Belated Birthday Blogging

How I Spend Money|Sarah Andersen
‘How I Spend Money’ by Sarah Andersen. Or, an unintentional biography of my life.

Last Tuesday marked the 27th anniversary of my birth. Having thrown a party for the last few years or so, this year I didn’t really feel like arranging anything, so just went for a nice breakfast at Bill’s with my boyfriend, the pair of us having booked the day off of work. I had blueberry pancakes with fruit, bacon and maple syrup and it was absolutely delicious. After that I dragged Mark to Waterstone’s, and somehow wound up with 6 new books to read and enjoy c/o Mark’s never-ending generosity and my own inability to control my spending. I actually think I own more unread books than read ones. This is either a very good thing, or a very bad thing, depending on how you look at it.

Seeing as Mark had his weekly game of football, I then spent the evening with my best friend Cassie, cooking cheesy veggie risotto and watching Season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race (my latest guilty pleasure). Cassie was also kind enough to deliver a beautiful handmade present from both herself and Kim (K.F. Goodacre): my actual wand from the Harry Potter universe.

Slytherin Pride
Slytherin Pride

Does anyone remember Pottermore? Ah, Pottermore… Everyone got so excited when it was first announced. Like many others of the ‘Harry Potter generation’, I signed up to be a Beta tester as soon as I could and was fortunate enough to be granted (very) early access. There’s some cool stuff on there, like extra little writing and character titbits uploaded every now and then by JK Rowling. Ultimately however, after I was sorted into my house, it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. The interactive book explorations, although beautifully illustrated, were simplistic and lacking in true content, plus the only book available was about two thirds of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The galleons system was pointless, because once you’d bought all your books, there wasn’t anything else you could buy except for a new cauldron that cut your potion brewing times in half. Potions-brewing was of course the only way you could earn House Points, along with spell casting which was extremely difficult and required another participant. Also, whilst you were able to adopt a pet (I adopted a black cat of course), you were not able to give it a name or anything fun like that. I’ve been led to understand it’s undergone a bit of an overhaul recently with a new version of the Sorting Hat quiz and a Patronus test coming soon, but I don’t think I’ll be going back there in a hurry.

Two really cool things did come out of Pottermore though. I got sorted into the Noble House of Slytherin – which came as a surprise to precisely no one – and I was assigned a wand:

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 21.16.01

According to JK Rowling, laurel wood and Unicorn hair are both difficult to turn to the Dark Arts, which is a bit annoying what with me being a Slytherin and destined to conquer the world and everything.

Back to my present, Cassie and Kim had the above wand made for me to the precise specification of laurel wood carved into a 14 1/4″ long wand, and it came with an apologetic letter from Ollivanders wrapped up in a Slytherin-green ribbon. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and has a little skull on top of it! This was meant not only to reflect my obsession with skulls, momento mori and general all-round gothiness, but also as a nod to one of my fictional characters, James Harding, who walks around with a cane that has a skull on the top containing his soul:

An excerpt from the letter:

I remember every wand I’ve ever created, but to my (perhaps prideful) embarrassment, yours was not carved by my hand. In June 1977, a work experience student by name of Severus Snape – whom I remember listening to banshee-like, wailing muggle music and wearing only black – made eight gothic designs out of my most expensive laurel. They were all very well-made to his credit, but distasteful to many of my customers (or their parents) at the time. I altered most of the designs to make them more conventional, but each time I tried with yours I got an unpleasant zap! I hope you are not put off by the carving. The wand seems proud of it.

Genius. It’s like, the most metal wand ever and I love it.

Thank you Cassie and Kim for buying my wand for me, and to Mark for spoiling me rotten on the day! Oh, and thank you Mr Garrick Ollivander of course for sending me the wand, and the late Severus Snape for carving it for me. Mr Rickman. R.I.P. ♥

Take care,

S.E. Berrow

If you wish to be sorted into your own Hogwarts house, head on over to Pottermore, and find more information about J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series at the below official websites:

Waterstone's display

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