Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Model by Alice Finch
Photographs by Alice Finch and Carlyle Livingston
Text by Katie Walker

Alice Finch and her massive LEGO Hogwarts Castle were previously featured in HispaBrick Issue No. 15 in the article about BrickCon 2012.  Since then, Alice has published beautifully detailed photographs of her model, some of which have been used by the Hogwarts Admissions Office for the following recruitment brochure:

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry:  The Best in Magical Education!

Congratulations on the birth of your new witch or wizard!  Your child's name has been marked down in the Hogwarts birth register by our Magical Quill, indicating acceptance into the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry once your little one reaches eleven years of age. 

We here at Hogwarts would like to take this opportunity to assure you that, despite the recent Wizarding War, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry still provides the finest magical education available anywhere.  This brochure will introduce you to some of Hogwarts' most popular classes, as well as showcase some of the luxurious accommodations that Hogwarts Castle has to offer.  It is our hope that, after perusing these materials, you will decide to enroll your child in the Hogwarts School.  For your convenience, enrollment starts at birth.   

The Castle

Hogwarts Castle is situated in the mountains of Scotland, nestled next to a dense forest on the shores of the Black Lake.  The castle itself was built circa 993 A.D.  It is seven stories high, and contains many towers and dungeons.  Two of the highest towers are the Ravenclaw and Astronomy Towers.

Ravenclaw and Astronomy towers
The Ravenclaw and Astronomy Towers

The castle grounds are also extensive, containing many greenhouses and gardens, outbuildings, forests and fields, and a boathouse.

A few of Hogwarts' many greenhouses
Boat House on the shores of the Black Lake
Whomping Willow, Aragog, Buckbeak in the pumpkins
Wooden Bridge and the Groundskeeper's Hut

Hogwarts is surrounded by a dense forest filled with many different kinds of magical creatures.  This provides many opportunities for hands-on magical practice.  However, it is not recommended that students enter the forest without proper adult supervision, especially if they have any fear of giant spiders.

Back gate and Dark Forest
The Dark Forest is off-limits to students

Course Offerings

Your witch or wizard will receive the finest magical training that Europe has to offer.  By the seventh year, he or she will be fully prepared to excel on the N.E.W.T.s ("Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests") and pursue a dream career after graduation.  Hogwarts offers the whole gamut of magical courses, from the practical to the obscure.  Here is a sampling of some of our most popular classes:

Potions.  In this class, students will learn the fine art of combining ingredients in order to produce potions capable of great effects.  As former Headmaster Severus Snape once said, for those with great skill, it will be possible to brew potions to "bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses... to bottle fame, brew glory, and even put a stopper in death".

Potions Classroom
Students carefully measure ingredients in the Potions Classroom

Charms.  A charm is a spell that adds certain properties to an object or creature.  In our Charms class, students will learn spells that will allow them to do such things as levitate objects, unlock doors, or improve one's mood.  Charms are some of the most powerful spells in existence, and our classes will teach your young witch or wizard to manipulate them with ease.

Charms classroom
Students learn to levitate feathers in Charms

Divination.  Everyone wants to know what the future will hold, but only those schooled in the Art of Divination will be able to uncover its secrets.  Through methods such as tea-leaf reading and peering into crystal balls, students will learn to interpret symbols in order to gain insights into the future.

Divination Classroom
Students work with crystal balls in the Divination Classroom

Transfiguration.  Through precise wand movements, proper incantations, and great concentration, objects can be changed in both form and appearance.  Although this is a complex and dangerous branch of magic, our excellent professors will ensure that your little witch or wizard masters the skill with a minimum of unfortunate accidents.

Transfiguration classroom
Students in Transfiguration practice changing rats into water goblets

Defense Against the Dark Arts.  And finally, we come to what is probably the most important of all of our classes, especially in light of recent events:  Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA).  In DADA, students will learn spells to defend themselves against all manner of creatures, from boggarts and cornish pixies to dementors and DADA teachers. 

Snape Boggart
Students practice the Riddikulus charm against a boggart in DADA

Room and Board

Upon arrival at Hogwarts, your young witch or wizard will be placed into one of the four Hogwarts houses:  Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin.  Your child will live with other students from the same house, sharing dormitories and a common room.  All of the living areas at Hogwarts are clean, comfortable, and almost always safe. 

Gryffindor common room interior
The Gryffindor Common Room

Slytherin Common room
The Slytherin Common Room

Food services at the school are first-rate.  Hogwarts employs a legion of house elves that cook every meal as well as clean throughout the castle, so that your child will be free to study and learn the finer points of magic without the interruption of such mundane affairs.

Great Hall feast
Students enjoy sumptuous feasts in the Great Hall

House elves busy in the kitchens
House elves working in the Hogwarts Kitchens

Other School Facilities

Hogwarts has many other facilities that will help make your child's education a truly memorable one.  The Hogwarts Library is legendary in the wizarding world.  It contains many tens of thousands of books and provides an excellent resource for students looking to excel in their studies, or, perhaps, to discover ways of rescuing the school from impending doom.

Hogwarts Library

Hogwarts also contains an amazing number of hidden passageways and secret chambers.  These provide the perfect opportunity for your young adventurer to explore and challenge him- or herself against the unknown.  Some of Hogwarts' most famous graduates attribute much of their success to the skills they learned during their adventures around the castle.

Do you speak parseltongue?
Entrance to the Chamber of Secrets

Chamber of Winged Keys
The Chamber of Winged Keys

And finally, if during all of those adventures, your little explorer should perhaps lose a limb or get turned into stone, Hogwarts has a state-of-the-magical-arts infirmary, ready to provide immediate and excellent medical attention.  Just don't expect the potions to taste like pumpkin juice.

Hogwarts Infirmary

A Last Word...

We here at the Hogwarts Admissions Office want to thank you for taking the time to look over this information about our most excellent school.  The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry provides the best magical education available anywhere, and we are certain that your little witch or wizard will love it.  We look forward to greeting him or her in the Great Hall eleven years hence, and always remember:  Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus ("Never tickle a sleeping dragon").

About the Builder

Alice Finch has been called both the Queen of Tan and the Crazy Lady Who Buys Too Much Tan.  Either way, she is pretty fond of tan LEGO bricks.  Her LEGO Hogwarts, which has a few hundred thousand of them, has been featured on CNN, WIRED, Gizmodo, and The Brothers Brick, and is also on a STUDS Lego Collector Card.  Since she’s a serious Harry Potter fan, what started as just the Great Hall quickly grew to encompass the entire Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  See the links below for more information about this beautiful model.

Alice's flickr photo gallery

Video interview with Alice on CNN

Written interview with Alice on The Brothers Brick:

Video showing the time-lapse set-up of Hogwarts at Emerald City Comic Con 2013:

Alice Finch and her castle
Alice Finch and her castle

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