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Jason English
Jason English

What's the Exchange Rate Between Harry Potter Coins and Muggle Money?

Jason English
Jason English

The world J.K. Rowling constructed in the Harry Potter series raises a lot of questions. For one, what exactly was the value of all that wizard money they were throwing around? If you’ve ever pondered this question but lacked the nerdy ambition to figure it out for yourself, you finally have answer thanks to Reddit user aubieismyhome, who calculated the exchange rate.

By detailing everything that’s been given value in the Harry Potter books, aubieismyhome was able to analyze the worth of wizard money. The in-depth breakdown starts by listing the exchange rates between the three coins that make up wizard currency, which Hagrid lays out for Harry in the first book. According to Hagrid, 1 galleon equals 17 sickles, and 1 sickle equals 29 knuts. From there, the fan used a little extra math to figure out how to convert this value into Muggle currency.

The Reddit user compared the prices of things bought in the wizarding world (for example, hot chocolate, butterbeer, and a potion-making book) to equivalent items from the Muggle world. Based on this information, aubieismyhome was able to approximate that a galleon was roughly equivalent to $25, a sickle to $1.50, and a knut to 5 cents.

To put that in context, the price of a butterbeer comes out to about $3, while Harry’s wand would have cost him $175 (which is not a bad deal, considering it's a wizard's most prized possession). And it looks like even wizards are subject to overpriced textbooks: a copy of Advanced Potion Making would cost more than a wand, according to the Reddit user.

Aubieismyhome went on to look at what this says about the socioeconomic status of the characters in the Harry Potter universe. It’s no secret that Harry was wealthy, but seeing his riches converting into USD helps to put things into perspective. As the user explains, "At the World Cup, he spent $750 to buy he, Ron, and Hermione Omnioculars as Christmas presents ... Not only that, but he gave Fred and George $25,000 of Triwizard Tournament winnings to start their joke shop because he didn't need it.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Rowling wasn’t exaggerating when she emphasized the Weasleys’ poverty. When the family empties out their vault at Gringotts in the Chamber of Secrets, they come away with only 1 galleon and a pile of sickles, roughly $50 to $75. One of the largest sums mentioned in the books is the reward offered by the Ministry for Harry’s capture in the Deathly Hallows: They were prepared to pay his captor $2.5 million, which was worth 10 times as much as the bounty placed on Sirius Black’s head.

Check the original Reddit post for the full list of every value mentioned in the Harry Potter series.

[h/t Mashable]

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Why You Should Never Take Your Shoes Off On an Airplane
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What should be worn during takeoff?

Tony Luna:

If you are a frequent flyer, you may often notice that some passengers like to kick off their shoes the moment they've settled down into their seats.

As an ex-flight attendant, I'm here to tell you that it is a dangerous thing to do. Why?

Besides stinking up the whole cabin, footwear is essential during an airplane emergency, even though it is not part of the flight safety information.

During an emergency, all sorts of debris and unpleasant ground surfaces will block your way toward the exit, as well as outside the aircraft. If your feet aren't properly covered, you'll have a hard time making your way to safety.

Imagine destroying your bare feet as you run down the aisle covered with broken glass, fires, and metal shards. Kind of like John McClane in Die Hard, but worse. Ouch!

Bruce Willis stars in 'Die Hard' (1988)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

A mere couple of seconds delay during an emergency evacuation can be a matter of life and death, especially in an enclosed environment. Not to mention the entire aircraft will likely be engulfed in panic and chaos.

So, the next time you go on a plane trip, please keep your shoes on during takeoff, even if it is uncomfortable.

You can slip on a pair of bathroom slippers if you really need to let your toes breathe. They're pretty useless in a real emergency evacuation, but at least they're better than going barefoot.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
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Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


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Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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