Chapter 1: News, news, news
The Daily Prophet
31st of March, 2008
Ministry announces WVN - the World's First Wizarding Television Network
In a shock announcement today, the British Ministry of Magic announced the very first Wizarding Television Network in response to the growing number of Tele-mirrors in use in the British and Irish magical community.
The announcement came from Minister for Magic, Andrew Cuthbert, and Head of the new Department 'Magical Entertainment and Innovation', Melody Jackson. They were joined by Draco Malfoy, Senior Manager of Product Development at Malfoy Industries, Lee Jordan, Senior Manager of Business Development at the Wizarding Wireless Network, and Shawna Steele, Head of the newly created WTV team at Patil Media.
"We are pleased to announce that after years of Product testing, spell creating and enchantment innovation, we the Ministry of Magic, have created the very first wizarding-only television network will be available for viewing next month." Minister Cuthbert said
Much as a wireless can detect the messages from the Wizarding Wireless Network, the Tele-mirror picks up on the signals that are sent out by Muggle radio and television stations. The Tele-mirror was created by a team of Muggle-born enchanters, arithmancers and potions specialists in Malfoy Industries Research and Development department.
"Since production [tele-mirrors] have been a hit with our Muggle-born and Half-blood customers as well as Ministry departments that deal regularly with muggles." Mr. Malfoy said.
"While it has been fascinating to have ample evidence about how dated our muggle studies curriculum is," Mrs. Jackson added, "The magical world has not had any entertainment that reflects our own unique culture and history. Until now that is."
Since the launch of the tele-mirrors 9-years ago, the Department of Mysteries, Malfoy Industries and the two leading British wizarding media - Patil Media and the Wizarding Wireless Network have collaborated to bring this new technology to life.
Ms. Steele and Mr. Jordan addressed questions related to what WVN will be offering.
"Patil Media has invested significantly in sponsoring the completion of Degrees in media studies and film production," Ms. Steele stated, "These people are the producers, directors, and managers who are the vision holders behind network offerings.
"While most are currently half-blood and muggle-borns and have more innate knowledge of how television shows work. We are hoping that more purebloods will become involved as the pick up the technology. Many of our young people have already entered the muggle community to get involved in acting."
Mr. Jordan stated that WWN sent many of their serial writers and directors to workshops with famous muggle script writers as well as sponsored several to complete degrees in television production, performance, and direction.
"We are pleased to say that our people have thrown themselves heartily into this development," Mr. Jordan stated, "Many received the muggle equivalent of O's on their work. This, combined with the young people who have gone on to study acting, well, suffice to say, we are very excited about what's coming for Wizarding Britain."
Wizarding Britain can look forward to being able to watch their own Wizard-centric shows on the tele in one month on Saturday, May 3rd with the televised celebrations for the ten-year anniversary of the end of the Second Wizarding War. Those unable to attend the gala and benefit will be able to see the show live from the comfort of their homes.
For a full transcript of the announcement see page 7
For locations on where to purchase a tele-mirror see page 10
For full instructions and wand movements for enchanting a tele-mirror to access WVN see page 11
Tickets still available!
The ministry has stated that there are very few general admission tickets still available for the 'Never Forget to Live' Celebration for the 10th anniversary of the end of the Second Wizarding War. There are no longer any premium tickets available.
The celebration will include musical performances by Celestina Warbeck, Weird Sisters, The Hogwarts Children's Choir, and it has confirmed that Spellbound will be performing together again for the first time in 7 years. The all-witch singing group has not performed together since unfounded rumors of love-triangles and power dynamics broke the group up during their tour promoting their third hit album
The night will also include performances by Illustrious, the illusionist dance troupe choreographed by Beatrix 'Trixie' Rennolds and Roberto Alphonse di Micelli, the comedy stylings of Jack-in-the-Sack and Fantazie, the Romanian Circus, will be performing a sneak peak of their new show before their world tour.
The night will also include the presentation of the inaugural Magical of the Year awards. Readers are reminded that nominations for Magical of the Year, Young Magical of the Year and Elder Magical of the Year are due by the 30th.
Attendees are encouraged to wear Enchanting Dress Robes. The ministry defines this as 'dress robes with whimsical accessories to remind one of the special moments in life'.
All profits from the event will be split between St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries and the Safe Harbor Home for Foundling Witches and Wizards.
WWN and Patil Media will be holding auditions for new wizarding tele-mirror productions. Applicants are requested to owl their head shot (photograph of face including hair and shoulder) and resume to Owl Post Box 339, Diagon Alley, London.
The resume should include a list of special talents (dance, illusion, broom gymnastics etc.) and a summary of performance experience.
WVN and Patil Media are also looking for post-production spell workers and on-set enchanters, lighting specialists and transfigurers, as well as costume designers and makeup artists.
For a full list of openings see page 2 of the employment section.
The Daily Prophet
5th of May 2008
'Never Forget to Live' Gala and Benefit a Resounding Success
From the very beginning with a stunning opening act by the Hogwarts Children's Choir featuring a hauntingly beautiful solo by Hippolitine Munroe, a fourth-year Slytherin, the audience knew that they were in for a treat.
From dazzling displays of magical innovation to arresting performances by Celestina Warbeck, Weird Sisters and Spellbound, who used the event to announce that they were coming back together to record a new album. Audiences were spellbound by the event.
"I am incredibly proud that this event went off without any unexpected issues," Organizer Romilda Robbins explained, "And the WTV people stayed out of our hair, too, which was more than I was expecting, to be perfectly honest."
The winners of the Magical of the Year awards were announced just after intermission.
The Young Magical of the Year Award was presented by representatives of the Safe Harbor Home for Foundling Witches and Wizards to winner Edward 'Teddy' Lupin. Two years ago, Mr. Lupin came to the realization that the Junior Quidditch League was closed to children of so-called creature blood and started a campaign for the ministry to change its rules.
"I didn't think it was fair that there were a whole lot of kids who couldn't play with others, Mrs. Weasley said that in France and other parts of Europe they are allowed to play together. I didn't think it was right so, I asked my grandma and godfather what I could do to help out," the award winner mentioned in his acceptance speech, "I mean, we don't play at night time so the kids suffering from Lycanthropy aren't gonna get all wolfy during play, and part-veela kids don't come into their inheritance until puberty. So, it was really just a stupid rule to keep prejudice alive."
Today there are 25 Junior Quidditch League children who identify as having some kind of creature influence. Lycanthropy experts have stated the severity of symptoms like residual pain, tiredness, and full-moon aggression actually decreased in children involved in the league during Quidditch season and are now exploring it for treatment possibilities.
The Elder Magical of the Year award was presented by Minister of Magic, Andrew Cuthbert, to Hippocrates Smethwyck a former Healer-in-Charge at St Mungo's. Mr. Smethwyck stated, "Like many wizards, I was dissatisfied with retirement and I wanted to continue to give back to the community."
Mr. Smethwyck has since served on the board of several charities, has traveled and performed pro-bono healing services to disadvantaged and remote wizarding communities on the continent and, most recently, developed a treatment for magical burns that reduces scarring by up to 90%.
"I refused to patent the treatment," he said in his speech, "because I've treated many children over the years who were burnt by the accidental magic of a sibling or friend. Dragon keepers who ensure that magical creatures are kept safe and healthy… How could I put a price on that? I urge the current companies to keep the prices of potions and treatments that save lives, and improve the lives of others"
The Magical of the Year award was presented by Harry Potter, the Savior of the Wizarding World, to auror Kingsley Shacklebolt who served as interim Minister for Magic in the two years after the Second Wizarding War before returning to the auror office as Head Auror. Harry Potter, an auror himself, praised Auror Shacklebolt for his leadership, revamping of auror training and ensuring that the Auror office regained the integrity and trust of the wizarding world after the second Wizarding World.
"Everyone called me a hero because I removed one bad apple from the bushel," Mr. Potter said, "But after starting life as an auror, I feel embarrassed by that. The real heroes are the aurors who face terrible, despicable things every day - those who keep us safe and bring wrongdoers to justice. Kingsley is one of those aurors who has been fighting the darkness for longer than I've been alive. And I can tell you, that everyone ought to feel safer knowing that Kings is heading the department and training our future aurors."
Mr. Shacklebolt's speech was short, to the point and was received with thunderous applause.
"I want to dedicate this award to the witches and wizards who trained me, to those who went out to fight the darkness alongside me and didn't make it back to their families, and to those who will keep fighting to ensure a safe future for our children and our children's children."
Shankheart, the Gringotts representative in charge of the account to which donations are directed, stated that the total takings for the night have exceeded expectations by approximately 65% but 'we are still counting it all, so shove off'. This number is expected to increase further as more donations come in.
For more photos of the event see page 13-16
WVN Premier's Without a Hitch
The British Ministry of Magic, Patil Media, Malfoy Industries, and WWN must have let out a huge sigh relief after a significant level of investment bore fruit with the televised 'Never Forget to Live' Gala and Benefit.
"We were able to build a notification system so that we know how many tele-mirrors were accessing the magical broadcast," a Malfoy Industries spokesperson said today, "It doesn't tell us anything about the viewers, or where the tele-mirrors are, so we cannot collect any demographic information. However, we conservatively estimate about half of the magical population in the UK and Ireland tuned in to see the festivities. This is more than we could have hoped."
The WVN Broadcast of the NFTL Gala and Benefit was live, meaning that wizards and witches at home were able to view the event in its entirety as it happened.
"We had several recording devices and a production team of about five directing the movement and broadcast of portable recording devices so that we could get shots from different angles and allow for the best viewing experience," said Shawna Steele, from P-WTV.
Programming at the moment runs for five and a half hours each evening from 5:00 to 10:30 PM GMT generally following a pattern of an hour of children's programming at 5:00 PM, a 30-minute breakdown of the news of the day at 6:00 PM, light family-friendly entertainment from 6:30 PM and then more adult programming from 8:30 PM.
Hermione Granger Hospitalized for 'Stress'
Daily Prophet journalist Hermione Granger, 28, was rushed to St Mungo's after collapsing during the intermission at the 10th Anniversary Celebrations. Miss Granger was seen arguing with Malfoy heir, Draco Malfoy, not long before she collapsed and was rushed to St Mungo's.
Miss Granger has had a hectic schedule since completing her Muggle Journalism degree and joining the Daily Prophet after it was purchased by Patil Media not long after the end of the Blood Wars.
Pradhi Patil was said to have been very impressed with Miss Granger's portfolio.
"I feel that Miss Granger and my niece Padma, as new graduates in journalism, have the necessary integrity to turn British news media into a serious source of information rather than a gossipy mouthpiece of the Ministry," Mr. Patil mentioned at the time of their appointment before adding, "Wizarding Britain deserves a better source of news."
Miss Granger came to prominence as an international correspondent after covering the religiously motivated conflict in Eastern Europe between the Traditional Druidic Communities and the Shamanists. The level of violence in these conflicts shocked the world after Miss Granger brought it to global attention.
When asked if Mr. Malfoy may have been the source of Miss Granger's collapse and if he was concerned that the two live in the same block of flats, good friend and fellow member of the Golden Trio, Mr. Ronald Weasley snorted, mumbled expletives under his breath, before finally stating that Miss Granger would forcefully remove some favored parts of his anatomy if he spoke to a newspaper without her approval (actual quote unsafe for printing).
Whether Mr. Weasley was referring to Mr. Malfoy or himself is unclear. Miss Granger has come under disciplinary action before for her use of disfiguring hexes to those who 'annoy [her] to bits'.
Miss Granger allowed this reporter to visit with her at St Mungo's and was in good enough spirits and discussed the stress of breaking the Colombian Wizard - Drug Cartel Cooperation story last November.
When asked if stress likely played a role in Miss Granger's collapse, Miss Granger replied, "Yes, absolutely! Stress was the thing! Isn't it interesting how utterly boring one person's health is when stress is the only cause of illness, now, would you like some of these chocolates, Padma? Harry's gone into hiding or something and has smuggled them out from wherever he is right now."
Miss Granger is in a stable condition and is likely to be released in the next couple of days. Staff at St Mungo's have requested that Miss Granger be "left alone to rest, for pity's sake!" and have discouraged anyone but family from visiting.
After my terribly ill-timed collapse due to stress last week, my employer has decided that I am no longer eligible for my regular assignments and based upon healer’s advice I must spend as much time away from stressful situations as possible.
I am sure that this has nothing to do with the collusion between my boss and my house guest. An uninvited house guest who has decided to remain in my apartment for the ‘duration of my recovery’ however long that may be. He may be here forever. What a terrifying thought.
The wizards in my life are not as subtle as they might think.
Furthermore, I don’t think they realize that my being cooped up at home with no projects to occupy my mind is the very definition of stress for me.
But I digress, my new assignment is to recap the episodes of WVN programs so that the wider population may gain some idea as to why the younger generation is so enamored with the tele-mirror. I couldn’t tell you to be honest, I was never felt little more than a passing affection for television when I lived with my parents and only bought a tele-mirror to support progress.
Pixie and Fae is the first program on my list and is being advertised as so:
“Best friends Pixie Lopez and Fae McGill have just left Hogwarts and have their first jobs in London. Join them as they navigate employment, love and family in the adult wizarding world.”
If you guessed that I’d raised an eyebrow at such a tweeishly named show you would be correct. Take two points points to the your house, reader!
When asked if he wanted to join me for this, HouseGuest said, and I quote, “I am terribly sorry Mia, but I have urgent business with the lads at the Leaky. Can’t miss it I’m afraid.” and then he practically ran from my presence before slipping on the hardwoods and disappearing into the floo.
So, I invited some friends around instead because, I assure you, Pixie and Fae is the type of show best viewed with a group of women. I will not use real names so as to protect identities (and dignity) but I will include a small bit of information about them for context:
Demeter is like a mother to me and an actual mother to one of my other friends - incidentally she is the mother-in-law to one of the others. She has a column in Witch Weekly and a regular spot on a program that I am sure I will review at a later date.
Aphrodite is four years older than myself and is a keen curse breaker - which is fantastic because her children create utter chaos with accidental magic. During my years at university, Aphrodite was who I wanted to be when I grew up. She is graceful, capable and turns many a head.
Athena is one of my closest friends, she is the sister to one of my best friends and the ex-girlfriend of the other. Athena is particularly dedicated to the exploration of the use of benign spells as creative hexes. She enjoys testing her theories on her older brothers and paramours who gain her ire. She also plays quidditch.
Charites is the girlfriend to one of my best friends. She and I fell out of touch in the years since Hogwarts and since reconnecting I have found her to have enviable joie de vivre. I am not surprised that she attracted him. She helped me with my hair and beauty charms for the Yule Ball and now makes a living doing such work.
Every one of my friends brought food or drink for the viewing experience. Demeter brought three types of cheese and homemade dip with crackers and Aphrodite, Athena and Charites each brought a bottle of wine.
I could not partake in any of these due to interactions with my potions so I made a pot of tea and ate the crackers.
The show opens with Pixie - a waif with a head of the most luxurious dark hair I have ever seen - and Fae - another waif with short spiky blonde hair - racing up the stairs to what is presumably their new apartment. They chatter about people we haven’t met and Fae taunts Pixie with an in-joke about the Greenhouse 7, a hufflepuff prefect and chocolate mousse.
I cannot determine what could possibly have happened but Charites giggles and Athena nearly snorts wine out of her nose.
Pixie orders their dinner for delivery and Fae starts unpacking their trunks. This leads to Pixie trying to help Fae come up with appropriate work outfits as Fae needs to find a part time job soon. This soon devolves into a ridiculous fashion contest where they try and create the most impractical job interview outfit. Eventually, they are notified that dinner has arrived.
Charites informs me that such fashion competitions are not actually all that fun unless drunk and promptly refills everyone’s wine (to cheers from the others). I refill my cup with tea.
It turns out that our protagonists are neighbors to three young men who happen to be leaving their apartments at the same time that the food is delivered.
I should probably note that at this point Pixie is in summer dress with a bikini top over it, galoshes and a bonnet that looks like it is from the 1700s. Fae is wearing skin tight leather trousers over a pink leotard and a hooded-mackintosh. She also appears to be wearing all the jewelry from the purest of purebloods heirloom vault.
Did I mention that the three neighbors a ridiculously good-looking?
Well they are. Aphrodite actually flips her hair and her eyes do this weird thing when she sees them but all of us are too distracted by the men on the tele to be drawn to her.
The boys introduce themselves and seem to be holding in amusement at our girls’ mortification. Jeremy is a beautiful fellow who has dark, perfectly coiffed hair and public school vowels. Brodie is a lovely blonde who looks like he just leapt off a broomstick, his hair looks - oddly - perfectly windswept and he has a roguish smile. Terrance has shaggy red hair and a tattoo on his neck. He would not look out of place in a rock band. Furthermore, his shirt has several open buttons revealing what looks to be a pleasantly muscled chest.
I now believe that Tuesday night drinks with my friends at my house is going to become a thing.
It is at this point when Demeter mentions that Terrance looks just like her husband back in their Hogwarts days before 7 children caused premature aging and a love of a thoroughly warded work shed.
Charites, Aphrodite and I couldn’t help but gape at the woman and I may have blacked out for a moment when Demeter casually added, “But, of course, his tattoo is not anywhere nearly so visible.”
Pixie and Fae has caused me to learn far more about my wizarding father-figure then I ever wanted to learn. Athena looks like she is trying to decide between throwing up and passing out and Aphrodite is looking at her mother-in-law with an assessing gaze.
It turns out that our lovely roommates have had the same idea regarding our assessment of the neighboring apartment full of ridiculously good looking wizards. Fae is the more outgoing of the bunch and announces to Pixie that the males looked like some kind a delicious dessert. When Pixie adds that they are kind of like Neapolitan ice-cream, Fae replies, “Yes! They’re like a sundae, a delicious sex sundae.” Which is possibly my favorite line of the whole episode.
There is then a funny dreamlike sequence where the viewers are treated to a piece of what Fae is imagining. I laugh so hard that I miss the next five minutes of the show.
We are then treated to more conversation and more dreamlike sequences as the girls get more and more tipsy and before we know it, it’s the next day. We now know that Pixie is studious pureblood and eager to prove herself to her overbearing sister while Fae is a brash half-blood who doesn’t know what to do with her life so she is attending university.
Pixie goes to start her first day at the ministry. She gives herself a pep talk as she waits in her office, which is empty as she is 45 minutes early, and she is well on the way to working herself into a state of extreme nerves.
There is a cough at the door, and in a twist that absolutely no-one saw coming, we are introduced to Pixie’s new boss. The delicious Jeremy, who is wearing unbelievably well-tailored robes.
Jeremy appears to have forgotten that he is not a male model and is, in fact, the squad leader of the second best accidental magic reversal squads in the department- there is no way he could blend in with us mere mortals, nor the muggles with whom he is supposed to be working. We know this is his job because he begins berating poor Pixie and lets her know that if this ‘ridiculous display’ is indicative of her skills then he will find a way to make her leave because they ‘really have a chance of being the top squad if he hasn’t been assigned the dregs of society’.
Pixie is mortified beyond belief and I am forced to think that Jeremy is mix between one of my Hogwarts classmates and my old potions professor. There is a dreamlike sequence of Pixie melting into the floor.
Jeremy then adds that he is glad to see that ‘she is capable of dressing like a normal person’ before swanning away to get a cup of oolong with almond milk. His nose is stuck so high in the air that it's a wonder he can see anything other than the ceiling tiles.
Aphrodite, Athena and Charites decide that Jeremy’s new title is Jeremy Prattington, the Mayor of Prat-ton in Prattorshire and we all agree that it’s a shame that someone so pretty can be so awful. Demeter shakes her head and adds that his parents ought to have spent less time on his wardrobe and more on his manners.
And the first episode ends there.
Demeter, Aphrodite, Athena and Charites decide to invite themselves over to my flat next week at the same time and are gracious enough to let me help them use the floo.
HouseGuest arrives home and I ask him what the significance of Greenhouse 7 is and he looks pityingly at me before saying ‘Oh, Hermione.’ He pats me on the head, and smirks as he makes his way to the bedroom. after a few minutes there is a thump of a body hitting the floor.
Houseguest will find himself sleeping on the couch instead, I think.
Pixie and Fae airs Tuesdays from 8:00 to 8:30 PM GMT.
Thank-you very much for reading!
Reviews are always appreciated.
Watch as ten women compete to win the heart of one eligible bachelor proclaims the tele-mirror as I sit with Athena while HouseGuest tries to determine if he wants to go out or not. Tonight, Athena is the only guest which is somewhat of a plus in his books, however, the show has already had more than enough love hearts floating about during the commercials. ‘Love hearts. Granger,’ he says dryly.
I feel like getting back at him for something he did to annoy me earlier today so I feign being ill, ‘Please stay, houseguest,’ I plead and bat my lashes.
He sighs and fixes me a cup of tea.
The premise of The Bachelor is this: One good looking and (preferably) wealthy fellow wants to fall in love and decides that the best way to do so is to have a bunch of women compete to be the best future wife that they can be.
Because relationships always go well when they start off with such an imbalance of power.
What self-respecting witch would want to be involved with this? I do not understand, it smacks of sexism and classism and I am sure there are other isms scattered about this ridiculous show.
The show begins and from the host, Sasha, we learn that in addition to finding ‘true love’ the lucky winner will also win an absurd number of galleons. Sasha’s smile is slightly unnerving. It’s like he has too many teeth in his mouth. Like a shark.
HouseGuest nearly chokes on his wine when we hear the part about the galleons. HouseGuest has more Galleons than there are stars in the sky, so his reaction really is telling.
We are then introduced to the Bachelor. The lucky wizard who will have 10 beautiful, eligible witches clamoring for his attention. Much to our surprise it’s -
“Morgana’s manicured muff! Its Harry!” shouts Athena.
“Potter?!” adds Houseguest after actually choking on his wine, “I don’t believe it!”
That’s right, Harry Potter, the Savior of the Wizarding World, prime piece of The Golden Trio, can now add The Boy-who-lived-to-go-on-a-dating-show to his list of titles. We now know why he has been in hiding for the last few months.
“Harry Potter is heir to the great houses of Potter and Black,” says the voiceover as we are treated to shots of Harry staring broodingly out of windows, at the sky and off balconies, “He is also one of the best aurors in the department scoring the highest in his graduating class in auror training.”
“Actually, my friend Ron scored higher than me,” Harry says bashfully patting his hair to cover his scar, “but I do my best.” Sasha grins sharkishly and tells Harry that he is just being modest.
Athena and I can’t work out why Harry has even gone on the show. He hates being famous and this seems to be the opposite of what he would do. Also, he doesn’t need the money.
“I’m mainly here so I can donate my share of the winnings to the Safe Harbor… I didn’t have the greatest childhood, and I want to make sure that other magical orphans don’t have to grow up thinking that there is something wrong with them.”
I can hear the hearts melting all over Britain at that statement.
So can HouseGuest and Athena because they both groan and ask the ceiling ‘Why? Why did he have to say that?” in plaintive tones.
I don’t think the ceiling has any answers.
At any length, the show begins with Harry standing awkwardly at the front door of the Bachelor Mansion in some well-tailored dress robes. He is going to briefly meet the ten bachelorettes before they head inside for a cocktail party. The producers have tried to make it seem like the mansion is in the tropics with palms and succulents everywhere – I am interested to see if this décor extends inside.
A carriage pulls up at the end of the path and the first lucky bachelorette steps out, strides up the path with the confidence of a Sacred 28 Matriarch and introduces herself. Her robes hang delicately off her figure and flutter behind her.
“I am Raphaella d’ Augustin Lerroy,” she announces with an unidentifiable accent and holds her hand out with a sniff, “and you are Harry Potter, no?” Presumably, she wants Harry to kiss her hand. Instead he does an awkward handshake.
Raphaella d’Augustin Lerroy sniffs again and removes her hand from Harry’s grasp.
Harry offers her a tissue.
She sniffs once more and strides past Harry into the mansion.
Harry’s face is bewildered. You can almost hear him ask himself what he’s got himself into.
We are then treated to a look of two bronzed legs coming out of the next carriage. This looker-for-love is bronzed and beautiful. Additionally, she is wearing a pretty little cocktail dress that complements her tan and the highlights in her dark hair.
“I’m Harry,” says Harry impotently.
“Well, g’day Harry, it’s pretty great to meet ya, I reckon,” the beauty responds, “I’m Shae Donahue.”
Shae leans in and gives Harry a quick kiss on the cheek.
“Wow, this place is pretty posh, don’t you think?”
“Yeah,” Harry adds.
“Hwelp, guess I’ll see you inside then,” the beauty grins, and makes her way into the mansion on her perfect pins.
The camera sweeps from Harry’s slack face to the legs and then back again.
Harry raises a hand and draws it through his hair, “Sweet Merlin,” he mumbles under his breath.
“I hear you,” says HouseGuest. He and Athena raise their glasses in salute to Harry while I giggle like a schoolgirl.
The next witch carries herself awkwardly up the path. Her ankles wobble in her high heels and she presses herself into Harry when she kisses his cheek in greeting. “I’m Melody Jaakson” she says in a perfectly ironic voice. Her voice is a flat monotone. She heads inside and we instantly forget her.
A pretty blonde steps out of the next carriage. She sees Harry, pales, and pastes a smile onto her face.
“Hannah?” questions Athena.
“Hannah?” questions HouseGuest.
“Hannah?” questions Harry.
“Harry Potter?!” asks Hannah Abbott, “I didn’t know it would be you!”
“Ugh, yeah,” stutters Harry, “Surprise,” he adds weakly.
“Well this isn’t awkward at all,” she giggles, “there champaign in there?”
“Yup,” says Harry, “It’s from France too.”
“Alright, I guess by the time I speak to you again, I’ll be getting good and sloshed.”
Harry laughs, it’s a good sound, “See you later, Abbott.”
For those readers who don’t know, Harry and Hannah had the single most awkward blind date almost exactly a year ago. They decided that they had absolutely zero chemistry, parted amicably and have blissfully avoided each other since.
The casting director should be shot for forcing these two lovely people into more awkwardness.
Michele DuBois informs us that she is a socialite and entertainer.
HouseGuest scoffs and says that all that means is that she is spending the family fortune on parties because she is bored and, thus, boring.
Michele DuBois, also, only speaks in innuendo.
“Hullo Harry Potter,” she breathes, “Things are always better when they’re hard.”
“Urhm,” says Harry, “I guess, but sometimes things are too hard, and should be easier.”
Harry is obviously thinking about his life rather than anatomy.
“Your hair and my pillow are perfectly coordinated,” she sighs, running a painted nail along her lower lip.
“Really?” Harry asks, like an idiot.
“Are you sick?” she pants, placing her hand on his head, “Because you are hot.” She bares her teeth.
“I’m fine,” says Harry taking a step back.
“Yes, you are,” She exhales as she stalks her way into the mansion like some kind of sexed up panther. Harry turns a confused face to see the next carriage.
“Merlin’s balls, Potter,” says HouseGuest with exasperation.
Let it be known that Harry is oblivious when it comes to women.
“Damn straight,” adds Athena.
The next carriage contains Allegra Monse. She is a bubbly brunette on the tallest pair of heels that I have ever seen.
She giggles and prances her way up to Harry who bends down to kiss her cheek. Allegra comes up to Harry’s chin, so without the shoes she’d be about nipple high. She’s like a teeny-tiny pixie person.
“Cute,” says Athena dryly.
The person to get out of the next carriage is Jamie Montlepousse. She looks like an Amazonian. She looks like a supermodel. Her long hair is smoothed back into a high ponytail and I am pretty sure she would look amazing in a burlap sack.
She bends down to kiss Harry, introduces herself and then walks into the house.
The camera cuts to a pair of legs in an amazing pair of heels swinging out from under the door. The camera then follows said legs around the corner and up the red carpet towards Harry’s waiting place. Who is this witch? I don’t know, because the producers clearly want it to be a surprise.
Abruptly the legs stop moving, and then start again, more determined than before and we get a glimpse of Harry’s face.
It is shock, ladies and gentlemen. Utter shock. To whom could those legs belong, hmm?
The suspense is killing me.
“Close your mouth, Potter!” Housemate snorts.
It turns out the legs belong to Pansy Parkinson.
“Ur,” stumbles Harry, “You look really good, Pansy?”
Why he is saying it like it’s a question, I don’t know, because she really does. She’s wearing a deceptively complex, architectural cocktail dress and some eye-wateringly high heels. She looks like she belongs in an art gallery.
“Of course, I do,” she says with an arched brow, “I designed this garment precisely for my form. It fits me perfectly. I am here to promote my own line; therefore, I need to make sure that my personal look reflects what I can offer my clients.”
“So, you’re not here to find love, then?” Harry asks, seemingly recovered from his earlier shock.
“You think that a person can find love in a contrived setting and under public speculation,” Pansy muses, looking at Harry speculatively, “Interesting.”
“Well, I don’t know about that,” Harry flushes.
“I’d best get inside,” Pansy says, striding away without even the smallest ankle wobble.
Harry watches her leave and before she heads inside she turns around.
“Oh, and Harry,” he looks up, “I don’t have to compete with nine other women to get a man’s attention.” She flutters her fingers and smirks at him as she leaves.
I feel like high fiving someone.
The next person to attempt to steal Harry’s heart is Arabella Arnott.
“I’m Arabella!” She announces hand held out for an enthusiastic handshake and then draws Harry in to kiss both his cheeks. ‘I like quidditch and baking and travel and family.’
Arabella continues her list and sounds like she’s memorized a list from Teen Witch Weekly about what modern boys want in a girlfriend.
“Oh?” Harry says. “I’m Harry Potter.”
“Iknowwhoyouare!” comes out in a rush, “My favorite thing to bake is treacle tart and I think that Seeker is the most interesting position in Quidditch.”
I amend my earlier remark. Arabella sound like she’s memorized a list from Teen Witch Weekly about what Harry Potter wants in a girlfriend.
“She’s done research,” says Athena, “But only a basic level.”
“If she had any subtlety and creativity, she might have been able to turn this around,” adds Houseguest, “But whoever prepped her did a poor job.”
“You had any prepped-pretties, Houseguest?”
“Not me, personally, but a friend. He got to the point of drafting a betrothal contract when due diligence turned it up.”
“Oh no!” says Athena, “Is he okay?”
“He’s not over it yet... It pretty much broke his heart.”
I have no idea what they are talking about and resolve to put all my investigative skills to use.
“What are you talking about?”
“Later,” I am told by both because the final wannabe Mrs. Potter is stepping out of her carriage.
Siobhan Walsh seems kind of bland compared to the other witches. She’s just so normal . She looks like an utterly ordinary person. Her clothes are fine. Her hair is brown, eyes are brown. Her voice is unremarkable. She gives monosyllabic answers. Where did the producers find her?
“What do you do?” asks Harry, trying in vain to get something out of this woman.
Siobhan thinks hard about this.
When Siobhan thinks hard about things her features seem to squish up into the center of her face. Her eyes squint, her brows furrow and her mouth does a weird combination purse and pout that brings her lips up under her nostrils.
Houseguest leans forward and focuses at the tele mumbling “Fascinating” under his breath. He and Athena try and replicate the look with varying degrees of success.
After too long a time Siobhan finally answers. With a straight face she says, “I make custom dolls for people whose children have left home.” And before Harry can question her, she adds, “The hair samples really help make the dolls appear true to life.”
A quick glance at HouseGuest and Athena show two very perturbed individuals. I imagine that they think their mother's are exactly the type to say this idea is horrifying in company before going to the attic and coming its hair. They aren't, for the record. HouseGuest's mum took to leaving pamphlets in his room to get him to give her some space.
Siobhan stares deeply at Harry without blinking and then stumbles into the house. Harry looks directly at the camera with a face that says, ‘Did anyone else see that?’
Yes Harry, we did. I now understand why the producers brought her on the show.
We get a few shots of the ladies talking and drinking and eating tiny foods with tiny forks. They stalk around each other asking pointed questions and giving backhanded compliments.
Miss Augustin Lerroy appears to be holding court, having seated herself in the sole single armchair. Unfortunately for her, the other ladies clearly haven’t noticed as no one seems to have gone to pay their respects.
“This is weird, right?” Asks Shae-with-the-legs, “All of us are essentially dating the same guy.”
Hannah chokes as she swallows her champaign.
“Yeah,” say Melody-the-unmelodious.
Harry walks in and is immediately accosted by Arrabella-the-prepared who starts reciting all the Quidditch statistics from the last 200 years.
“That’s almost impressive,” says Athena, as she drains another glass.
Harry listens politely for all of 30 seconds before extricating himself from her grasp and moving over to our three leggy ladies and Michele Dubois who is absently adjusting her top half in her dress while occasionally interjecting inappropriate comments into the conversation between Pansy, Shae and Jamie.
Harry moves to the different groups and talks to our ladies. Tries to get some one on one time with them only to be pulled away by other competitors. He keeps saying that he wants to have meaningful conversations with them.
Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I usually wait until at least the third date before I tell him what my biggest pet peeve is or how I would spend a million galleons.
It’s pure-splaining and a set of those rechargeable international port-keys, in case you were wondering.
Houseguest snorts in what he thinks is a dainty way when I mention that out loud. Houseguest’s pet peeve is people with poor table manners. Athena’s is people who try and tell her what to do. That she says it through a mouthful of chips is utterly hilarious. Houseguest wrinkles his nose and covers his mouth with an embroidered handkerchief.
As though that would keep the disgust from wrinkling his perfect complexion.
Although that could be from the sobbing, snotty mess that is poor Arrabella Arnott. They appear to have started the rose ceremony while Athena and I giggled at HouseGuest. The Rose Ceremony works like this: Harry gives a rose to the witches with whom he’d like to continue exploring a relationship.
It’s down to Arrabella and Hannah.
Who will be the first beauty to leave the magnificent Bachelor mansion?
Arrabella and Hannah both start crying with relief.
Arrabella takes her rose and runs to cry all over Melody Jaakson who appears to be experiencing her first ever facial expression. It’s bewilderment. “What’s happening?” Melody mouths to Siobhan who just cocks her head to the side and repeats the same words to herself.
“What’s happening?” she asks, “What is happening?” she repeats a couple more times. No one answers her.
Hannah raises her glass to Harry, says thank-you and then makes her escape with as little fuss as Arrabella had drama.
“Thank Merlin, that’s over,” Hannah says in her post elimination interview with Sasha-the-shark. “I think I’m going to go into hospitality. This party was kind of fun. I mean, besides the awful, awful awkwardness.”
Hannah waves goodbye and the credits roll.
Houseguest the ever-gallant puts both me and Athena to bed because I don’t feel well and she made better friends with the wine than either of us anticipated.
The Bachelor airs Thursdays from 8:30 to 9:30 PM GMT.
They are always appreciated!
Chapter 4: That Quidditch Show
I cannot believe that I am sitting here amongst what must be all the Quidditch mad people I have in my life.
HouseGuest has brought over all his friends to my apartment to watch a TWO HOUR show dedicated to Quidditch.
Also attending is Charites who brought along her boyfriend. I didn't know she liked Quidditch on its own merit but she arrived dressed in purple with little stars on her cheeks that sparkle and flash occasionally.
Her fiance is dressed entirely in orange. On his entry into my apartment - which is in no way equipped to hold this number of people, by the way - he is accosted by one of HouseGuests friends and the following interaction occurs:
'You a cannons fan, then'
'Well,' looks down at self, 'yeah'
A pause 'Want an ale?'
Oh, yeah, orright,'
Then they started talking about the Chudley Cannons least decisive losses.
And now, somehow, they are friends.
7 years of active hostility at school and an orange outfit fixes it all.
I cannot believe this but noone else seems fazed.
The Quidditch Show.
The show is hosted by Ludo Bagman and features a panel, guests and 'live studio audience'. The panel features Quidditch reporters, commentators and past players. The guests are current players.
I hate to say it but Ludo Bagman is a great host. He's charismatic and great at warming up the audience.
He then introduces the panel.
I don't remember who they all are, but everyone in my apartment are excited about it. Also, Lee Jordan is there. He used to commentate at Hogwarts, so he must know about Quidditch.
'ohmygod!' screeches Charites, 'Its Glynnis freaking Griffiths!'
Everyone in the room cheers and I don't know who that is and now they are shushing me.
They are shushing me in my own home.
I can't do this anymore.
Righteo then. Okay, Ron Weasley here, taking over from Hermione who's just had a major row with the person I've been told to call HouseGuest regarding the number of people he invited to her flat and doesn't he know she went to St Mungo's for stress.
She kind of hissed the last word and now she's gone to her parents place and he's distraught in the bathroom while Blaise Zabini tries to talk some sense into him through the door.
So there we are. And I am taking over with my new friend Greg Goyle.
Goyle has amazing taste in Quidditch teams.
That Quidditch Show is some seriously top notch entertainment. The panel has some real legends of the Game including, wait for it, Jocalind Wadcock.
She must be about 110 years old. But boy does that bird know how to fly.
Also, she is an utter riot. Keeps throwing shit at the other players who go off when they get injured.
So, they have different segments like 'what was the best keeper play of the week' and 'who should be sacked from their team'. Lots of talk and great insights on why Pecckington's Wronski Front failed in the Puddlemer match.
They also did an in depth look at a player. This time it was Graham Montague. They analysed everything from his flying style to his warm ups to his form.
They also have a bit where Lee Jordan interviews spectators at a match.
Best quote was from a mum with 8 kids with her.
"Are you telling me that I wrangled 8 kids here for a flipping 7 minute game?! What a flipping wrort. I am not spending a single knut on anything Quidditch related for the rest of my LIFE"
It ends with some Quidditch players competing in a game for some members of the audience. One is an ANCIENT witch who's been a member of the kestrals for freaking ever.
And the other is some kid whose just so excited to meet Ginny Weasley.
Gwenog narrowly beats Gin and wins the old lady a seasons pass to kestrals games.
And that's it. Pretty great mix of fun and game analysis.
I give it an O.
Oh and HouseGuest is now pleading for Hermione to come home through the floo.
So we should probably skedaddle.
That Quidditch Show airs Thursdays from 7:30 to 9:30 PM GMT.