Pottermore: How to handle wizarding fans a la JK Rowling

As much as I love writing, I love reading even more.

Image Source- Geek News Network

I remember when the Harry Potter series started. Never before had I encountered such a magical (yeah, can’t find a better word) world. When Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was launched, I remember walking from the bookshop at Yaya- Bookstop, proudly lugging that TOME, so excited I could hardly wait to get home and crack it open. I once read the e-book version of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (this made me swear off electronic book versions completely).

Then I discovered Pottermore let’s say 5 years ago. I almost died. LIKE LITERALLY. Here was my chance to get sorted into a house (fingers crossed I end up in Gryffindor) by the Sorting Hat, get a wand (Hazel Wood, Dragon Heartstring 12.5 inches) and read enriched Hogwarts Materials first hand. Since Miz Rowling isn’t writing any more books, Pottermore is like Hogwarts heaven.Like today for instance, I read about Why Gryffindors truly need to calm down.

If you remember the DVD era when we used to BUY movies and the DVD had extra behind the scenes footage or even deleted movie scenes then that’s basically how Pottermore works (it’s even in the name, duh). Thing is, there’s always new stuff from the author herself. Extra bits of info about the wizarding world she created. That site truly is a memorable writing feat. But don’t take my word for it, head to Pottermore and dive into wizarding like a true Harry Potter fan.

I should mention that the previous site had some mild gaming built into it. You could complete tasks and earn points for your house. I’m still exploring the new version but the wealth of info on there probably wouldn’t allow for a game to be introduced. It’s only best though, I was in Hufflepuff struggling with a Tabby Cat and not really doing anything useful at the online school of magic. Now I’m a proud Gryffindor reading loads and loads of great things about this wonderful microcosm JK Rowling created and trying hard not to toss some shade on my Hufflepuff friends because who remembers anyone from Hufflepuff anyway?

Sweatshop Chronicles: Maryam

She looked around the dingy dungeon and sighed. It was sweltering down there. Like the kitchen of the local Kenchic where her friend Anita used to work. The kitchen she hadn’t been to for days. Neither had Anita, for that matter.

” I wonder if they’ll notice Anita’s absence?”Maryam thought to herself. She reached reflexively to adjust her mtandio but her fingers just managed to swipe at her shoulder length hair and came away disappointingly empty. They had relieved her of her hijab and burqa when they stole them away in the dead of night from Old Town. Anita stirred fitfully next to her and Maryam snapped out of her daydream (but what time was it?) to check on her. You see, her friend had been running a high fever for a few days. That’s why she was staying with Maryam and her folks, so that in case of anything, she could get to Pandya Memorial without delay.

After she had made sure Anita was OK, she quickly turned her thoughts to Hassan and KK. She had met them when she and Anita went to Mama Ngina Drive to watch the ships sail in, one sultry Mombasa evening. Hassan attended the same masjid as her brothers and often, during Ramadhan, they visited each other’s homes for iftar. Sometimes, Hassan would join them at Mama Ngina drive and buy them some mnazi or roasted mhogo or even chilli mangoes as they watched the ferry come in. Sometimes, if they were early enough, they would go across the channel to South Coast and roam together, till it was time to go back home.

One relatively cool evening, Hassan showed up with KK in tow. They didn’t know much about him but there never was a need to know. Until now. Maryam suspected the reason there were being held was because of KK. You see he had the scent of the hunted, perhaps even the wounded. He was always quiet around them, but his face lit up tremendously as he and Hassan played beach football on Sunday afternoons in Nyali.

At first, and because of her brothers, Maryam gave KK a wide berth but since she was always the 3rd wheel with Anita and Hassan, she figured she’d better keep herself busy when Hassan took Anita on a walk into the bushy undergrowth at the beach. See Hassan loved this little woman with all his heart and he used those walks as opportunity to show her.

She tried to glean as much from KK but he was unnaturally reticent. They stuck to the weather and football (of which, Maryam was an avid fan, thanks to her brothers’ influence), topics that she felt KK could happily gloss over. Anytime she broached more serious subject matter, KK clammed up tighter than oyster shell. All he said as that he left Nairobi to come to Mombasa because he needed a change. He never volunteered any more beyond that.

Maryam sighed but quickly focused her attention on the footsteps she could now hear feet pounding the corridor outside the metallic door that served their prison. She had grown accustomed to hearing them at regular intervals through out the day. But she had never paid attention to know just exactly how long they had been held captive. These footsteps meant either food or viewing.

Viewing like she and Anita were about to be sold off.

Read Part 1 & Part 2

Hail to the Chief…of Liet Wan

Aggrey was always the biggest, gangliest, buffooniest boy in his class from Kindergarten One up to his university Pathology class. He was discontinued before we could ever find out if he was the biggest at graduation. You see, before the man succumbed to Aachwaka, his star was the shiniest, sharpest tool in the Okal shed.

He had to start selling formalin- they stuff they use to preserve dead bodies at the Mortuary, to make a quick enough buck to pay the Mama Pii Pima whose stall he really loved visiting when he wasn’t out in the field, cutting up cadavers for “research”. Aggrey still didn’t have any qualifications to be operating. He was in essence operating without a license. What his friend Benedict Ojwang, BenedictO to his friends and enemies, would do, is find the unclaimed bodies from the nation’s largest referral hospital- KiBeltBelt and pass them over to A.O for his “life saving” experiments.

The thing is, Aggrey had always been a cruel little boy. The kid who dipped locusts in the pot of porridge while at the Kendo in his mother’s kitchen, back in the village of Kadumu. Chwenye, the village tree climber had fallen to his paralysis from a mango tree when Aggrey was 12 years old and he had been on the front line of the crowd. Not to offer his assistance, but observe the grotesque and macabre ways his bones had torn through his skin and left his flesh exposed. Chwenye was a mangled mess of skin, bone, flesh and blood, and Aggrey shivered a little each time he remembered the poor man’s screams.

His brush with the injured in and around his village, inspired him to do well in Biology and make it to the University of Makelele in The Capital. Once he got there, the strong beast of a man was waylaid by the wily charms of the metal mug full of the not so frothy good stuff that turned his worries into dust. Had he ignored the sirenic call of the cup, he would have probably become one of the nation’s premier surgeons.

Instead, A.O took his failure to heart and though it didn’t turn into heart failure, it was the beginning of a series of life failures, that threatened to whittle him down to size. Not that this was possible given his size, stature and demeanour. Aggrey isn’t one to be messed with. He can match you inch for inch (yes) and pound for pound.

So, while wallowing in his misery but finding it hard to ignore his mother’s various missives from Nusia, he decided to visit her and allay her fears of a less than prosperous future for him. Somewhat. That was when he met the fruit of the most delicious and luscious lush tree in all of Nestern.

Romantic Rendezvous: Love made in Liet Wan

Mama Rosie was tired of A.O breathing down her neck at every turn. She quickly latched onto Chris aka Chrisanthus the Math Tutor. Early on in the relationship she thought that he was interested in her next door neighbour but alas, his cock-eyed gaze was firmly fixed upon her ample bosom and voluptuous figure.

You see A.O had airlifted her (OK, “airlifted” is a bit of an exaggeration) from extreme poverty in Budalbhangi back in the Reserve. Back there and then, Mama Rosie went by the name Luscious Ludmilla. Luscious because she was tall and quite fruitful in er, certain bodily areas. Ludmilla because, her father was a Nazi aficianado though her mother had really wanted to five her a nice flowery English name like the madam of the house she cleaned- Lilly, but her husband had had it up to here with the colonialist expression of oppression and decided to pledge his allegiance, stupidly, to the swastika. One wonders if Ludmilla’s father would have been accepted to the Aryan brotherhood. He was as close to blond hair and blue eyes as the Yukon Gold is to Irish potatoes.

A.O brought her to the City of Lights and Green Grass, NailovI. She quickly registered, however, that he wasn’t the man he seemed to be. He’d been discontinued from his Medic course at Makelele Uni and was now living in the small slum adjacent to Le Loi Market. With his etch-a-sketch life and intimidating physical presence, A.O somehow managed to make a living. A living enough for himself. Introduce his lovely Ludmilla into the fray and life did indeed, begin to fray at the edges like a tattered second hand curtain sold by Pauline at her Mama Mboga and general supplies stand on your way to the market proper.

Mama Rosie had learnt to stretch every ill-gotten coin that A.O deemed fit to toss her way every now and then. A.O dealt with the depression in the classic, African Male way- he drank  copious amounts of Achwaka at the local bar, pinched one too many a waitress’ buttock and because he was the biggest ham hock in Liet Wan, got away with the mild sexual harassment that every woman experiences a few times in their life time.

NailovI was a cruel, cruel city and soon enough, A.O and Mama Rosie brought forth Rosie then the hapless twin girls – Nena and Neno, and then a little bratty boy that sent A.O over the moon, aptly named, Bratley. Pretty soon, Mama Rosie had to visit her local chapter of the Muddy Slopes Clinic, an affordable, albeit africa-only version of the infamous Planned Parenthood. Did they even understand Roe V Wade in the boonies of Liet Wan? After the short visit, no more Okalets sprang forth from the loins of the two dimwits in charge of steering that ship.

Merry Mwaka Mpya

Liet Wan was ablaze with hundreds of little lights glowing from every household’s kerosene lamps, and awash with free flowing booze- achwaka as the occupants of that little slum on the edge of the capital, NailovI caroused and revelled together to usher in yet another hapless New Year. Dionysius would have been fatly and proudly rolling around in his grape filled mausoleum.

Beauty observed the serendipitous little scene from her window as she attempted to take a snap with her aging, Momolola LaSr top-of-the-line mobile phone. Danielo, aka BiDii aka Darkness aka Sam Eddy nursed a chipped enamel mug of sweet tea as her ratty, tattered love seat nursed his firm and supple buttocks. The tea was the kind you enjoy in the Reserve. Tea so sweet, it harkens back to days when Diabetes II was wantonly acquired before tense, teenage years could be realized.

Her job at the Posho Mill had meant that there was no Christmas break or respite of any kind from her floured out occupation. So, Beauty had chosen to create a little paradise in her home for her and the love of her life, Darkness. Yes. Love of her life. Shortly after he caught up with her in the Forest of Gong and rescued her from the ginormous grip of A.O.’s hams, Danielo was kind enough to ask her to be his girlfriend. Floored by his attention and affection, Beauty had said Yebo, Yes! to the bugger and thus begun, a fresh new chapter in their lives together.

Over the Christmas holiday, Danielo exhibited each and every one of his aliases perfectly. Who wanted to wake up to the same face everyday? She certainly wasn’t ready to live life with the same guy by her side. So some days, he was Sam Eddy, hustler and death merchant extraordinaire; other days he was her beloved Danielo, BiDii the tout but most days, he was just Darkness, last stronghold of nothingness.

Beauty turned from the soppy scene in front of her, having gathered an altogether blurry image of light vs darkness. Or maybe she really did need to pay a visit to Dr Eyes, the local optician of dubious origins? She sighed and shrugged as she walked over to the love seat that currently housed D’s (another of his erstwhile personas) muscular form and miraculously, squeezed and snuggled herself up to him. This was how they had spent Christmas Eve and Day. Alternating between snuggling together on the love seat and on her limp mattress covered with a few threadbare blankets that Beauty had picked up for a song on market day at Le Loi.

After the holiday tonight, it would be back to the salt mines, or in her case, the flour mines just a stone’s throw away from her house adjacent to Liet Wan. It also meant that Danielo could finally end his free-loading ways. Not that she minded. He was Darkness.


Literally Struck by Love: Love brewed in Liet Wan

And that is how she and Danielo met. He chased her into The Forest of Gong as she hustled to escape A.O’s grasp. Mama Rosie and A.O had left each other or rather, Mama Rosie had picked up her kikapu, firmly tied her lesso under her rapidly descending breasts and walked out of their home in the shanty of Liet Wan. To go and be with Chris the Myopic Con-Man.

Darkness a.k.a Danielo did some odd jobs including touting on the Kiberean Matatus as well lawn mowing and pool cleaning in the Ren. Beauty always did love a good, hard working man. Their meeting at the awfully, lovely party in the Ren was not by chance. You see, Beauty knew he was going to be there because her insipidly stupid friend, Ako had let slip the fact. Not a Freudian one but nonetheless a fortuitous slip.

Beauty was struck by Danielo the first day she ever met him. He was walking with his blind as a bat friend, Chris in the environs of Liet Wan presumably after playing look out for his buddy on his tragically treason-filled tryst with Mama Rosie. BiDii, as he was commonly known, had bumped into her and managed to step on her delicate toes. See, he struck her.

From then on it was love at first sight. Who didn’t love a man who could hurt and enthrall in the same action?

Dia de Muertos: A Liet Wan Special Pt.2

And stick out they did. Until Darkness approached her, Village Beauty aka Cinder Tinder was stuck trying to make sure her mini wasn’t riding up her voluptuous buttocks and stiff, wide hips. When he finally deigned to grace her with his presence, she was absolutely mesmerized by his wide shoulders and boxer’s stance. Like he was getting ready to knock some poor damsel to the floor in a quick, RH- LF- Uppercut combo.

You see Darkness was the kind of guy that you wanted at this party. The muzungus loved him to bits- he was a feast for the eyes. The darkies, loved him for other reasons, to be revealed later.

Plus, he had this cute, little habit of pushing his glasses further up his well chiselled but bulbous nose, just so they could sit- just so. Darkness, whose real name was Sam Eddy, was paying for his polytechnic education by doing odd jobs for the muzungus in Ren.

Village Beauty had seen him around the Posho a few times. Hanging out with Chrisanthus the pseudo-tutor. Since he was easy on the eye, Cinder Tinder let him hang around her like a flame attracted a moth. Delirious Sheba had somehow managed to get herself inside her employer’s house. What she was doing in there, was anybody’s guess, for an extra shilling or two, of course. Darkness was Chrisanthus’ antithesis. Where Chris was myopic, balding, short and easily manipulated, Darkness was tall, striking and as stubborn as an old goat that roamed the Atlactical Mountains.

There was a slight kerfuffle at the entrance to the massive mansion and as Village Beauty squinted (her Cinder Tinder role play didn’t require her to put on her eye glasses), she saw Delirious Sheba being man handled by two Yuppies.

Tender Tinder (the alter ego of the Alter Ego) knocked back her drink and sauntered to the entrance. In her best imitation of an accent, Tinder drawled and growled at the two hulking Yuppies holding her BFF hostage, “Pardon me, but what aaaare you doing?”

One of the Yuppies turned his attention away from Sheba and even beneath the ceremonial White face, Village Beauty knew who she was looking at. A.O Mr Diminishing Returns himself.

Without an extra thought for her friend’s welfare, Tinder turned awkwardly in her clogs and ran.