We’re in the last few days of 2019 and with that comes the final part of the Magical Readathon: Winter Edition! Since completing the previous chapter last week I’ve changed my book choice; the prompt was to read a book written by an author whose surname begins with either T, M, or R and I was going to read The Last Day by Andrew Hunter Murray but instead decided to pick up A Life’s Music by Andreï Makine. I’m looking forward to getting my last prompt(s) though, so let’s get right to it!
When Chapter 5 opens, you still have no clue who the ‘heir’ is, but the Mandragoras are almost ready to help revive the victims so everyone expects it all to be solved soon and the mood is a little lighter. Gryffindor decide to throw a party in the common room before most students head home for a long weekend, and my first choice is to decide what to do at the party: dance to Weird Sisters, play Gobstones, or sneak in some butterbeer? I decide to dance!
Neville is one of the few students who stays at the castle, so you spend some time catching up with him. He tells you that he’s planning to help Professor Sprout prepare the Mandragoras and you offer to tag along. After a few brutal and tiring hours, you head back to the castle. When you arrive, you hear the strange hissing voices you have been hearing since the attacks started and run towards the sound. Hiding around a corner, you see several professors surveying the scene and discover than Ginny has been taken! With Ron and Hermione away, you have to save her alone.
After confirming that I ‘followed the spiders’ in the previous chapter, I’m reminded that the monster is afraid of roosters (I completely forgot about this little kryptonite of theirs) and so I’m given my first prompt of the chapter: to read a book with either a bird, winged creature, or feathers on the cover. You guys, I only have three books that meet this criteria; one is The Priory of the Orange Tree, and another is Annie Proulx’s 700+ page Barkskins… I’m so not in the right mind-frame for a big read but thankfully, I found a tiny little bird on the cover of The Garden of Lost and Found! Even that is over 500 pages… Now you have to go and find a rooster.
Whilst returning to the castle, sleeping poultry in hand, you rack your brains to try to figure out how to find Ginny. You remember the girl who died last time the Chamber was opened and figure out that it was Myrtle. To the bathroom! You need to ask Myrtle about her death, but as I didn’t go to Nearly Headless Nick’s Death Day party and therefore haven’t had a chance to schmooze with her before, I need to butter her up before asking. Hermione once said that the best way to get Myrtle on your side is to tell her an embarrassing story, so my next prompt is to tweet about a time I really laughed at myself. I’m not going to do the tweet because I laugh at myself every day, but it’s an example of how G’s really done a great job of making this readathon more interactive!
When you finally manage to talk Myrtle around to telling you the entrance is in the sink, you need to find a way in. Back in Chapter 3, I didn’t discover my secret Parseltongue skills, but I am suddenly reminded of the time I accidentally let a snake escape from a zoo… This leads me on to a third prompt: read the first book I think about! As I was just scrutinising the cover of this book to see if it had tiny, tiny birds on it, the first one that pops into my head is Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth.
You manage to mumble out some Parseltongue and find your way in to the tunnels. Now, to go left or right? I choose right, and promptly get attacked by Cornish pixies. Luckily, Lockhart taught you one thing this year: immobulus! After escaping the pixies, you head further into the tunnels until you come upon the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets. Employing your newly discovered talent for Parseltongue, it opens and reveals Ginny. Obviously, Tom Riddle shows up, does his little ‘I AM LORD VOLDEMORT’ reveal and sets a basilisk on you. Typical. No need to worry though, you brought a rooster, which gives me a fourth prompt: read a book beginning with the letter R. I only have one on my TBR and that’s Red Snow by Will Dean.
Now you have to figure out how to get this ridiculous rooster to crow, at night, in a dark tunnel. You hit it with the tickling charm and it squawks, taking down the basilisk, whose fang conveniently pierces Tom Riddle’s diary on the way down and takes out pesky Voldemort too.
After a few days in the hospital wing and several visits from Hermione, Ron and the rest of the Weasleys, Dumbledore bestows 100 house points on you, Dobby is freed from the Malfoys’ tyranny, and you’re better in time for the last feast of the year.
And that’s it for the Magical Readathon: Winter Edition! I’ve got three more prompts to work through, though I might delay a couple of them as I have a few ARCs to read and need to get them ticked off before the next Magical Readathon comes around! This was a really interesting and fun way of doing the readathon, but I think I prefer the OWLs and NEWTs set-up and I’m looking forward to getting back to that and working towards a new wizarding career!
Did you taking part in the Magical Readathon: Winter edition?