At the heady heights of our obsession with all things Harry Potter, we collected many objects associated with the young wizard’s tale.
Ha! Ha! No, that’s not me on a bad day in the middle there – that’s Voldemort, of course! And the strange-looking brown thing on his right is our very own “sorting hat”.
When Tottie and Teddy put it on their heads several years back, it sorted them into Gryffindor without hesitation.
I was sorted into Hufflepuff! (Hmmmf. Yes, it’s true I’m at home in a greenhouse and I’m a little rotund like Professor Sprout, but surely the sorting hat missed my heroic qualities and bravery? Well, not in the face of mice, of course, or rats, oh and yes some spiders, snakes, flying in airplanes, thrill rides, swimming in the sea deeper than my knees, sharks … hmmm …)
If you’re not or never have been into the Harry Potter books or movies, well, you’ve probably already moved on to the next blog you follow, but if you are a little kooky about all things Hogwarts – I’ve got one question for you!
Q: Aside from the great Harry Potter, who else was sorted into Gryffindor AND can speak parseltongue (snake language in J.K. Rowling speak)?
On our recent trip to Australia Zoo in Queensland, Tottie showcased her parseltongue skills in style.
Tottie positioned herself beside a very large glass enclosure to get a closer look at the majestic python.
And the reptile noticed the interested onlooker straight away.
Tottie translated for me afterwards and the encounter went something like this.
“Hello,” said the python.
“Do you know, according to Wikipedia, I am one of the five largest snakes in the world.
“My wild relatives average 3.7 metres (12ft) long but can reach up to 5.74 metres (19ft).
“Ah, you like water, too.
“My species are often found near water and are sometimes even semi-aquatic.”
“My, you’re lovely, Tottie – and so very tall”
“Right back at you,” said Tottie. “Your skin is totally awesome.”
“Why, thank-you,” the python replied. “I love your pretty bracelet and I’m so glad to see you are not wearing snakeskin shoes or carrying a snakeskin bag.
“My kind are considered ‘threatened’ because, historically, we have been slaughtered to supply the world leather market.
Tottie: “Oh! That’s terrible!”
“I’m so glad you think so,” said the python.
“You don’t mind if I get a little closer to your fluffy, cuddly blue skin, do you?
“Oooh! So cosy!
“My species use their sharp rearward-pointing teeth to seize their prey of birds or mammals and then wrap their bodies around the prey, at the same time contracting their muscles, killing the prey by constriction.
“We are very strong and must be looked after properly if people wish to keep us as pets.”
“Oh! That’s fascinating information and so true about looking after pets properly,” Tottie said to the python.
“I’m so glad we can speak together in parseltongue, but I’m so sorry I can’t free you like Harry did in Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone in the US).”
“Oh! That’s OK. I quite like it here, really. I have a huge enclosure and interesting faces to look at all the time.
“Do come back and visit again, Tottie, and bring your Harry Potter friend with you next time!”
He, he, he!