Took the train down to Greenwich Pier this morning for a Thames boat tour that took us to Westminster. Will have to upload pictures late tonight or tomorrow, because we then gave ourselves sensory overload by visiting Westminster Abbey (where you are not permitted to take photos indoors, so we didn't). We are just back in the flat briefly, after buying theatre tickets, eating lunch and walking through the National Gallery.|
We are here! In the London flat we are renting for a week, through the cold and wet, but now the sun is shining and the Druids are about to have a celebration of its return!|
No, really, it looks lovely out and the forecast for the rest of the day is ZERO rain and a temp of about 13C/55F, so we are off to explore Islington, particularly St. Paul's Road, for food and interesting things to do.
If you are in London and want to get together before next Tuesday, let me know and I'll give you the number of the iPhone we are using whilst here.
So--those of you who know London, a question:|
If we got tickets to see a West Ham vs. Man City match in East London on a Saturday evening (@5:30) is that a really dicey thing for two Americans to do? (Or anyone, for that matter?)
In the last couple of days, I've encountered reactions to three different things that JK Rowling has done, but the reactions are all basically the same: anything she says or does has to do with wanting more money.|
( Watch me rant! It's been a while, eh?Collapse )
From a limited perusal of Game of Thrones fic, I have learnt that in the books Theon's sister's name is Asha, not Yara, as in the show. And I just noticed that this gives the new name the same letters as Arya, and both characters (in season two, which I'm half-way through, so I don't know if this changes) are female but dressing as male and in general are engaged in what are considered to be stereotypically male activities (waging war, learning swordfighting, etc.). |
I wonder if this is is an intentional or accidental link between these characters? And why the name change in the first place? Asha seems a nice enough name. Was it perhaps TOO nice?
|» Here I go...|
Okay, I'm going to take the plunge: I'm going to go looking for decent Game of Thrones fic. Wish me luck!|
:dons the underwater breathing apparatus and dives in:
|» Things That Are Not Okay With Me|
THING ONE: BREAKING A WEBSITE'S BASIC RULES AND THEN THREATENING PEOPLE IN SOMEONE ELSE'S NAME|
Some of you probably already know what I'm talking about. At Ascendio, we had the pleasure of having Mark Oshiro, of Mark Does Stuff, meeting with attendees, reading fanfiction aloud (not his--but his rendition of the beginning of "Hermione and the Pizza Boy" is absolutely PRICELESS) and generally hanging out with other Harry Potter fans and having a good time. I enjoyed talking with him, learning of the enormous bandwidth issues on his site when he posted his reaction to "Once More with Feeling" during his watching of season six of Buffy, and got to see him having what seemed like a fun time with other folks in Orlando.
And then we all came home and the great Spuffy (Spike/Buffy) debacle hit the fan.
His poor moderators already have enought to do just when it comes to keeping Mark unspoiled for future plot developments and gently reminding people not to use words like "crazy", "lame" and other ablist labels, which I really appreciate, because reading these reminders while lurking on the site--I only lurk because I'm deathly afraid that posting will lead to my being smacked down for spoilage, as I just plain don't trust myself--has led to my being more vigilant on a regular basis about saying/writing words like this. I've also called other people's attention to this, such as my boss, and he is much more vigilant about this now too. (He was very contrite about his tendency to do this in the past, especially as he has a brother with schizophrenia, and he appreciated my raising this as an issue.) In short, I feel that I'm actually a better person for having read his site and taken these issues to heart.
But evidently, not everyone has taken such lessons away from reading Mark Does Stuff, and one thing I don't think you'd ever learn from reading his site is that it is okay to be so adamant a shipper that you threaten to come to someone's house to hurt them or threaten others in someone's (in this case, Mark's) name because they are upsetting you.
Apparently this also happened during his HP read, which I wasn't following as closely (only occasionally), and that time it had to do with slut-shaming and Ginny. I was always SO HAPPY to read Mark's Ginny-positive remarks and reactions and also enormously glad that the slut-shaming that was all over the place in HP fandom when HBP came out was simply not tolerated on his site. During my recent re-read not only of my own fics but the reviews/reactions to them I was absolutely appalled (as I was the first time) by the ridiculous slut-shaming of Lily (Lost Generation) and Hermione (Psychic Serpent). So many things readers were saying were NOT OKAY, and I just wish I'd had the nerve to tell them so back when all of that first went down. But I was gentler about it and did things like post a FAQ about age-of-consent and tried to remind people that Your Mileage May Vary and all of that. And now I just wish I'd done like Mark and said, in no uncertain terms, NO, PEOPLE, NOT COOL, NOT ACCEPTABLE.
So--thank you, Mark, though you may not see this (since I only lurk on Mark Does Stuff), for all that you and your moderators do to make the internet a safe space and to educate people about important issues. Thank you thank you thank you.
THING TWO: CONFUSING ACTORS WITH THEIR ROLES AND GLOATING OVER YOUR FANDOM BEING BETTER THAN SOMEONE ELSE'S BECAUSE OF WHAT SOMEONE HAS DONE OFF-SCREEN
Do I really need to say this? ACTORS ARE NOT THEIR CHARACTERS. You CANNOT lord it over another fandom that two CHARACTERS in your fandom wouldn't do what two ACTORS in the other fandom did because--that's just not comparing things that have anything to do with each other! (You notice how I didn't say something stupid like, "That would be crazy!"? There was a time when I would have. You really CAN stop using words that way if you put some thought into it!)
Anyway, I feel that that is a ridiculous response to this whole mess with certain actors from the Twilight series and actors and the director from Snow White and the Huntsman. (You all know who I mean, I'm sure.) It's bad enough that two people who do actually seem to have been in a relationship both on- and off-screen are scrutinized to the nth degree by the press and their fandom (who, frankly, have a rather creepy obsession about it), but the two people who were cheated on (one of whom is married to her partner and has children to consider) are in a position of possibly seeing people GLOATING about this because it affects a fandom they happen to look down on (although I get not admiring the books or certain activities engaged in by some of its fans, I really do) and thinking that this makes theirs (HP) a "better" fandom. Yeah, not so much. If you're doing this? You're just as bad as anyone in Twilight fandom who is bemoaning "Bella" cheating on "Edward" because they are incapable of understanding that ACTORS ARE NOT THEIR CHARACTERS.
There are PEOPLE involved in this mess, folks. People who are hurting and whose private lives are anything but right now. So I'm going to say what I should have said years ago about a different issue, but the message is still the same: NO, PEOPLE, NOT COOL, NOT ACCEPTABLE.
That is all. Carry on. Enjoy the opening ceremonies of the Olympics--I plan to!
|» Calling those in Southern California!|
Help me out with a little something I'm trying to research for my current writing project?|
The problem is this: I'm looking for locations (parks, abandoned lots, civic centers, ball parks, college stadiums, etc.) where a circus/carnival could/would be held in two SoCal locations: in the Rancho Cucamonga area and in the Westwood Village neighborhood of LA (or as close as possible to the Westwood Village neighborhood). I'm especially interested in there being a cemetery (Westwood Memorial Park would be perfect) within walking distance of the circus/carnival venue. Oh, and the circus/carnival would take place in the winter (this being SoCal), roughly from late January to late February (this isn't the sort of circus that winters in Florida). I don't know how much that really matters, but perhaps it would impact on a venue that was owned by UCLA, for instance.
Does anything come to mind for anyone who knows the area well? I've tried figuring this out via Googling, Wikipedia and Googlemaps, but I'm not terrifically happy with any of my findings thus far. I think I really need people on the ground who know the area.
|» Chapter 28: The Choice|
Chapter 28: The Choice|
1. He helped her to stand and pointed through the trees at the fire; it was a large one, visible even at a distance. I hope they aren't going to burn the forest down, he thought.
No, Hermione does that in the sequel. ;)
2. He nodded again and took out his own--no, that didn’t look right. He had grabbed Ron's, which he put back in his pocket. He found his own wand and took it out.
This may seem like a lot of detail, but it's important later.
3. "On his side? You say that, Harry, as though being 'on his side' is the same as being his comrade, an equal. You will not be 'on his side,' you will be his servant. There is a difference."
I think this was very clearly true in the canon books as well, and something the Malfoys especially didn't grasp until Draco was tapped to kill Dumbledore in HBP.
4. "Potter saw us behind Hagrid's cabin on her birthday. You didn't know I'd figured that out, did you Potter? You have to watch what you say in future. You can be careless. Ginny wasn't ready that day. Close, but not quite."
Ron glared at Harry. "You knew about them ?"
And so it begins, the buildup of information designed to set Ron off...
5. "There is a way to determine this," he said with a soft lisp, and then suddenly, he was Scabbers again, but Scabbers with a strange little silver paw. He climbed up Hermione's robes, then the ropy vines binding her. He poked his nose here and there, while Hermione squeezed her eyes shut and looked green. He climbed higher and higher, closer to her face. She lifted her chin when he sniffed her neck; she was shivering and shaking, more tears sliding out of her eyes.
A lot of people told me they were a lot more creeped out by this than by something Draco Malfoy says shortly.
6. "I planned ahead. I thought, Would a teenage boy do everything in his power to protect his friends? Considering that the boy in question was Harry Potter, the answer was--probably. Then I asked myself, What about a girlfriend? And the answer I gave myself changed to definitely."
JKR didn't do this, instead using Sirius as the person to whom Harry was attached who was supposedly in danger (rather than actually being in danger). But the general idea is there of jeopardizing (or pretending to) someone Harry cares about as a way to manipulate him.
7. He tried to communicate as much apology as he could through his eyes, but Ron's eyes were blazing, the fire reflected in them heightening the effect.
First Ginny, now this. The buildup continues...
8. "Harry," she said softly, turning her head to him. "You know I'm not under a spell, or the influence of potion, right? You know that?" Her eyes pleaded with him. He nodded, but he couldn't help thinking, But for so long, you were. What do we make of that?
What indeed? The fact is--the Hermione who was under the influence got things going, and after it wore off too much had already happened--between her and Harry, between Ron and Parvati--for her to want to turn back, to admit to making a mistake.
9. "Let's give Weasley a choice. Right now, he certainly seems angry enough to do Cruciatus justice. Let him choose. He will put the curse on either Potter or Granger. Then, whoever he doesn’t curse with Cruciatus would get the killing curse. That way, of course, the one who's going to die gets to see the other in agony, and they also get to consider their own impending death during the other's suffering.” He grinned at Ron. “If he does this--there'll be no turning back for him. Think of Arthur Weasley's face when he finds out...Plus," he added, as though he'd just thought of it. "No matter whether you torture or kill Granger," he said to Ron, "you can still have your way with her, if you like. Although I call second. After all, what's a little necrophilia between friends?"
A lot of people assume that I rated this fic "R for the sexual activity, which now seems relatively tame as I read it over. (It's really more at a PG-13 level of description.) But the necrophila remark? THIS is why I rated it R. (Which I was able to do because this scene in the forest is one of the first things I wrote.)
10. Harry watched the end of the wand, his own wand. It seemed he could look nowhere else. Ron also seemed to be staring at the end of the wand. He opened his mouth, and louder and more terrible than his cries while he himself was being cursed, he uttered the word Harry had never thought to hear from his best friend, the sound echoing through the forest, through the night.
Aaaaaand--this is the cliffhanger that so set people off that I relented on my usual posting schedule and posted Chapter 29 just a couple of days later, before my entire Yahoo group self-destructed!
|» Chapter 27: Unmasked|
I had a lot of sitting-around-and-waiting-for-things-to-happen time this weekend, so I'm a lot closer to finishing now! Here we go:|
Chapter 27: Unmasked
1. "Hey--sorry about all that. Just me being stupid."
No, thought Harry. Just you being spot on.
Well, Ron usually is, isn't he? Even when he doesn't know it. (Or when others know it but don't admit it.)
2. "Say, Ron," Hagrid interrupted. "Ain't yer birthday comin' up soon?"
"On the fifteenth."
Of course, ten years ago we didn't know about March 1 (or at least I didn't). I did like that when JKR eventually worked it into the story something pretty significant happened on Ron's actual birthday.
3. "Say--you three haven't seen something flying round the school groun's lookin’ a lot like a golden griffin, have ye? Mum insists one was flyin’ over the giants' camp a couple of times, but I don’t see how. I mean, they don' like this part of the world; Dumbledore had that one brought in special..."
Harry seems to think everyone else has a convenient form of blindness that means no one would see him doing this. Of course, other students would just assume it was the golden griffin from COMC. Only Hagrid would spot that it couldn't be an animal he'd only borrowed and had shipped back already.
4. Harry frowned at her; this was getting worse and worse, he thought. Ron's going to feel like a complete idiot when he eventually finds out.
Ron feeling like an idiot becomes the least of Harry's problems when all is known...
5. "You can't judge a wizard just by his house these days, Harry. Evidently he was quite a good Quidditch player, got a job as a reserve player with Pride of Portree, the team over on the Isle of Skye. The Prides are very good, have a very loyal following." He bowed his head. "All the poor kid wanted to do was play Quidditch, you know? His own dad is a Death Eater, turns out. He went to Skye, where the team was having practice, and tried to bring his son to Malfoy. Wound up killing him instead..."
I went much more hardcore on a lot of this than JKR, more Mafia-like, taken to the nth degree.
6. "The Ministry is being very pigheaded about wanting to find benign, non-Voldemort-related explanations for everything that’s been happening."
So I called that kind of thing, but not the out-and-out campaign against Harry, the truly concerted effort to discredit him.
7. "Shouldn't you be worrying about Percy and the Weasleys?"
Is this the name of a Wrock group yet? Or am I thinking of Ginny and the Weasleys?
8. "So! Weasley! I saw that you got a real good look at that photo. Commit it to memory? Because I know that I can conjure it up in my brain--" he tapped his temple "--any time I want. And Potter, well...of course he can picture even more any time he wants..."
Draco, naturally, is assuming a lot and going out on a limb. But he's not wrong.
9. Unable to verify identity due to whispering. You must use a normal voice. Change your location if necessary.
This was evidently hilarious to a lot of readers. I meant it more as "droll", but it did work to lighten the mood a bit. ;)
10. Harry looked down at the parchment, then back up at Snape. "It looks blank to you?"
Oddly enough, I'm now getting a vibe that's rather similar to when Harrry (in OotP) was asking Ron about the Thestrals and Ron obviously wasn't able to see them. So I guess I also had Harry able to see something (in his fifth year) that someone else couldn't.
11. Harry touched the letter with his wand and said his name again. Immediately, black flames arose from the letter and envelope, consuming them both. Not even ashes remained to show that they had ever existed. Even the wax seal was gone. The parchments that had been sitting nearby on Snape's blotter were unharmed; the blotter itself was not scorched either.
I liked coming up with something that was sort of Mission Impossible-esque, but even better. :D
12. One of the most feared dark wizards of the sixteenth century was well known in the Muggle world as well, but not as a wizard. Pere Juillet De Pems Marvolo was a direct descendent of Salazar Slytherin and commanded great respect in the Loire Valley, where he was the abbe of St. Jean Batiste, a Benedictine monastery. Marvolo began his reign of terror with scourges to clear Jews out of the local countryside in 1537, exactly twenty years after Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses at Wittenberg, progressing to a minor inquisition that targeted any remotely heretical sect, including many of Luther’s followers, and evolved into witch burnings (although all of the accused were known by the magical community to be Muggles)
For some reason, it seemed to me that if a lot of Muggles were going to be unfairly accused of witchcraft and killed that it wouldn't be inappropriate (in the HP world) for this injustice to be fomented by dark wizards.
13. Rearranging the letters of his name, along with his clerical title, he was able to turn "Pere Juillet De Pems Marvolo" into the statement, "Je m'appelle Sieur Voldemort," or, in English, "I am Lord Voldemort."
The French is actually, literally, "I am called Lord Voldemort." It took me SO LONG to work out the name of Pere Juillet, etc. I wonder how long JKR labored over the name Tom Marvolo Riddle?
14. Hermione was in fact very interested in the book Harry had borrowed from the library. "Why doesn’t Binns teach us this? All we ever seem to cover is goblin rebellions in England..."
Which stops being true in OotP, when Binns spends a lot of time covering giant wars. While Grawp was living int he forest. A coincidence? I think not.
15. Harry tucked Ron’s wand into his robes.
This is key for later. I didn't just have Ron throw down his wand in order to pummel Malfoy.
16. He took a few running steps and then leapt into the air, building height as he moved the strong gossamer wings, flying straight toward the Forbidden Forest.
Ah, yes, we're approaching the meaty stuff! To be continued...
|» (No Subject)|
Chapter 26: Addiction and Withdrawal|
1. The world also seemed to have forgotten the Westminster tube station.
I think a lot of readers forgot about it, too, and then it became important again in the third fic in the series...
2. "Well, I always thought they were real cowards, hiding behind You-Know-Who's power, and masks and hooded cloaks. Sneaking around and making a building fall on a bunch of innocent people seems like just another cowardly thing to do."
It's making me wince to read this so soon after the 10th anniversary events for 9/11.
3. "We're facing dark times. You’ll come face to face with evil and you'll have to choose a side. You'll have to get past survivor guilt and fear of dying and being maimed just to get up and go through your daily routine. It won't be easy. But you've got each other," he said, walking over to Ron and putting his hand on his shoulder. "That's the most important weapon you have.
And on 9/11 itself, this was exactly how I felt about the online HP community. :virtual hugs: What am amazing outpouring of sympathy and commiserating from around the world! It is probably the single most memorable day in fandom for me, bar none, including all of the cons I've gone to. There's simply no comparison.
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|» Forever Changed|
I recently watched all of the seasons of the show Saving Grace on Netflix and I was struck by the fact that, though my eldest sister has lived in Oklahoma City for something like 20 years, I never really considered how the events of April 19, 1995 had changed the lives of everyone in that city forever. The characters on the show, chiefly detectives in the OCPD, plus the family of Grace Hanadarko (Holly Hunter, the title character) all remember vividly the day the Murrah Building was bombed; everyone has either lost someone in the bombing (Grace lost her sister Mary Frances, who was also her nephew's mother, but other characters mention friends and family) or was involved in helping pull people/bodies from the rubble of the building (Grace, her brother the firefighter, other detectives). In one episode, when the detectives are walking carefully around a house (to avoid destroying evidence) and notice a clock on the wall set to 9:02, the reaction is, "A survivor lives here," because some people in and around Okalahoma City who were close to a person killed in the bombing do this in tribute, as 9:02 am was when the bomb went off. Grace is even said to have been present at Timothy McVeigh's execution.|
We see in episode after episode how the people of OKC, OK have been forever changed by the events of that day. And yet many people outside of Oklahoma City do not remember it well now, a horrendous incident of domestic terrorism. My kids didn't know what I was talking about when I mentioned the Oklahoma City Bombing to them; it's too recent to be mentioned in history class at school. (They were eight months and 30 months old when it occurred.)
OTOH, the events of April 19, 1995 didn't have the kind of fallout September 11, 2001 had. We didn't declare war based on a lie about weapons of mass destruction; we didn't use that war as an excuse to line the pockets of the defense industry, including the sitting vice-president (due to his connections to Halliburton); we didn't turn the terrorism into an excuse to profile and persecute a particular demographic in our population, despite the fact that the April 19 date was specifically used as a "dig" at our government for previous attempts to root out domestic terrorists (the Waco incident in particular) and despite the fact that, each year on April 19, our government isn't so much mourning the victims of the OKC bombing as on the highest alert level for new acts of domestic terrorism.
Just as April 19, 1995 changed the people of Oklahoma City, September 11, 2001 changed the entire country, and not in a good way. Six months after it happened I wrote and posted an afterword to Psychic Serpent that included a good run-down of where I was and what I was doing on that day, and especially the way the online Harry Potter community around the world rallied around its members in the US and offered words of love and encouragement and hope, but mainly solidarity. Oneness. A message of unity and togetherness that flies in the face of the splintering and factionalism that our government fomented from that day forward, a legacy that the current administration is fighting to an extent, but which is an uphill battle.
Here is what I wrote six months after the attacks. *
Just as the government must be on alert for attacks on April 19 every year now, we must also worry about new attacks each September 11, and in fact one was evidently thwarted with the capture of some men who, it seems, were hoping to blow up bridges leading into NYC today. Despite the sympathy and solidarity the world felt toward the US on the day of the attacks and in the days to follow, our actions in the ensuing ten years have not endeared us to anyone and have only made such new terror attempts more, not less likely.
If there's one thing I pray for it's that we find a way to repair the rift between our country and the rest of the world that has been created by our military and other reactions (such as profiling, Homeland Security, the TSA) to the events of ten years ago. We may have been attacked from without on that day, but since that time the damage we've been doing to our country has largely come from within. There may always now be pockets of terrorists around the world eager to see what they can do to make us doubt our safety; killing Osama Bin Laden wasn't going to fix that. But perhaps we can someday at least return to having the kind of allies we had then, who grieved with us and said, "Today, we are all Americans," without a trace of irony.
* I haven't uploaded a new version of this file in a while and it still has smartquotes in it, so for some of it to display correctly you need to go to the "View" menu on your browser and select Western European to avoid having weird little boxes appear in places in the file where other characters should be.
|» Chapter 25: April Fool|
Chapter 25: April Fool|
1. It was--a bit of a shock at first. But--well, they're both over the age of consent. She's already sixteen, he'll be sixteen soon.
Remember, in the PS universe the age of consent is 15, based on the idea that this was considered high hundreds of years earlier, when Muggles routinely married (girls, anyway) at the age of 11 or 12 and boys weren't exactly discouraged from sexual activity at about the same age or slightly older; the governors of Hogwarts wanted to discourage wizards and witches marrying on about the same schedule as Muggles in order to complete their magical educations, or at least more of their education. It also seemed to me that in many ways wizards are somewhat reluctant to bring their laws in line with Muggle custom (since this was bucking a Muggle custom of the time), as if the Muggle ways were superior. Hence the retention of a younger age, from an earlier time. (But also a very pragmatic attitude about giving girls of 15 or older access to a certain potion, assuring that they can complete their educations regardless of their social lives.)
2. "We're kinsmen! We're in the same clan! Oh, I cannot believe I'm in the same clan as Harry Potter..."
Far be it from me to pass up an opportunity for Colin to fanboy Harry Potter. :)
3. Blaise Zabini and Niamh Quirke appeared to be partners, in a blue and green tartan with a red and yellow overlay.
Someone on the Schnoogle message boards congratulated me for "knowing" that Blaise was a boy after reading this chapter. I don't know--it always seemed obvious to me, due to Blaise Pascal.
4. "This is Neville," she said then, realizing that she ought to introduce him to her oldest brother. "Neville, this is Bill."
They shook hands, each of them looking a little like they were squeezing too hard. Bill smiled. "Nice to meet you Neville. You know that if you ever hurt my baby sister I will personally kill you." He smiled broadly, having said this in the friendliest voice imaginable. Neville looked at him with his mouth open. Ginny's eyes were wild.
Now George had come over with Angelina and Fred with Susan Bones. They'd heard what Bill had said. Bill laughed, clapped Neville on the shoulder. Neville winced. "Just kidding, Neville! Just kidding!"
Fred and George looked at Neville very seriously (especially for them). "No he's not," they said in unison.
That'll give Harry something to think about! Er, and Neville, too. I also like an oportunity to have the twins be in sync.
5. "Hermione! I didn't know you played the cello!"
Aaaaand--more foreshadowing for the sequel.
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|» Chapter 24: Awakenings|
Chapter 24: Awakenings|
1. "--or did you think 'Ginny' was short for 'Gingivitis?'"
I was surprised that a lot of people thought this was genuinely funny. I was trying to insert what I thought would be perceived as somewhat lame humor--because it always strikes me as unrealistic for every person in something I'm reading to be equally witty and constantly spouting humorous one-liners. Fortunately, JKR doesn't do that. In canon, Ron's the one who's best at that sort of thing, although Harry's definitely inspired by his relatives to produce some rather cynically humourous lines. Hermione--not so much. This just struck me as something only she would find funny, due to her parents, but apparently some others thought it was too. Go figure. I'm probably not nearly as good at intentionally being funny--I tend to fall into it by accident (perhaps not unlike Hermione).
2. "For those of you in Gryffindor, the headmaster wishes you to know that you should report to the Great Hall for Charms class next period. Evidently, the substitute professor has decided to grace us with his presence early."
Of COURSE Snape doesn't care for him. Well, for that matter, a lot of other characters don't either...
3. Of course, Snape hadn't liked or trusted Sirius or Lupin, but after what Harry had seen in the Pensieve, he wasn't too surprised. (Snape seemed to be moving past that now.)
Massive miscalculation there on my part--JKR wasn't writing a Snape who was EVER going to "move past" these things. If he had it would have completely changed huge parts of her story.
4. But when he entered the Great Hall and saw who the teacher was, Harry was shocked. Dumbledore! No, wait, he thought; that's not Dumbledore...
Actually, Harry, it IS. (Well, it's a person with the name Dumbledore.)
5. "All charges were dropped, although it did keep the Daily Prophet gossip mill spinning for some time. And I still maintain that 'inappropriate' is in the eye of the beholder..."
I love that JKR included this in the books in the first place. "Inappropriate" charms on a goat! Good grief, what were we supposed to think? Yet another way her writing appeals to all ages--I'm sure that just sailed over kids' heads but had their parents busting a gut trying not to laugh at something they may not have been prepared to explain to their kids. Well, the parents with a sense of humor who didn't become enraged by this inclusion. (IMO, if you become enraged by things like this being in a book children are reading in droves you need to have your funny bone examined.)
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|» Chapter 23: Flight|
Chapter 23: Flight|
1. Hermione hit her head with her hand. "Oh! That ride on Buckbeak..." Harry remembered how she'd hated that.
Sorry, I couldn't resist throwing that in...
2. "Davies and Quirke took them to the infirmary, and it is my understanding that Madam Pomfrey has still been unable to reverse the effect of--of whatever it was you did to them."
"Whatever I did?" Harry tried not to yell, but it was difficult in the face of such an accusation.
I'm such a terrible person--I find it oddly enjoyable to put poor Harry through the wringer with things like this.
3. "So, Potter," he drawled, "this is where you come to hide from your adoring public."
"Yeah," Harry replied, still lying down. "The adoring public that wants to flay me alive, behead me, and feed my body to the giant squid in the lake."
"Ah, the price of fame..." Malfoy was enjoying himself.
Yes, I'm aware that this isn't really Canon!Draco.
4. "Harry!" Hagrid called to him from the fire. "Close the bloody door!" Harry reluctantly did so, watching Neville and Ginny walk arm in arm around the lake through a slowly shrinking opening, until he had finally closed it all the way. But as he sat in Hagrid's cabin, drinking tea, listening to the others discuss the dueling, he still saw them in his mind’s eye, strolling through the snowy twilight.
Harry just can't take his eyes off her, can he? (That much is canon!)
5. During the week, Harry noticed that where Ron usually sat near Harry and Hermione in classes and Parvati sat near Lavender, Lavender was more often on her own while Ron and Parvati sat together. When Argent began mewing softly in Binns’ class, Parvati took the kitten from him surreptitiously, holding her under the desk, stroking her with her finger softly, while Ron tried to look back at Binns innocently and answer questions about Boris the Bewildered. Hermione started to get quite snippy with Ron, until she hardly spoke to him at all when it wasn’t absolutely necessary.
Hermione also can't take her eyes off Ron. :D (In canon, of course, she doesn't become jealous of his paying attention to Lavender, rather than Parvati, until HBP.)
6. He quickly pointed his wand at Neville again, crying, "Expelliarmus!" wanting the fight to be over finally, but Neville dodged it nimbly, pointing his wand at Harry and sending another passus curse his way, aimed at his left leg. Harry sidestepped it, and they spent a while then, it seemed, hurling curses and Confundus charms and hexes at each other and dodging them.
Harry wasn’t sure how long they’d been dueling. He was vaguely aware of Hermione watching with her fist in her mouth, Snape pacing back and forth, frowning, the crowd of students beyond the circle standing on tables and chairs to see, the hubbub in the hall growing to a deafening pitch.
I had more fun writing this than I can possibly say!
7. "Nineteen," Harry said loudly and clearly, raising his own wand now, looking at Snape, and then Neville, starting to smile. Snape gave a very slight nod of the head, preparing to amend his words.
"Nineteen votes for Longbottom!" he decreed, the last syllable of Neville's last name suddenly lost in the roar of acclamation that emanated from the gathered students and teachers as everyone let their feelings be known. The sound bounced around the hard stone walls and floors, threatening to reach a deafening pitch, and in the midst of it, Harry put his wand in his robes and stepped toward Neville, his right hand extended. Neville paused for only a second, also pocketing his wand and taking Harry’s hand, shaking it.
I'm so glad Neville got to be a badass in canon. :D I just wish we'd seen more of it first-hand.
|» Chapter 22: Cho's Mistake|
Chapter 22: Cho's Mistake|
1. He had forgotten about Neville, whose mouth was open in shock. Then Neville’s brain connected to his mouth. "Aaaaaah!" Neville screamed.
Sometimes when you're extremely shocked there's just a slight delay in reacting, you know? Poor Neville. ;)
2. "Silver is the only thing that can kill a werewolf, Potter," Snape said matter-of-factly. Harry nodded, looking down at his hands, trying to imagine his best friend asking him to do the same. If Ron asked him to kill him, could he ever do it?
Ah, more foreshadowing for the sequel(s)...
3. Fudge doesn’t want to admit he was wrong about his return.
I got this right to an extent, but didn't carry it as far as OotP. I thought the Ministry campaign against Harry in OotP was a brilliant move on JKR's part.
4. "The BBC," read Ginny softly, "reported that when rescuers were finally able to enter the station proper, they found the word POTTER scrawled on the wall in an unknown green substance. Since the BBC has reported this, a number of groups heretofore unknown to the police have claimed responsibility. Among them are Pagans of the True Earth Resurrected, People Obliged to Treat Everyone Rotten, and Proponents of Traditional Trades Expressing Rage."
Working out a number of acronyms that would spell POTTER was both fun and extremely difficult.
5. But Cho was the one who was upset. "Harry! This is our Valentine's date! And you're--you're bringing house elves?" she sputtered in disbelief.
OMG, I'd forgotten that I actually had Harry and Cho go on a disastrous date in Hogsmeade near Valentine's Day! And--he also ditches her for something related to Hermione (elves, in this case). I totally did not remember writing this!
6. "Harry!" said Hermione. "We're a bit high up to be going out the window, don't you think?"
He smiled at her. "Not if you can fly."
Do you how long I was waiting to use that line? That's right--twenty-two chapters. :D
|» Chapter 21: The Dueling Club|
Chapter 21: The Dueling Club|
1. The large black dog that had taken his place sniffed the floor and then went unerringly to Harry in his hiding place.
Having a dog Animagus for a godfather isn't always a distinct advantage. ;)
2. “Interrupt? What makes you think you interrupted anything?” Harry’s voice sounded unnaturally high to him.
Again: Godfather. Dog animagus. You're not fooling anyone, Harry.
3. "So. You didn’t give Snape any goblets of blood?"
"Goblets of--did he tell you about that?"
"Well, in a roundabout way," he said, figuring that was a reasonably accurate description of having found out about it while he was in the Pensieve.
Huh. Another thing that's reminding me of OotP, specifically when Harry confronted Sirius about his and James's behavior as witnessed through the Pensieve.
4. Harry frowned. "But--you’re not old enough. You can’t get a license until you’re of age. It’s illegal otherwise."
The thing about Harry at this stage is that he's still so innocent--he doesn't think like an unscrupulous person who'll do anything to accomplish his ends. He'll move a lot closer to that point, but he's not there yet.
5. He thought of Ginny, kissing Malfoy in the conservatory at the Christmas party...If Malfoy helped put Lucius Malfoy in Azkaban, the Weasleys could probably forgive Harry after the fact for not telling anyone about Ginny and Draco Malfoy. But if he was lying...
Well, okay, not COMPLETELY innocent. ;)
6. The golden griffin was gone; now they were onto snow sprites, because they were in season.
I couldn't remember if I'd made up the snow sprites or not, so I checked Fantastic Beasts and, sure enough, it doesn't appear there. (There's nothing between Snidget and Sphinx.) I guess I made it up, like the golden griffin. Of course, other people have thought to combine the word "snow" and "sprite"--I've found a number of things online by Googling this. But I don't recall seeing any of this ten years ago. I don't think others got this from me--I just think it's the kind of thing folks can simultaneously come up with (combining two words, that is--I don't know how anyone else's concept of snow sprites compares to mine).
7. They took off their robes, but were still sweating profusely while wrestling with the magical kudzu which had tripled in size over the previous week; pruning it back was very dangerous, and twice it caught Ron around the neck and tried to cut off his air.
I am firmly convinced that kudzu is a magical plant that wizards recklessly allowed to infiltrate the muggle world. ;) (Seriously--have you ever wrangled with this stuff?)
8. "I once hauled in a dark wizard who had attacked a man’s kidneys with Passus so many times in quick succession, he died of renal failure." The students looked around at each other with alarm. "Of course, we won’t be doing anything like that today." He sounded like he was saving that lesson for a special treat...
Heh. I did enjoy writing Moody. ;)
9. Harry looked to his left; Seamus was being cursed by Neville, whose voice, speaking the curse, had an authority Harry was still getting used to.
10. "You did it, didn't you Potter?" he growled. Harry swallowed, gazing back at his lopsided, gruesome visage. "You got sick of the pain and started working out a way to block it on your own, didn’t you?"
If this seems a bit reminiscent of GoF and Harry conquering Imperius, that is completely intentional (down to Moody being the teacher, even though it was really Faux!Moody in GoF).
11. "Couldn't have done that at fifteen if I'd been offered five-thousand galleons and a go at the Queen Mum." They all stared at him, shocked. "Oh, come on. When she was young, she was quite a dish."
And now that I'm rereading this, I'm picturing Helena Bonham Carter playing her in The King's Speech. Ha!
12. "That's a total of one-hundred and ninety duels!" Hermione whispered to Harry and Ron, doing the math quickly. They nodded at her, as if they’d figured it out too.
At first I was going to write--no, I shouldn't have written that, because Harry and Ron would NOT have worked out the math on this. But then I looked more closely at what I'd written, and it simply says "as if they'd figured it out", which they clearly hadn't.
13. Harry couldn't help going to his knees; oddly, his own wand looked to him like a long, curving knife. It was quite beautiful, with a fork-tongued dragon etched down the side, the handle being its tail. He'd never seen such a beautiful knife. It was so beautiful, he knew he just had to plunge it inside himself...
I definitely decided to go darker than JKR with something like this, but, then again, I did go out of my way to give it an R-rating.
|» Chapter 20: Dark Deeds|
Chapter 20: Dark Deeds|
1. And yet, if he had let Snape die, he would have had a clear field. He had no way of knowing that Lily wouldn't be just as much Snape's girlfriend after the incident as before. Instead, she seemed to be impressed that he had saved the life of her boyfriend with no thought of reward....That was what had changed everything, Harry thought.
This goes back to what I thought the first time I read the first book (after I picked it up after throwing it across the room because I eventually found out that the "Sorcerer's Stone" was really a Philosopher's Stone and I wanted to throttle everyone at Scholastic). Somehow it just never hung together for me that Snape was really angry with James just for saving his life. Of course, we also know now that James behaved like a complete prick toward Snape from Day One. But even if the prick who teased and bullied you from your first day of school saved your life, that alone still wouldn't necessarily make you say, "I don't care if you just saved my life, you still suck." The only way it made any sense for me in any way was if Snape wanted to be with Lily but she went off with James. So--the Prince's Tale? Absolutely not surprised by anything except how young they were when they met.
2. Harry saw it first; the Snitch was near the Gryffindor goal posts, not a foot off the ground. As usual when he saw a Snitch, his hand started itching to grab it.
I like it when something that's simply in character can also serve as foreshadowing for the sequel. :D
3. "Malfoy. Seventh year when I was in first."
Making Lucius six years older than Snape, Lily and the Marauders, born in 1954 to their 1960. It seemed about right to me--and, evidently, to JKR, too, who revealed his age in OotP to match exactly with his being six years ahead of Snape in school. :D
4. My father's French family has almost as bloody a history--always managed to be on the winning side, whether it was the revolution, or the reversals that followed, or the Vichy regime...
Draco's comments to Harry at the end of GoF pretty much clinched for me that ideology was less important to the Malfoys than just being on the winning side--whatever it was. And we got to see that in DH (especially the film versions).
5. Don’t bother coming to the funeral. You won't be welcome. Not when you could have saved her and refused. What's the point of you being a witch if you won't save her? You know what you are, and that husband of yours? Unnatural. Abnormal.
I have to say, I always felt that Harry's complete lack of grandparents when his parents were so young was merely "convenient" to the plot and not particularly justified by anything in the text. Harry simply needed not to have relatives besides the Dursleys and so he didn't. It always felt like to me like JKR could have at least said why the Evanses had died. (James's parents were supposed to be quite old when they had him, which is more excuse than we get for why Lily and Petunia are parentless so young.) Considering how much verbiage fans have spent on discussing why Harry absolutely HAD to live with the Dursleys you'd think she'd have come up with something to tell them (in addition to the blood-protection thing, that is). Perhaps this will come out in Pottermore? Those of you who are in the know, feel free to comment on that.
6. "Please--promise me you’ll say that you’ll raise Harry to serve the Dark Lord. You don’t have to mean it! Just say it! Save your life--Harry’s life--James’ life. Do whatever is necessary..."
Of course, you do need to mean such a thing if Voldemort puts an Obediance Charm on your son...
7. Albus Dumbledore was entering; but he was much more subdued in his facial expression and clothes than they'd ever seen him. He wore a grey traveling cloak over black robes; the cloak’s hood was up, so that all they could see of his head was a sliver of his face, nonetheless recognizable.
I can't decide if I was inspired here by Gandalf or Obi-Wan. Perhaps a little of each. ;)
8. Harry must have blinked then, because suddenly Snape was whipping out his wand and pointing it at Crouch, crying, "Expelliarmus!" causing Crouch to fly backwards, striking a large boulder, while his wand went flying into the air and into Snape's waiting hand. Crouch lay on the boulder, inert.
"He must be knocked out," Hermione whispered to Harry.
Since the disarming charm is Harry's "signature" spell I liked having Snape use it similarly, especially since he taught it to Harry. (So it would have been satisfying for that reason, too, if it had been clear in the last film that this is what Harry had used against Voldemort in the final duel...) And, of course, Crouch being knocked out also serves as foreshadowing for the sequel.
9. Snape did not show any sign of surprise that Harry was alive; he seemed to care for one thing only. Snape sank to his knees beside Lily, gathering her body to him, cradling her, as his anguished sobs competed with the baby’s bawling.
See, when this is very nearly what occurred in DH (especially in the film version, when we can see Snape holding Lily as Harry looks on) it just seemed logical to me. Why would anyone expect Snape to do anything else, and why is it creepy? Harry was okay. Voldemort was gone. Lily was dead and he loved her and was mourning. I've seen/read fictional depictions of people holding and crying over dead loved ones before and I don't recall anyone responding with, "Ewww! Creepy necrophiliac!" So this criticism of Snape is one I just don't get.
10. "A dark wizard is coming."
Oh, how people debated that last line after I posted this chapter! We even had a survey on the Yahoo group. Which was probably why I felt I really had to resolve the question as quickly as possible in the next chapter. (Which I did.)
|» Chapter 19: The Mind of Severus Snape|
Chapter 19: The Mind of Severus Snape|
1. "Thank you for your help. I would've botched it, most likely." Snape? Harry thought, trying not to laugh.
And--I made Lily a potions wiz ten years ago. Mwahahahaha! (Man, did I enjoy the first time I read Half-Blood Prince!)
2. Suddenly, Lily pulled back and slapped him hard across the face.
"Yes!" Harry cried gleefully. "Go Mum!"
It just seemed natural to me that Harry would cheer her on after she slapped Snape. ;)
3. Harry remembered then that the Eutharsos Potion he'd taken had probably still been in effect on the day of the Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch match. Was that how he'd gotten up the nerve to kiss Ginny?
If you think you're seeing some Severus/Lily and Harry/Ginny parallels, you're not wrong. And before the end of the series you'll see more than a few (with twists, obviously, since Harry and Ginny end up together).
4. "You obviously pay much more attention in Herbology than I do."
"That goes without saying," she said, her eyebrows raised.
Yeah, I never saw Harry as someone who was terribly into Herbology.
5. "You're enjoying this?"
"Well," she seemed reluctant to admit any such thing. "I suppose I'm not as invested in it. That's not my mum over there."
"And that's not my dad," Harry reminded her. "That would be different."
And yet, now that I think about it--it wouldn't be that different. Who wants to watch their parents making out, after all?
6. She didn't say anything, just gazed at him expectantly, withholding verbal judgment, and yet somehow looking rather judgmental at the same time. If she'd have raised me, Harry reflected, I wouldn’t have gotten away with anything.
Which was pretty much what he experiences in the next fic...
7. "No, Lily. I am not a bloody vampire. Pardon the pun. I have porphyria."
Did I ever expect JKR to reveal that Snape had porphyria? Not at all. But did I expect her to reveal that he was a vampire? I thought that was even less likely. This is one of the few times (I'm sure there are others) where I was poking fun at fandom, specifically the people espousing the Snape-is-a-Vampire theory. I especially love that JKR never EVER explains away the things people took as sure signs that he was a vampire because--there was nothing to explain! It's called "imagery", or "allusion", or whatever's appropriate to call her various evocative character descriptions. Just because it's literature doesn't mean you're supposed to take it literally. ;)
8. "Of course, Stoker had plenty of contact with real vampires, but he couldn't put anything in the book that hit too close to home. He was a vampire hunter, you know. A really powerful wizard, killed loads of them. Evidently, he wanted more Muggles to know what to do, too, to make his job easier, so he wrote the book as a kind of instruction manual, disguising it as entertainment. He taught Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts for a while."
I do love opportunities to make a real-world person a wizard!
9. They went instinctively to the Gryffindor table, but the people sitting there talking seemed to be speaking gibberish.
I'm still not clear on how JKR thinks Pensieves work. It seems to me that if the person whose memory it is didn't actually hear what someone said or didn't see what they wrote then they wouldn't be able to experience it through the Pensieve.
10. He wouldn't trust any Slytherin as far as he could throw one. Except--Snape was Slytherin...Harry felt conflicted and confused.
Harry's confusion about this will continue for quite a while, of course.
11. But Harry was thinking about the fact that she’d mentioned Ron; it might not have been conscious, but it seemed they’d been avoiding saying his name.
How interesting JKR's use of names is. I think she was right to have Harry and Hermione avoid using his name after he left in DH, and then it was Hermione saying his name that made it possible for him to return. Clever woman, JKR.
12. Lily had removed her wand from her robes and pointed it at James now. It was an eerie feeling for Harry, seeing his parents as teenagers, looking angrily at each other with their wands out. How did they ever get together? he wondered.
I'd almost forgotten about how similar this is to the bit in Snape's Pensieve in OotP! Including Harry wondering how his parents got togehter.
13. She looked shocked. "A werewolf?"
I wonder if JKR will ever tell us when Lily found out. In OotP's Pensieve scenes she doesn't seem to know yet.
14. “You--you--” she struggled. “You saved Severus’ life.”
He looked embarrassed. "Yes, well--if he had died, it would have made you sad," he said softly.
This was one of the first things I ever wrote for this fic, and I was champing at the bit so hard to use it again in ToGI! (And yes--this is one of the Severus/Lily and Harry/Ginny parallels, with a twist.) I also wouldn't be at all surprised if saving Snape was one of the ways Lily had felt James had matured and become more interesting to her. (Something else I hope JKR tells us about!)
|» Chapter 18: Boxing Day|
Chapter 18: Boxing Day|
1. "Dobby has them outside playing in the snow right now, if you can believe it. I think I'll check on them soon, make sure they're not trying to clean the windows or shovel paths to the greenhouses!"
I did enjoy doing Boxing Day at Hogwarts with the elves!
2. Harry made a face. "It's Wormtail who should have been in Slytherin."
You know that every anti-Slytherin thing in the first fic is just pure set-up for the second fic, right?
3. He pointed his wand, crying, "Accio!" causing the cleaning flannels to leap from the hands of the small dynamos. Unfortunately, he didn't figure on what to do with over twenty cleaning flannels, all hurtling quickly toward him. In moments, he was covered with them and couldn't see, but they were immediately retrieved by the elves, who resumed work. All right, he thought. The old-fashioned way. He put his wand away and started going down the table, yanking them out of the elves' hands one by one, having to fight a couple who were ready for him.
This kind of farcical opportunity is why I loved doing this so. :D
4. Hoping that his voice would actually sound normal, he prepared to say a name he realized he’d never before in his life uttered out loud.
It just made sense to me that Snape would still think of her as Lily Evans, not Lily Potter. And remember, this was TEN YEARS AGO.
5. "So," she said, "how does this work? You've done this before."
It's only just occurred to me that the only people who were with Harry in a Pensieve in the canon books were Dumbledore--and Snape. And, in canon, the only person whose memories Harry explored in a Pensieve except for those gathered from other people (like Slughorn) were Dumbledore's memories--and Snape's.
And who did Snape's memories chiefly concern?
That's right--LILY EVANS.
I'll say it again--TEN YEARS AGO.
|» Cross-pollinating fen|
One thing I haven't seen anyone mention on their journal is that Darren Criss is slated to replace Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway when Radcliffe leaves How to Succeed in Business. (I stumbled on this tidbit quite accidentally, by reading an actual newspaper.) This is, from a marketing standpoint, just about the most perfect casting that could be accomplished in these circumstances. Absolutely perfect.|
Think about it: Fans of HP can STILL go to see someone who has become known for playing Harry Potter in the Broadway musical, AND now Gleeks get one of their own in the show, so they can, potentially, continue to attract just as many HP fen (including those who've seen the show with Radcliffe, if they want to do a compare-and-contrast) plus attracting Gleeks, PLUS delighting all of those who are both HP fen and Gleeks (you know who you are :D).
What's next for Daniel Radcliffe, starring in A Very Potter Sequel Sequel on YouTube? ;)
You never know!
|» Chapter 17: Scars|
Chapter 17: Scars|
1. Harry hiding in Fluffy's lair just seems very teenaged boy to me.
2. He heard a hissing voice under his robes saying, “Liar.” Oh, shut up, Harry thought.
So Sandy sometimes plays the role of Jiminy Cricket. ;)
3. Harry leafed through the book; in a table listing the names of those who were, in the author's opinion, the greatest Quidditch captains of Hogwarts teams in the last century, Harry saw the entry "Charles Weasley, Gryffindor." Then he saw that Ron had handwritten at the bottom, "Harry Potter, Gryffindor."
This just seemed to me like something Ron would do.
4. He would close his eyes in the dark cupboard, lean back on his mean, scratchy blanket on his spider-infested mattress on the floor, and listen to the voice, the voice of a mother singing her precious son to sleep...Nevermind that it wasn’t his mother, that he wasn’t the precious son. He could close his eyes and listen and imagine...
I liked any opportunity to illuminate Harry's earlier years a little more (in my own way, of course).
5. They were all dressed in cloaks that looked patched together from multiple animal skins, at least several hundred required for each cloak. But they weren’t skins from small animals like rabbits or foxes. The heads had been left on, and Harry could see deer, enormous bears, mountain lions, wolves...
I had to ask myself, "What sort of clothing would giants wear?" And the answer turned out to create a sterling opportunity for vivid imagery.
6. Then, finally, Roger and Fleur shared a cracker that emitted small white doves and a bridal veil and black top hat, much to Roger's consternation. He turned quite red, while Fleur busied herself about trying on the veil and getting others around her to tell her how striking she looked. She shoved the top hat on Roger's head so hard, he had to struggle to pull it off, and when he did, there was a telltale red mark across his forehead.
Ooh, I'd forgotten that I included this bit of foreshadowing!
7. "However, I should not be too angry, my wayward one, because this evening you will be very useful to me. In fact, extremely useful. You see, a new Death Eater is here who will take your place, and your fate will amply demonstrate to him what happens to those who do not obey their Master."
This is particularly true for Draco, of course, since he has the Obedience Charm on him. And it ultimately does turn out to be true at the end of the Triangle Prophecy, when this foreshadowing comes to fruition...
8. The Dark Lord turned; in less than a second, his wand was aimed at the fleeing trio.
And yet another of my evil cliffhangers...
|» Chapter 16: The Christmas Party|
Continuing the 10-year anniversary annotation of Psychic Serpent...|
Chapter 16: The Christmas Party
( Cuts are our friends...Collapse )
|» Deathly Hallows, Part II|
This was my post from last November about the first seven HP films. To be consistent, I will attempt to follow the same format in examining the eighth film.|
B. Coherent storyline
D. Special effects
E. Judicious exclusions of book material
F. Judicious inclusion of new material
G. Visual artistry
I. Disruptive WTF moments
J. Disruptive anti-canonical stuff (as opposed to non-canonical)
Here we go!
Deathly Hallows, Part II
( Just in case one or two of you haven't seen it yet, here be spoilers...Collapse )
|» She's the Twilight of people|
If you enjoy Harry Potter (and I know you do) AND enjoy the brilliant show Community, you may also enjoy this:|
Harry Potter and the Greendale Study Group
FWIW, I think the characters of Annie and Britta were particularly well-nailed, although I also loved Troy biting his hand to keep from commenting on something Britta said/did. You'll see what I mean.
|» Chapter 15: Dueling with Snape|
Chapter 15: Dueling with Snape|
1. Ron had also come in for his share of admiration; Padma Patil, of all people, had wangled an invitation to the Gryffindor common room from her twin on Sunday, and she and Parvati had spent a great deal of time with Ron, who looked like he couldn’t believe his good fortune, surrounded by gorgeous twins who were hanging on his every word.
Another similarity to HBP, rather than OotP, is Ron's status after his first successful Quidditch match. I didn't put him with Lavender, choosing Parvati instead, who just seemed like less of a cipher to me. (We'd seen a little more of her character in previous books.) Still, it seemed perfectly plausible to me that Ron should parlay his Quidditch success into a way to get girls.
2. Hermione seemed to be as annoyed with Ron as she was with Harry; every time she looked up from her reading at Ron and the Patil twins, she was looking daggers at him.
Yeah, yet another reason why I wasn't shocked in HBP by a) Ron hooking up with a girl who was chiefly pursuing him because he'd become good at Quidditch and b) Hermione not taking well to this. All of this seemed perfectly reasonable to me, given what we'd seen in the previous books, and I wrote this several years before HBP came out.
3. He remembered the trials he’d seen in Dumbledore’s Pensieve, the hard-faced Death Eaters, and the way Dumbledore had stood and defended Snape when Karkaroff had tried to implicate him in order to get out of Azkaban. If only there were some way for him to understand better, to understand what his mother ever saw in him, understand why Dumbledore trusted him...
And then, as he was unpacking his potions supplies, he had it: The Pensieve. If only Snape had a Pensieve; if only he would use it to store whatever memories he had of his mum...
I have to say, I really didn't expect JKR to allow Harry to see some of Snape's school memories in a Pensieve (even though Harry wasn't doing it with permission in OotP). But when this happened, it did tickle me. :D
4. "Those of us who are Animagi--we think we are choosing the animals, but I have always suspected that in a very real way, the animal actually chooses us."
Which actually puts this process very much in line with what JKR has said on the matter. :D
5. "And are you planning to 'accidentally' fall into this one? Does this--friend think his thoughts will still be his?"
In canon, of course, Snape didn't deign to show Harry the thoughts and memories that truly illuminated everything for him until he was about to die.
6. "That's if I live to graduate from Hogwarts," Harry said glumly.
Yes, I know. I'm wincing too.
7. "I know you’re laughing now, but think about it. A teenage boy--how better to get at him than going through a teenage girl?"
Which sums up Voldemort's plan in a nutshell (in this fic, that is). And it's not that different from what actually occurred in OotP: Voldemort using someone Harry cared about (Sirius, in that case) to manipulate him.
8. Harry remembered him saying to Sirius that Harry didn’t even give him credit for saving his life. Harry also remembered Hermione whimpering, “We attacked a teacher...we attacked a teacher...Oh, we’re going to be in so much trouble,” when Snape had flown across the room and struck his head against the wall. Snape could have had them all expelled.
I know Snape was more focussed on having Sirius apprehended at the time (and he DID think that he'd betrayed Lily) but he really could have made a case for Harry, Ron and Hermione suffering at least some punishment for knocking him out.
9. "I thought," said Harry, "it would be a way for the students to be prepared. For what's to come. Now that Voldemort's back."
Which was exactly the rationale in OotP (although Hermione also wanted to do well on her OWLs).
10. He pointed his wand at Snape again, saying, "A tempo!"
This spell is actually a musical term that means "return to the original tempo/speed" after either a speeding-up of the musical tempo or slowing down. It's Italian, not Latin, but it seemed like the perfect way to end a spell affecting the speed at which someone moves.
11. And then he realized that unless somebody else signed up for Christmas break who was from Gryffindor--
He and Hermione would be alone in Gryffindor Tower.
I think this calls for another DUN DUN DUUUUUN!
|» Chapter 14: Gryffindor vs. Slytherin|
Chapter 14: Gryffindor vs. Slytherin|
1. I believe, without checking my copy of OotP, that the first and only Quidditch match Harry played in his fifth year, as written by JKR, was also against Slytherin. That didn't end very well, of course, since Harry was banned for "life" from playing Quidditch after that. (Ha! As if. :D)
2. My recollection is that JKR has only mentioned what some of the conditions of the Animagus transfiguration are outside of the books, so IMO, there's nothing in the books to contradict my version here. :)
3. Harry suddenly seemed to be talking Quidditch morning, noon and night, driving the other seven players crazy and making even Quidditch-crazy Ron want to stick Harry's Firebolt in his mouth (or somewhere else, he had threatened more than once).
The legacy of Oliver Wood lives on...
( And...this is long enough that it probably needs a cut.Collapse )
|» Chapter 13: Cats and More Cats|
Chapter 13: Cats and More Cats|
1. Wow what a fantastic chapter title! /sarcasm
It's true and all, but yeah, not one of my finer moments. Moving on...
( This one has seventeen points, so I'm using a cut...Collapse )
On another note, my daughter has tickets for a midnight show of the final film, but it's at a theatre I hate, so I think I'll go the next day to a place I like a lot better. Try not to spoil me too much before then!
|» Chapter 12: The Ram and the Dragon|
Chapter 12: The Ram and the Dragon|
1. Many will go, but few will stay.
Okay, I have a confession to make: it's been quite a while since I've gone through the whole series like this and I haven't the slightest idea what this is referring to. I'm sure I explained it at some point but right now I'm drawing a complete blank--my head is mainly full of my current writing project and there are no psychic snakes in that one. ;)
2. The masters will be servants and the servants will be masters.
I definitely know what this one is referring to: Boxing Day. But I'm still wracking my brain over that other one...
3. He could hope that perhaps the first prediction meant that Hagrid’s mother's friends would come initially, but most of them would go. Then he realized that their going might mean their joining Voldemort--okay, so he didn't hope that.
Yeah, except that I think I put this in here because that's exactly what the first large snake's prophecy meant. How could I forget about the giants? I really enjoyed writing the giants.
4. Ron and Ginny were playing chess, with Harry watching. She was the only one he’d ever seen beat Ron at chess, and he was determined to figure out how she was doing it.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. :facepalm:
5. Ron began putting the chess pieces away, then failed to stifle a huge yawn. "I think I'd better get upstairs before I fall asleep on the chess board and wake up with angry pawns stuck to my face."
:looks around cautiously: Yeah, I'll admit it: sometimes I make myself laugh. :D
6. "A ram will meet a dragon," said Sandy suddenly. Damn! Harry thought. He was seriously reconsidering the wisdom of having a snake.
I just had to go and spoil Harry's fun again, didn't I? I'm terrible. :D
7. Ginny set her jaw defiantly as Hermione grabbed her arm and dragged her back up the stairs with her.
Now Defiant!Ginny is most certainly something JKR showed us in OotP. I really wish they'd done the bit in the book, played for laughs, where Ginny is raging up and down the house because Molly won't let her stay in the kitchen to hear about what the Order's been up to...
8. Malfoy pushed him off. "Harry Potter, hypocrite. Some things never change, do they? Nothing happened because Ginny and I interrupted you, and that's probably the only reason. I can't believe you..."
What Harry really can't stand here is that Malfoy is absolutely right, of course.
9. "Yeah. I’m glad Moody's planning to teach us how to cope with the Cruciatus Curse. Then maybe when I upset my dad, he won’t know I can't feel what he's doing..."
That noise you hear is me facepalming over having written this bit. Definitely one of those, "What was I thinking?" moments.
|» Chapter 11: The Potions Dungeon|
I'd written up a few of these and then realized that I'd forgotten to post them! So here we are, continuing...|
Chapter 11: The Potions Dungeon
1. Harry decided to stay and keep an eye on them while they worked; Malfoy gazed at her and touched her hand quite a lot for Harry’s taste while they were working, but nothing else untoward happened; they neither kissed nor hugged again.
Both in the books and in my fics Harry learns quite a lot by conveniently hanging about under his Invisibility Cloak. Ah, the limits of one PoV character...
2. "Tutoring, Miss Weasley? You're at the top of your class; in fact, I am to understand from your other teachers that you are at the top of all of your classes." Harry felt his jaw drop from shock. He could see some surprise on Malfoy’s face as well.
Mea culpa! I definitely see why some people saw this as a Ginny Sue thing. But--JKR didn't do this in the books, Ginny was much more ordinary, and people still called the canon Ginny a Sue, which I don't think holds up to scrutiny at all.
3. Snape unlocked the door and walked to his desk, leaving the door open. Harry slipped in, relieved, but then Snape waved his wand at the door and it closed and locked, panicking Harry; he was stuck in Snape’s office now until he opened the door again. He hoped Snape didn’t have some device for detecting the presence of people wearing Invisibility Cloaks.
Or a talent, rather than a device: Occlumency. Fortunately for Harry, Occlumency doesn't exist in the PS universe. :D However, getting stuck in Snape's office is a definite hazard of sneaking around under an Invisibility Cloak!
4. But who was this Slytherin boyfriend? he wondered. Then, with a shock he knew. That was the Gryffindor-Slytherin cooperation Snape had been talking about...
That "ka-chunk" noise is Harry's thought processes finally catching up...
5. "It's not the past," Snape replied briskly, annoyed. "It's very much the present. It was after Lily that I--I was recruited. Without her, I didn’t see any reason why not. And then when I learned about the prophecy, about Lily and Potter being targeted--I became a Ministry spy. But it was too late; I couldn't save her."
That this is almost exactly the explanation we got in canon SIX YEARS LATER tickles me to no end!
6. Is she under a spell?
|» Chapter 10: The Top of the Beanstalk|
Chapter 10: The Top of the Beanstalk|
1. "Ginny--good, we need another woman's point of view. If you went on a date with Harry, and instead of kissing you when it was over he shook your hand, and then he didn’t talk to you for more than two weeks afterward, what would you think?"
Ginny looked at Harry, then away. He couldn’t help thinking that he would never behave that way toward her--
I can't help thinking that it would have been kind of nice if Hermione's smackdown of Harry after botching it with Cho (in canon) had included a little H/G moment...( Read more...Collapse )
All together now: dun dun DUN!
|» Chapter 9: The Date|
Chapter 9: The Date|
1. Harry was not looking forward to the first Hogsmeade weekend, two weeks after Hermione’s birthday. That meant, of course, that the day seemed to zoom at him with alarming speed.
Has anyone else noticed how often JKR wrote something similar in the series? (I'm not claiming to have foreseen this--she did it a lot in the first four books I had available at the time I wrote this.)
2. He had longed for nothing more that year than to be able to go to Hogsmeade, even if he had to wear his Invisibility Cloak and use secret passages out of the castle to do it. Now, Hogsmeade was the last place he wanted to go, especially on a double date with Viktor Krum, Cho Chang and Hermione.
This was another technique of JKR's that she used frequently: Harry mentally juxtaposing something he used to want badly and once he "gets" it, it becomes the last thing he wants. (I think that being in Dudley's second bedroom was the first time we read this--he wishes he were back under the stairs with his letter rather than in a real bedroom without it.)
3. Harry thought that it was possible now that there was something in the world more boring than one of Professor Binns’ classes: a date with Cho Chang. This experience should be bottled and sold as a sleep aid, he thought.
Well, it wasn't much different in canon, was it?
4. As they were shaking hands, Ginny emerged from the stairs to the Potions dungeon. She stopped dead when she saw Harry and Cho, frowning at first, then looking happier as she saw that no kissing was following the hand-shaking. Actually, she looked like she was going to laugh, thought Harry, who sincerely hoped she wouldn’t.
And--in OotP Harry and Cho also didn't kiss while on their date, or afterward. And in both cases Hermione did the equivalent of calling him an idiot.
|» An author who GETS it|
Best reaction I've seen to an author discovering people are slashing his seemingly-het characters. (And a good reaction in general to the existence of fanfiction based on his work.)|
I'm so glad that I've grown to like his books. They're major doorstops, mind you. (The second in the series is close on a thousand pages in hardback.) But that just means there's more to enjoy!
So good on Patrick Rothfuss. He seemed like he might be the sort who gets it, and I'm glad that he is.
|» Chapter 8: Divination with Sandy|
Chapter 8: Divination with Sandy|
Well, this is it: the one with the Tarot reading...
1. Professor Trelawney swept the cards back onto the table with a swish of her wand, and had Harry cut the pack. "Your birthday?" she asked. Harry couldn't believe how she kept forgetting; once she had insisted that he had been born during the winter. The other partners were dealing out cards and beginning their readings, oblivious to Harry and the professor.
I'm suddenly struck with a revelation about the canon: I think I know why Trelawney once told Harry that his birthday was in the winter: she was picking up on the vibe from Voldemort's soul-fragment that Harry had inside him! Because Voldemort's birthday IS in the winter, you see.
( And now for the Tarot reading...Collapse )
|» Chapter 7: The Real Moody|
Chapter 7: The Real Moody|
1. Harry and Ron rose together at this insult to Hagrid’s teaching ability--although they secretly agreed, they were Hagrid’s friends. They tolerated the way he ran Care of Magical Creatures out of staunch loyalty, but neither of them would have minded if Hagrid had suddenly become obsessed with kittens and puppies.
This reminds me of the way Hermione liked the lesson taught by Professor Grubbly-Plank and Harry and Ron were fiercely loyal to Hagrid over this. Also in the fifth year, so I would say this is actually one thing I nailed pretty well: Harry and Ron's staunch loyalty to Hagrid despite feeling some sympathy with the idea that teaching his lessons in a different manner wouldn't have been such a bad thing.
2. This would be his first class with the real Mad Eye Moody.
I really enjoyed Moody in the fourth book, even though he was Fake!Moody, and I'm glad he came back later in the series. I also enjoyed doing my take on what Real!Moody might have been like as a teacher.
3. “JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD.”
Something I never expected was for Moody's first lesson to end up seeming so appropriate to the events that occurred a week after I posted the epilogue of the fic: the attacks on 9/11. I had hoped, at the time, that it wouldn't seem too preachy, but the reaction most readers have given has been overwhelmingly positive. In this way Moody is definitely a bit of a departure from JKR's version, but I haven't heard a chorus of out-of-character complaints about him despite this (perhaps because the main example we had, at the time, was of a Moody who was actually an impostor).
4. Harry could think of plenty of times when teachers had told students--not usually him, true--to stop contemplating their fingernails, but this was the first time he’d ever heard a teacher tell a student to do more of it.
Was I disappointed that Harry turned out not to be an Animagus or Metamorphmagus? A little. But then, that's what we have fanfiction for. :D
5. Their eyes were locked somehow. Suddenly a bright flash went off out of the corner of Harry’s eye, and he realized Colin had taken their picture...
...He pictured Ginny’s face when she’d talked about flying...
I know the H/G is subtle at this stage, but it is definitely there. (I disagree heartily that the fic is 100% H/Hr! But more about that later...)
|» Chapter 6: Hermione’s Reputation|
Chapter 6: Hermione’s Reputation|
1. "Hmm. Manual labor. How Muggle!"
More foreshadowing for the sequel! This time it's a reference to Malfoy coming to work for Dick alongside Harry. He'll get to do his own manual labor then.
2. Alicia as head girl: I've never quite understood why the only time we knew who the head boy was it was Percy. I'd think this would be fairly important to know in any school with this system.
( The rest is long enough for a cut...Collapse )
|» Chapter 5: The Ringer|
Chapter 5: The Ringer|
1. In addition to The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 5, and other fifth-year versions of books they'd already been studying for the previous four years, Harry and Hermione also needed Taking the O.W.L.s: Preparing Yourself for the Worst Experience of Your Life, by Eglantine Etude. Fred and George gave Ron the copy they’d used (they had shared it) and this year they were going to share Percy's old copy of Taking the Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests (N.E.W.T.s): And You Thought the O.W.L.s Were Bad, again by Eglantine Etude.
Making up names for wizarding textbooks is another truly fun activity. I'm sure JKR enjoyed this, too!
2. Ron was still staring at his unwrapped Nimbus 2001, open mouthed. "I've never had a new broom before..."
So even though in OotP Ron's new broom was for being a prefect, I just realized that JKR and I still gave him his first new broom just before his fifth year! (And from family members!)
3. He calmly gave the waitress five gold Galleons; he wanted to leave her a generous tip after what Fred and George had put her through. Bill, meantime, had gotten her name so he could owl her.
I have to say, Bill and Fleur making eyes at each other before the final task of the tournament never struck me as foreshadowing for Bill/Fleur. It just seemed like they both appreciated how pretty the other was. ;) However, once it was mentioned in OotP that they were seeing each other ("English lessons") that did seem like foreshadowing for it to develop further, as it did.
4. Called two other things: Ron being a good Keeper and Ginny being a good Seeker. (Although, yeah, Harry should have caught the Snitch as many times as she did. Hindsight.)
5. Harry being Quidditch captain--not until his sixth year, it turns out.
That was another short one, but I promise Chapter Six is longer!
|» Chapter 4: Padfoot and the Knight Bus|
Chapter 4: Padfoot and the Knight Bus|
1. "Wingardium Leviosa," he said softly, tapping each of the trunks lightly. Petunia screamed again, not knowing what to expect; magic in her house!
It's only occurred to me now that this could have gotten Harry (and/or Hermione) called up before the Ministry due to the Restriction on Underage Magic. After all, who would they say had performed the spell--the fugitive Sirius Black? (Even though he did.) Let's just say that Malfalda Hopkirk was on her tea break and not paying attention...
2. Harry took his wand out of the holster on the belt he’d gotten from Ron and put his arm out as if to hail a cab.
Oh, good! I didn't forget the belt from Ron after all. I only forgot that I didn't forget. ;)
3. Ginny being slightly taller than Harry for a while--oh, well. Another wrong thing. JKR made Ginny short, like Charlie, not tall, like Ron and Bill.
4. George and Angelina--called it!
This was a short one but I promise that I have Chapter Five all ready to go tomorrow!
|» Chapter 3: The Houseguest|
Chapter 3: The Houseguest|
1. "I am your friend, Harry Potter."
I really enjoyed writing Harry's conversations with Sandy. It was just fun.
The rest is under a ( cut...Collapse )
|» Posting Schedule|
I checked my old chapter posts via fanfiction.net and OMG how did I ever post so much so fast? In light of this (and in light of the fact that my day was turned upside down by my daughter having walking pneumonia and needing to go to the doctor, the pharmacy, etc.) I'll be posting one chapter recap (so to speak) per day until I get to the point where I can align them with the 10th anniversary of when they were originally posted. Somewhere around chapter 17 or 18 I became a little more regular in my posts (about 5-7 days), but that was roughly when the chapters became longer in length, so that makes sense. (And I had acquired more beta readers, so it took slightly longer for the chapters to come back from said beta readers.)|
I just wanted to confirm that I'm still doing this, even though haven't posted Chapter 3's recap yet. :D That'll go up later today (since it's now after midnight).
|» Chapter Two: Training Dudley|
Chapter Two: Training Dudley|
1. I enjoyed thinking about what everyone would get Harry for his birthday. Dudley, of course, didn't go to much effort, since the tape-player was one he already owned and didn't need, but that he gave Harry anything at all was significant. (Although he'd just had a birthday, so he had a lot of new stuff.) Everything Harry received came into play again later: the tape player, at the end of PS; the book from Sirius when Harry turns Sandy into Jamie in The Triangle Prophecy; Hagrid's letter refers to his work with the giants (NOTE: Another thing that showed up in JKR's Order of the Phoenix); and, of course, there's the basilisk amulet from Ginny, which is probably most important in ToGI, although its backstory comes out in The Triangle Prophecy; and the Corfu photo from Hermione (near the end of PS).
Okay, actually, the belt from Ron is something I think I forgot about later. It does sound a little flashy. ;) On the other hand, I did have a resurgence of snake imagery here connected to a character who wasn't a Slytherin--and in Order of the Phoenix Sirius's house turned out to be full of snake sconces, have a snake knocker on the door and otherwise looked like it had been designed by someone with an over-the-top snake fetish.
2. “This is all your fault. You’ve--you’ve bewitched him! We’ll tell that school of yours you’re doing magic, and then you’ll be kicked out!” said Aunt Petunia.
She actually wasn't far off the mark--except it wasn't Harry who'd bewitched Dudley. I liked stating baldly what was going on, to an extent, knowing it would be disregarded because the reader KNEW Harry hadn't actually bewitched him.
And... Chapter 2 was rather short, actually. But if you have any notes to add, let me know. :D More tomorrow!
|» Chapter 1: Manual Labor|
Since I posted chapters 1 & 2 first, then quickly followed up with chapters 3-12, I'll just post about the first two chapters today, then address 3-7 tomorrow and 8-12 on Saturday. Sunday is May 22, when I inexplicably posted Chapter 13, and in the next couple of days after that I also posted 14 and 15. (I have no idea how I was writing so fast back then; all I can say is that at the time I really, really, REALLY felt the need to escape real life.)|
So without further ado, I give you--
Harry Potter and the Psychic Serpent:
The Navel-Gazing Edition
Chapter 1 - Manual Labor
1. Harry had planned to sleep late on his first day of summer vacation. This is the opening line as I wrote it, and as it appears in the PDF files and on fanfiction.net. However, in the FictionAlley and Yahoo versions I've long since removed the reference to Harry's "vacation". It now says "holiday". I was a Brit-picking babe in the woods at the time and had no idea what hackles I'd raised with this innocent little word! Ah, what an innocent time it was...
2. ...everyone sang the school song to a different tune. He was partial to Loch Lomond... Yes, it's another Scottish reference! And poor Harry--boys whose voices are changing sound so unfortunately random when they speak or sing.
3. There is, of course, a great deal of recap of the previous book, and there have been widely-divergent views on whether this is a good thing. Some people declared that this was exactly why they felt it had a ring of authenticiy while others didn't want it to immitate a published book by Rowling--they wanted to cut to the chase. If this were a paid account I could create a poll about this here, but instead you'll just have to put your preference in a comment. (I'll probably create a pool on the Psychic Serpent Yahoo group--it never occurred to me to ask my readers who prefers what!)
4. Remember how Dudley, at the beginning of Order of the Phoenix, had been working out and winning boxing matches at his school? Well, in April of 2001 I wrote this:
His cousin Dudley was sitting at the table already, almost done his frugal breakfast of yogurt and fruit and a rice cake. He’d been upgraded from grapefruit because he’d actually been pretty good at sticking to his diet at school the previous year. To Harry’s eyes he did look noticeably smaller, even a little muscular, rather than like a mound of quivering blanc mange.
I declare Dudley's physical change to be my first official correct prediction of something from a post-GoF book!
5. This is, of course, swiftly followed by the polar opposite of an accurate prediction: I made Harry a prefect. Oh well. Can't call all of them. ;) I did get a handful of them right, though, including Hermione (a no-brainer), Ernie MacMillan and Draco.
6. Not long after this, Harry meets Cassandra, Sandy for short, the Psychic Serpent of the title. This was also the opposite of an accurate prediction, but not because I thought JK Rowling would give Harry a pet snake; I actually doubted that she was planning to do much with his Parseltongue ability (which was largely true until the seventh book) and I wanted to find a way to make this more than a mere linguistic gift of Harry's, so I gave snakes the Sight and created some rules about how it worked. I really enjoyed writing Harry's and Sandy's conversations with each other, there were so many things Harry took for granted!
7. Dick looked about sixty, but Harry was just guessing; he was as brown and leathery as you could hope a gardener to be, with silvery hair swept back from his face and kind blue eyes. Harry was sometimes reminded of Dumbledore when he saw him. Don't say I didn't give hints about who Dick really was. :D I also liked that the real Aberforth helped Harry during JKR's seventh book. So glad we got to see him at last! But in the meantime I enjoyed having my own version of his character.
8. As he was going in the kitchen door, he heard a hissing voice say, “The rocks will fall. The rocks will fall. The rocks will fall...” I swear, I was doubling up with laughter every time I saw a Livejournal icon predicting the end of the seventh book as, "Rocks fall; everybody dies." I doubt that this has anything to do with my fic, but does anyone know where this did come from?
That's all I've got right now, but if you have any questions about Chapter 1, fire away. And if you're going to reread, the only thing I can say is avoid fanfiction.net at all costs. The way they've mangled the files is beyond belief. Go to FictionAlley, go to the Yahoo group (the link is here on my LJ), go to my homepage (also linked here) or just Google "Psychic Serpent" for the kajillion and one places people have uploaded PDFs. (Or go listen to Marc Harry's wonderful audio book version!) Just--not ff.net.
|» Ten years ago today...|
Today is the day! Exactly ten years ago, on May 19, 2001, I posted the first chapters of Harry Potter and the Psychic Serpent to fanfiction.net. At first I posted only the first two chapters, but then I added about ten more that were already done. I'd actually been planning the series since early January, after reading the first four books in the series at the end of December (having ostensibly bought them for my 8 year old son). |
After searching out Harry Potter fanfiction I found fascinating and well-written tales of Adult!Harry and some slightly silly and very short fics, or long epic fics that departed substantially from JK Rowling's usual format, but nothing that really did what Rowling did--a tale constructed around the calendar of the academic year, beginning somewhere around Harry's birthday or just before it and taking Harry through his next year of school (and the next, and the next). I really wanted JK Rowling's next book (or three) and had no idea at this point that we would be waiting for it until the summer of 2003. Lacking that book, or a suitable substitute, I set out to create my own.
I planned the series in general and the first fic in excruciating detail for three months and began writing the first chapter early in April, not long before my birthday. Then the other shoe fell: my dad was terribly ill and taken suddenly to the hospital. He had needed skin-graft surgery, due to his diabetes, for some time. However, he had other issues (heart, liver, lungs) and so was a terrible candidate for any kind of surgery. It became a battle between the different physical problems he was suffering from as to which would succeed in killing him. My more far-flung siblings flew in from Washington state and Oklahoma while my nearer siblings came from Maryland and New Jersey to be with my dad for what, the doctors were certain, would be his final days with us.
And then he was fine. (Relatively speaking.) Or at least out of the woods. Plans began anew for skin-graft surgery. My siblings went home. Life settled into a kind of "normal" again. (Also relatively.) During the month of April, whenever I needed to escape from morbid, defeatist thoughts I ran to my computer to write more of my fic. I'd never needed more of a refuge from the real world and writing HP fic was more consuming and distracting for me than reading anyone else's fiction (even JK Rowling's). Now, I was also rereading all of the HP books, of course, as I've done many times. I think I read the first four books about three times before I wrote the opening sentence of Psychic Serpent in early April. But it was the fic planning and writing that really allowed me to enter another world--and one I controlled. I see this now with hindsight--I didn't like what was happening in the world around me, so I rejected it and replaced it with something else.
In early May my dad lost the battle with his unruly body, dying just about two months shy of his eighty-third birthday. (Nearly-eighty-three really isn't too shabby when you take his many physical ailments into account.) My siblings returned just in time to say goodbye to Dad and I found the act of writing to be more comforting than ever. It got me through the events of May, the funeral and wake and dealing with all of its aftermath. I would later, very consciously, make some of my thoughts from that time part of Harry's thoughts during Dudley's funeral, and the ceilidh and Scottish tales in chapter 25 were also heavily influenced by my father's Scottish background. I made Sirius Black (Black is a sept of many clans) part of my Dad's clan and gave his family an old "abandoned" castle on the Isle of Bute to live in that was the last stand for members of our clan in an epic battle of about 600 years ago. The influence of the time during which I began writing the series shows up in the writing in many ways, and I'm probably only remembering a tiny number at the moment.
It's strange to me to be observing the tenth anniversary of posting Psychic Serpent. So much has happened since then. Not long after I posted the Epilogue the entire world was reeling from the attacks on September 11; during the final chapters the site FicionAlley was launched; I've met up with numerous other HP people at HPEF symposia and have been on the board of directors since HPEF's founding; I've made a number of friends--and a few enemies, I'll admit--and the papers I've presented at symposia are being incorporated into a non-fiction book about Harry Potter on which I'm putting the finishing touches.
As I continue to work on my original fiction I think it only appropriate to acknowledge and pay tribute to the fact that writing fanfiction got me writing again at all, after abandoning this in my mid-twenties and then being consumed with motherhood in my late twenties. Being a mom is why I bought the Harry Potter books, however, so this is what has brought me full-circle (also the title of the Epilogue!) and led me to return to writing. I will always be grateful to JK Rowling and also to Patricia, my pastor at the time. Patricia was the first adult I ever heard talk about the Harry Potter books. After she did a children's sermon about boggarts she had the entire congregation yelling, "Riddikulus!" It was a turning point in my life that led directly to my purchase of the books, and the rest is history.
So--JK Rowling and Patricia, my heartfelt, deepest thanks. For what it's worth--it's all your fault.
NEXT: I'll actually begin my look at the opening chapters of Harry Potter and the Psychic Serpent.
|» On Anniversaries|
I just recently realized that we're coming up on the TENTH anniversary of when I began to post my first fic to FF.net, back in the semi-early days of the HP fandom. TEN YEARS. Hard for me to believe! What's even harder for me to believe is that I still get so many nice emails from people who enjoyed the PS fics (and Replay and others, too). It's been so long, and JKR has given us the complete canon, but folks still enjoy delving into an alternate reality that was written without a ton of knowledge that we get in the final three books. |
I mean--I love the last three books. They've become my favorites out of the seven and it's extremely difficult for me to pick just ONE as my top HP book--as a unit they create such a wonderfully cohesive conclusion to the series and are a monumental achievement. So it's somewhat ironic that my best-known fics might give the impression that I'm 'disregarding' these books, simply because we didn't have them yet when I started writing! Nothing could be further from the truth--I was just like a lot of other people during the Three Year Summer between GoF and OotP, hungry for more Potter and suspecting that the next installment could be a very long way off, so like many fanfic writers during that three years, I set out to write the fic I wanted to read that no one else seemed to be writing for me already.
At any rate, in observance of the tenth anniversary of the first fic, starting on the day I began posting it in 2001 (somewhere around the third week of May--I'll check the exact date before I begin), I'll post about what I posted on that day on the day I originally posted it. Sort of an annotated version of the fic without putting in footnotes or scribbles in the margins. Now, I expect to be doing a fair bit of face-palming during this process. When I was interviewed about the trilogy by the Potterfic Weekly folks last year I replied perfectly honestly, "Yeah, when I reread some of the early chapters I do wonder now, 'What was I thinking?' about some things." I'm the last person to believe anything I've written is sacrosanct. That was part of what made it such a valuable learning experience for me. And now I can look back and laugh and marvel at what an innocent I was. (Oh my GOD, chapter five. CHAPTER FIVE. WHAT WAS I THINKING?)
( I natter on for a bit...Collapse )
I hope you all enjoy getting in the way-back machine and looking again at Psychic Serpent as much as I expect to. I'll be posting about this project both here and on my Yahoo group, so you can leave any comments or reminiscences either place as we take a trip down memory lane together. :D
|» Yes, I've seen it now...|
...and I'm glad I did!|
The rest is under a ( cut.Collapse )
So--I'm done with spoilers and can end the cut.
1 - Deathly Hallows Pt. 1
2 - TIE: Chamber of Secrets and Order of the Phoenix
3 - TIE: Philosopher's Stone and Prisoner of Azkaban
4 - Half-Blood Prince
5 - Goblet of Fire
Far and away the best one so far, and a HUGE step up from the sixth one, which was a mess. I'm hoping the last one will top this one. If so, then it'll be one for the ages. I'm very pleased, and I'd been having a hard time feeling at all excited about this film (mostly because David Yates gives HORRIBLE interviews, but also because film reviewers have attention spans that gnats would find to be laughably short, as well as an addiction to comforting tropes that, when avoided, confuse them, evidently). It turns out that WB did really well and I look forward to back-to-back viewings of the pair of DH films in the future. Having the extra time to get it right, rather than crushing a big, rambling story into 150 minutes, has really made a difference. This is why I can only watch the extended cuts of the LoTR films now--as Dumbledore would say, sometimes all you really need is more TIME. It can truly be magical. :D
|» What today's news stories SHOULD have said...|
"So, Prince William, Kate Middleton, you've just become engaged. What are you going to do next?"|
"We're going to see the new Harry Potter movie together!"
Because you know that they so are...
|» Clueless is as clueless does|
I'm sorry, but if one more clueless wonder complains that there aren't quotation marks on some of the fic files on ff.net I'm going to lay into them like there's no tomorrow. I am so tired of these idiots who are completely incapable of doing any of the following:|
1) Going to the "view" menu on their browser and clicking on "Western European ISO" in order to get smartquotes to show up on their computer screen.
2) If the file has been screwed up by ff.net beyond a simple browser-setting fix, reading my author's page that explains that I have no intention of dealing with the constant stupidity of ff.net and their policy changes that make what were once perfectly good files unreadable and if people want to read good files they can go to Schoogle or my Yahoo group (for which I give links).
3) Just Googling "psychic serpent" and discovering that there are, I don't know, a KAJILLION different torrent websites where people have uploaded the fics, in addition to the "official" sites.
I may be forced to put an author's note at the top of the first chapter file explaining, "Listen, these files were fine once. Then the screw-ups who run this website kept changing the file protocols and now a lot of them are fubared. I have no time to keep track of their stupidity. Please go to my author page (you should always read someone's author page anyway before contacting them) and follow the links to the good files or just use Google to find the thousands of places online where other people have uploaded the fic files. Please do not email me or post reviews purely for the purpose of complaining about missing quotes or other formatting problems. I would never upload files in that condition and did not--the website administrators screwed up my files after the fact and I am through with running around fixing THEIR stupidity. There are a lot of alternative sites where the files are intact; I suggest you use one of those."
Gah. Just feeling cranky, I guess, but it really pisses me off when people bitch at me for someone else's stupidity. I mean, SERIOUSLY, I've lost track now of how many torrent sites PS is on. Someone sent me some email the other day to alert me to one of them and I had to LOL at my computer screen, because one site is the tip of the freaking iceberg.
How is it I keep encountering people who have zero Google-fu? I mean, how do you EXIST in the world today without being able to Google? I don't grok that at all.
|» Why, yes, I am alive and still in fandom|
Someone on the Mark Reads Harry Potter blog just posted an extremely astute comment on his latest review (for Chapter 19: The Silver Doe):|
Yeah, I just read someone down below wondering if Dumbledore used it to hear when ppl talked about him. If that was how he knew when someone needed his help. This thought had never occurred to me. LOL
And then there's a joke about Batman, etc., and someone asks why Ron only hears Hermione rather than anyone else (his family members?) talking about him, and then I TOTALLY GOT THE GREATEST IDEA ABOUT WHY DUMBLEDORE CREATED THE DELUMINATOR.
It's an idea in multiple parts:
Idea #1 - We see that it's ONLY Hermione's voice Ron hears when she actually says his name. Hermione is the person Ron loves best (and in a very specifically romantic way--I'm sure he loves his family members too, and we know he loves Harry) so hers is the voice he hears when she is clearly thinking about him as evidenced by her saying his name. With me so far?
Idea #2 - We don't know that it was mutual, but we do know from JKR that Dumbledore was in fact in love with Gellert Grindelwald.
Idea #3 - So whose voice would Albus Dumbledore hear coming out of the Deluminator if the person he most loved in a romantic way showed he was thinking about Albus by saying his name aloud? THAT'S RIGHT, GELLERT FREAKING GRINDELWALD is who Dumbledore would hear!
Idea #4 - This is very possibly how Dumbledore could have both tracked down Grindelwald to defeat him AND knew what he was up to so that it was abundantly clear that he HAD to finally stop his old friend and the person he loved best in the world. And Grindelwald had to have been thinking of Dumbledore for it to happen.
The other interesting thing about Dumbledore's defeat of Grindelwald? Grindelwald was wielding the Elder Wand. You can't defeat the Elder Wand in a duel. That means that Grindelwald didn't fight Dumbledore when he showed up, since that wouldn't have been possible. Albus must have disarmed him without his old friend even trying to do anything in response, or else Albus wouldn't have been able to become the wand's master. I never did care for people saying, all these years, that Dumbledore had killed Grindelwald; they made the same sort of leap that Voldemort made concerning the Elder Wand, they assumed that "defeated" meant "killed" when I get the impression that if he'd killed him the Chocolate Frog card would have said "killed" specifically; Voldemort assumed that the only way to become master of the Elder Wand was by killing Snape (which was wrong on multiple levels, since Snape wasn't the wand's master) but all he really had to do was disarm Snape. Simple. (Only Voldemort never did like simple things.)
So there you go--my first new HP theory in a while! But when you consider that Dumbledore created something that allows a person to find the person they love and Dumbledore had to track down and defeat the person he loved... It just fits, IMO.