch. In fact, she called it “giggle water”, and told her staff that having it was a non-negotiable for her since living as a wizard in the US was tough enough to have to live that life dry. Picquery was probably a lot of fun at parties.

And that concludes our magical history lesson! What was your favorite part? What do you want to hear more about? What did you hate? Did this get you more or less excited for Fantastic Beasts? Let me know what you think in the comments! 

The History of Magic In North America: Rappaport’s Law

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Image credit: Pottermore.com

An alternate title for today’s magical history lesson could be “Dorcas Ruins Dating for Everyone”. Before I jump in with today’s quick hits, be sure to check out the recaps of Day 1 and Day 2 of Pottermore’s North American magical history lessons.

Today’s lesson focused largely on a specific law called Rappaport’s Law, which has to do with wizard interaction with No-Majes. I kind of liked that today’s story focused a bit less on a broad strokes history lesson, and instead zeroed in to a specific moment in North American magical history. As with the other two stories, I’m realizing that their brevity is really kind of driving me crazy. I know Rowling is trying to only offer glimpses into the wizarding world in America to get people pumped for Fantastic Beasts, but I wish the stories we got went a bit deeper. I’m hoping she continues to write more as we get closer to the film’s release. Regardless of how much new content she’s giving us, here’s a quick roundup of what we learned today:

  • The fifteenth MACUSA president is named Emily Rappaport, creator of Rappaport’s law.
  • American magical currency is a Dragot. The Keeper of the Dragot is like the Secretary of the Treasury.
  • The Keeper of the Dragots in this story is Aristotle Twelvetrees, his daughter is named Dorcas.
  • Dorcas accidentally dates and falls in love with a Scourer named Bartholomew Barebone. Bartholomew tricks her into telling him all her magical secrets, and even shows him spells with her wand–which he promptly steals and tells as many people and news outlets he can about wizards.
  • After the word gets out, Bartholomew decides to take matters into his own hands, and attempts to shoot a group of wizards. Only they weren’t wizards, they were regular ol’ No-Majes. No one died, and Bartholomew was arrested before the MACUSA had to step in.
  • The MACUSA tried to Obliviate as many people as they could who came in contact with Bartholomew’s story, but it was impossible to find everyone. So President Rappaport introduced Rappaport’s Law (because “Way To Go, Dorcas” was probably too mean), which barred any witches or wizards from fraternizing with No-Majes.
  • While many called for Dorcas’ execution or a lifetime imprisonment, she only served a year in jail. When she came out, the wizarding community was totally different–as was she–and she spent the rest of her days Spongebob-style, in complete seclusion with only a parrot and mirror to keep her company.

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  • The No-Maj community was skeptical enough of the magical community, so after “The Dorcas Incident” the wizarding community essentially went underground.
  • Though really, after this entire thing I think a better name might be “The No-Maj Men are the Worst Act” or “Bartholomew’s a Dick Law”. Dorcas may have been naive, but Bartholomew’s definitely the villain here.

I know Rowling was planning on telling us how the first wands got to America. I either missed that conversation (because Dorcas had one, but the last thing I remember was talk of no established wand-makers), or it’s still coming. I’m going to have to re-read the other days to make sure I didn’t miss it. What do you think of the stories so far? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! 

The History of Magic In North America: 17th Century and Beyond

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Image credit: Pottermore.com

So…yesterday’s Magic in North America story from JK Rowling got some serious backlash. If you’re unsure why there was such an outcry from Native American people, I’d check out A Tribe Called Geek and Dr. Adrienne Keene to hear about the entire thing. Plus, you should probably just follow A Tribe Called Geek anyway, because they’re an awesome voice in the geek space that you should be following if you aren’t.

After yesterday’s train wreck, I was nervous to see what was in store for us today. After all, it’s totally okay to love something and still be critical of it, so I am still incredibly excited to see what new stories are coming about North American magic. I just hoped it would be…better than yesterday. So what did we learn in today’s North American magical history lesson (apart from the fact that this “North American” history lesson is actually more focused on the USA)? Here are the quick hits:

  • Wizards had a rough time when they left Europe for the New World. Starting over in a new land, poor relations with the Native community, and groups like the Puritans who were very wary of witches and wizards made life pretty harsh.
  • Ilvermorny started out as a shack with two teachers and two students. That must have been a super lame Yule Ball, amirite?
  • Meet the Scourers. They’re essentially the reverse Death Eaters, attacking wizards rather than mugg–*sigh*–No-Majes. They started as a task force to hunt down criminals or anyone with a bounty on their heads, and soon moved into hunting members of the magical community. At least two of the judges during the Salem Witch Trials were known Scourers. My money’s on John Hathorne, for sure.
  • Some actual witches were executed at Salem, though there were innocent of the crimes they were accused of, but there were also some No-Majes who also got caught up, likely because a Scourer needed to settle a feud.
  • Because of Salem, a lot of wizards stopped travelling to the New World. You how fear of execution really hurts the tourism industry. Which is kinda weird to me though, because didn’t people get burned at the stake all. the. time. in Europe because they were accused of witchcraft? I mean, at least Salem residents held a sham trial and ultimately hung the witches, they didn’t burn them at the stake, tie them with rocks and hurl them into a river, or brick them up in a wall. Salem wasn’t great for witches, but it doesn’t necessarily sound worse than what happened in Europe. Just sayin’.
  • Because pure-bloods stopped travelling to America in droves, the magical community thrived on No-Maj born wizards. So the whole pure-blood/mudblood feud wasn’t really a thing over here.
  • The most shocking thing of all is that, in 1693 the magical community formed the Magical Congress of the United States of America (called MACUSA–pronounced Mah-cooz-ah–for short). Read that again: in 1693, the Magical Congress of the United States of America was formed.
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Wait…what?

  • …in case you didn’t pay attention in history class (or you haven’t listened to Hamilton yet, which also does a fair job of talking about talking about our nation’s fight for independence), let me tell you that 1693 is definitely WAY before there even WAS a United States of America.

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  • Sketchy American history aside, the prophetically-named MACUSA was initially formed to keep the Scourers in check. While they were able to prosecute several Scourers, some went away and lived in hiding.
  • American magical history historian, Theophilus Abbot, has been able to identify some families with Scourers in them. These Scourers passed on their hatred of magic, which is why it is–apparently–much harder to fool American on the topic of magic.

So that’s day two of our Magic in North America history lesson. JK Rowling could probably stand to take an American history lesson, but whaddaya goona do, right? Let me know what you’ve thought of the pieces so far in the comments! 

Quick Hits on The History of Magic in North America: 14th Century-17th Century

As I mentioned yesterday, Pottermore is releasing a new piece from JK Rowling about the history of magic in North America from today through the 11th. So if you haven’t checked out the new stuff on Pottermore, TURN BACK NOW, because I’m going to be talking about today’s magical history lesson. I’ll wait, and give you a nice gif to watch as you head to Pottermore and come back.

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#werk

Alright, so I’m assuming we’ve all read the magical history lesson on the 14th-17th century. As an American, I’m quite used to not living in the location where some of my favorite magical legends exist. Merlin, Hogwarts, it’s all in England. I’m so excited to get to hear stories of magic in my own backyard. It’s THE BEST.

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So here are a few quick hits from today’s story:

  • We kick off the story right away with an explanation of the term No-Maj. Every nationality has its own term for Muggle…No-Maj is short for no magic…blah, blah, blah…Seriously, stop trying to make No-Maj happen. It’s not going to happen.
  • Ugh, I promised myself to keep an open mind about No-Maj, and it’s not working. Let’s move on.
  • Wizards knew all about the so-called “New World” and its inhabitants long before Muggle explorers, and they had been in contact with wizards in America as early as the Middle Ages. Suck it, Christopher Columbus.
  • Relations between Native American wizards and *sigh* No-Majes (wait–what is plural for No-Maj? No-Maji? No Majes? Is it like the word deer where there isn’t really a plural, it’s just the No-Maj??? Ugh. I miss Muggle) was an interesting one. Unlike what we saw in Harry Potter where Muggles and wizards lived largely separate lives, the No-Maj and wizards in Native American communities were often pretty aware of each other. Either you were lauded and treated with respect as a healer or medicine man, or thought to have a malevolent spirit.
  • While the legend of a skin walker is that they’re an evil witch or wizard, Rowling explains that, in her wizarding world, skin walkers were actually just animagi, nothing inherently malicious. #TheMoreYouKnow
  • Speaking of the more you know, apparently wands originated in Europe, which meant that Native American wizards practiced magic without the use of a wand. Wandless magic is the mark of a highly skilled wizard. In fact, she tells us that Native American wizards excelled far beyond European wizards at plant magic and potions.
  • Apparently Charms and Transfiguration are tough without wands. Who knew?

Ultimately, my favorite part of this entire thing is getting a picture into the broad world of wizardry. I’m so excited to see what the wizarding world looks on my side of the ocean, and it’s making my imagination run WILD with the possibilities for fascinating wizarding stories from North American wizards.

UPDATE: I’ve been seeing a lot of commentary from Native American/First Nations individuals really hating the portrayal of Native American wizards in this first story. Especially since Native Americans hold great value to their religious practices and traditions today, despite years of having their culture erased. So while I first read it as taking a piece of real history and fictionalizing it (much like Supernatural has done with loads of lore and religious practices–which, I know isn’t the best example as that show has its own realm of problematic stuff), I can absolutely see how this could be offensive or hurtful to read (here is a great explanation on why Native American readers took issue with Rowling’s story). I’m glad this is a conversation happening, and I’m really hoping that, as the stories go on, JK Rowling can do a better job of portraying North American magic in a way that all readers can enjoy and feel welcomed.

We get another snippet of North American magical history tomorrow morning. I’ll see you guys then. Let me know what you thought about today’s lesson in the comments! 

If You Aren’t on Pottermore Yet, It’s Time to Join

GUYS. Are you on Pottermore? Maybe you were way back when it originally kicked off and you found yourself underwhelmed. I hear that. I wasn’t totally stoked on Pottermore when it first launched, but with the release of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie coming out, the Potter more has been completely re-vamped and it is AWESOME. They’ve completely re-done the Sorting Hat quiz (which I feel is actually far more accurate now), and the site is generally a lot more user friendly.

Still, you might be apathetic towards joining, which I understand. After all, do you really need to join another geek website? Are you really interested in re-taking the Sorting Hat quiz and finding your world rocked by getting assigned a new house? Maybe not. But with Pottermore’s latest release, I think you’re gonna get on the Pottermore bandwagon pretty quickly. What’s the Pottermore news? It’s a brand new series called “The History of Magic in North America”. Get excited, Potterheads!

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So what exactly is “The History of Magic in North America”? It’s a brand new series–written by JK Rowling, of course–that will features stories about the wizarding world across the pond from Hogwarts. So it looks like we won’t have to wait much longer to get the dirt on the American wizarding school, Ilvermorny! The series launches this week, and kicks off tomorrow with the first piece going live on Pottermore at 2:00 pm GMT (if you aren’t in Britain, 2:00 pm GMT would translate to 9:00 AM EST). Even better, we’ll get a new piece every day at 2:00 pm GMT every day until March 11.

It’s going to be an epic week, you guys. I cannot WAIT to have some new Rowling writing waiting for me every morning this week. I’m also hoping that it gets me a bit more used to hearing the phrase No-Maj. Compared to Muggle, it just doesn’t seem to have the same ring to it, but I’m hoping repetition will help it start sounding a bit better.

BUT STILL! I can’t wait for my first North American magic history lesson. If you aren’t on Pottermore, be sure to join up to read the new stuff from Rowling herself, and be sure to come back here this week and to my Twitter so we can talk about the new stories!

Are you on Pottermore? Do you like it more now, or did you prefer it before the relaunch? How do you feel about the word No-Maj? What’s your burning question about the North American wizarding world? Let me know in the comments!