J.K. Rowling’s New ‘Harry Potter’ Story: Celestina Warbeck, the Singing Sorceress
Harry Potter fans had reason to rejoice last month over the publication of a new short story written by J.K. Rowling that took place in the Harry Potter universe, giving readers a glimpse of the protagonist’s adult life. Now, she has once again published a new story on Pottermore.com that takes place in the Harry Potter world, this time taking the form of a biography.
‘Off-Stage’ Character, Celestina Warbeck
The story explains the life and history of Celestina Warbeck, a minor character who is mentioned several times throughout the Harry Potter series but never appears in person. This lesser-known character is a sorceress who is famous for her singing, and in particular the songs “You Charmed the Heart Right Out of Me” and “A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love.” Fans of the series will recognize these song titles as favorites of Ron’s mother, Molly Weasley, which frequently play in their home. Rowling described the character as “one of my favorite ‘off-stage’ characters in the Harry Potter series . . . 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.”
The biography reveals that Celestina was a member of Gryffindor house, whose special abilities include the “ability to drown out a chorus of banshees.” This ability is fitting, as Celestina frequently appeared in concert with a chorus of backing banshees. She also apparently married three times, living up to the glamorous lifestyle befitting a famous singer, and had one son. These marriages clearly provided plenty of gossip for the Daily Prophet, as the initial marriage to a backing dancer ended after a year, after which Celestina married her manager only to leave him for the composer “Irving Warble” ten years later. The biography also mentions that “her fans are usually older people who love her grandstanding style and powerful voice,” acknowledging why Celestina Warbeck is Molly Weasley’s favorite singer.
To read the whole story, check it out on Pottermore. Or, for those who aren’t members, the story was shared with Today.com where you can read it in full.
You Stole My Cauldron, But You Can’t Have My Heart
To get a taste of Celestina Warbeck’s music, check out the video above. The song “You Stole My Cauldron, But You Can’t Have My Heart,” by the fictitious sorceress and her backing band, was performed at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s newly opened Diagon Alley, From what we can hear in this clip, the song sounds brassy, sassy, and as fabulous as you would expect from the glamorous singer. Those with sharp ears will also notice the mention of her phoenix feather wand, a detail listed in the short story’s biographical facts.
Just like Celestina Warbeck herself, Rowling’s new story is making a splash on the internet. Pottermore is turning out to be a great platform not only for fans to participate in the Harry Potter world, but also for Rowling to post short pieces that expand the Potter universe. This story in particular is exciting because it fleshes out a character who was only ever mentioned in passing, and makes her really live. It’s almost like Rowling is writing her own fan fiction!