Saturday, July 08, 2000

Glossary of Harry speak

By Sara Pearce
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Here's an abbreviated glossary of terms and words from the Harry Potter books for those of you who have not yet read them but want to be able to make small talk this weekend:

        Aparecium: the magic word that makes invisible ink visible.

        Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans: Jelly beans that literally come in every flavor imaginable from the pleasurable (chocolate and peppermint) to the yucky (sprouts and sardine).

        Butterbeer: A rich, buttery hot drink, a favorite beverage of Harry's best friends, Ron and Hermione.

        Floo Powder: Allows wizards to travel speedily via fireplaces or chimneys.

        Daigon Alley: The place in London to shop for all your magical needs.

        The Dursleys: Harry's boorish uncle, Vernon; uptight aunt, Petunia; and fat, bullying cousin, Dudley. They are rude, crude and treat Harry like Cinderella (he lives in a cupboard under their stairs in the first book).

        Gringotts: The wizards' bank; run by goblins.

        Hagrid: The hulking Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts (see below) and a true friend to Harry.

        Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: The co-ed boarding school that Harry attends after he turns 11 and is rescued (by Hagrid) from a non-magical life.

        Muggles: Nonmagical folks who wouldn't know a spell if it hit them and who think brooms are for sweeping up messes. Mostly harmless, but dull, in Harry's opinion.

        Nimbus Two Thousand: Harry's first broomstick, on which he learned to fly and play Quidditch (see below); later replaced by the Firebolt model.

        O.W.L.: Ordinary Wizarding Levels. Yes, even wizards take exams. Not to be confused with ...

        Owls: Used as messengers by magical people.

        Parselmouth: A person who can converse with snakes.

        Quidditch: It's the sport every magical kid plays, or wants to play — and why not? Players fly on broomsticks. The balls can move on their own, including the dreaded Bludgers, which try to knock players off their brooms. Ouch!

        Skele-Grow: a potion to grow bones back when a spell has taken them away.

        Spellotape: used to mend a magic wand.

        Voldemort (shhhh! generally referred to as “You-Know-Who”): A powerful, evil wizard. Killed Harry's parents and tried to kill Harry, too.

        Wands: Made of various materials from willow to oak (Harry's is holly with a core of phoenix feather). Used to cast magic spells, but break the wand and your spells will misfire. Those expelled from Hogwarts lose their wand privileges.

        Sources: Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone; Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling.

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