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Do we have a ship name? I honestly can't remember... Mar. 11th, 2015 @ 09:39 pm
My inner Neville/Hermione shipper is probably enjoying this waaaaay too much:

Emma Watson Tweeted A Picture Of Neville Longbottom As A Soldier And The Internet Can't Handle It

Featuring many tweets from people who seem to be unfamiliar with what Matt Lewis looks like now... It made me laugh, anyway. :D

Chapter 14: The Importance of Draco Malfoy Nov. 17th, 2014 @ 10:09 pm
Chapter 14: The Importance of Draco MalfoyCollapse )

Chapter 13: Justice Oct. 22nd, 2014 @ 10:47 pm
Chapter 13: JusticeCollapse )

Chapter 12: All Through the Night Oct. 13th, 2014 @ 03:53 pm
Chapter 12: All Through the NightCollapse )

Chapter 11: Down at the Quidditch Pitch Oct. 7th, 2014 @ 11:18 pm
I didn't really mean to not do this for a month. New television season, need to do more multi-tasking, yada yada. Enough excuses. Let's get back to it...

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In other HP news, JKR certainly had fun today with her riddle! My thought: Now that I know what it says, I think that it's either one of two things or it's both. The two possible things are: 1) Some narration from the Fabulous Beasts script, and 2) The opening line of a book about Newt Scamander that is basically a novelization of the script (though I wouldn't be surprised if she'd written the prose first and turned it into a script afterward, though she might have found the reverse process a refreshing change).

Because honestly, how could she not produce a book version of her script? Even the most ridiculous of action films has a book tie-in ghosted by a writer toiling away in obscurity somewhere, and when you've got JK Rowling writing the script because she wants creative control of the story, you KNOW she's also going to do the novel version herself. So even though people are clamoring periodically (okay, I know some people who never let up) for a continuation of Harry's life story or a next-gen series, I'd be quite happy with a trilogy of books to go with the trilogy of Fabulous Beast movies.

(Okay, a television series about Lily, Snape and the Marauders in school is something I also wouldn't say no to. Because--DUH. But in the meantime I'll take the FB stuff.)
Other entries
» Chapter 10: A Perfect Spy
I loved the BBC production of LeCarre's A Perfect Spy. I read the book afterward and loved that too. It was published after 1981, but you know--authors work on books for years, so it could still exist in perhaps only a slightly-changed form despite the publication date coming after Harry changed the timelines...

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And also--three cheers for JKR for putting an anti-gay troll in his place on Twitter. Though honestly, some of the comments I've seen from a handful of clueless wonders ("How was he being rude?" "Where in the books does it say Dumbledore's gay?") are making me shake my head...
» Chapter 9: The Heir
I really did mean to post this last Wednesday, but it just didn't happen before my daughter and I had to get a bus to NYC as the first leg of our trip up to the Amherst area, where she will be back in school the day after tomorrow. I don't think I could have imagined, when I was writing PS and ToGI, having an empty nest (her brother moved into an apartment about two weeks ago), so it's a little strange to revisit this now that they're so grown up! This may or may not give me more time to be online--we'll see how many boxes I have to pack to mail to her (with stuff she forgot to pack). Oh, if only we could do owl post...

Chapter 9: The HeirCollapse )

Goodness, that was a long one. We're getting to the really meaty stuff!
» Chapter 8: The Sister
Chapter 8: The SisterCollapse )
It's so weird how this chapter had multiple things that seem like references to HBP, but this came out at the end of 2001 and HBP didn't get released until almost 4 years later! And of course, later developments, when Harry and Draco are "on the road" with Riddle's diary are eerily similar to the Trio's traveling adventures with the locket Horcrux. I had no idea at the time!
» Chapter 7: From the New World
I still have yet to read the short story about Celestina Warbeck, since I'm not on Pottermore, but I did find it funny that when a news item about JK Rowling writing a story about a "new" character hit Facebook, the comments were full of, "She's not a new character! She's Molly Weasley's favorite singer! Read the damn books, don't just go by the movies!"

:pats fandom:

There, there. It'll be okay. WE know that Celestina isn't new. I expect the story will probably be available in an accessible place at some point, and I'll read it then. (Accessible to those who aren't on Pottermore, that is.) I'm also looking forward to going to Universal again, now that the Diagon Alley part is open, and seeing Celestina perform! What a neat idea that they did this. I know that it was Franz Ferdinand in the film of GoF, but I wonder if they'll also put together a group to be the Wyrd Sisters and perform at the park. (Hey, wizard wrock is hot!) You never know.


Chapter 7: From the New WorldCollapse )

Of course, if anyone has the text for the Celestina Warbeck story, I wouldn't turn that down...
» Chapter 6: Slouching Toward London
Chapter 6: Slouching Toward LondonCollapse )
» Chapter 5: The Talented Mr. Potter
A lot of people recognized that the title of this chapter is, of course, paying homage to The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Chapter 5: The Talented Mr. PotterCollapse )
» Chapter 4: The World as we Know It
This was where Harry found himself thoroughly immersed in the Alternate Universe, and got some nasty shocks (and remembered more than a few things that were presented to readers as flashback passages)

Chapter 4: The World as we Know ItCollapse )

Wow, that one was pretty long. I'd meant to post it on Friday, but Fridays just don't seem to work very well for posting. I'll give it a shot this week and see how it goes.

Also--RIP, Robin Williams. :sniff: I grew up watching Mork and Mindy and always loved his inspired silliness. He also became a wonderful dramatic actor. Maybe I'll rewatch Good Will Hunting and have a good cry...
» Chapter 3: The Last Temptation
The continuation of the annotation of Harry Potter and the Time of Good Intentions (or: The Last Temptation of Harry Potter)...

This was the chapter that really set off a LOT of people. So many cries about how I'd ruined the story, get back to telling Harry's sixth year, etc., even though this WAS my story of Harry's sixth year! That would be like complaining about the Chamber of Secrets plot by saying, "I liked it better when Harry was trying to find the Philosopher's Stone!" Because every sequel should be JUST LIKE the book that came before it...

Sorry. Rant over.

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» Chapter 2: In Dreams
I had a big, busy weekend, so no post on Friday, but I'm back now, so it's time to continue the annotation of Harry Potter and the Time of Good Intentions (or: The Last Temptation of Harry Potter) with

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» The Annotated ToGI - Chapter 1: Sowing the Seeds
The Annotation of Harry Potter and the Time of Good Intentions (or: The Last Temptation of Harry Potter) begins! I actually took a wee break between the first and second fics, way back in September of 2001--and then September 11 happened. Six months later, the incredible experience of the way the fandom came together at that time prompted me to write the Afterword. The way support from people near and far in the fandom helped people all over the world to get through an unimaginably emotional time is still one of the most indelible memories for me of my time writing fanfiction and being in fandom, and I find myself tearing up again whenever someone writes to me about the Afterword. In spite of the fact that it doesn't technically adhere to the posting parameters for ff.net, as they are currently defined, they have not taken it down, nor do I think they will. I probably get more feedback on that single post than any other single chapter of PS now, with the possible exception of the Epilogue (and it's close).

So that's what was happening between finishing PS and starting ToGI. To say the world was forever changed is to massively understate the case, but it was, and we were all changed. I'm glad I was able to do my small part in giving my readers a story to continue to focus on, after we all told our stories of where we were that day, and what we were doing, often to strangers thousands of miles away, whom we had never met--and might never meet--in person. A worldwide support group came together in the days after that tragedy, and I think the Harry Potter fandom in particular was especially well-equipped to discuss what had occurred, but to also reach out to others with empathy and wisdom, with care and with insight, so that no one in the fandom had to feel they were going through this alone. We were all as not-alone as when we were at those midnight release parties, or waiting in line for HP movie tickets. As not-alone as we are now when we wait with baited breath for news about the Fantastic Beasts films or the HP musical.

I am in awe of this fandom, and of YOU, and I feel lucky to have played some small part it in, in my way.

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» Epilogue: Full Circle
Finally! Here are the annotations on the epilogue, after which I will begin posting annotations on the sequel. I'm still undecided about covering the third installment of the Trilogy on its own and then the prequel or doing the chapters of those two fics in the order that they were posted. (Both were being posted at the same time.) I'll decide soon; I'll have to, since Time of Good Intentions is only 21 chapters (though it was originally going to be 15 or 16).

Anyway, here are my surprisingly brief notes for--

Epilogue: Full CircleCollapse )

It still blows my mind that, thirteen years later, this month alone, I've received 44 notices from people at ff.net who are favoriting Psychic Serpent, Time of Good Intentions, The Triangle Prophecy or The Lost Generation (mostly PS, though); following one of those fics (mainly PS again, even though it's completed); favoriting me or following me, though I haven't posted in ages (and only just got around to repairing the damaged files on ff.net).

Work on my original fiction has had me thinking more and more of these fics lately, because I will owe a great deal to the plots of the PS series in this (also) four-book cycle, though one of the ways I will owe a great deal is by diverging from the PS series in significant ways, to throw off anyone who thinks they know what I'm doing, plot-wise (but HOW will I diverge?). The universe in which it takes place will be a major divergence, of course (NOT Britain, NOT a school of magic, NOT a magical boy famous for vanquishing a Dark Lord, among many other NOTS). So it seemed a good time to remind myself what I did write, way back when, and show some appreciation to the readers who are still faithfully going online to read my stories, even after all these years.

See you Wednesday, with the first annotations for Harry Potter and the Time of Good Intentions!
» Chapter 32: With Drooping Wings
I saw a thing on Facebook today about people being disappointed that JKR wasn't going to be writing any more books about Harry. Um, I thought we'd already established that? Yeah, I know she wrote the Quidditch World Cup coverage and people thought that the mention of Rita's new book was a hint that JKR would be bringing a book out next week. If she were bringing out another book, though, she wouldn't announce it like that, there'd be something you could pre-order through various booksellers, and let's remember that this was a Rita Skeeter thing! (I also didn't understand anyone giving credence to the opinions Rita expressed about the Potter and Granger/Weasley clans. Remember, THIS IS RITA SKEETER.)

That said, I'm looking forward to the Fantastic Beasts films and hearing more about the musical of Harry's early life with the Dursleys! (I'm thinking something kind of Matilda-like, with less bookishness on Harry's part.)

And now--we're getting near the end of the Psychic Serpent annotations; Time of Good Intentions is next!

So here we go...

Chapter 32: With Drooping WingsCollapse )

I expect to post the annotation for the Epilogue on Monday, but I wasn't planning to address the afterword, which is already like a commentary on part of the fic. So after that I'll be plunging on to Harry Potter and the Time of Good Intentions!
» Chapter 31: Legacy
Almost done! I've started doing annotated chapters of the sequel, so I can amass a backlog of posts, to be more efficient about it this time around. After this there's just Chapter 32 and the Epilogue!

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For Friday: Chapter 32!
» Chapter 30: Trials
Another title for this post could be "Fandom-y things are fandom-y". Happy seventh birthday to Deathly Hallows! Oh, the marathon reading, the efforts to stay hydrated, the temptation to SLEEP before finishing (yes, I succumbed) and the tongue-biting to prevent spoiling family members who haven't read as far, or asking my daughter to clam up about future developments, because she'd already read further than I had.

Following close on the heels of this, we (the whole family!) went to Toronto for Prophecy 2007, a great gathering and celebration of all seven books of the HP series! It was also the venue where I presented J.K. Rowling and Little Red Riding Hood: Pentecostal and Fairy-tale Imagery in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a paper which is not substantially changed to serve as Chapter 9 of my book Quantum Harry: A Unified Theory of the Potterverse. (And whenever I speak to any other authors of HP books that deal with religious imagery in the series, to a person, NO ONE else has ever picked up on the Pentecostal themes in CoS.)

It hardly seems possible that was seven years ago, any of it. I shall give you all virtual cuddling now.


And now, on to the continued annotation of Psychic Serpent...

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Once again, happy seventh birthday to DH!

:throws confetti:
» Chapter 29: Transfiguration
Hello! It's been a little while, but the recent spate of JKR-related stuff in the news (and the reporting on the Quidditch World Cup!) has brought me back to my fandom journal and induced me to continue a project that has now been on hold for three years! I can't believe I let it go that long. But I am now going to finish the annotated posts for the remaining chapters of Psychic Serpent and plunge on to the sequel.

For those who read on Fanfiction.net, I've also finally replaced the files on there that were damaged during various file-conversion activities. Not only are the replacement files better-formatted (quotation marks! apostrophes!) they have been newly proofread and Britpicked (though still retaining US spellings). I plan to update all of the fic files in this manner, finish uploading the Triangle Prophecy to that site (the only fic of the four in the series that isn't finished on that site) plus upload some fics that never appeared there, like Replay and some shorter fics. I may even post some short work taking place in the AU of ToGI in the years before Harry's sixth year, if I have time.

I had my reasons in the past for antipathy toward ff.net, but it's now the source of most of the regular correspondence with my readers; at least once a day I get a notice that a reader on that site has favorited me as an author, favorited one of my fics, is following me as an author, following my fics, or I get a review notice or an email from a reader over there. Even after so many years! So if you have been a faithful ff.net reader, you will now be rewarded with newly formatted, proofread and Britpicked files. Enjoy!

HERE is where I last left off the annotations, with Chapter 28. Now it's time for Chapter 29!

Chapter 29: TransfigurationCollapse )

That's all for now, but I promise that the next post will be soon and not months or years away!
» Some thoughts on the interview - Part IV
This really is the last bit, I promise!

9. The next part of the interview has more about the dancing scene, and then more about "Hermione's always there for Harry", which strikes me as yet another piece of evidence for Rowling's blind spot about Hermione, and evidently some amnesia about Ron's character. (Again--is this because of her friendship with Sean going south? It seems odd that she's forgotten a number of things she's written about Ron.)

Hermione was the one that stuck with Harry all the way through that last installment, that very last part of the adventure. It wasn't Ron, which also says something very powerful about Ron. He was injured in a way, in his self-esteem, from the start of the series. He always knew he came second to fourth best, and then had to make friends with the hero of it all and that's a hell of a position to be in, eternally overshadowed. So Ron had to act out in that way at some point.

Hermione wasn't actually with Harry all through the last installment. He went into the forest alone, and knew that he couldn't tell anyone, including Ron and Hermione, that he was giving himself up. So that's a bit of odd amnesia. He also went alone to explore Snape's memories in the Pensieve, which is of course a key part of why he gives himself up, so Ron and Hermione could not be privy to that (though he may very well have shown them the memories later).
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If you had the stamina to read all of that, more power to you. Frankly, it's exhausted me. But I did think that this commentary was worth a read, a sort of meta on how professional journalists behaved like a lot of Rita Skeeters during the earlier part of this week. This is why I was so skeptical about the leaks being real, or in context. What I found most valuable about reading the whole interview was CONTEXT. And while I found some things Rowling said odd or perplexing, in light of the content of her books (but Watson's statements less so), I found the context highly useful. I hope you did too.
» Some thoughts on the interview - Part III
7. Rowling doesn't really comment at all on Watson's simple "And vice versa" statement concerning Hermione's potential to also make Ron happy. There's no acknowledgement that it works both ways; Hermione gets a free pass, and it's followed by this:

It was a young relationship. I think the attraction itself is plausible but the combative side of it... I'm not sure you could have got over that in an adult relationship, there was too much fundamental incompatibility. I can't believe we are saying all of this – this is Potter heresy!

I know, it is heresy.

The funny thing here is that Rowling says more than one thing considered heretical to fundamentally opposed factions within her fandom: first that "the attraction itself [between Ron and Hermione] is plausible" (which means that that is not what she's having trouble finding "credible"), and Ron and Hermione's "fundamental incompatibility". In my experience, anyone who finds Ron and Hermione's main problem to be "fundamental incompatibility" is usually staunchly opposed to their attraction to each other being plausible--and the other way around. The vast majority of fans who find their attraction logical and understandable do not usually believe that they are fundamentally incompatible.
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Just one part left--I promise!
» Some thoughts on the interview - Part II
6. The next bit, of course, is the beginning of the most controversial part of the interview:

What I will say is that I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That's how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione with Ron.


I know, I'm sorry, I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I'm absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people's hearts by saying this? I hope not.

I don't know. I think there are fans out there who know that too and who wonder whether Ron would have really been able to make her happy.

Yes exactly.

And vice versa.

So let me pick apart what I think is going on here, and also commend Watson for having a little more distance from the character of Hermione than Rowling (which is understanding, since Watson portrayed her but Rowling created her). I am understanding "wish fulfillment" not to mean that she wished she had had a romantic relationship with the friend upon whom Ron was based. I think it is more along the lines of having a plan when she first started laying out what would happen in the seven books and her wish being to adhere to that plan. And I don't see anything wrong with that; in fact, it is very clear support for the plan being Ron/Hermione FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. I cannot recall how very many people believed that she planned for the series to be Harry/Hermione from the start and then she "ruined" it in the fourth book, or the fifth, or the sixth, by bringing in more and more elements that foreshadowed Ron/Hermione, or by doing interviews about the shipping ("anvils", anyone?). It is obvious from her statement here that Ron/Hermione was the plan. And she stuck to that plan.
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So THAT was a mile long. Moving on to the next bit...
» Some thoughts on the interview - Part I
I'm splitting this up because it grew a little out of control, so you may be able to scan the numbered points and see whether each one is anything that interests you and move on if it doesn't. Even though the first part isn't about shipping, it still interested me (because honestly, I'm not all about the ships!). But if you want to get to the shippiness, then Part II is probably for you.

1. After a brief introduction about Rowling's charitable activities and recent publications, Watson starts off discussing the WB film based on Fantastic Beasts. As I suspected, Rowling deciding to work on this screenplay had nothing to do with her wanting more money and had only to do with her creative life, wanting to have New Scamander's story be what she has envisioned. That and a plot for the film evidently popped up in her head, so she spent twelve days writing a rough draft. I truly am excited about this film--if we can't have the Scottish Book yet, a Fantastic Beasts film that's actually being written by Rowling isn't a bad way to wait out the SB.

2. Watson next asks Rowling a little about her writing process, about trying to not forget pieces of inspiration, and I particularly love this bit:

Does inspiration ever strike you at really inconvenient moments? Like when you are driving the car or you are taking the children to school and you just think, "not now"?!

That is why I don't drive, I swear to God. I cannot drive. People look at me and think, 'how can you be a woman of forty-eight and not drive a car?' But I know myself and I know how detached I am from my physical surroundings.

Ha! This is SO ME. I am forty-nine and do not drive. Never have. I do commute by bicycle during good weather, and once I do believe I could have been very badly hurt by being too distracted (I lucked out), but at least on a bike, I'm the person most likely to be injured if I do something stupid; I'm not controlling a two-ton pile of metal moving at 50 mph. It's just me and my bike moving closer to 15 mph, if that. And when I'm on the bus or subway, there are numerous times when I've almost missed my stop because my mind wandered. I should probably not be at the wheel of a car!
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» Flambards Divided and the change of ships
Okay, so here's where it got weird...
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So, I don't know what will come out in the full text of JK Rowling's interview tomorrow. But unless she proposes writing an eighth book in which Ginny and Ron both cheat on their spouses and Harry and Hermione hook up (yeah, I know--you've probably read the summary for that fic), the seven books of canon are inviolate. What happened happened. It's over and done.

Trust me. It could be worse. Flambards Divided exists. It's a real thing. But I don't expect JK Rowling to go down that road. I firmly believe that she's done writing canon with Harry's generation, and if she does next-gen stuff I'd be very surprised if she changed the ships for Harry's generation. She could very well say in this interview that she now thinks Harry and Hermione would have worked out better than Ron and Hermione. I don't know yet but I don't think it matters. That's not what she wrote, after all. (I have to join another commenter I've seen online wondering whether her childhood friend upon whom Ron was based has somehow done something to upset her greatly. If he has, though, it's a very weird way to tell him, "I'm upset with you," through doing this interview.)

Now, because we could all use a laugh, this was how Stephen Colbert* covered this story earlier in the week.

* Remember: Colbert is playing a character. He really believes the opposite of whatever his character says.
» Shipping in the Flambards Trilogy
If you missed the beginning of the Flambards explanation, go HERE.

So this is what happens with the shipping in the first book:
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» Some Perspective on Authors and Shipping
I present for your examination the Flambards trilogy + 1, by K.M. Peyton. The reason that I don't call it a quartet of books is that it's not. Here is the relevant portion of Peyton's Wikipedia entry:


Flambards (Oxford, 1967), illustrated by Victor Ambrus
The Edge of the Cloud (Oxford, 1969), ill. Ambrus
Flambards in Summer (Oxford, 1969), ill. Ambrus
Flambards Divided (1981)

Peyton's extension of the trilogy followed its television adaptation and reversed the original ending.

And when the poster writes "reversed the original ending" what that means is "reversed the shipping".

That's right. Peyton completely upended the shipping TWELVE YEARS AFTER FINISHING THE ORIGINAL SERIES and two years after the 1979 television series (13 parts), a dramatization of the trilogy.

Oddly enough, I only just realized yesterday how similar some of the characters are to the HP characters (or at least, some can be considered analogous).

If you don't mind spoilers for all four books, proceed.
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Continued in next post...
» Of course I have thoughts
What did you think, I wouldn't?

However--you will have to wait for my ultimate thoughts, in this space, about the new interview with JKR (the ACTUAL interview, not the numerous somewhat contradictory leaks of the interview) until I have access to the full text. I really do prefer to know what I am responding to rather than get worked up over what other people have said--it's like Whisper-Down-the-Lane on steroids right now, and seriously trying my patience.

That said--I do have a response to some of the responses that have come out thus far. Because those I HAVE read, and here's what has struck me about both responses from Ron/Hermione shippers and non-Ron/Hermione shippers.
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There. Now I have thwapped people on both side of the fence with a wet noodle and have managed to guarantee my almost certain unpopularity with everybody. My work here is done. At least, until the article comes out and I have a chance to read it.
» I'm tired, but I'm LONDON tired
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.

Tonight: Spamalot!
» London Calling
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.
» London Question
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?)
» JKR & the Cynical Reader
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 )
» Random Game of Thrones Observation
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

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.


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!

Moving on...
» 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.

Foreshadowing, anyone?

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...
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