Potions 101 — Assignment: Lesson 2

PTNS-101 — Assignment: Lesson 2

Phase Transition: Sublimation

A few of my pure-blood classmates had never heard of dry ice before, so I decided to purchase some from the muggle world and show them how fascinating it is with the process of sublimation (where it transitions from a solid → to gas).

Dry ice is the solid, frozen form of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is a molecule that consists of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms.  It’s colourless, non-flammable, and has a density of between 1.4 and 1.6 g/cm3.  As the surface temperature of a block of dry ice is -78.5°C, I made sure to put on my dragon-hide gloves before handling them to prevent frostbite.

As I placed the chunks of dry ice in my pewter cauldron, my pure-blood classmates gathered round in anticipation of my concoction.  I then carefully poured room temperature water from a watering can into the cauldron, and almost instantaneously, it started bubbling and everyone wowed in astonishment seeing it sublime into a gaseous state!

Since carbon dioxide is heavier than air, it created a cascading effect of overflowing the cauldron and spilling onto the table and floor.  We ran our hands through the gas, feeling the coolness flow between our fingers.  It was much colder than water ice and it didn’t leave any residue as it changed directly to a gas.  

At the end of it, they remarked that the Muggle world seemed phenomenal after all, but I assured them that the wizarding world is so much more astonishing. 

History of Magic 101 — Assignment: Lesson 2

HOM-101 Assignment: Lesson 2

Theories on the Origin of Magic

Of the 3 plausible theories of how magic came to be, the Theory of Hocus Pocus seems most likely.  There’s evidence, such as the Birch Bark Manuscript, supporting the idea that magic naturally started out of thin air.

This theory could very well explain the Theory of Uno Mas, which is the belief that all magic originated from one person: Uno Mas, meaning ‘The First Magi’.  Should the theory be proven right, that Uno was indeed the first wizard to use magic and the first to create a wand, and that he lived in the time of the dinosaurs and before cavemen, it still merely explains who used magic first but not how magic started.  According to the Theory of Hocus Pocus, it must have come our of thin air from a natural progression of magical tendencies.

It could also explain the Migration Theory, the view that witches and wizards lived side-by-side with Muggles for years, unaware that they had magic.  Many of the Wizarding villages that exist today were founded by the early witches and wizards who left the Muggles when the Descent of Blizz occurred (the Ice Age, in Muggle terms).  However, it is still the Theory of Hocus Pocus that describes the origin of magic.

Rather than focusing solely on who first used magic, it is much more useful to focus mainly on the first known uses of magic.  And this is precisely what the Theory of Hocus Pocus attempts to do.

CHARMS 101 — Journal: Lesson 3

Ravenclaw Dormitory

CHRM-101 — Journal: Lesson 3

There are so many properties and intricacies of a wand — just how did Mr. Ollivander become so knowledgeable about wands?  It’s so admirable that he has acquired that level of expertise.  How long must it have taken him, I wonder.

The Reparo spell we were introduced to in class today is going to be so useful, I just know it!  Is this how it is in the magical realm — for tasks to be done so easily?  It would save us me so much time and effort.  I will be able to focus much more of my time on magic and learning more about this amazing world!

The other spell that we were taught in class today — Alohomora — has me a little worried though.  What point is there in having locks if every witch and wizard is able to unlock them with a simple charm?  I’m going to keep a closer watch on my stuff in the dormitory from now on.

Although Alohomora won’t be as useful to me (I’m a Ravenclaw anyway, unlike those Gryffindors and Slytherins who’d very likely go round sticking their noses in places where they’re not supposed to be), Reparo definitely will be.  Professor Virneburg ended the class by saying that these simple spells can backfire, but she didn’t say how.  I’ll have to be careful when practising these new charms.

Astronomy 101 — Assignment: Lesson 1

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ASTR-101 Assignment: Lesson 1

       I spent the weekend at Hogwarts Library researching and doing my homework (it’s a pity the library closes at 8 p.m.).  One of the topics I researched on was Astronomy: a subject I know very little about.  That night when we had our lesson under the moonlight at the Astronomy Tower, I learnt that Magical Astronomy is the study of the universe and how the happenings in outer space magically affect and directly influence the happenings and the people on Earth.  When I glanced up at the moon that night, it had me thinking about how, in Transfiguration class, we learnt that the full moon had an impact on Werewolf transformations.

       So I came across a few books in the library that talked about ‘Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban’.  There was a pivotal incident that well-known Harry Potter was involved in on a night where a full moon appeared.  The moon had caused his teacher, Professor Lupin, to turn into a werewolf as he had not taken his Wolfsbane Potion that night.  The moon played a vital role in directly effecting Professor Lupin, to which Professor Lupin had no control over and was at the mercy of the moon’s hands.  What was an affectionate and prudent person just moments before became an aggressive and highly dangerous monster since Werewolves do not keep their human minds and will attack any humans in sight.  Several sources cited that Harry Potter’s godfather, Sirius Black (i.e. the “Prisoner of Azkaban”), then willingly transfigured into his Animagus form—a black dog—in an effort to fight off the werewolf and protect Harry Potter and friends.

       From this unfortunate and untimely event that occurred due to the effects of Astronomy, we can easily see just how much of an impact and control the outer space has over us mere beings on planet Earth.

Transfiguration 101 — Assignment: Lesson 1

 

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TNFG-101 Assignment: Lesson 1

       As I’m muggle-born and have only recently discovered the wondrous Wizarding World, Transfiguration wasn’t something I thought to be possible.  I’m slowly restructuring my idea and understanding of the world and its capabilities as I attend each new lesson at Hogwarts.  I am still very much in complete amazement with all the promising possibilities.  There is so much to learn and I am utterly intrigued.

       I would especially like to learn more about the theory in Transfiguration class.  It’s mind-boggling to me trying to wrap my head around the fact that physical objects in the world can be altered simply with magic.  How can it be so?  Just how does it work?  It is my aim to fully comprehend the theory behind Transfiguration.

       Transformation, Animagus transfiguration in particular, and Conjuration are two branches I’m most excited about.  To be able to willingly transform into an animal form whenever one wishes to, and to be able to conjure something out of thin air at any given moment—that would simply be marvellous!  I am nervous about the specificity that Transfiguration requires though.  Professor Mitchell cautioned us about that during the lesson.  But what I’m most nervous about are the dangers of Transfiguration—when spells backfire or aren’t cast correctly.  Oh, what horrors a half-completed transfiguration would be!

Defence Against the Dark Arts 101 — Assignment: Lesson 1

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DADA-101 Assignment: Lesson 1

         Upon hearing Professor Penrose mention that Dark Magic would continue to corrupt our souls and our bodies from the very moment we cast our first Dark spell with a malicious intent, my initial thought was that it should be a crime to use the Dark Arts. However, after spending some time in the Hogwarts Library researching the Dark Arts, it is my belief that the Dark Arts should remain legal, save for the three Unforgivable Curses.

         Although the Dark Arts encompass many spells and practices that are mainly used to cause harm to others, they are not necessarily always evil or done with malicious intent.  Jinxes and hexes, for instance, typically cause little harm to others and are many a time used by witches and wizards as practical jokes.  One such hex is the Bat-Bogey Hex whereby it turns a person’s bogeys into bats that fly out of their nose.

         In addition, the Dark Arts can be used as a way to defend oneself against Dark Magic in times of desperation.  Several books in the Hogwarts Library talked about how the famed Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, and even Professor Dumbledore, used strong Dark Magic—and they are non-dark wizards.

         Furthermore, Dark Magic can also be used in an effort to help others.  I read that Harry Potter used the Revulsion Jinx on the chains of a dragon to free it (and themselves) from Gringotts, and Hermione Granger used the Stinging Jinx as well on Harry Potter as a means of disguising his face when they were caught by Snatchers.

         It is evident that malice isn’t always behind the Dark Arts and that Dark Magic can prove to be beneficial in certain circumstances.  However, it is ought to be emphasised to students the seriousness and grave danger of using Dark Magic.  Having said that, I still strongly believe that the Unforgivable Curses should be a crime due to their especially sinister nature.

History of Magic 101 — Assignment: Lesson 1

HOM-101 Assignment - Lesson 1

HOM-101 Assignment: Lesson 1

       Before the first lesson of the History of Magic, the topic of history was never a particular fancy of mine.  I must admit that this was the subject I was least looking forward to and I had dragged my feet to class.  I now realise how wrong I’ve been.

       I used to think of history as nothing more than a mere memorisation of dates, facts, and events.  After all, that was how it was taught in the Muggle schools I attended—through rote learning.  It was delightful hearing Professor Becker mention that dates are not as important, that what’s more important is to understand how people have shaped history—the ideas and the messages behind their words, actions, and causes.  That captivated my interest.

       History shouldn’t just be a simple recollection of the past, but as a way to learn to help the present and shape our future.  To cease the never-ending cycle of history repeating itself, to improve ourselves and become better wizards, to improve the world and make it a better place to live in, both in current times and for the future; that’s what’s essential.  A remembrance of the good-doings, of the triumphs and the bloodshed; to learn from the mistakes of the past and to keep the dark forces at bay—these are the reasons why it is necessary for students to study history.

       Although I’m new to the Wizarding world and have very little knowledge of magical history, I do know that a recurrence of Voldemort and the Death Eaters would be an atrocity.  A Third Wizarding War would cause widespread devastation.

Roots

herb

“Our roots affect who we become… Our identities are formed from the roots and up.

“…A muggle-born will grow up without the Tales of Beedle the Bard, half-bloods will know a balance of each world, whereas many pure-bloods will be at odds in the world of muggles.”

— Professor Tudor, Herbology 101

Wise Words in History of Magic 101

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“History is important to us because we are living it, because we are in it, and because we are going to make it. It is happening at every second, minute, and moment in time… History is also important to us because without it we cannot possibly hope to survive… There would be laws broken every day and wars breaking out every second, because we just wouldn’t know.”

— Professor Becker, History of Magic 101