Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Wizarding Apprentices' Surprising Discovery

Today, my students eagerly embraced their opportunity to whine loudly and plaintively about the upcoming exam in their wizarding potions lab course (er, chemistry), claiming that it interfered with their scheduled weekend entertainment; reading the newest Harry Potter book, which is being released in a couple days (but you already knew that, unless you have been living under a rock for the past 10 months). I pretended to sympathize with them and whined to them about sacrificing my own perfectly good Harry Potter weekend plans that I had made approximately nine months ago, by being forced to write their lab midterm exam for them (I neglected to mention that the midterm is already written, but they don't know that, hahaha).

So dear readers, you might imagine that there was plenty of championship whining and griping happening in lab today (which there was), but that was nothing compared to what happened after the lecture professor walked into the lab to speak to me about the upcoming exam. He apparently overheard me tell my disgruntled students that they could imagine themselves as wizard's apprentices at Hogwart's School of Magic and imagine that I am the cruel and greasy (yet mysteriously sexy -- at least in the movies) Professor Snape.

Basically, the lecture professor is an older gentleman who is shorter than me (almost everyone is shorter than me, but he is much shorter), round, nearly bald, and is a reservist in the army. Of all the people employed by my little school on the hill, he is the least likely to be accused of understanding or enjoying any of the Harry Potter books. In fact, I would have guessed that he had no clue whatsoever who this Harry Potter character is. In essence, the lecture professor reminds me of Hogwart's Professor Binns.

So imagine our collective surprise when Professor Binns, er, the lecture professor casually mentioned that he owns a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, thanks to a good friend of his in the publishing industry, and that he has already been reading this book to his grandson at bedtime for one week. Immediately, all whining ceased. Silence descended upon the lab like a blanket dropping from the heavens. We were thunderstruck, especially when Professor Binns made it clear that despite our voiced threats of student riots, of student slumber parties held nightly at his house and possible book burglary, he steadfastly refused to tell us who dies in the book, he would not reveal any titbit about the story nor would he even breathe one word about the book to us (except to lean closer to me and admit in a conspiratorial sort of way that "the plot has many surprising twists and turns").

We all stared at him silently, mouths open in wonder at the unfairness of it all. The only sounds to be heard in the lab came from the boiling water necessary to one of our experiments and the rapid, cheery songs from the Northern mockingbird standing in the tree outside the window. After a moment of silence, I delivered my suddenly less-than-inspiring lecture about the many wonders of carbon chemistry.


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© 2004, 2005, 2006 by GrrlScientist

10 Peer Reviews:

Blogger Tabor said...

So, I take he was not one of the 14 fans in the Canadian store that are under some kind of legal injunction on their 'accidental' pre sales of the book. I wonder how may of these books are really out there!

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your post made me laugh - thanks! Especially the part about picturing you as cruel and greasy. I'll try, but I don't think it will be easy. Although ... can you do the voice? I can't read the books now without hearing Snape's lines in Alan Rickman's voice.

Circumstances have kept me offline more than usual lately, so it's good to catch up on your blog. I hope everything's going well for you.


9:41 PM  
Anonymous pablo said...

Somehow, I can't picture you as cruel and greasy. I've always held a sort of Nicole Kidman image of you in my head.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raincoast Books, the Canadian publishers of the Harry Potter books, have obtained a John/Jane Doe injunction against early sale (and disclosure of information) of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The injunction came after copies of the book were sold at The Real Canadian Superstore on July 7, before being promptly removed from shelves. People who purchased a copy of the book from the store are urged to take it back, in return for a special present.

As I understand it, the point of a "John Doe" injunction is that it is applicable to the whole world, including Professor Binns.

Perhaps you should serve him with a copy.

July 9, 2005
Vancouver, B.C.

You are hereby notified that on July 9th, 2005, at approximately 4:30 Pacific daylight time, the Honourable Madam Justice Gill granted a John and Jane Doe restraining order to Raincoast Books, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC and JK Rowling in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The court ordered an injunction;

(i) restraining John/Jane Does and anyone who has directly or indirectly received a copy or any other form of disclosure of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling (“Harry Potter #6”) from John/Jane Does and anyone who is given notice of the order from copying or disclosing all or any part of Harry Potter #6 or any information derived therefrom including without limitation the story, plot or characters of Harry Potter #6 to any person prior to 12:01 a.m. local time on July 16, 2005 without the consent of the Plaintiffs’ solicitors save for information which has been made the subject of any press release issued or other communication made by or on behalf of and with the authority of the Plaintiffs;

(ii) restraining John/Jane Does and anyone who is given notice of the order from displaying, reading, offering for sale, selling, exhibiting in public or without the express consent of the Plaintiffs possessing Harry Potter #6 prior to 12:01 a.m. local time on July 16, 2005;

(iii) subject to paragraph (iv) below, restraining John/Jane Does, and anyone who has directly or indirectly received a copy or any other form of disclosure of Harry Potter #6 from John/Jane Does, and anyone who is given notice of the order, from making any use of, or destroying or concealing, or without the express consent of the Plaintiffs parting with possession, power, custody or control of any copy of Harry Potter #6 or any part of it or any copies thereof or any notes or descriptions of it prior to 12:01 a.m. local time on July 16, 2005;

(iv) compelling John/Jane Does and each of them and anyone who has directly or indirectly received a copy or any other form of disclosure of Harry Potter #6 from John/Jane Does to deliver to the plaintiff Raincoast Book Distribution Ltd. forthwith any and all copies of Harry Potter #6 in their possession as well as any photocopies, photographs or electronic copies of any portion of that book and all notes or descriptions of it and to immediately delete all electronic copies of any part of that book in their possession or under their control.

A certified copy of the formal order is available upon request from info@raincoast.com.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the previous anonymous:
how very "Fudge" of you.

10:51 AM  
Blogger GrrlScientist said...

I try to avoid being greasy but cruel .. well, you'd have to ask my students about that. I do aspire to be cruel because otherwise, I am classified as spineless ("nice"). Oh, and Nicole Kidman does bear a certain resemblance to moi, this is true.

I am still laughing at the restraining order against the world .. I told one of my students about this and he got a real laugh out of it, too.


4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought you might enjoy this. Given that a large number of bets have been on Dumbledore being the character who dies in the new book (yes, I've finished reading it and I know who dies, but I'm not one to spoil it for others), The Guardian ran a contest to write a death scene for Dumbledore in the style of other famous authors.

Very, very clever and funny. You can read them here.


9:38 AM  
Blogger Chris Clarke said...

Hedwig's exactly like Nicole Kidman, except way cuter.

11:21 PM  
Blogger GrrlScientist said...

Thanks for the compliment, Chris. You have a wonderful imagination!


5:09 PM  
Blogger Ms.PhD said...

that's pretty funny. i don't have any patience for whiny students. but i don't have any patience for exams- giving or receiving- since i don't think they help anyone very much. not sure how that's going to work should i ever actually get a faculty position. needless to say i didn't mention it in my Teaching Statment, ha ha.

i'm about 200 pages in, and franklly i'd rather be at home reading than here working on my grant. =p

4:35 PM  

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