To be frank, I am very disappointed with Queen Mary, University of London. I knew I should have gone to a school in the country. My pretenses about English schools have been shattered since our first arrival on campus. Everything I read in preparation of this trip has been false!
Rather than take the Queen Mary Express when we moved in, we took a nonmagical bus. The dormitories don’t have moving staircases and talking portraits guarding the doors, just elevators and regular old locks. After our big welcome meal in the dining hall, we didn’t even get sorted!
I could go on, but I think you get the picture: Harry Potter, and J.K. Rowling by extension, is a liar. For the sake of argument, I’m going to discuss how degrading my (quite probably) muggle classes are.
Divination: My first class is Divination (King Arthur of Britain), taught by Professor Trelawney (Tamara Atkin). So far we haven’t even started looking at tea leaves. We read a whole lot, and the reading is getting more interesting every week, but come on! Shouldn’t I be predicting my own death by now? Crystal balls weren’t even listed on required materials!
Charms: Tuesdays I have Charms (Northern Epic & Myth), which is headed by Professor Flitwick (Peter Orton). This class, more than any, has me ticked off. Without even a wand, we’ve only read a bunch of Norse myths and some Beowulf. Isn’t this class supposed to be hands on? Can’t I at least make a toaster dance like in Ghostbusters 2?
Potions: My first (and earliest) class on Thursday is Potions (Contemporary Hollywood Cinema) with the infamous Professor Snape (Guy Westwell). We haven’t been making magical potions so much as “screening films” and “analyzing how American politics and culture affect Hollywood.” BOR-RING. Give me a copy of Magical Drafts and Potions and I’m sure I’d make something that could develop film faster, transform somebody into somebody else, cure that nasty slug barfing spell….
….or make gummy worms.
History of Magic: My final class of the week is History of Magic (Variation and Change in the English Language), taught by Professor Binns (Peter Orton). Man, this class is as boring as Harry Potter says it is. Professor Binns goes on and on about how magic (or was it accents?) has changed astronomically over the past centuries. What I don’t get, however, is how Merlin has never shown up in any of the lectures: surely he was around during the time of Chaucer!
In conclusion, the classes here are terrible. Without a wand, cauldron, or even a snazzy uniform, my English educational experience is going to be as dull as Hermione’s parents.
In all seriousness, I really do enjoy all my classes. King Arthur is covering some of my favorite material, and I was being honest when I said the stories are getting better as we go further into the class. Northern Epic & Myth had a couple hiccups (such as having to transfer in because I had to drop my very first class here, the first day of class being canceled, and ordering an untranslated copy of Beowulf) right off the bat, but the material rocks. Norse mythology is awesomely grim. Contemporary Hollywood Cinema is easily my favorite class since we watch movies after the lectures, and none of the films so far have been too bad.
Finally, Variation and Change hasn’t exactly been what I was expecting so far. When I signed up, I thought we were going to discuss the evolution of the English written language, not the change in pronunciation. At least the course is teaching me one thing about the English: we aren’t the only ones who love their accents.