Harry Potter fans rejoice! J.K. Rowling continues to dip her toes into the Potter Universe. Every now and then Rowling adds to the Potter Mythos by posting new smatterings of content to the Pottermore site, recently posting a closer look at one of the Potterverse characters that was only mentioned three times in the series and never appeared in person. Who could it be? You’re gonna have to click-through to find out!
Here’s Rowling’s own description of the posting and creation of the character:
Celestina Warbeck is one of my favourite ‘off-stage’ characters in the Harry Potter series, and has been part of the Potter world ever since its inception, making an early appearance in the short-lived ‘Daily Prophet’ series I produced for members of the equally short-lived fan club run by my British publisher, Bloomsbury. Although we never lay eyes on Celestina during the whole seven volumes of the Potter books, I always imagined her to resemble Shirley Bassey in both looks and style. I stole her first name from a friend with whom I worked, years ago, at Amnesty International’s Headquarters in London; ‘Celestina’ was simply begging to be scooped up and attached to a glamorous witch.
Now some of you younger folks are wondering who Shirley Bassey is and that’s OK. That’s what Google is for, but we’re going to save you that trouble. If you’ve ever seen the James Bond movie Goldfinger or heard the iconic theme song for the movie, that was Shirley Bassey. Here’s a picture of a much younger Bassey and a video of her recent appearance at the 2012 Emmys where she performed her classic rendition in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of James Bond.
I remember that blowing me away when I first saw it. That will help put a picture in your mind of what Celestina Warbeck looks and sounds like. Those of you chomping at the bit to get at the new content can take a look at it now. It takes the form of a biography page you might find when Googling a person. We’ve gone ahead and put the entire thing below:
Birthday: August 18
Wand: Larch and phoenix feather, 10 1/2 inches long, flexible
Hogwarts House: Gryffindor
Special abilities: Ability to drown out a chorus of banshees, tap-dancing, fancy baking
Parentage: Wizard father, Muggle mother
Family: Has married three times; one son
Hobbies: Travelling in fabulous style, breeding rough-coated Crups, relaxing in any of her eight homes
Internationally-acclaimed singing sensation Celestina Warbeck (sometimes known as ‘the Singing Sorceress’) hails from Wales. Her father, a minor functionary in the Muggle Liaison Office, met her Muggle mother (a failed actress) when the latter was attacked by a Lethifold disguised as a stage curtain.
Celestina’s extraordinary voice was apparent from an early age. Disappointed to learn that there was no such thing as a wizarding stage school, Mrs Warbeck reluctantly consented to her daughter’s enrollment at Hogwarts, but subsequently bombarded the school with letters urging the creation of a choir, theatre club and dancing class to showcase her daughter’s talents.
Frequently appearing with a chorus of backing banshees, Celestina’s concerts are justly famous. Three devoted fans were involved in a nasty three-broom pile up over Liverpool while trying to reach the last night of her ‘Flighty Aphrodite’ tour, and her tickets often appear on the black market at vastly inflated prices (one reason why Molly Weasley has never yet seen her favourite singer live).
Celestina has sometimes lent her name and talents to good causes, such as raising funds for St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries with a recording of Puddlemere United’s anthem ‘Beat Back Those Bludgers, Boys, and Chuck That Quaffle Here’. More controversially, Celestina was vocal in her disagreement when the Ministry of Magic sought to impose restrictions on how the wizarding community was allowed to celebrate Hallowe’en.
Some of Celestina’s best-known songs include You Charmed the Heart Right Out of Me and A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love. Her fans are usually older people who love her grandstanding style and powerful voice. The late 20th-century album You Stole My Cauldron but You Can’t Have My Heart was a massive global hit.
Celestina’s personal life has provided much fodder for the gossip columns of the Daily Prophet. An early marriage to a backing dancer lasted only a year; Celestina then married her manager, with whom she had a son, only to leave him for the composer Irving Warble ten years later.
Until Rowling decides to write something longer we’ll probably have to content ourselves with these shorter pieces. I for one don’t mind. These stories allow us to jump back into that Harry Potter world with both feet without taking up a huge amount of our time. Like when an old friend calls out of the blue and you chat for a few minutes catching up and reliving old memories.
What I’d really like to see are some of these shorts Rowling has posted turned into some sort of video short. I imagine a web series of those would do quite well on the Internet. Perhaps it might look like this?