The first of J.K. Rowling’s new Harry Potter 12 Days of Christmas ‘series’ has landed — but the author didn’t make it easy to get to.
Having surprised users of fansite Pottermore with the news that she’d be posting new Potter material in each of the 12 days leading up to Christmas eve, Rowling published the first on Friday. But eager readers had to first solve (what else?) a riddle.
In a house on Spinner’s End, a meeting takes place, a mother begs help for her son, tears on her face. Agreeing to help, though he doesn’t know how. Which potions master performs an unbreakable vow?
The answer, of course, is Hogwarts potions master Severus Snape. But in order to solve the riddle, you must type it in as Professor Snape, not Severus (or Snivellus). Always so specific, that J.K.
The story itself returns us to the town of Cokeworth, where Petunia (as in Aunt Petunia, who raised and essentially tormented Harry until he headed to Hogwarts), her sister Lily (Harry’s mother), and Severus Snape all grew up. Readers will remember Cokeworth as the place where the Dursleys attempted to escape the flood of Hogwarts admission letters sent to Harry in the first book. It’s also where Petunia felt shunned after learning she didn’t have the magical powers her sister and Snape did.
Fans are only treated to three paragraphs about Cokeworth, with a hint about the unbreakable vow that Snape made when he promised to protect Draco Malfoy at the start of The Half Blood Prince. The ‘story’ is quite short in comparison to other bits of new Potter content fans got this year. But Rowling readers shouldn’t be dismayed: Something magical is sure to come along tomorrow.