The Russian Academy of Magic is a colossal onion-domed structure drifting aimlessly across the surface of Lake Baikal brought to existence using centuries of levitation charms perfected by a group of Russian witches experimenting with portable floating ice rinks. Self-heating fur scarves are all the rage amongst students and professors alike, although they have been known to overheat from time to time, leading to mild cases of heat stroke. When traditional Quidditch games become dull, players would discard their brooms for skates and duke it out on the frozen surface of the lake.
Russia’s past is rife with the loss and alteration of recorded history. Government, forced illiteracy, war, communism. Its stories are a patchwork of translated letters and oral tradition. Thus the Russian Academy of Magic prides itself on its specialization in recovering and preserving information. Never again will Russian witches and wizards allow their people to be robbed of their stories.
Graduates of the academy can restore the smallest scrap of document to its original form by drawing on the energy of the writer (because writing is, the school teaches, a form of low level charming in which part of the person’s life is imprinted on the object, and this applies to many arts. Even cooking. Coincidentally, Russians are experts in detecting poisons by this same method). Students practice the art of remembering. Graduates can pull memories long forgotten, help amnesia patients, and are masters of painless interrogation. Russian witches and wizards often prove themselves the most intelligent people in the room by a combination of their memorization techniques and pure determination.
As their final test, each student is given a small box they must open. The needed information is hidden within the school, and they must use their training to determine where it is hidden and how to extract it (for instance, it might be hidden in the mind of a friend, a sequence of dreams that must be remembered, they might need to locate a number of ingredients for a potion, it might be a riddle, or the information is held by a person whose identity they must determine). This proves their resourcefulness, ability to think outside the box, and the quality of their training.
like tbh i feel like my problem with the “dark and gritty!!” trend in modern stories is this
there’s this idea in our culture that cynicism is realistic? that only children believe in happy endings, that people are ultimately selfish and greedy and seeing with clear eyes means seeing the world as an awful place
that idealism is— easy, i guess. butterflies and sunshine and love are easy things to have in your head.
but i’ve known since i was fifteen that idealism— faith in humanity— optimism— is the most difficult thing in the entire world.
i constantly struggle to have faith in humanity, because it’s really, really easy to lose it. it’s easy to look at the news and go “what were you expecting? of course humans behave this way.” it’s easy to see the world and go “ugh, there’s no hope there.” and the years when i believed that were easy. miserable— but easy.
it is hard work to see the good in people. it is hard work to hope. it is hard work to keep faith and love and joy and appreciation for beauty in my daily life.
and when moviemakers and tv producers and writers go “omg!!! all characters are selfish and act poorly and don’t love each other, nothing ever happens that is happy or good, that’s so much more realistic, that’s so much more adult”
no, it’s not
it’s the most childish thing i can imagine.
My anaconda will consider it
My anaconda has, upon review of the information presented with it’s partners, decided that it, in fact, does not. My anaconda apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks you for your time.
Growth spurts. That’s all we ever wanted.
A$AP Rocky & Chanel Iman for Vogue September 2014
They look so good
"Since she’s been single, Swift has been acquiring girlfriends with the fervor she once devoted to landing guys. (For instance: Two years ago she told Vogue she wanted to be friends with Kloss; now they’re going to the gym together and taking road trips to Big Sur.) Swift says this is another byproduct of being single. “When your number-one priority is getting a boyfriend, you’re more inclined to see a beautiful girl and think, ‘Oh, she’s gonna get that hot guy I wish I was dating,’” she says. “But when you’re not boyfriend-shopping, you’re able to step back and see other girls who are killing it and think, ‘God, I want to be around her.’” As an example, she cites her pal Lorde, whom she calls Ella. “It’s like this blazing bonfire,” Swift says. “You can either be afraid of it because it’s so powerful and strong, or you can go stand near it, because it’s fun and it makes you brighter.”
"One thing I do believe as a feminist is that, in order for us to have gender equality, we have to stop making it a girl fight. And we have to stop being so interested in girls trying to tear each other down. It has to be about cheering each other on as women. And that’s just how I feel about it.”