Author Archive

Frosting-filled chocolate cauldron cakes

Thursday, July 18th, 2013 | Author: Heather

All right guys, I’m sorry for the delay with this post but things have been BUSY inside the Pensieve! But hopefully the simplicity and deliciousness of this recipe will make up for it.

All you’ll need to do is make some chocolate cake from scratch or from a mix and pour the batter into cupcake tins. Bake the trays. Take them out when they’re done and let them sit for a while to cool. When cool, cut a little chunk of the cake from the top of the cupcake.

Bake the trays. Take them out when they’re done and let them sit for a while to cool. When cool, cut a little chunk of the cake from the top of the cupcake.

Now it’s time to make the frosting.

You can use canned frosting but if you’ve never made your own before I highly suggest it. It’s super simple. All you need is a cup of margarine, a tablespoon of milk, vanilla extract to taste, and as much powdered sugar as you need to make a spreadable consistency. Combine with a hand mixer. Divide your frosting into four separate bowls. In one bowl, add a couple drops of yellow food coloring, in the next red, the next blue, and the next green. Mix with a spoon. Now you have your House colors!

To complete them, just place a dab of frosting into the hole you cut out of your cupcake. Frost the rest of the cupcake and enjoy. Now you’re ready for any wizarding affairs but promise you won’t try and slip anyone a love potion.

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Mrs. Weasley’s Thick Onion Soup

Saturday, June 15th, 2013 | Author: Heather

I think it can be unanimously agreed upon that when we think onion soup, we think Mrs. Weasley. It’s a good dish that just seems to suit the Burrow. At it’s core, onion soup is very much a peasant soup, made of rough roots straight from the ground. It’s wholesome, it’s warm, unassuming, and perfect after a night battling dark wizards or convincing potions professors to come out of retirement. So to go along with episode 39, I give you Mrs. Weasley’s thick onion soup.

To start you’ll need to chop some onions. Lots and lots of onions. If you think you have too many onions cut, slice up one more. These cook down a lot. I wound up using every onion I could find but one. Around 8 in total. Cut off the ends before you start chopping them if you don’t want to cry like you did when Dobby died.

Lots and lots of onions.

Seriously just a lot of onions

Next mince one section of a garlic clove. Mincing just means cutting something into really, really small pieces. Like this.

Pour a good dose of olive oil into a pot or pan. I prefer to use a big cast iron pot because it acts like a frying pan but you can make soup in it. Fill your dish of choice with the onions and garlic.

Let these cook on the stove, stirring occasionally for about half an hour. Add olive oil as needed. After about 15 minutes throw in a tablespoon of water. Add a couple of pinches of sugar and a dash of salt. You’ll want the onions to cook until they start to go all brown and sort of stringy and stick to the pan a little. They’ll also start to smell really good. That’s because you’re releasing all of the sugars in the onions and bringing out the flavors. When the onions are ready, congratulate yourself! You just made a ton of caramelized onions!

Also note how much they’ve shrunk. Really, do not worry about having too many onions.

Now remove the onions from heat. If you need to transfer them into a soup pot, now’s your time. Next comes the broth-y part. This is a little complicated: you open cans of broth and poor them over the onions. Scary, I know. But it actually sort of is difficult to get the proportions right. You should be using a 1:1 ratio of chicken broth to beef broth. That means that for every can or cup or flagon or whatever of chicken you use, you use the same amount of the beef. So I used 2 cans of chicken broth and 2 cans of beef. But you may have to just eyeball it depending on the amount of onions you have and the size of your pot. You can of course use vegetable broth or a vegan broth of your own choosing. Throw in half a can of water as well.

I’m really bad at seasoning things so I’m going to leave you on your own for that. I threw in a bay leaf, a bit of dried basil, and some salt. But get creative! It’s your time to shine.

Set it on a low heat and let it simmer. It looks like soup now!

You could theoretically keep this soup going for weeks but I would suggest serving it after half an hour to a couple of hours. Or whenever your family starts to gather ravenously in the kitchen.

Right before you’re about to serve, take some thick cut bread and place it on baking sheet covered in aluminum foil. Store-bought Italian or French will do fine. Butter the bread and sprinkle with garlic powder. Cover in grated cheese. Traditionally it’s Gruyere but I’ve heard of people using cheddar, gouda, asiago, or Swiss. It really doesn’t matter. I use mozzarella because it’s a favorite in this house. Pop these little guys in the oven and bake at 350F for a few minutes until the cheese is gooey and the bread golden-brown.

Now ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle more cheese over the top of the soup and place your giant cheese croutons on top of that.

If you have a little sister who is opposed to onions, then just pile bread on a plate for her.

Serve to the assembled wizard hordes and in true Mrs. Weasley fashion insist that everyone eat three bowls.

I hope you enjoyed this post and, as always, if anyone tries their hand at this recipe, please tell me how it went!

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NEW! A blog series that let’s you eat your Harry Potter feelings

Friday, June 07th, 2013 | Author: Heather

Well Pensievers! The hiatus is over, I’m back on the hosting team full-time, and we are nearing The End. And as if all that weren’t enough, I bring you a new series of blog posts: Cooking with the Half-Blood Prince. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Chef. Hearty Pastries and the Helping of Brie? (Oh boy. Please feel free to suggest names!)

Anyway, what I’ll be doing is that for every podcast we publish, I’ll create a recipe or meal inspired by the chapters covered. This week, I drew on Madam Rosmerta’s finest oak-matured mead. The very kind that beat the Durselys around their heads and necks. For those of you who don’t know, mead is a drink made from fermenting honey. It’s alcoholic and I’m not 21 so I made my own drink inspired by it. So without further ado, Madam Rosmerta’s Drinkable Honey Sundae!

What you’ll need:

-A tall glass
-Cream soda or root beer or cola
-Vanilla ice cream
-Whipped cream
-Honey

1.) Pour a glass about half full with the dark soda of your choice.

2.) Add one large scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the soda so it sort of floats.

3.) Add whipped cream on top of ice cream. (I say the more whipped cream the better!)

4.) Drizzle honey over the top and enjoy!

This is a great treat for a summer day. It’s very sweet and super cool but makes you warm inside while still being a legal beverage for all. Tell me what you think of you try this and check back next week for a new recipe!

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Harry Potter: The Exhibition

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012 | Author: Heather

Hello, Pensievers! Allow us here in Dubledore’s cabinet to apologize once again for the lack of episodes as of late. Wouldn’t you know that we have, like, responsibilities outside of the internet? Yeah, it’s true. To prove it, this post was actually originally hand-written in my notebook during a math lecture. Don’t worry! I’m doing pretty poorly in the class anyway.

What I wanted to talk with you about today is the Harry Potter Exhibition. Remember that display of movie props and costumes that was traversing the globe? Well I managed to go see it in New York City this weekend and It. Was. Incredible. I had arranged to meet up with a couple friends from the fandom and we had no plans for the day. As we wandered the streets of Lower Manhattan, we met a friendly Gryffindor who gave us coupons for $5 off the admissions fee and directions to the Exhibition in Discovery Times Square. As Harry Potter was what allowed the three of us to meet in the first place, we jumped at the opportunity to submerge ourselves in this universe for the afternoon.

Unfortunately there was no photography or video recording allowed inside the exhibition so you’ll just have to make do with my words.

The adventure began with a group picture, in which my friend Alex refused a scarf as they didn’t have her house, Hufflepuff. We were then ushered into a room with posters for the eight Harry Potter films on the wall. The lights dimmed and the posters proved to not be posters at all, but individual screens showing video and sound clips from the movies. Then they went blank again and we were left in the dark. My friends and I were just starting to wonder if that was the whole “Exhibition” when a wall lifted and we heard an awful, obviously fake English accent beckon us onward to the Sorting.

The terrible accent belonged to a young man holding one of those model Sorting Hats that shout out the name of a Hogwarts house when you press a button. After sorting a few of the younger kids, the hat got stuck and would only “sort” people into Gryffindor. The repeated shouts of “Better be… GRYFFINDOR!” and the obvious frustration of the young man followed us into the next room. Here is where the magic truly began.

We entered a huge gallery full of costumes, props, and informational plaques all about the filming of the movies and the Wizarding World. We could not see where the exhibit ended as there were so many rooms snaking around each other, deep into the building. We commented on how much taller Evanna Lynch seemed in real life than her costumes would have it appear, admired the texture of Neville’s Mimbulus Mimbletonia, and examined in detail the contents of Ron’s bedside table.

There was so much in the movies that we missed out on! For instance, did you know that the message board in Gryffindor common room is covered with flyers for the Hogwarts art club and warrants for people who hadn’t returned library books? It seems like there was a student named Winkey Crockett who didn’t return books, went on the Hogsmeade trips, joined all of the clubs, and would seemingly put his/her name on any list? I didn’t either. We even found the name on a plaque of Slytherin Quidditch players dated 1940. There seems to be some odd magic going on there….

One thing that I absolutely loved about this exhibition was how you could literally spend hours examining props that you thought you knew better than the back of your hand but would still find surprises. Some of them were hilarious like Harry’s book, “Quidditch Teams of Britain and Ireland” being called “Quidditch Teams of England and Ireland.” Or Minerva McGonagall’s apparent inability to spell “attached” and “Titillandus” correctly in school letters. Others were more subtle like the faint “Deathly Hallows” sign etched into the Horcrux ring or the photographs of Gilderoy Lockhart that got sillier and sillier as you continued to wander through the rooms. Lockhart on a broom, Lockhart in a billowing, black cape, Lockhart dressed in early aviation gear, a painting of Lockhart painting a painting of Lockhart.

I seriously enjoyed the classroom portion. It felt like I had left the noisy muggle world of the city above and was at Hogwarts with two of my close friends, rushing to make our classes on time. We could examine Professor Trelawney’s attic room and tea cups. Make fun of Professor Slughorn’s ridiculous mortarboard and exclaim over the creepy potions ingredients. Or even try to decipher the crazy hand-writing in Severus Snape’s old potions textbook. (I made out the word “alcohol” and a very large “NO!”) In fact, the girls I was with and I may have come across as so enthusiastic that we were seen as the obnoxious teenage hoodlums making fun of children’s stories but in fact it was the complete opposite. There was nothing ironic about our excitement. It was pure and fun and contagious. Workers there smiled slightly bemusedly at how much we knew and some other patrons would stop and listen to random facts we had to offer about the filming. Did you know that Daniel Radcliffe broke so many wands that they just started giving him rubber ones!?!?! Everything from the Yule Ball gallery to the creepy corridors full of Dementors, Death Eaters, and dark objects made us grin at the memories we had from growing up with this series.

I don’t think that I could recommend this experience enough. It’s almost a necessity for anyone who counts themselves as a Harry Potter fan. If you’re like me and get tired of museum exhibits quickly, I can assure you that this was not a problem. There are a few interactive things for visitors to do. You can sit in the chair in Hagrid’s hut. You’re encouraged to pull up a Mandrake and hear it scream. (If you’re like my friend Kara you can attempt to pull all of them up at the same time and make everyone in the vicinity flinch at the noise.) There’s even Quidditch! Not full on Quidditch but goal posts you can throw Quaffles into, almost like the sort of basketball game you would find at a fair or amusement park. And you get a satisfying “ding!” when the ball goes in. I’m going to take this opportunity now to brag to the world that I scored on every single shot I took, even when I went with a Quaffle in each hand. This exhibition offers something for everyone and each room will bring enjoyment. It’s cheap. It’s fun. And it’s nostalgic. I even found myself loving Umbridge’s office like never before despite Alex saying “For $20 they should be able to make the cat plates move.” If the Harry Potter Exhibition can make me feel sentimental about a character I have a personal literary vendetta against, imagine what surprises could be waiting for you?

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Category: Blog Post, Fun, Movies  | Tags: , ,  | 3 Thoughts

MTTSDH: The Big Change

Saturday, July 21st, 2012 | Author: Heather

Today is a doubly important anniversary for me. 43 years since the Apollo 11 moon landing and 5 years since the Deathly Hallows book release party.

Exactly five years ago today I was sitting in a crowded Barnes & Noble trying not to follow the employee dressed as Snape into the backroom and steal all of the books. I have better self-control now.

Five years ago today I wanted a drink from Starbucks but I didn’t know how to order. I now order far too much there.

Five years ago today I won a Harry Potter trivia contest. Since then I have placed second in my region at a trivia competition.

Five years ago today I was looking up at the star Regulus in the heart of Leo and wondering if any of my theories would come true. Some did and some didn’t. But now I know why the stars burn.

Five years ago today I was starting to get tired. Now there are some nights when I don’t sleep until 4.

All of these are changes in my life that have happened since Deathly Hallows was released. They’re small, but when combined with each other they add up to a bigger one. I have become myself. I have gained confidence. I’m less awkward. I can make friends. My outlook on life has changed. I no longer think of the world as dull. I think of it teeming with endless possibilities. And all of this because of Harry Potter.

If there is one thing I am grateful to Harry Potter for, it’s myself. I am grateful for the person Harry Potter and its environment of fans has given me. I am grateful for how it has shaped my own being. And the books continue to mold my life every time I open one. That’s why it’s important to remember that even if the reading experience is drastically different your fifth time around as compared to your 2nd, the books haven’t changed; you have. They’ve changed you.

So as I raise my glass of sparkling grape juice tonight to toast Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, I will also be thanking J.K. Rowling.

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MTTSDH: Confidence Grows

Friday, July 20th, 2012 | Author: Heather

Here is an obvious fact: If it hadn’t been for Harry Potter then you wouldn’t be reading this. Because obviously this website wouldn’t exist and you would have no idea who I am and you would never go searching for other things that I’ve done. But what I mean is that you never would read anything that I wrote. Ever. If it weren’t for Harry Potter everything that I have ever written would be hidden away in a box and even I would be too embarrassed to read it.

You see, if there were only one thing that Harry Potter has given me, it would be confidence. I was always the shy and awkward kid who didn’t understand social graces. You’ve all heard the story before. I kept all of my writing or anything creative I did a secret and would tell no one about it. While I will on occasion do that today, I have become more and more comfortable expressing myself to the world at large. And the reason for that os the Harry Potter fandom.

When I first started to discover the fandom in 2006 it was alive and vibrant. There were so many amazing pieces of fan-art and well written fan-fiction and beautifully edited videos and passionate songs. It seemed like some sort of strange, counter-culture society where everyone just did what they loved. And what they loved was Harry Potter. As a 12 year old kid I was influenced by all of these amazingly talented people. “Some of them aren’t much older than me,” I thought. “I could definitely do this.”

And so I did. I drew some fan-art and wrote some fan-fiction and even composed my own songs in my head. I did this before the Harry Potter fandom, of course, but the difference now was that I wasn’t ashamed of it. Even when my portraits of Snape looked more like weasels in hats I was proud and happy because I was surrounded by support. And all of these people sharing their work influenced me to share my own until eventually, I was no longer embarrassed when people read something that I wrote. When there are other people submitting creative endeavors to the void that is the internet, it doesn’t seem as scary.

Without Harry Potter I wouldn’t have taught myself to play the guitar. I wouldn’t have started making my own videos. I wouldn’t have started this podcast with Adam and I definitely wouldn’t be sharing any thoughts with strangers like this! So thank you, Harry. In the last five years I have only become more confident and I hope that I continue on this path no matter who cares to join me.

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MTTSDH: How To Fight Post-Potter Depression

Thursday, July 19th, 2012 | Author: Heather

Hello, Pensievers and welcome to day three of my Deathly Hallows anniversary series. Today we’re going to tackle a topic that I’m sure you’re all familiar with: Post-Potter Depression. For those of you who don’t know, Post-Potter Depression is the feeling of loss and confusion that follows any prolonged interaction with Harry Potter, such as a conference, a movie premiere, or a book release. Traditionally, this term was applied to fans who, after reading the final book, became overwhelmed by the series ending and expressed symptoms similar to actual clinical depression such as loss of appetite, hypersomnia, and disinterest in previously enjoyed activities. Similarities were taken even further when someone was rumored to have started a hotline simply for those suffering from Post-Potter Depression.

Since Potter has been in its “Post” phase for nearly five years now, the term has involved to include all of the examples stated above and also applies to a situation wherein a fan is suddenly overcome with sadness at the prospect of never going to another midnight release or, in its loosest terms, whenever someone because emotionally swamped by anything relating to Potter. Based on that criteria, it’s clearly a pretty common occurrence. So I thought I would give you a list on the best ways to deal with Post-Potter Depression.

1.) Talk with someone. Like actual depression, talking with someone about your Post-Potter Depression can be a real help. Discuss theories and unanswered questions and strange facts about the wizarding world. It can help you sort out your thoughts, give you comfort, and assure you that other people are going through the same thing. (Are you noticing a theme this week?)

2.) Reread the books! It’s simple but it really works. Read the books one at a time and you can pretend that they’re completely new to you. This also works with the movies. And it’s basically what we’ve been doing with this podcast for two and a half years. So far we’re doing fine!

3.) Have a Harry Potter night! Gather some nerd friends and dedicate the night entirely to our favorite boy wizard. Make some Potter-themed food, have trivia and costume contests, and see if you can dig up some old HP boardgames. If you can’t find any, make your own! Rename all of the squares on Monopoly after places in the wizarding world. You can do the same with the countries in Risk. Or play Life and make it completely magical with wizarding jobs, broomsticks, Floo Network Insurance, etc. Be creative. And make sure to name any kids after Harry Potter characters. (More points for the more obscure they are.)  Parties like this give you the perfect opportunity to escape your world and live magically while bonding with old friends over something you love.

4.) Find a day where you don’t have any plans and just spend it geeking out. Listen to old podcasts, rewatch weird Harry Potter videos on youtube, have a Wizard Rock dance party, dress up, make your little sister duel with you. Take the chance to completely embrace your weirder side and just have fun. There’s no judgement in Harry Potter so now’s the time to let out any nerdiness you’ve been hiding. Just have fun and let your imagination run wild for a day. You’ll feel better and more equipped for the muggle world if you give your magical side a day to run free.

5.) Get creative! Find something that you like to do and channel your energy and love of Harry Potter into it. This could be anything from replicating the portrait of Sirius Black’s mum to writing fan-fiction to putting together a cute outfit that was inspired by your favorite character. Do anything to keep the magic alive. And if it’s not so much the actual canon that you miss as it is the environment and energy, then find something else that you can get involved in. Whatever your passion is, don’t be afraid to show your enthusiasm. Create or find something new that you love.

I hope that these suggestions helped. Just remember that it’s not over unless we let it be. So stay involved with what you love!

(P.S. If anyone actually DOES replicate the picture of Mrs. Black then we would SIRIUSLY love to see it. Like, really, really, really want to see it.)

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Measuring The Time Since Deathly Hallows: In Friendship

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012 | Author: Heather

I spent this past weekend with my good friend Kara. I met Kara at LeakyCon 2009 and we’ve managed to see each other at least once a year since. So this seems like the perfect time to talk about something that is one of the most important aspects of Harry Potter to me: the friendships.

I’ve been reading Harry Potter for 12 years and in that time the fandom has changed a lot. The websites have become more professional, the movers and shakers have changed, and lord knows we’ve gotten older. But the thing that has stayed the same is the sense of belonging that you get from the people.

I’ve found that wherever I am, in whatever situation, whomever I’m trying to connect with, if they like Harry Potter then we can get along based on that mutual ground. Maybe I’m just biased, but people who like Harry Potter are, on a whole, nicer, smarter, and more interesting than people who don’t.

And maybe that’s why I’ve met so many of my best friends through Harry Potter. When I went to LeakyCon in 2009 it was like going home. It was like going to the Burrow. I felt like Harry when he first entered Hogwarts and people were chanting his name. I felt understood and like I belonged.

Harry Potter has become so much more than a book series. It has become a method of connecting people across the world. I have friends in Nevada and Germany and Brazil and Canada who I never would have met if it weren’t for Harry Potter. If someone had told me while I counted down until midnight on July 21st, 2007 that I would be meeting people like Adam and Hollie and Thio in just a couple short years, I wouldn’t have believed them. Because growing up I thought that no one would ever be able to understand me like my Harry Potter books do. But my HP friends do. They completely get it. They get the stress and the anticipation and the anguish and excitement and joy and everything else that comes with being a Harry Potter fan. Because they’ve felt it, too. And everyday I’m grateful that my younger self was wrong about that.

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Measuring The Time Since Deahtly Hallows

Monday, July 16th, 2012 | Author: Heather

Why hello there Pensieve fans! As I’m sure you’re all aware, this Saturday, the 21st of July, will mark the five year anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Wow. Did I just say five years? Yes, I certainly did.

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was cobbling together my Hermione costume for the release party or shouting that I was sure Snape loved Lily or putting the finishing touches on my masterful theories involving ancient Egyptian mythology and astronomy and Arthurian lore that I was sure would give us the secret to who “R.A.B.” was. Spoiler alert. They didn’t.

I’m not sure about any of you but I have always been awful at putting any amount of time longer than a month or so in to perspective. So I thought I would take this opportunity to remind you of some major events since we first read that “all was well.”

Since the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows….

  • Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia.
  • Fidel Castro stepped down from the Cuban presidency after 49 years.
  • The U.S. Government began to intervene in the nation’s market in an attempt to prevent recession.
  • India launched its first unmanned spacecraft.
  • U.S. Senator Barack Obama beat U.S. Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential election.
  • Obama became the 44th president of the United States, replacing George W. Bush.
  • Captain Charles Scully became the “Hero of the Hudson” when he landed his plane on the Hudson River after hitting a flock of geese and saved the lives of all 150 passengers and the crew of 5.
  • Barack Obama was sworn in as president of the United States and Joe Biden is sworn in as the Vice President. Hundreds of thousands of people, including Heather of the Potter Pensieve Podcast!, flocked to Washington, D.C. to watch.
  • Accusations of ballot fraud caused widespread and deadly protest in Tehran, Iran. Arrests of the opposition abounded.
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince premiered in movie form!
  • U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy died.
  • Water was found on the moon.
  • The BP oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Spain won the World Cup.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I premiered in movie form!
  • The Arab Spring movement began in Tunisia.
  • Kate Middleton married Prince William.
  • South Sudan declared its independence, and became the 59th African state.
  • The space shuttle, Atlantis, launched into space and returned to Earth for the last time, ending the era of the shuttle program at NASA.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II premiered in movie form which raised tissue sales all across the world.
  • Norway was hit with two consecutive terrorist attacks.
  • The European economy began to crumble.
  • The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell took effect in the United States military.
  • Wall Street was occupied.
  • The United States Department of Defense began its final withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
  • Steve Jobs died.
  • Kim Jong-Il died.
  • The 2012 U.S. presidential election race began.
  • Socialist François Hollande was elected to the presidency of France.

That’s five years of world events. We’ve had disasters, deaths, weddings, revolutions, elections, movie releases, explosions, shifts of power, laws created and repealed, and countries created. But one thing has remained the same in this time. Our love for the Boy Who Lived. No matter what the next five years brings us, “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome us home.”

This week I’ll be exploring some other changes, specifically in my world, that have took place since July 21st, 2007. Check back here everyday if you’re interested!

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New books?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 | Author: Heather

Big news in the world of Harry Potter! Reuters is  reporting that Bloomsbury expects to publish “a new Rowling three-book box set tied into the Potter series”. This was just mentioned in passing as the article is mostly about profits and eBooks. The small amount of information lends itself to huge speculation. My galleons are on another set of books like “Quidditch Through the Ages” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. But we can always keep our fingers crossed for a three-volume encyclopedia!

So what do you think? Predictions for the books? Far-fetched hopes for stories featuring Sirius Black in leather? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

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