CHRM 201 Journal : Week One

So… Second year at last! Can you tell how excited I am?

We had our first Charms lesson today, by Professor Alex Quilmane, of course. We also have a co-Professor for Charms now – Professor Sarissa Greenwich. I haven’t had the opportunity to interact with her yet. Anyway, I have decided to continue writing my entries for this year in my last year’s Charms journal, for no other reason than to keep them in one place. As part of this week’s homework, Professor Quilmane has asked us to write about our favourite magical object. The first thing that came to mind was a wand, then after further deliberation over a few more objects (which even included a remembrall and a sneakoscope), I finally decided to settle for the broomstick, an object so characteristic of the magical community that it is probably our worst-kept secret. No Muggle illustration of a witch or a wizard is complete without a broom.

A broomstick, better known as broom, is one of the means employed by witches and wizards to transport themselves between locations [1]. It is ideal – portable, cheap and requires no license of ownership. A broomstick appears to have a bit of personality of its own, as it is able to respond to the simplest of commands, such as “Up!” (although recent more advanced brooms have the ability to hover at exactly the height at which one would mount it).

The first brooms were apparently regular brooms (wooden sticks with twigs tied together at its sweeping end) bewitched and were neither comfortable nor aerodynamic. Wizard families generally made their own brooms – with rough twigs in the end and unvarnished handles, the charms on the broom were also basic; they could only move at one speed, go up, down and stop [2]. Cut to current day’s fastest racing broom in the world – the Firebolt. Made of ebony wood with birch or hazel twigs, the Firebolt boasts an Unbreakable Braking Charm, superb balance and precision, and is capable of going from 0 to 150 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds. And they proved ever so reliable, especially the one Harry Potter owned, which was stripped down to the last twig in 1993 A.D., to check for curses and jinxes and put back together as good as new [3].

Until the nineteenth century, broomsticks were of varying quality because they were still handmade by single wizards, and were generally incapable of achieving high speeds and were difficult to control at high altitudes. But with broomstick manufacturing companies entering the market and the advent of mass production, nearly every wizarding household in Britain owns at least one broomstick today. Many witches and wizards today travel by broomstick without being seen by Muggles through the use of a Disillusionment Charm [1]. The simple broomstick has come a long way in the wizarding world.

However, it is not just the brooms that have been bewitched to fly by wizardkind. Individual witches and wizards have tried it on various other objects as well. Like Arthur Weasley, who once bewitched a Ford Anglia 105E Delux car to be able to fly, as well as become invisible. It was also modified with a Undetectable Extension Charm so that it could fit eight people, six trunks, two owls and a rat comfortably [4].

REFERENCES:
[1] Harry Potter Wikia, http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Broomstick
[2] J. K. Rowling, Quidditch Through The Ages
[3] J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
[4] J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

(Image Source: Harry Potter Wikia)

 

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