As far as O.W.L.s go, I’d get a “Troll” in Potions

Where to begin? I’m a little wary that this is my first post EVER on a blog (I’m not very internet savvy… a product of my impatience and the fact that I’m inclined towards the anachronistic, y’know, paper over webpage, film over digital, 1950’s music and fashion, blah-de-blah) but here goes.

A pet peeve: THE POTIONS ON POTTERMORE. Do you have to be a whirlwind on the Mac-mouse to do this thing? I’ve had Pottermore for a long time now, but aside from moving through the “Moments” to read up on all my favourite characters (Lupin’s back story is enough for me to recommend that you join), I’ve rarely bothered before to play the games or focus on gaining house points for Gryffindor. But now that I’ve got a PhD application to tackle, the level of my Pottermore interest has grown substantially, I can’t think why.

My own potions lab, courtesy of the Harry Potter studio tour in London
My own potions lab, courtesy of the Harry Potter studio tour in London

But here lies the basis of my frustration. I pick up ingredients, either buying them from Diagon Alley, or collecting them as I move through the Moments, I acquire spell books and potion books, cauldrons and so on. Then I practice making potions in a handy safe-space, where the risk of losing house-points is kindly suspended. Finally, I’m ready. I need a Swelling Solution in order to complete the second book – to break into Snape’s potions store cupboard for further ingredients for the famous Polyjuice potion that Ron, Hermione and Harry take to spy on suspected Heir of Slytherin, Draco Malfoy. Try as I might, though, I CANNOT complete this potion.

“Aww, diddums!” I hear you say, but you DON’T KNOW THE HALF OF IT. The potion requires careful measurement of ingredients, that’s a given, and to be heated for a very specific time at a very specific temperature, thus far I have succeeded. BUT WHAT REALLY TAKES THE CAULDRON CAKE is the fact that you have to let it stand for 45 minutes, real time, before going back to complete it. This means that it’s not a simple case of try, try again, it’s more like “wait, wait around and fall at the last hurdle.”

Guys, it’s rough. But here’s my lesson for you all: dried nettles are easy to find and I WILL NOT BE BEATEN. Perhaps I’ll squeeze in some PhD research between brewing and stirring ;).

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