ASTR 101 : Guided by the Stars (Lesson 1)

Source: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Chapter 15 (The Forbidden Forest)

Hey Vimaan, have I told you about the time I ran into Harry Potter, the famous Auror? I accompanied my dad to one of George Weasley’s fun parties once. The topic strayed over to centaurs, for some reason, and Mr. Potter had a very interesting story to share with us, of a time when he was our age!

Back when Mr. Potter was in first year, one day he got himself into detention with a few of his friends. I don’t know how but he ended up spending the night wandering the Forbidden Forest with his friends and Hagrid and Fang. I know, right? Legally! How cool is that! Anyway, the story goes that they ran into centaurs, Firenze and Bane. The only thing he remembers, after all these years, is the one line the centaurs kept repeating- “Mars is bright tonight.” No matter how hard they, especially Hagrid, tried to strike a conversation, the centaurs kept repeating the same line, over and over again, to the point of annoying Hagrid. Mr. Potter laughed so hard while recounting how irritated poor Hagrid was.

“Never try an’ get a straight answer out of a centaur. Ruddy stargazers. Not interested in anythin’ closer’n the moon. Keep themselves to themselves mostly, but they’re good enough about turnin’ up if ever I want a word. They’re deep, mind, centaurs… they know things… jus’ don’ let on much.” Mr. Potter said, doing a near-perfect imitation of Hagrid, haha.

But he also added that it took them a few years to figure out what the centaurs had meant that night. In his fifth year, Firenze, who was the Divination professor that year, referred to Mars as the “bringer of battle,” and said it indicated that the Wizarding world was currently experiencing a brief calm between two wars. That makes so much sense! Centaurs may be weird and mysterious, but they are also surprisingly accurate almost all the time.


Source: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)

Hey Novellus, have I told you about the time I ran into Harry Potter, the famous Auror? I accompanied my dad to one of George Weasley’s fun parties once. The topic strayed over to werewolves, for some reason, and Mr. Potter had a very interesting story to share with us, of a time when he a third year at Hogwarts!

He recounted the time he saw Remus Lupin transform into a werewolf before his very eyes. According to him, a werewolf is a human being who, upon the complete rising of the full moon, becomes a fearsome and deadly near-wolf. To become a werewolf, it is necessary to be bitten by a werewolf in their wolfish form at the time of the full moon. When the werewolf’s saliva mingles with the victim’s blood, contamination will occur.[1] Remus Lupin was bitten by Fenrir Greyback as a child, on a full moon night.

“There was a terrible snarling noise. Lupin’s head was lengthening. So was his body. His shoulders were hunching. Hair was sprouting visibly on his face and hands, which were curling into clawed paws”, he described Remus Lupin’s transformation. According to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the full moon is the only thing that can transform a werewolf.

It is interesting the kind of effect a celestial body like the moon has on human lives.

References:
[1] How a wizard becomes a werewolf, Pottermore


Continue to ASTR 101 : Buying a Telescope (Lesson 2).

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