The Hufflepuff Common Room

One could safely say that Harry, with his handy Marauder’s Map, adventurous spirit, and knack for getting into trouble, explores much more of Hogwarts than the typical student does. In fact, he manages to enter both the Slytherin common room (with the help of Polyjuice Potion and a few of Gregory Goyle’s hairs) and the Ravenclaw common room–as well as his own cozy Gryffindor common room–within the span of the series.

However, although he develops friendships with a few Hufflepuff students, Harry never enters the Hufflepuff common room. And as a result, the readers never see it, either.

Thankfully, the world of Harry Potter is so richly imagined and developed that it extends beyond the books. Unsurprisingly, a vividly descriptive article on the Hufflepuff common room can be found on the Wizarding World website, written by J.K. Rowling herself (If you’re a Harry Potter lover, I encourage you to check it out–it’s very interesting to learn about the mysterious common room and to read J.K. Rowling’s thoughts on it).

Though the method used to enter the Hufflepuff common room is rather simple (tapping a barrel to the rhythm of the founder of Hufflepuff’s name (Rowling)), and although the room lies low in comparison to the towers that house the Ravenclaw and Gryffindor common rooms, I think I would choose to live in the Hufflepuff common room above the others if I had the choice.

The Hufflepuff common room seems so cozy and bright, with “patchwork quilts,” “[a] colorful profusion of plants and flowers,” and “[s]mall, round windows [that] show a pleasant view of rippling grass and dandelions, and, occasionally, passing feet” (Rowling). Despite being so low in the ground, the Hufflepuff common room still seems cheerful and warm. I love how the majority of the decorations are plants; they add so much vibrancy and homeliness to the room, and I think the constant presence of nature would create a joyful and peaceful mood. In addition, the circular structure of the room reminds me of a cozy little hobbit hole.

The common room “feels perennially sunny”–the perfect atmosphere for keeping your spirits up while studying for exams, relaxing with your classmates, or recovering from a particularly cold and difficult Potions class (Rowling). Imagine leaving the stuffy Divination classroom or a particularly wearisome History of Magic lesson and entering a warm, inviting room lit with golden sunlight and lively plants. The environment itself, I think, could be an instant mood-lifter.

Lastly, the Hufflepuff common room lies right near the kitchens, in case you want to pay the house elves a visit.

Where else would you want to spend your seven years at Hogwarts?

– Mia T.


Works Cited

Rowling, J.K. “Hufflepuff Common Room.” Wizarding World, Wizarding World Digital, 2 Mar. 2020, http://www.wizardingworld.com/writing-by-jk-rowling/hufflepuff-common-room. 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a must-read. An absolute must read, no doubts about it. 

Told in the first-person perspective of Jane herself, it’s a story about her life, written almost in an auto-biography style, though the book is indeed fictional. Beginning during Jane’s loveless childhood where she lives with her cruel, unfeeling Aunt and cousins as an orphaned little girl and then later transitioning to her life in a strict girl’s boarding school, Jane then goes on to become a teacher for a couple of years before applying herself to become a governess. She then finds herself a good job as the governess of a young French girl in a manor named Thornfield Hall, home of the brooding, seldom-seen owner, Mr. Rochester. 

Though there can be no doubt that the book does revolve around the romance that takes place in Jane’s life, the book is about Jane and her as a person more than it is anyone else. Her beautiful reflections and mature understandings of life are insightful and filled with deep wisdom and truth, often taking center stage in the book. I found myself admiring Jane many times as I read through the book simply due to how steadfast she is in staying true to herself and her beliefs. Jane exhibits this often throughout the book, refusing to step down in the face of opposition, to cave under pressure, even when it pains her greatly to do so, and instead, constantly striving to adhere to her values.

Due to this trait, Jane as a character can be described as altogether independent, brave, and steadfast, but also someone who has a heavy feeling and emotive heart, a desire for purpose, and a quiet, contemplative exterior. 

Jane is the perfect embodiment of a strong female character, but even in being so, she is not un-feminine or unfeeling, but quite the opposite, with a garnered heart that loves and is inclined to serve and care. 

With everything that makes up Jane and who she is, this masterpiece of a character feels too real to be fictional. This is much accredited to  Charlotte Bronte’s beautifully descriptive, explanatory way of writing which is what breathes life into the story. The beautiful language, the common appearance of beautiful places in nature, the slow-moving get captivating plot along with the different characters that you meet along the way altogether creates the perfect read. 

But the true heart and soul of the story lies within Jane. The book is titled Jane Eyre, for what I believe is the sole purpose being that Jane is the story. And I promise you, Jane is worth every single page of reading this book.

-Aisha

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

This is an amazing story. I highly recommend you read it. 

When Suzanne Swanson learns about how her former best friend, Franny Jackson, drowned during the summer, she is immediately convinced that there was something else that caused her death. Her mother’s explanation, “Sometimes things just happen”, Suzy believes, is not the truth. 

Suzy stops talking to everyone. She begins to think that silence is better than talking. It sometimes means more than someone’s words. 

Her search for an answer leads to many interesting facts and a possible suspect: jellyfish. Especially when she finds out so much about them during a school field trip visit to the aquarium. I also loved how this book features lots of amazing facts about jellyfish.

During Suzy’s research, she finds lots of different experts on jellyfish and decides that she should visit one of those experts and ask them to help her prove how her former best friend really died. More fueled than ever, Suzy is determined to help bring the truth into the light.

The book follows Suzy as she tries to find out the whole story and grieves this loss. She is devastated that, as she calls it, ‘The Worst Thing’ took place before she was able to make up with Franny for the terrible scene that unfolded thanks to Suzy.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and I hope we can watch the movie soon. 

The Thing About Jellyfish has an amazing story and succeeds in making the reader want to keep reading more and more of the book. Filled with valuable life lessons and a wide range of character personalities, this best-seller is a novel you should read.

-Peri A.

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Rocket League Game Review

Competitive games with cars playing sports, boosting up and down the courts and fields, kicking soccer balls into goals and shooting basketballs into hoops… Rocket League is a video game that transforms the impossible into the possible. With this video game, you get an exciting experience, playing against the CPU or against other online players. You have an opportunity to compete for a league championship against the Computer- Generated teams. This game is a game that shows that anything can be possible in video games! Rocket League is a game you will not want to pass up!

In Rocket League, you can customize your dream car and unlock different accessories to decorate it. Also, you don’t just have to change the car every time you want a new look, but you can make many different cars and use each one whenever you want to. Then, you can compete in a showdown against the CPU players or you can take it to the next level, and play online with other Rocket League competitors. Rocket League is a competitive game, but it is also very fun. You can score goals and baskets in the SOCCAR and Basketball game modes. You can also take it to the ice and play hockey with your cars.

This game is fantastic because you can play it online or offline. There  are many different online modes, as well as there are many different offlines modes. The online modes  include playing an online match with random people playing at the same time, or you can play with your friends in a club. If you prefer to play video games offline, you can play multiplayer with your siblings or friends simply by connecting another controller. In addition, you can play against or with bots. It is possible to compete in seasons against bot teams for the championship trophy. 

Another great thing about this video game is that whether you are a girl, boy, kid, adult, or senior, you can always trust Rocket League to make you smile and have fun! This game is for anyone with even a slight interest in sports or cars! 

Rocket League is a fantastic video game with great graphics and can teach you the game of soccer, basketball and hockey as you play. 

I would give this game a 9/10 rating because I believe that they could add daily goals and levels to the game to make it more exciting to play and beat the levels. But, overall, Rocket League is an amazing game and I would definitely recommend you to try it!

-Mert A.

Film Review: The Shining

The Shining is a horror movie about a man named Jack Torrance and his wife and son. Jack and his family stay at an isolated, massive hotel called the Overlook Hotel. Jack plans to spend his time at the hotel writing, attempting to cure his writer’s block. The Shining is based on a book written by Stephen King. The story slowly evolves as Stephen King’s character becomes an abusive and manipulative man towards his family. The audience realizes that Jack is mentally ill and his family is not safe with him staying at the hotel. Originally, it is perceived by the audience that Jack had been at the hotel before and he was not mentally ill. Jack’s son played an extremely important role in this movie because he was connected to the hotel through a concept called “shining.” He becomes apart of an alternate universe and communicates with a voice inside of his head. Originally, it was inferred that the son was the one that was mentally ill; however, the voice inside of his head was really trying to protect him and his mom from his father. The hotel was portrayed as a haunted building with no way out. Small clues such as the massive pantry and freezers with locks foreshadowed the scene when the mother locks Jack inside the pantry.

Throughout the movie, Jack plays mind games with his clearly oblivious wife and manipulates her into leaving him alone while he writes. One scene was particularly disturbing in which the wife finds Jack’s book that he had been writing while they were at the hotel. It is revealed that Jack was not actually writing a book and the papers were filled with the same sentence over and over again, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” The movie the Shining transformed from a story about a family staying at a hotel by themselves to an alarming and captivating film about Jack Torrance’s disturbing mind and past at the hotel. His wife and son no longer felt safe at the hotel anymore and ran from him and hid from him until they got away. This movie displayed the disturbing effect of mental illness and how you never know who a person really is. The way Jack chased his family around the hotel and kept drifting in and out of the alternate universe kept the audience attentive.

-Sasha B.

The Shining is available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library.

The Cellar by Natasha Preston

The Cellar by Natasha Preston is a novel about a teenage girl who is abducted by a man with psychological issues. The girl’s name is Summer; she has a great life with a loving boyfriend. One night, she was out walking alone when she was captured by the man who called himself Clover. Clover had an obsession with flowers and women. He spent much of his life after his mother died trying to “collect” his pure flowers. He would abduct young girls and force them to live in a cellar and call them his flowers. The girls who lived in the cellar had been there for years or months. They were giving up on escaping. Summer who became Lily was confident her boyfriend would come to find her. However as days turned into months, she felt her identity as Summer slip away and had lost all hope.

This novel is a fantastic read; it keeps you on your toes the entire time. I find that the backstory for Clover is fascinating and shows how he ended up becoming a monster. His underlying insecurities from his mother’s treatment of him as a child prove how people often learn their behavior from others. This novel also brings to light the importance of friendship, family, and courage. It shows how women can come together in the roughest of times and support each other. Despite the dark story behind Clover, it still highlights the goodness we have in this world.

Overall, I recommend this novel to people who enjoy stories related to mystery, psychology, and friendship.

-Ellie B.

The Cellar by Natasha Preston is available as a free download from Overdrive.

Authors We Love: Nathaniel Hawthorne

10 Things You May Not Know About Nathaniel Hawthorne - HISTORY

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) is the founder of American psychoanalytic fiction and the first writer of short stories in the history of American literature. He has been called the greatest American romantic novelist in the 19th century. Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts in the United States. His family believed in the Christian puritanism, and Hawthorne was influenced by puritanism. After graduating from Bowdoin college in 1825, Hawthorne returned to Salem, where he wrote and published dozens of stories and short stories. In 1839, Hawthorne worked in Boston customs for more than two years, and then entered the “brook farm”, where he was exposed to transcendentalism and got acquainted with Emerson and Thoreau, the representatives of transcendentalism.

Later, Hawthorne went to Salem’s customs office, where his work experience there has a direct impact on his writing “The Scarlet Letter”, which consolidated his solid position in the American literary world. Hawthorne was evaluated as a spectator of life, and his attitude to life determined his interest and insight into people’s inner and psychological activities. He was deeply influenced by the thought of original sin, and the original sin was passed down from generation to generation. His representative works include the novel “The Scarlet Letter”, “The House of the Seven Gables”, “The Blithedale Romance”, “Twice Told Tales”, and “Mosses from an Old House”. Among them, “The Scarlet Letter” has become the world literature classic where Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville and other literary masters are deeply influenced by it.

The works of Nathaniel Hawthorne are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Stay Safe!

We are in a modern day in age where the global pandemic, Covid-19, is a playing factor in almost every decision made. The only way to get rid of this devastating virus is to know what it is and how to prevent it. Some countries were able to lower the amount of cases present without a vaccine by simply following a few guidelines. 

To start off, EVERYONE PLEASE WEAR THEIR MASK!!!!!! I know it is repeated constantly but it really is a significant matter.Covid-19 is a virus that spreads when someone talks, coughs, or sneezes. Many scientific experiments done by countless organizations and top medical professionals such as Dr. Anthony Fauci explain that masks can catch the droplets that one may breathe out. Less transmission occurs when there is a physical barrier between your mouth and the open air. Many people may be asymptomatic, but that does not mean it doesn’t matter. One can still spread the virus to a parent or a close friend who may not be so lucky.  It is unknown actually how many cases there are in the U.S. But it can be assumed that the number is much larger than what is known. You are not just wearing a mask for yourself, you are doing it to protect everyone around you. There was one scenario where a man who tested positive for covid went on a plane but wore a mask the entire time. The 25 people around him were tested negative since they were all wearing their masks properly and stopped the spread through the air.

I know it can be difficult to wear a mask in public, but when looking at the context, I would wear 100 masks on my face if it meant no one around me would catch covid or even die from it. I especially urge everyone to wear their masks properly. All over the internet and in real experiences I see many people have their masks on them but choose to wear it inappropriately. I personally dislike this the most, nose maksers. Wearing their mask under their nose. Simply pulling up your mask all the way in public may just save an old man with heart issues, or a child with a weak immune system due to preexisting conditions. You never know who is around you. Simply wearing a mask properly, not just holding in your hand may just save a life.

The last topic I would like to elaborate on in gatherings. I understand over this long quarantine it can be very hard to be alone. But when I see on the news that a giant rager was thrown and one of the attendees’ parents or grandparents died because they wanted to party, it breaks my heart. Hanging out with one or two people while wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart is totally okay. I personally have hung with my cousin by sitting in two different cars while we ate and talked. Finding fun like activities where you are distanced and outside can be just as fun. Remembering especially kids, though you may not personally get hurt, have empathy for those around you. Including parents, grandparents, uncles, and even siblings.

-Lilly G.

Game Review: Genshin Impact

Of the many free games released this year, Genshin Impact is easily among the top of them. The game combines amazing gameplay mechanics from great games such as Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and with modern art and storytelling. The art and animations are a major boon for this game, as the environment and characters created all look amazing and gameplay is smooth. The plethora of different areas and characters to fight with or against offers various ways to play the game for different people so there is certainly a character that suits everyone’s playstyle.

Every character in the game is unique and appeals to a large audience. There are many
different characters with different abilities and weapons for players to pick up. Combat with each character is fresh and you can use up to 4 characters on a team and combine their skills. The characters are also well designed in conjunction with the world and storytelling, making the aesthetic of the game top tier compared to many free games. Summoning in this game is also very exciting and is very accessible without spending money.

In terms of issues with the game, some people may not like the longer games that require constant investment over a period of time. For newer players to these types of games
progression may feel too slow. The price of summoning for new characters and premium
content is also a bane for many players.

Overall, the game is still great for all players, even those that don’t spend. I would rate it a 9/10 as sometimes the game feels like it isn’t complete. However, updates for the story are rolling out and the game is still constantly being developed so I look forward to what comes and would highly recommend it.

-Benjamin L.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brenden Kieley

With all that has been going on in the world as of late, I thought it would be a perfect time to recommend one of my favorite books.

Similar to The Hate U Give, All American Boys is a captivating story about racial injustice and while it was released quite a while ago, it has always maintained its relevance especially in today’s current social climate

Written by two authors and two different perspectives, All American Boys is about two teenagers, Rashard and Quinn, and how they will stand up for the racism that Rashard faces once he gets falsely accused of stealing in a grocery store and the many injustices he faces afterward. 

From the beginning, this book had something that as different from other fictional books I’ve read about racial injustice and one of which is dual perspectives. I absolutely adored the different points of view and the fact they were each written by different authors made them all the more enjoyable. With the dual perspectives, it gave the book a deeper meaning and showed how one part of the community could stay silent about the issues of injustice (Quinn’s) and how another community rallied for it. 

One of the main themes of this book is loyalty. From the catalyst event moving onwards Quinn deals with the fact that maybe his loyalty lies in the wrong people. For example, his best friends brother was the police officer that cruelly manhandled Rashard and escalated the situation that shouldn’t have even been an issue in the first place. Throughout the book Quinn is trying to hold onto the trust and security not only with his best friend but his brother, who he also has a close bond with. 

This story is so captivating and powerful that I finished it in one sitting. From start to finish I was hooked, and I can almost guarantee that you would as well. 

Though Rashard’s story though fictional is very much a reality for what a lot of people of color face. But in most cases, the victim doesn’t get justice. This book shows the privilege some people live in for their lives to continue as though nothing has happened. It also serves as a reminder that when something isn’t right to speak up about it. Advocate and speak out about stories of people like Rashard who can’t do it for themselves because “Rashard couldn’t come to school today.” 

In terms of reality, Rashard’s story would only be the tip of the iceberg. Racial inequality is still very much alive and is being brought up not only in fiction but in daily life. So stay aware and advocate!

-Asli B.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brenden Kieley is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.