Can you remember what it was like the first time you discovered the magic of Harry Potter? In honor of the Lily and Stag Inn reading groups' return to our first love, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, we'd like to invite you to "rediscover the magic" with us!
Your mission, should you choose to accept it: write a "vignette" describing the sights, sounds, smells and feelings Harry encounters as he enters Diagon Alley for the first time.
What's a vignette? A vignette is like a literary "snapshot" -- it's a quick glimpse of a scene that doesn't necessarily tell the full story. Vignettes tend to be rich in descriptive details.
• Your vignette should be no fewer than 300 and no longer than 650 words long and does not have to be strictly canon (e.g. can include smells, stores, items, etc that are not specifically mentioned in the book).
• All entries MUST be of an exemplary quality; they must be creative, organized, focused, coherent and not contain net speak. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation will be taken into consideration when judging.
• There is a strict PG-13 limit for all entries.
• All decisions by the judges are final.
• Anyone over the age of 13 can enter the contest, including staff members who are not involved in the judging process.
• Please e-mail your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11:59 pm ET on May 21, 2008 and place in the e-mail header "Rediscover the magic." Please copy-paste the vignettes into the body of the e-mail and include a name to be used for authorship (real name or Leaky Lounge).
• Please refer to the Contest's FAQ if you are not sure of something.
• If you have any questions not answered on the FAQ, or would like to discuss this Contest, please come to the Contest Corner forum of The Leaky Lounge.
Winning Author: Gwynog's Rabbit
I was sleeping when the Boy Who Lived came through the archway. All I remember from that moment is a blaze of sunlight and the doorbell tinkling. The owl lady was being dragged out to the street by a lady with a pipe in her mouth, who was pointing towards the brick wall, closing behind my friend Hagrid. I was immediately alert and gazed at the boy walking up the cobblestones next to Hagrid. My heart started racing as it recognized, as only an owl's heart can, the person who was meant for me. I started hooting to him, but he was too distracted by everything else around him, and barely glanced my way. He seemed much more interested in such mundane things as the cauldrons sparkling at him from next door, the lunchtime aromas drifting out of the bakery, and even the barrel of beetle eyes roasting in the sun, than he was in his own destined owl. I knew I'd lost any hope of capturing his attention when he noticed the new broomstick in the window just across from me. The boy suddenly veered away from my direction, tripping over a loose cobblestone and pulling Hagrid's hand in the direction of the other boys who had been at that window all morning. Hagrid, though, had heard my hooting, and nodded to let me know he understood. This was the most wonderful moment of my life, so much so that I hooted and flapped with joy and received reproving looks from the other owls. So what? I was about to leave them.
I waited patiently for the rest of the afternoon, while wizards and witches walked by in the sunshine, eating dripping ice creams, picking up their children from where they'd left them at the broomstick window, and heading back to the Leaky Cauldron; one boy with white hair whined to his father in front of the broomstick shop until he was dragged off by his ear. In short, none of the humans did anything I cared about. My eyes were anchored on the far end of the street, where I knew Hagrid would reappear with the Boy Who Lived.
The Boy Who Lived!I couldn't remember if I had ever heard his name before! All I had ever heard in the conversations around me from the day I had hatched was "the Boy Who Lived" - never a name. My heart started to race again, but this time I managed to hide it from the other owls. For the rest of the afternoon I watched, and tried to remember.
The sun was getting low, reflecting off the white marble building at the end of the street and blinding my night-eyes to any details of the faces that I hoped was my new boy. Then a huge form came into my sight, haloed by the red glare, and I hooted in spite of myself. Hagrid pushed through the crowds with his bulky packages and led the Boy Who Lived into the owl shop, with a wink at me as he passed. A few moments later, the owl lady came out and coaxed me into a cage. Hagrid put an arm around the Boy Who Lived and said, "Happy Birthday, Harry!" Harry! My Harry.
My heart stopped racing, and I tucked my beak back under my wing, knowing I was with the wizard I would be with for the rest of my life.