Welcome to our particularly spooky In the Spotlight where we wrap up our spooky season with a bit of Prefect Blog features and extras from this month. We will, of course, be interviewing the October Order of Merlin, Story of the Month, and Head Student recipients, as is our typical style. However, we are also bringing in those monthly Common Room features (like individual story and member of the month winners), as well as revealing who won the raffle in last month's Monthly Dilemma! Plus, we have a BRAND NEW Monthly Dilemma for you all to enjoy. With the newest (and spookiest) House Cup event on the prowl, we hope you all enjoy yourselves and have a wonderfully haunted time! Also, in case you've missed it previously, the Fall Prefect Challenge is now open and accepting submissions!
G I N A ' S I N T E R V I E W
1. How long have you been a part of the Harry Potter fanfiction community? Since September 2007.
2. What is your favourite part about working behind-the-scenes? Being in the queue. I've been a validator for a while now (though I'm still a baby Auror on HPFT) and there's something familiar and calming about the routine of validating. I like to dive in and get work done. It's also cool getting a glimpse at all the wonderful stories on the archives!
3. Favourite type of fanfiction to read/write? Harry Potter, hands down. But I've been branching out lately. I quite enjoyed writing the Scythe fanfiction and I think I'll be adding more to the archives.
4. What is your OTP? I am a huge Dramione shipper, but I'm not sure they're my OTP (mostly because I don't believe they could ever be canon). I honestly think my OTP is Wolfstar (and I am convinced that they ARE canon). I've been reading a ton in the past year or so and there's something that keeps drawing me in. Maybe it's the inevitable tragedy that tears them apart. Maybe it's the sense of forbidden because they're both marauders and they don't want to "ruin the dynamic" of the group. Maybe it's Sirius's goofiness tempered by Remus's calm logic. Or the high stakes of Sirius helping Remus with his "furry little problem." I don't know. I just love them.
5. What is your favourite non-HP fandom? Probably Hunger Games.
6. If you had to pick one character from any fandom to have to swap places with for exactly one week, who would it be and why? Betty Cooper from Riverdale, mostly because I have a HUGE MASSIVE CRUSH on Cole Sprouse as Jughead. I don't know if that counts, because Cole Sprouse is a real life human being, but my crush is specifically on him AS Jughead (the awkward nerdiness meets not-quite-a-gang-member angst... YES PLEASE). So I think it counts.
7. What is one thing (anything) you wish you knew more about? Other religions. I studied religion as a minor in college but it was more of an overview than a deep study. I'd love to immerse myself in other cultures to learn about their spiritual practices because it helps me understand other people and, in a weird way, better understand myself (and my place in the universe).
This month, two very well-deserving members were recognized as Head Students -- Madi @MadiMalfoy and Laura @Aphoride . They were kind enough to provide us with some interview questions so that we can learn more about just how amazing they are.
M A D I ' S I N T E R V I E W
1. Why did you pick the House you are in? I picked Ravenclaw way back when because I really enjoyed reading and learning new things. I couldn't identify with the bravery/courage aspect of Gryffindor as I've always been kind of a shy person. (I'm still working on that, if you can believe it!) I've always kind of craved knowledge about interesting topics so that's also a very good reason as to why I'm in Ravenclaw and not Hufflepuff. (though it's likely my secondary House no matter how hard I want it to be Slytherin)
2. If there's one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why? Ooh shameless self-promo here A couple summers back, @Pixileanin requested a story from me focusing on Sybill Trelawney's young adult life. So I've done just that, with her owning a shop and navigating the adult world and also possibly a light workplace romance. It's called Faith, Trust, and Crystal Balls
3. If you could have dinner with any one character from any fandom, who would it be and what would be a question you would ask them? Ooh this is tough. Honestly I'd probably sit down with either Raven Reyes from The 100 and ask her how she remains so tough and resilient and always has a solution to a problem.
4. Who is someone that greatly inspires you and why/how? my mom. She's literally Wonder Woman because she raised all three of us at the same time and went right back to teaching and getting her Master's degree after we were born. She also has taught my siblings and I what it means to be good people and not judge others based on first appearances. I also think I got a bit of the teaching bug from her (and my dad too, of course) but generally she's just taught me a lot and now that I'm halfway across the country from my whole family, I think I've realized her wisdom much more. Okay I'm going to be super cheesy here and say
5. What would a batch of Amortentia smell like to you? Well my bf of six years uses cologne from Versace so definitely that mixed with the smell of the woods after a heavy rain and campfire is what Amortentia would smell like to me.
6. If you were an animal, which animal would it be and why? I'm going to pull from my good ol' middle school/high school brain files and say probably a lynx. They're such gorgeous "big" cats with the little tufts of fur on the ears and they remind me that even though I'm not that large, I can still stand tall and be confident in myself and my actions.
L A U R A ' S I N T E R V I E W
1. Why did you pick the House you are in? So this is where I confess that originally - on the RP site I was on, in all the quizzes I took - I was a Slytherin, and I wanted to be a Slytherin. But when I came to join here, I took a single house quiz after a long time of just, yk, being a Slytherin, and got Ravenclaw. It kinda made me wonder if I was or not, so I just picked it anyway because I figured, hey, I could always switch later. I think mostly, though, I've grown into Ravenclaw: I definitely value things like creativity, intelligence, open-mindedness, and learning a lot more than I used to - or, at least, used to think I did.
2. If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why? You do know this is a super embarrassing question, right? Self-promotion always feels so awkward... I guess, though, if I had to pick one, it would be La Salvezza. It's obscure and it's actually not that long (for me), and I wrote it ages ago in three quick sittings as a gift for Kristin (StellaBlue), but I still love it. I loved writing it so much and I'm so happy with how it turned out - and always a little bit sad it didn't get much love. It's kinda dark-ish and lonely and angry at times, because it's Gellert in Nurmengard, dealing with everything that means for him, for his ideals, for Albus.
3. Is there any one character (from any fandom) that inspires you (either on a personal level or while writing)? If so, how/why? I don't think there's any one character, tbh. I tend to bounce from characters and pairings and fandoms to other ones fairly quickly, playing around with ideas and scenarios, scenes in my head, to try to find inspiration somewhere. I read in a bunch of fandoms, though, so while I'm mostly in HP, I think a lot more about other fandoms than I end up writing, so it varies a lot.
4. What are your top five  things to do on a rainy day? Ooooh. Drink tea, sit in the conservatory at my parents' house and listen to the rain drumming off the roof, have a walk, read something fun, end up playing Monopoly with the family because we can't play Risk because my mum hates it and we can't play Trivial Pursuit because dad always wins and we can't play HP trivia because I always win. (Me and my sister then have the usual fight about who's the dog in Monopoly. Usually I let her win.)
5. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? India. I'm super fascinated by India - it's such a beautiful country and my friends who've been or have family there all love it. There's so much culture there and so much history, and I always regret I don't know more about it. And that I'm too terrified of snakes to actually go, at least not without someone to protect me from the snakes...
6. If you could only write with one character (as the main character) for all of 2019, who would it be and why? Mmmm I suppose since my NaNo novel is (probably) going to be a Minerva McGonagall-starring novella it'd have to be her. At least then maybe I'd finish it?
Thank you both so much for participating!
We are thrilled to present some extras from this month's sitewide Story of the Month winner, Project Azkaban [M] by the lovely Gina @Unwritten Curse! Gina is a fantastic writer and a lovely person (you know, in the event that you didn't know -- which means you've never actually spoken to Gina, which is highly recommended)!
R E V I E W C O L U M N
Project Azkaban is a masterpiece, from the very first line. Gina starts the story by throwing you straight into the action as Teddy, who’s in Azkaban, is suddenly confronted with the concept of escaping. Her exploration of his thought process and foggy mental state throughout the chapter is so well executed, and really gets at how he’s been affected by his time in the magical prison.
Then, after all of that, a moment of clarity - the chapter concludes with a project proposal, explaining that this Azkaban that Teddy is experiencing is a new iteration of the wizarding prison, designed as a self-functioning unit that traps people in a universe with an altered timeline and erases their memories. And not just that: the prison required trial runs before being implemented, so it’s entirely possible that Teddy and these other people are merely subjects of an experiment, and hadn’t even committed a crime prior to being subjected to these conditions.
Overall, this story is completely fascinating - for those who have ever been heard of the Stanford Prison Experiment and its after-effects, Gina’s Project Azkaban is a thrilling exploration of its wizarding equivalent.
This is our very first month that we are adding some spectacular extras from all four of our lovely Common Rooms. We are very proud to present the extras from your individual monthly Common Room awards. This is a very exciting feature for us, so be sure to congratulate one another on their in-House achievements!
Gryffindor recognized Abby @Chemical_Pixie as their Member of the Month and Taylor's @ShadowRose Complicated [M] as Story of the Month this October. Please give a round of applause to these phenomenal creatures as they entertain us with some interview questions!
A B B Y ' S I N T E R V I E W
1. Give us your best House Pride shoutout! If we ever break our jar, I offer my one remaining Gryffindor sock to hold our marbles.
2. What is your favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? I love Gryffindor’s growth and passion and pride. We’re implementing new things, like a book club and a review competition, as well as keeping up with our newsletter, Leading Lion, SotM, and blanket fort. Roar!
3. Which animal would you like as a pet if it could be scaled down to the size of a cat? Lil’ Sebastian.
(You’re 5,000 candles in the wind…)
4. Tell us a very quick story synopsis using only emojis.
A Woman's Place
T A Y L O R ' S I N T E R V I E W
1. Give us your best House pride shoutout! despite winning an award for writing a 125k monster (that's somehow getting even longer as i edit early chapters), i'm struggling with words here. so please enjoy this gif of gryffindor destroying the competition instead.
2. What is your favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? we're currently doing a book club for the harry potter books, and i'm absolutely loving it! i haven't re-read the books in forever, and it's so fun to go back to them and fall in love with them all over again.
3. Explain why your favorite scene is your favorite scene in Complicated! i have to pick one??? okay, fine. it's the end of chapter 12, and it's a moment when abby, the main character, has finally reached her breaking point, and then dominique weasley just saunters in and basically tells abby that she's not allowed to take this lying down. it's a kinda pivotal moment, not only because dom is the MVP of the story in this moment (pretty sure someone wrote those exact words in a review - whoever you are, thank you for letting me borrow them), but because it's a turning point that leads into abby getting this whole new group of friends and growing immensely as a person and, yes, eventually getting together with james.
4. Which character (either canon or original) do you find the most frustrating to write in this fic? asdfghjkl blaise. and scarlett. who are, for reference, abby's boyfriend and best friend, respectively, at the start of the series. they're frustrating because i thrive on writing grey characters - that is, characters that have both noticeable flaws and good qualities. abby starts off as a mostly awful person, and james is honestly kind of an asshole at times too, but they grow and change from their mistakes and become better for it - and continue to do so in the sequel. scarlett and blaise are both completely flat characters (wow, english lit terms apparently still exist in my subconscious), meaning that there's only one side to them; they don't really do anything good in the story, like, ever. and part of that is because it's from abby's perspective and, after what happens, she'll never see them in a positive light again, but it's also because... well, they're just selfish/bad people.
Hufflepuff featured the lovely Bianca @victoria_anne as their Member of the Month and Kristin's @Stella Blue to dwell on dreams as their stellar Story of the Month. Give it up for these wonderful Puffles as they humor us with their interview questions.
B I A N C A ' S I N T E R V I E W
1. Give us your best House Pride shoutout!
So here’s the thing about Hufflepuff –
The other Houses don’t think we’re tough enough.
They’re brave, cunning, smart or whatnot,
And constantly thinking, “What’s Hufflepuff got?”
Well, hold onto your hats and hold onto your socks,
Because underestimating Hufflepuff has its aftershocks.
They don’t think we’re brave, cunning, or smart?
Let me tell you what sets them and Hufflepuff apart.
Our House is all class, sass and badass,
Better watch out when we’re en masse.
You may think we’re quiet, down in our sett,
“Aw, look at those badgers – are they really a threat?”
Well, why don’t you find out in this year’s House Cup?
We little badgers dare you to step up.
Have you never heard the Hufflepuff war chant?
It’s going to make yours sound extremely scant.
So, lions, snakes and eagles (oh my!)
You better run when you hear our battle cry.
The other Houses may think they’ve got it, they’re tough,
But this year, baby, the Cup goes to Hufflepuff.
2. What's your favorite event/activity/thing you hold in your House? Why? We have a thread in which we party and snuggle simultaneously I love when badgers drop in with exciting new life updates, or are in need of a pick me up from their fellow Puffs.
3. Where is the most unusual place you’ve had to stop what you were doing to scribble down a plunny or thought about a story?
I'm pretty sure I stopped mid-shower to scribble something (damp) down. I do some good thinking in the shower but somehow forget it as soon as I'm out.
4. What is the opposite of a koala? Trick question - there's no such thing as a koala. It's a myth.
K R I S T I N ' S I N T E R V I E W
1. Give us your best House Pride shoutout! I wanted to put a badger gif here but can't load gifs on my phone but like, I don't know how to answer this with words, haha. (And you call meawriter! ) Here are some heart emojis in Hufflepuff colors because I love all my Puffs and we love everyone
2. What is your favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? I really like the Chalices (our annual awards) as I love seeing what everyone has been writing. I'm unfortunately not able to participate in much since there is no internet where I live, but during Chalice season I get to hear about all the stories I've missed and read them then.
3. What was your primary source of inspiration for to dwell on dreams? There was a love triangle challenge hosted by clevernotbrilliant a while ago, and that sparked the idea of writing as unconventional of a love triangle as I could come up with.
4. What was the most difficult part of writing this story? Mostly just the process of actually getting the words on the page
This October, Ravenclaw house saw brilliance in Holly @Alopex as their Member of the Month and Shreya's @forever_dreaming China Doll [M] for their Story of the Month. Put your hands together for these two wonderful people!
H O L L Y ' S I N T E R V I E W
1. Give us your best House Pride shoutout! My go-to house pride shout-out would definitely have to be Clawsome. I'm also a fan of the Ra-ra-ravenclaw rallying cry we came up with several years ago (sing it like the similar sounding line in the Bad Romance song by Lady Gaga).
2. What is your I am a bad Claw and don't really actively participate in things. Nor am I very involved in organizing house activities, as my focus is more sitewide. However, I am extremely proud of favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? the IT, if that counts as an activity. I think it's something that makes our house special. If stretching back to its origins on HPFF, we have the longest running newsletter. Seeing new issues come out is definitely one of my favorite things about the Ravenclaw CR.
3. If you were given a PhD but had no more knowledge of the subject of the degree besides what you have now, what degree would you want to be given to you? Oh snap. I am not sure if I deserve a PhD in anything, to be honest! But I probably would want one in geospatial sciences or something similar, as that's what my educational background and profession involve. I'd be closer to qualifying in that than anything else, and I do have a cool profession if I say so myself.
4. What’s a smartphone app you would love to see? I am totally at a loss for this question. I was hoping to come up with a creative or useful idea, but best I've got is an app that sends a cute fox picture every day. It probably exists already.
Slytherin also started their month by featuring kris @starbuck as their Member of the Month and Nicole's @teh tarik To Boil Telephone Porridge [M] as their Story of the Month! A standing ovation for these two wonderful Snakes!
K R I S ' S I N T E R V I E W
1. Give us your best House Pride shoutout! I really loved how we all came together during the House Cup opener (and I hope we'll manage to keep it up)...so here's a shoutout for my fellow snakes who fully supported my 'we hang the man' strategy, no questions asked - it just shows they're quite willing to participate in a bit of casual murder in order to win, which is obviously great .
2. What is your favorite activity/event/thing that you hold in your House? Why? I love the Hot Seat! (A reviewing game for non-snakes) It gives me opportunity to read Slytherin stories I might not have found otherwise and it's always lovely to leave someone a nice review
3. If you could swap one actor with another from one of the HP Movies, who would it be and why? Hmm, this is a really tough question I honestly have no idea - I mean, all the characters are quite different so I'm not sure how to swap them...I'd have loved a different actor for Bill Weasley, that's for sure, he was supposed to be very cool and hot while the actor who played him...kind of wasn't? (At least not in the way they made him look in the movies).
4 What is your biggest pet peeve? In writing? I think it's using 'would of' and/or 'should of' In general? Eh, people copying my ideas I got a lot of that from a friend during uni and it would've been rude and probably fight-inducing if I pointed it out.
N I C O L E ' S I N T E R V I E W
1. Give us your best House Pride shoutout! Thank you, Snakes, for being such a fun and welcoming House. Your fierce competition is wonderful - and very amusing for a laid back person like me. You're a fantastic bunch and I love you all and happy to be with you in our Snake Pit!
2. What is your favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? Do you mean favourite Slytherin House event??? Um...ahaha...I haven't been active recently (again) BUT I really enjoy reading the Silver Quill. I think it's fabulous how detailed it is, and how much effort goes into putting the whole thing together. Kudos to the newsies for that! I always enjoy newsletters -- they help me get up to speed with the goings-on in the site and CR.
3. Do you have any more background/characterization information about Aizzit in To Boil Telephone Porridge that you’d like to share? I never explored Aizzat's character much in the story because I wanted the focus to be on Daniel and Kwai Sim. I guess some things about Aizzat that I may have hinted at in the story, but didn't fully develop: Aizzat and Daniel have a very difficult relationship. The kind of relationship which is sometimes comforting and at certain brief moments of awareness, something both people are intensely grateful for. But it's also the kind of relationship that at times leaves them both really feeling the depths of their own isolation and loneliness. And sometimes a disconnect from each other. Aizzat is more curious and active than Daniel - he loves Daniel but is sometimes impatient with him. He, too, had a falling out with his family, but didn't take it as hard as Daniel did - and I do feel that he has more connection to the outside world than Daniel. And I feel that the older Aizzat is a lot more confident with himself, compared to Daniel.
4. What do you think would have been different about the plot if Daniel’s parents had openly accepted him as he was? There would have been no story I wrote the story specifically to explore the intersection of family, LGBTQIA+ issues and cultural/political/social attitudes in Malaysian society. I would be writing a completely different story and with different characters. These characters were crafted specifically to suffer (with hope at the end for them, though). Sorry to sound harsh about this, but it's true, and reflects a bit of the truth of being LGBTQIA+ in Malaysia.
BTW, thank you to all lovely Snakes for nominating and voting for my story.
Before we hop into our newest Monthly Dilemma, we would first like to announce the winner from last month's Monthly Dilemma raffle! And the winner is @nott theodore! Congratulations! You've won one  free review on a story of your choice. Please contact one of your Prefects to let us know where you would like it .
Now, for those of you who don't know what the Monthly Dilemma is:
The monthly Dilemma is a new feature to our Prefect Blog as of last month! Each month, we will be asking you all a question! You can answer the question by responding to that specific blog post. Anyone who comments in the blog post with an answer to the question is put into a randomized raffle to win a little prize. You will have until the 15th of the following month to answer the question to be entered into the raffle. Winners will be announced in that month's Monthly Dilemma section.
This month's dilemma is:
What stereotypical role would you fill in a scary movie? If you need suggestions for horror film archetypes, there's a good list +HERE.
You have until November 15th to answer!
This month's prize winner will receive one  review on a story of your choice.
That concludes October's Edition of In the Spotlight! We would like to profusely thank everyone who has participated in answering our questions, as it provides the true meat of this blog! We hope you are enjoying the Spoooooooooktacular House Cup Event! REMINDER: It's not too late to submit any burning NaNo problems/questions you may have to the Prefects for the November 7th potpourri post! We are anxiously awaiting submissions!
We are also breaking in our newest Prefect, Sarah @adorably cute! She's becoming entirely familiar with our madness, so stay tuned for even more shenanigans from the Prefect Crew .
See you next time!
header/dividers - taylor
monthly dilemma drawing & question - emma
interviewers - taylor, deni, madi, rumpel, nix
review column - taylor | prefect reviews - madi, nix
layout - rumpel