Subject: You might be onto something, here!
Posted on: 2022-11-21 00:08:06 UTC
The question is, who's the cat and who's the mouse?
Subject: You might be onto something, here!
Posted on: 2022-11-21 00:08:06 UTC
The question is, who's the cat and who's the mouse?
The old thread fell off the main page, but here's a new one: Harry finds the Mirror of Erised.
Hope you enjoy!
One more chapter before year one is done! Thank you to everyone who's commented! :)
Aaaaa Aaaaaaaa Aaaaaaaaaaaaa
I'm not excited by this chapter at all, nope. Anyway—
Okay, there's something downright beautiful about seeing a version of Snape being willing to team up with Harry. They never really got to work together like this in canon, so seeing Severina actually believe Harry and return the Invisibility Cloak so he could help is kind of amazing to watch. It made me feel really good! Same with the conversation between Hermione and Harry, about Hermione belonging, and Hermione recognizing that Harry and Ron don't only respect her for her talents, unlike Malfoy. Also, there's something really great about Potterverse characters quoting Tolkien to each other! And it happens twice! And Greengrass's contribution to the potion's defense is intriguing. I assumed at the beginning that the goal was to follow the proper etiquette throughout the dance, performing the steps correctly and not insulting any of the dancers. But playing along with the dance eventually leads to a death of exhaustion; the only escape is to abandon the dance and physically attack the enchantment itself. I was confused why Greengrass would set a trap where breaking social norms would be rewarded, but then I realized: this culture is so rigid, and ingrains obedience into the populace so heavily, that she was counting on that fact obfuscating the real solution! And it did, for a while; even our rebellious, rule-breaking golden trio took a while to deduce the real solution!
But what I'm really dying to talk about is Greengrass herself! That freaking bait-and-switch! I totally thought Quirrell was going to be at the Mirror again. Then again, Quirrell himself was a fake-out after making Snape look like the villain in Philosopher's Stone, so I really should have seen it coming, huh? So . . . she was leading Quirrell on, like I guessed (is he dead already lol), but I also don't think she's being wholly truthful about her bond with Gaunt, is she? She's speaking like she's fully loyal to him, not realizing that Harry observed her getting tortured by him earlier in the year . . . Maybe she really does want to use a bit for herself, before destroying the source? Also, uh . . . hm. I was going to comment on how Greengrass seems to view the Un-Ceinte metaphorically as a contraceptive, and was trying to see from her perspective, where a witch's greater independence from their spouse would give them more control over pregnancy-causing activities . . . but then I went back and read Lady Robinson's chocolate frog cardin ch. 4, and oh, yeah, it's pretty explicitly a contraceptive, isn't it? Which makes me even more squicked out and disturbed by however these Bonds actually function, ew, don't like it, get it away from me and my children.
Actually, there is one question I'd like to ask, as long as it's not spoiling an unpublished chapter: how is it that Gaunt and Greengrass have a Bond, but no one in the Wizarding World seems to be aware of it? I assume Matrimonial Bonds are kind of akin to Muggle weddings? If so, how is it that one of the most influential wizard politicians is married in secret? And what's the point of keeping the Bond a secret?
Okay, so there's one weird thing I noticed while reading this chapter, that I hadn't thought about before: I've brought up how dystopian this AU is, but it's also more fantasy genre than the original Potterverse. Yeah, both versions have the spells and the potions, but as Soap often said of the canon Potterverse, it's very "gentrified." It's a very middle class suburban setting, with very middle class suburban sensibilities and concerns. Houses and bank accounts and buying crap, and politics and school grades and the protagonist growing up to be a cop. But in your AU, you have something more complex than the superficial trappings of fantasy slapped over a contemporary sitcom. The belief in Mother Magic, and the borderline religious society that belief has produced, actually feel like a fantasy setting, a fantasy culture. I know that doesn't make your AU healthier than the canon, but it does make it a heap more developed and unique. Just food for thought.
I am REALLY looking forward to the next chapter, more than ever before!
—doctorlit learned what "lorry" means today; it isn't a bird
Severina chewing Harry out but still giving him a chance to help out is one of my favourite things about her—she’s helpful but still such a dick about it!
The tweak to Hermione’s speech is also a favourite bit for me to write. It felt like it was laying it out more clearly why they’re all friends? In the books, they were so frequently dysfunctional that I just wanted them to be better friends here (mostly Ron and Hermione, since their bickering got so bad that I could not ship them at all without the intervention of goodfic about them). There’s enough messing with them from the outside that they don’t need internal strife, too.
Hermione is a bookworm; of course she would’ve read LotR and the Hobbit. Harry had a more normal childhood here, so he also read the Hobbit. He and Lily are trying to find time to continue with LotR. Eventually by the end of year 3 I think Harry and Hermione will have a conspiracy theory that Tolkien was secretly a wizard (sorted into Hufflepuff, I bet, because Hobbits). Anyway, Harry and Hermione’s friendship language of Muggle pop culture references is yet another favourite detail of mine, especially because it would piss off the Purebloods. (Pretty sure if they could wear Halloween costumes, Harry would be Luke, Hermione would be Leia, Ron would be Han, and they would convince Hagrid to be Chewbacca.)
Yes, exactly; the Enchanted Ballroom is designed to punish you from deviating from the manners, but then playing along makes you die of exhaustion. Short-term pain to end the enchantment is indeed the answer!
Nesh and I agreed while creating the potion that Un-Ceinte works like a hormonal contraceptive. The Matrimonial Bond not only gives your husband access to your magic, but it also has a procreation compulsion layered in there that sorta… inflicts a kind of pon farr-like heat that cannot be satisfied until one of you is pregnant. Then after the baby is born, the heat can be sparked again through certain hair rituals. For m/m or f/f couples they may get a similar urge to adopt or to drink a potion to render one party capable of bearing a kid. Not fun if you want to be Bonded but childless. Thus, Un-Ceinte not only prevents pregnancy, but it also prevents the Matrimonial Bond from driving you crazy until you procreate.
If you notice that Sev also touched her left forearm before she gave Harry the Cloak, you might have some guess as to why Greengrass has a brand on her forearm…
That’s the Pureblood Culture part—they’re also answering the desire within HP fandom to have more elements of fantasy in their Wizarding world. It’s just that they unironically play along with Pureblood prejudices and try to justify or explain them, and oftentimes the setting doesn’t so much examine how different the stories would be if there were a stronger fantasy element involved as it focuses on some female character’s dresses and jewellery and how they fall in love with the designated male love interest. We’re trying to use HP canon rules to explain why there’s this sudden dystopian magical theocracy in the middle of late 90s Britain, and if there happens to be some romance later on, it’s fully in service of the plot rather than having the plot exist to force the characters together.
Once again, thank you for reading! I can’t wait for you to see the end of year 1!
Could you find me an example of one of the worst Purityworld fics so that I could riff it for the Asylum?
Some of it I personally detest for its politics, like the one where 17 year old fem!Harry pulls out of the Triwizard Tournament because she's having
Voldemort Marvolo Gaunt's baby and apparently Gillyweed will abort it. (EDIT: I'm not saying I think fem!Harry should've taken the Gillyweed--I'm saying it's so contrived that she pulls out of the tournament for it, and also holy s*** she'd been wizard-married to Gaunt since she was 15, and if she was anywhere near canon!Harry's characterisation she'd have figured out some other way to compete? Like learnt the Bubble-Head Charm instead? It was just bad all around.)
I suppose one that's fairly objectively ridiculous could be the one where Bellatrix weaves Lily a carpet made of her own hair, since Bellatrix is just 300% OOC in it. But honestly, the Pureblood Culture AO3 tag catches all of the fics, so it's a good place to start.
But I wanted your opinion, that’s why I asked you.
And, eugh, both of those fics do sound pretty terrible. I’ll check them out. But, um, can you not swear?
I appreciate his excellent, calm bedside manner with animals, but he has a penchant for putting himself in unsafe situations, so I just can't give him the Zookeeper Seal of Approval™. Alas!
I was initially amused by McGonagall's false assumption of what Harry and Hermione were doing in the Astronomy Tower, because it made for such an easy out to avoid revealing Hagrid's dragon, and because the weird Pureblood enthusiasts basically set the alibi up themselves. But then, it dawned on me: the fact that this culture places so much emphasis on underage kids "courting" each other, that even McGonagall thinks two eleven-year-olds sneaking out in the middle of the night for a make-out session is a perfectly plausible thing to happen is pretty (please insert several lines of internal screaming, I'm too tired to type it all out). And then the rest of the school has the same reaction, and Lavender brings up the whole Maiden's Kiss thing and assumes Harry and Hermione are definitely getting married in the future based on eleven-year-old feelings, and (more screaming here please). It's like this entire society are all mutually roleplaying that they're in a soulmate AU, without any fanfic writer actually writing it onto them!
Okay, Professor Greengrass is way more complex than I gave her credit for last chapter. Maybe she really is in love with Quirrell! Either way, and in spite of how cruel and authoritarian she is, I hope she does manage to get her hands on some Un-ceinte and escape from Gaunt, or whoever her actual Bond person is. No one deserves to be tortured like that . . . It was interesting to see that even Malfoy, as brainwashed into the bonding system as he is, was visibly sickened by Greengrass's treatment as well. Whether Gaunt or not, her partner is some real trash, even by this society's standards!
I hate to nitpick this, because it's an 11-out-of-10 joke, but you've got the lyrics reversed: it's ♪Istanbul, not Constantinople♪
—doctorlit had kind of forgotten what a disastrous concept the House Points system is from canon, and how easily it lends itself to students bullying their classmates in retaliation for losing points
Though, honestly, given the personalities of Newt Scamander and (in the video games, I think) Professor Kettleburn, being a reckless Steve Irwin seems to come with the magizoologist territory...
It does suck how quickly everyone jumps to that conclusion. But that's Purityworld for you--and purity culture irl, too. Everyone's so obsessed with abstinence and avoiding temptation that basically everything is read as sinful and sexualised. And honestly, given how people irl joke about different-sex babies and young children "dating" each other... are we any better than everyone at Purityworld!Hogwarts assuming two eleven-year-olds out of bed after hours are snogging?
I'm glad I was able to give Greengrass some complexity here. And Malfoy, too--Lord and Lady Malfoy clearly model a much better relationship than whatever's happening here with Greengrass and her lord.
The lyrics are reversed on purpose, because Malfoy in a previous chapter told Harry that the Wizarding district is Constantinople not Istanbul. It's a brick joke!
Honestly, JKR put way too much emphasis on the House Point rivalries. I've found my irl students do get competitive in group point-earning activities, but not to the point of bullying each other...
[Warning: This post was typed in a fit of late-night enthusiasm. It is intended only to represent Neshomeh's feelings in the moment. She has those sometimes.]
So, I'm asexual. Looking back on it, I would have been significantly happier if everyone had not been super-interested in whether or not I "liked" anyone as a kid.
I don't think it was much of an issue when I was really little, like 6-ish. I remember telling people I was going to marry my best friend from preschool, but when you're that young you can tell people that what "marriage" looks like to you is hunting aliens and having a laboratory in your basement and never having kids because you want to have fun instead, and everyone just laughs indulgently and thinks to themselves, "just wait until she hits puberty."
It was definitely an issue in middle school, when there started to be school dances and stuff like that. Then all the allosexual kids start realizing it, and all the adults in your life start going "so, do you have a special boy you like, wink wink?"
And, like, I did... but all I really wanted that to mean was for someone to share my passions (which still involved hunting aliens, and maybe saving the world a bit on the side). I did not want to kiss anybody. I remember feeling so tense and strange in situations where I knew that could be a thing, and I'm so damn grateful that the awkward, nerdy guys I liked were good people who never pressured me.
Unlike my own mother, who by high school was practically cheering from the sidelines. I remember one time, driving my "boyfriend" (because I didn't have the vocabulary for "hetero-romantic interest") home—I was along for the ride—and she was all like "So, have you two ~kissed~ yet? :D :D :D" So humiliating. And no, we hadn't, because I wasn't "ready" and my friend knew and actually cared.
The things I couldn't say then: No, Mom, we haven't, because I don't want to, maybe ever. Why is this such a big deal to everyone? This pressure makes me feel really crappy. Leave me alone. It's none of your business.
Why didn't I say those things? Well, why did I have a "boyfriend" in the first place? Why would I even think about marrying my best friend as a goddamn child?
Because if you joke about something often enough, it stops being a joke.
When the adults in your life, and the media you consume, and the culture in general, all discourse about teenagers dating as though it's a mathematical certainty, you can't help but get the impression that it's something you are supposed to do. Moms joshing their teenagers about their love life is normal. Not being interested in having one is weird. And no teenager wants to be weird.
I dealt with this in two ways. First, I figured I was just smarter than everyone around me, and that's why I wasn't interested in something as silly as dating. I was super-down on shipfic, and I have some very embarrassing comments about slash floating around out there in the ether.
Later, when I'd gotten into college and pulled my head out of my butt a little, I figured there was just something wrong with me. Had to be, because not wanting your boyfriend to kiss you, let alone do anything else with you, is not normal and not fair, right? And again, thank goodness the guy actually cared for me and respected my boundaries. Too many other women aren't so lucky. (Bit of a tangent, but he actually slept with someone else at a party one time. He felt so bad about it. My reaction? "Huh. What was it like?" If THAT wasn't a sign...)
Finally, someone on this very Board told me that "asexual" is a thing you can be, and it's totally normal. I'm not broken, or sick, or crazy (or even particularly smart). I'm ace!
And with that knowledge in my pocket, I could finally work out a romantic relationship on my terms, with the understanding that sex is a part of it because I love my partner and want to meet his needs, not because society tells me it's something I'm supposed to be super-excited about.
I'm not. I never was. I never will be.
And ace people are far from the only people to struggle with self-esteem as teenagers due to feeling pressured by social expectations they don't fit.
So, seriously, can we please un-normalize "joking" with kids about dating like it's something they are expected to do? Please?
Man, canon Snape got me too trusting of Hogwarts professors! He was good despite his meanness, but Greengrass is both mean and a baddie! So, here's my predictions for what's going down:
-Greengrass is married to Gaunt, possibly in secret, since her husband doesn't seem to be public knowledge in any case.
-She's leading Quirrell on. Probably approached him initially trying to learn about his contribution to the protections over the master potion, and discovered that he's twitterpated enough to be useful for further research.
-She's definitely going to frigging murder Quirrell at the earliest opportunity to cover up the fake-out affair, and she's going to enjoy it immensely.
-I don't think she wants the potion to use it, but to destroy the ingredients so no more Un-Ceinte can be brewed, forcing people to further conform to social strictures. (And Gaunt's interest is pretty much the same; he's just leaving this matter to his Lady because she's in a better geographic position to handle it than he is.) (And if so, what an interesting reversal of the Dumbledore's Erised trap to keep the Philosopher's Stone safe in canon: here, it's the good guys wanting the hidden thing to continue use, and the bad guys want to destroy it!
Huge if true!)
(And obviously you don't have to confirm anything here as right or wrong, I'm just laying my cards out on the table. I am famously terrible at predicting where plots are going midway through reading stories . . .)
May I inquire where the name "Un-Ceinte" comes from? It feels a bit unusual for Britain, as it looks a bit like the Spanish for "percent" but with the vowels reversed. Is it a pun on "unsaintly?"
Okay, that was an excellent use of broomstick in this chapter! Broomsticks are tragically underused in canon; it's really just the multiple Harrys scene. Considering how perfect they are for long distance travel without making any noise, it was really nice seeing Harry use it for the purpose of sneaking here! And it paid off handsomely, too!
There's one sentence with an extra "if" in it:
. . . it’s a weed used in lots of medicines, but if Gran says if you’re trying to have a baby . . .
—doctorlit approves of the repurposing of sports equipment for uses of greater narrative value
For your predictions, you have about 80% of it correct! I won't tell you what parts are right and what parts are wrong, though ;)
It actually comes from "enceinte", which is "pregnant" in French. Nesh came up with it!
The broomstick thing was in canon, too. I don't think Harry uses brooms for plot-relevant purposes until Goblet of Fire, yeah, when he's using it against the dragon.
Fixed, thank you!
Though part of me thinks things between Greengrass and Quirrel aren't actually as it looks like, and at least one of them is fooling the other.
The question is, who's the cat and who's the mouse?
Though, considering how you're rehashing things, I wouldn't be surprised if Quirrell seduced Greengrass just as a way to get access to the roots for
Voldemort Tom Marvolo Riddle, who here might be... I dunno, a particularly fanatic politician who managed to work his way into Pureblood politics despite not being a pureblood himself?
I dare say the new way you used the Mirror was just perfect, as is the way you re-framed bits of the Philosopher's Stone plot to be used for a whole different plot. Good on you!
It's a different backstory for this Harry, so of course his deepest desire is a little different! And thank you, trying to make a new plot using the bones of the canon plot has been one of the fun parts of this rewrite.
Much as I hated seeing Harry fighting with Lily, I can understand his frustration. But I also understand Lily not really being able to infodump everything onto him at once. There's like, a whole fantasy setting's worth of world-building in his family history, complete with plot twists! :P Speaking of which, I'm glad Sirius didn't get blamed for James's murder in this timeline, and that Peter was found out immediately . . . But oh. Mr. Gaunt may just be a politician in this timeline, but he's an eeeeeeevil politician!
so a politician then I'm guessing that even though Lily knows Gaunt is the one who sent the order, that's probably not common knowledge to the overall public, since otherwise. Uh. Otherwise a government official would be. Would be, um. Facing no consequences. For a crime he committed. That everyone, uh. Knows about. Because that never. Never happens. In real life. Yeeeeaaaah.
Anyway, glad your changes to the Erised scene were able to bring Harry and Lily back together a bit! And I like your modification to Harry's wish, as well. It's very appropriate, in this weird culture, to want to remove the cultural roadblocks between people and let everyone hang out together. : )
Oh, uh, you spelled Quirrell's first name wrong in a couple spots. It is a very weird name, even for this universe, and I definitely had to look it up, myself! So, it's "Quirinus," but you've got:
“—will make this very simple for you, Qurinius,”
“I’ll be keeping an eye on you, Quirinius,”
—doctorlit is caught up on the Board for the first time in three weeks!
Good luck to HFA, I bet they really like fanbrat hair...
Lily's a woman of lots of secrets; she learnt to keep them close to her chest while in hiding and old habits definitely die hard. Doubly so when some of her secrets could be dangerous for Harry to know. I think she's the sort of person who thinks the fewer people know about this thing, the more control she has over it. I mean, what with all the prying eyes and gossips in this world, a well-kept secret is worth its weight in gold!
And I suspect she knows if she actually indulged Harry and sat him down for a family history, he'd fall asleep before she even got through his paternal grandparents. As much as Harry insists he wants there to be no secrets between them, I don't think he'd actually be content if he couldn't figure stuff out for himself sometimes.
Lily knows it's Peter, because Severina told her when she helped Lily escape. Other people may not know. But whether or not Sirius is involved in this........you'll have to wait and see. And Gaunt had actually just faced some consequences at this time; the Potters were a retaliation, remember? ;)
Yeah, I reckoned Harry had a more complex wish here than just to know his family. He wants to know his dad, sure, but he also wants to not have to choose between his worlds, and not have the pressure of being his father's heir. Poor kid.
Other characters taking up bits and pieces of Dumbledore's role as chief dispenser of wisdom is pretty cool, but it's nice to see him reasserting himself every once in a while! The dynamic between Harry and Lily is really good, too. Of course Harry wouldn't be too happy with having secrets kept from him! Although I don't remember if he was quite so angry when Dumbledore revealed everything, but I guess it was. Overshadowed. By... that. Heh heh.
I also like the nuanced take on forgiveness. You can't say sorry and earn forgiveness right away, because forgiveness isn't earned, it's given. It depends entirely on whether the other person wants to forgive you, and even then it takes work to forgive someone. Even your closest family...
Ooh, Quirrel's still up to no good, I see? Although it definitely hits way harder knowing that he's secretly racist. Secret bigotry that reveals itself at the worst time possible (say, for example, Election Day) is The Worst. Can't wait to see what he's gonna do!
Yes, Dumbledore still should have a chance to mentor Harry, even if he has several other mentor figures too. I think Harry in general, here and in canon, seems to dislike not knowing about things--in canon it's compounded by the Dursleys keeping him in the dark about magic for a long time out of fear and hatred, here it's Lily keeping him in the dark about his father and magic because she believed it safest for him. The problem with giving Harry too much information, though, is that he also tends to go off and do something with that information and that might put him in danger :'D
Anyway, canon Harry did have his angry moments, yeah! This Harry is more throwing a tantrum than anything else, but he did express some very valid reasons for his anger, and Lily is taking that seriously because she's trying to do her best.
Purityworld has "acts of contrition" people may perform to earn forgiveness, so your point about it being given not earned is very prescient!
You'll see about Quirrell!
You can change your author name per post (although it's still possible to see which account created the post by clicking) so I decided to take advantage of it.