She's given us creepy Pottermore Christmas moments, scary ones, and highly anticipated ones, but on day 12, the final day of the celebrations, J.K. Rowling gave us a moment that should bring tears to the eyes of all Harry Potter fans. If you haven't made it to the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, then now's the time to stop reading because there are book spoilers ahead. After solving Rowling's final Pottermore Christmas rhyming riddle, users are transported to Dumbledore's funeral, and everyone is there to pay their respects.
The riddle shouldn't trip up any Harry Potter readers:
The funeral of a beloved headmaster and teacherBrought tears of sadness from each man and creature,But can you recall as best as you canThe first name of this great man?
See? No trouble here. Rowling is probably giving us fans a freebie because she knows that she's hitting us with a truly devastating moment from the series. When we arrive at the funeral, Hagrid is at the front, you can spot Harry, Ginny Weasley, Hermione, and Ron to the very left edge in the crowd, and you can seek out several other popular book characters in the seats. But when you click on what appears to be Cornelius Fudge's green bowler hat, you unlock new writing from Rowling on the Order of Merlin.
The Order of Merlin is an award given to witches and wizards who achieve great things for the wizarding world, and there are three levels of the award: a gold medal on a green ribbon for First Class, purple ribbon for Second Class, or white ribbon for Third Class. As the legend goes, the green ribbon reflects Merlin's Hogwarts house. But as Rowling's new writing shows, the Order of Merlin doesn't always go to the most deserving.
As often happens with such highly coveted awards, Ministry of Magic favourites seem to receive the Order of Merlin, especially the higher classes, more often than one might expect. While nobody argued when Albus Dumbledore received his O.M. (First Class) for defeating Dark wizard Grindlewald, there was a good deal of muttering in the wizarding community when Cornelius Fudge, Minister for Magic, awarded himself an O.M. (First Class) for a career that many considered less than distinguished. Other less worthy recipients of the highest class of order include Arcturus Black, Sirius Black's grandfather, who was widely believed to have bought it by loaning the Ministry a large amount of gold.
Shame, Ministry, shame!
But back to Dumbledore's funeral, because I'll just be sitting here listening to the audio of the funeral reading over and over again with my box of tissues.
Image: Fanpop.com; Giphy