Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling

This book begins to explore the “dark magic” element people told me would emerge in the series. I wasn’t sure I’d like it, me being one who is more pulled to historical and literary works than fantasy fiction. (While confessing above that I might have spent history class thinking of Harry Potter, if I’d grown up with these books). I am definitely not put off by the way Rowling presents the magic element so far. Indeed, I feel it could be real, because she so clearly delineates between the “Muggle” and “Wizard” worlds at the start and finish of each book that it’s hard to argue the logic of it all, being myself a clueless Muggle. She steeps the story in emotion and personal investment for Harry. The magic is important because the loss of his parents is a searing wound never healed, and magic is who he is. Discovering it and mastering it is who he is, as much as it was ever who they were. I can believe that he must master it and choose to use it well, as much as I believe that about a Muggle’s intelligence, money or luck. Magic is Harry’s world, but what he does with it is the story. I like that he is so noble and innocent throughout the book, and yet so flawed. He ignores the rules he doesn’t like (even Dumbledore’s) and gets in trouble all the time. For me, this shows that humanness is not a flaw. To bumble through with every good intention as well as every self-focused grievance is better than doing nothing at all. Rule-followers like Hermione are not necessarily better at achieving results, though they might stay safe and achieve good grades. “Have you ever seen anything quite as pathetic?” said Malfoy. “And he’s supposed to be our teacher!” 

Harry and Ron both made furious moves toward Malfoy, but Hermione got there first, smack! She had slapped Malfoy across the face with all the strength she could muster. Malfoy staggered. Harry, Ron, Crabbe, and Goyle stood flabbergasted as Hermione raised her hand again. “Don’t you dare call Hagrid pathetic you foul, you evil”. “Hermione!” said Ron weakly and he tried to grab her hand as she swung it back. “Get off Ron!” Hermione pulled out her wand. Malfoy stepped backward. Crabbe and Goyle looked at him for instructions, thoroughly bewildered. “C’mon,” Malfoy muttered, and in a moment, all three of them had disappeared into the passageway to the dungeons. “Hermione!” Ron said again, sounding both stunned and impressed. What can I say? I truly adore this series and love immersing myself in it. I cannot wait to read the next book. And I love the way this one ends! There’s a Harry Potter table set up where I work (a bookstore), upon which there are Potter books, magic wands, stuffed owls, and bright red and yellow Griffindor scarves. I walk by it often and smile because it feels so real, and because it is awesome that people still go mad over these books. I almost want to buy one of the scarves! But I might go for an owl and put it next to my snow globe of Atlanta, Georgia. Would I ever re-read this book? Definitely. Opening lines: Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways. For one thing, he hated the summer holidays more than any other time of the year. For another, he really wanted to do his homework but was forced to do it in secret, in the dead of night. And he also happened to be a wizard... Favorite Passage: “You are truly your father’s son, Harry...”. Favorite Character: Still Dumbledore: “You think the dead we loved truly ever leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly in times of great trouble?” And also the surpising character whom I choose not to spoil. Those who’ve read it can likely guess!

More than Subsidy

For those who remain hard and solid on the view that the former price must be reverted to because of the hardships that would be felt and until the time is right for the removal seem to be missing the big picture to me. We could go back to the former price and be satisfied with the crumbs from the table falling to us in the form of subsidy, while the corruption in the system, not just the petroleum sector, and the fat pay politicians receive continue. On the other hand, we could take this agreed price and continue to apply pressure to bring accountability and transparency in government, a reduction in size and expenditure and for them to deliver on their promises. Like I mentioned in a previous article of mine, fuel subsidy removal has galvanised the people to begin to speak up louder on issues beyond just fuel subsidy, but on the larger, surrounding issues. Receiving dividends of governance in fuel subsidies is a low-hanging fruit, and while we concentrate on that one, we could end up missing the higher, juicier fruits.

In the scenario where government reverses itself completely and we go back to N65/litre, the strike ends, the protests stop and we all go back to life, happy to have scored a victory, albeit a pyrrhic one. However, the pressure the government has been feeling to reform itself would be gone, and it will be back to business as usual for them. But with this scenario, the anger if properly channelled would go a long way to making government open up and reform, as we can see that already happening with the small starts they have made. Rather than us being non-negotiable on the price of N65/litre, we should shift that to being non-negotiable with good and accountable governance. This is because under the current situation, even N30/litre is too expensive with this level of bad governance. Change, especially the sustainable, positive one, does not instantaneously. We should applaud every small progress, yet without taking our eyes off the desired destination and any attempt to veer off track must be resisted. This change works for me, as far as the big picture vision is concerned. This article was written for NigeriansTalk, an personal opinion on Nigerians issues and problems we are facing daily.

Snow Squalls Sweep over Southern Ontario

After a relatively warm week, some areas of southern Ontario will see severe weather today, with up to 40 centimetres of snow possible in areas near London. Environment Canada issued snow squall warnings for Barrie, Parry Sound, Muskoka, and the Bruce Peninsula. The forecast for those areas calls for snow squalls, with heavy blowing snow, in accumulations of up to 15 centimetres. Environment Canada says drivers should leave extra time for trips, and expect reduced visibility in those areas. CBC meteorologist, Johanna Wagstaffe, said a snow squall watch is also in effect for the London and Woodstock area, and into Sarnia. Snow squalls are created when cold, Arctic air sweeps over unseasonably warm Great Lakes waters. In the afternoon, winds will swing south. "This morning, the Orilla-Barrie area will see zero visibility, and 15 centimetres (6 inches) of snow; 

This afternoon those snow squalls will sink down to London and sit there for the next couple of days," she said. “Parts of London and Stratford County could see 40 centimetres by the end of Tuesday." “We could even see a few flurries in Toronto, as they reach down through Lake Ontario.” “By Tuesday afternoon, 40 centimetres is not out of the question, if you get stuck in one of these snow squall bands.” Toronto will likely escape with only a light dusting of snow, but the forecast is calling for temperatures to fall to -4 C by this afternoon. "It will feel like a shock for Toronto," said Wagstaffe. "We had +7 C on Sunday, it's going to -1 C this morning, dropping to -4 C this afternoon. "We're missing the worst of the Ontario weather." The temperature will continue to drop overnight and into Tuesday, when a high of -11 C is forecast for Toronto.