Nerd Alert

Good morning nerds, and apologies for missing last week’s “Nerd Alert.” While I had all sorts of things planned, a surprise trip to the emergency room last Friday threw everything out of whack! Luckily, I’m doing just fine and am back to fighting form!

As you will see, today’s post has a bit of a franchise focus, with several Harry Potter–related links, as well as some for Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Enjoy! 

Pottermore Ltd. / J.K. Rowling

1–3. While I can’t say that I ever really visited the old Pottermore site, I do remember reading articles about its redesign last year and how some fans were less than thrilled with its sudden BuzzFeed–esque focus on listicles. That said, “the digital entertainment, news and e-commerce company from J.K. Rowling, inspired by the Harry Potter books and the wider Wizarding World,” put out new content this week that I think will win back many of those fans and gain new ones, like me!

First of all, the Sorting Hat is back, so after taking a variety of different Harry Potter house quizzes online, one can be officially sorted into his or her rightful home (I got Ravenclaw!). Once you create an account and have been sorted, you receive a welcome message detailing all of the wonderful traits of the house you’ve just joined, as well as links to articles about other famous members. You can even download a wallpaper that looks like your house’s common room! After you’ve done that, you can shop for a wand or more likely, let a wand shop for you!

Next, it was revealed at this year’s A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Studios that Ilvermorny is the name of the wizarding school in North America and that new writing from Rowling herself will provide more details on the institution soon. Three additional schools, Uagadou (Africa), Castelobruxo (Brazil), and Mahoutokoro (Japan), were also unveiled (their write-ups are available now). According to Pottermore, there are 11 wizarding schools worldwide, so there are four more to be discovered.

As someone who is new to Pottermore, I think the site is absolutely gorgeous and incredibly easy to navigate. And while much of its content can be accessed without an account, the fact that you have to create one to be sorted and receive a wand means that they may be bringing back some of the activities that fans were so loathe to lose in the redesign. Regardless, it’s really is fun to explore and see how much else is out there. Plus, I can finally get the right house-themed set of Harry Potter books now!

Barnes & Noble / Nicole Hill

4. On a similar note, Nicole Hill over at Barnes&Noble’s Sci-Fi and Fantasy blog followed up a post from last year, in which she sorted some of the characters from Star Wars Episodes IVI, with one sorting the characters from Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Personally, I think many of her choices are spot on and I absolutely love her prediction of where Supreme Commander Snoke would end up!

And in other nerds-who-are-smarter/have-more-time-on-their-hands-than-me news…

Keksz via Quora

5. If you’ve ever watched an action movie and wondered how much it would cost to build just one of those crazy battleships that you see on the screen, Kynan Eng has you covered, at least as far as Star Wars is concerned. Over on Quora, Eng breaks down the cost of an Imperial I-Class Star Destroyer, which is a measly $45 trillion dollars! While at least one commenter has had a similar reaction to this as Don Lemon did to the cost of a year at Hogwarts (i.e., it’s a fictional story ergo the cost is $0), I appreciate the thought that Eng put into reaching this figure.

First, Eng considered the size, volume, and mass of the destroyer, compared that to similar real-world platforms like aircraft carriers, and scaled up to get the base cost of the ship. Next, he factored in what we know about the weapons and engines on the destroyer versus their modern counterparts, as well as the cost of transporting things from Earth into space, to arrive at his final number. Is it pure fantasy? Sure. But it’s still fun to think about!

J. Longo via The Toast

6. Likewise over at The Toast, Austin Gilkeson highlights the illegitimacy of Aragorn son of Arathorn’s claim to the throne of Gondor. As with Eng’s article, Gilkeson’s is extremely detailed in its argument and reminds me that there is a lot of J.R.R. Tolkein’s world that I haven’t explored. Interestingly, many commenters agree with his analysis, with I didn’t quite expect. However, they almost all still admit to loving the rugged ranger, even if he is a bit of a usurper.

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