Subject: Heirs of Avalon: Year Four, Chapter Ten
Posted on: 2023-09-01 07:26:41 UTC
The First Task, and what happened after.
Subject: Heirs of Avalon: Year Four, Chapter Ten
Posted on: 2023-09-01 07:26:41 UTC
The First Task, and what happened after.
Warnings for allusions to teenage pregnancy/underage sex via the Triwizard Tournament exit clause, and miscarriages via assumptions made about Gillyweed.
Yes, good chapter! I could barely look away from the screen! And I love that all four champions wound up helping each other out. Competitions are fine, but I prefer seeing teamwork more than competitiveness. I hope that attitude carries forward through the final task!
Oh, and just as Harry and Draco were letting things get back to normal, and trying to pretend the Yule Ball didn’t happen . . . “Since when was I the one you’d sorely miss?” Tee hee hee hee!
So yes, an excellent chapter, good feels all around, no shenanigans from the Knights trying to sabotage the event*, everything is positive and friendly and—say, what are these final six paragraphs doing here? Guess I’d better read them and—
And, oh no, this is so cursed, but it popped into my head and now it’s the whole Board’s problem:
♪They got the cold, frigid lake
skin with the scale
They stalk through the kelp without fail
Hit that lake floor
next thing you know
—doctorlit, something something the beetle
*Except now that I type this, there was, wasn’t there? The figure Harry saw diving into the far side of the lake did something to make the Grindylows more aggressive, didn’t they? Did they give the monsters Harry’s scent through the missing socks?
Warning of fake news from Gaunt, allusions to the Muggle disappearances from chapter 1, goblin deaths (ala the Dwarves and the Nauglamir) and a reference to underage sex (since Cedric and Qiu are 17 and 16, which is at the age of consent in the UK, but not everywhere else).
This has been a gooood chapter, and I looooove that opening scene! I love that Gaunt’s flagrant murders of his neighbors have finally caught up to him, and in a way that can’t just be obliviated away, now that the protests have been broadcast to at least local news stations. And, more generally, the man just deserves to be protested, and his own culture is too cowed and afraid of change to do it. Is that “young man” Ali from ch. 1?
I see Madam Skeeter couldn’t be bothered to identify proper song titles from the Yule Ball! I’m a little shocked the Prophet allowed her to print that “Hermit” title, though at least she’s getting a head start on the homophobic fear-mongering she’ll no doubt engage with in the following decades. I’m afraid I’ve developed a conspiracy theory of my own regarding her, though! During her showdown with Hermione in the Broomsticks, she says she has dirt on a bunch of Ministry officials, which . . . doesn’t really threaten or affect Hermione in any way? Unless Skeeter didn’t mean it as “I have leverage,” but rather as, “these people are more dangerous than you know, so don’t risk rocking the boat.” So: does Skeeter actually want to be elevating Gaunt and tearing down Dumbledore, or is she being blackmailed or otherwise forced to, for fear of what Gaunt might do to her otherwise? I also can’t help but notice that, even though she was present at both the ball and for Harry’s conversation with Dumbledore, she’s only covered the ball itself in this article, despite the fact that bringing Rose to Hogwarts would be much more scandalous. Did she prioritize the ball because it's a current, publicly known event, and is saving the “Harry tried to bring a Muggle to a society ball” for later? Or did she actually choose to protect Harry there? Hm . . .
Perfect immigration metaphor for Muggleborns becoming New Bloods! Immigrants don’t have to give up their language, their skin or hair, or indeed, their family members to move to a new country, so why should Muggleborn kids have to give up their family and hair to be accepted?
On a much more puerile level, perfect portraits fighting metaphor for Harry to explain Mortal Kombat to Ron. ♪Portrait Kombat! Dun dun, dun dun, dun dun dun dun dun dun♪
I never noticed it reading the original series, or watching the film adaptations, but uh. Wow, the prefect bathrooms are basically designed to encourage wasting water, aren’t they? Like, not even a normally sized bathtub, but a whole jacuzzi? Unless Hogwarts is just freakishly dusty, there’s no reason for anyone to use an entire jacuzzi’s worth of water to get clean! Wasteful
Oh, Flutterby pollen smells to Ron like parchment and ink, tee hee? Like, the sorts of things one would find in a library, tee hee, or being used by a person who often frequents libraries, tee hee? I wonder why that would be, tee hee?
Oho, the twins aren’t just suing Bagman, but blackmailing him? I love it! I also love that the Sneakoscopes didn’t activate until after Bagman’s conversation with Crouch, which I take to mean that even though Junior is masquerading as Senior all the time, his responses to Bagman’s wheedling during that conversation were so reasonable and in-character for Senior that the Sneakoscopes couldn’t detect anything wrong there!
Other miscellaneous things I enjoyed:
-Ginny looking at the Scandinavian girls’ Scandinavian arms and thinking, “Yeah, I’ma rassle those, I feel no fear of failure.”
-Skeeter being so prejudiced that she mistook the Goblins Bagman was talking to for students, because Goblins couldn’t possibly be involved with anything of importance, right?
-But most of all, the reconciliation at the end, and the five students all returning to Hogwarts together, including Krum! Everyone can be friends!
—doctorlit would probably get a similar smell to Ron’s from Flutterby pollen, but for a rather different reason
I'm pretty sure Scotland gets a lot more rain than Arizona, so having a swimming pool-sized bathtub that's only for the usage of like... 12 students each year (8 prefects, 4 Quidditch captains) isn't that excessive. Especially since I doubt those kids are regularly using it...
Anyway, yes, that young man is indeed Ali! Skeeter... well, she's a grifter for sure. You'll see about the results of her spying on the convo with Dumbledore very soon.
Immigrants: we get the job done ;)
The twins were blackmailing Bagman in the books, actually! And I did intend the students that Bagman got caught with to be Fred and George, but if you want to think it's actually the Goblins and Rita Skeeter just needs to update her prescription, well, I'm not stopping you ;D
Ginny's not going to pass up a chance to wrassle those Scandinavian ladies!
Portrait Kombat should be a thing in the wizarding world. Just imagine all the betting!
If this drought doesn't end soon, the Colorado River, and the hydroelectric dams it powers, have a life span in the double-digit years left. But don't worry: we're still using more water on crops to feed livestock than on crops to feed people! Oh, and we're watering all the golf courses of course; can't just ruin the rich boomers' game over a water shortage, after all! Can you imagine if old white people had to play a game on fake grass?! That would be so disrespectful to them!
Ooooooooh, I assumed Skeeter had observed the same interaction with Bagman and the goblins that Harry, Ron and Draco had. Woops!
—doctorlit, daydreaming of golf courses getting reclaimed by nature (after all, golf has always been a javelina's game, amirite?)
[Stares in dumping raw sewage direct to rivers]
But that, at least, is probably amenable to magical correction.
I kind of love the scene where the Slytherin boys are all helping each other preen up for the Yule Ball? Because even though they only care about their looks because they’ve had classist standards of appearance trained into them, it’s still kind of charming to see them helping each other out like that. Degenerate Muggle boys would be too scared of “looking gay” to do that! I also love that, in trying to restore his drained magic, Draco has settled on the counter-cultural solution of “I’ll just grow my hair out long like a woman!” Ah, the options that open up when we aren’t bound to arbitrary social rules about gender and appearance! Speaking of terrible social rules, uuuuuuuh, “he would still be in the clear with his parents to do his duty in two years’ time.” I knew the marriage was arranged, but like. Age 16?! The Malfoys and Greengrasses are seriously planning to marry the kids the second they turn 16!!?!?? Still students and everything!?!??!?!?!? picks up entire culture and dumps it into trash bin
Man, say what awful things you will about Pansy, she really knows how to make herself the imposing centerpiece of the Slytherin common room. Is she actually interested in Ginny, though? Never saw that coming! Pansy also taught me a new word there, “swotty.” I was REAL scared to look it up though, because a Pureblood Slytherin calling Hermione an unfamiliar word is usually pretty bad vibes, but I guess Hermione would agree with that one!
Congratulations, Neville’s dress robes actually sound like something I would want to wear
as long as I can wear it with flip-flops, of course. And I love that he’s Fleur’s date to Yule; she’s made quite a catch! (I had to look up who she had gone with in canon; I definitely don’t remember “Roger Davies” existing at all.) And, and, and . . . The Weird Sisters wanted to play an ABBA song, while Beauxbatons was visiting from France, but they didn’t pick “Voulez-Vouz?” D : Shameful!
THAT FRIGGING BEETLE MAN DANG IT DANG THE BEETLE
Loving all those orchestral song covers you linked! I also love, “Draco could practically hear the cauldron stirring in his head,” as a wizard equivalent of the “gears turning in their head” idiom. Fantastic!
“. . . which also happened to be a question also on Draco’s mind at the moment . . .”
Also, an extra “also,” also!
—also, doctorlit also
I'm glad you liked the opening scene! Yeah, Draco's been growing out his hair since 3rd year because 1) Luna influenced him, and 2) it's a lot more solid of a way to store and keep extra magic, gender roles be damned!
Pansy and Ginny have known each other as Quidditch rivals since the end of year 2, so.... you'll see more of this as it develops :D
I was so excited to give Neville this fun triumphant moment :D And I'm afraid the decision to go for Mama Mia was 1) the orchestral cover was better and more dance-like and 2) the lyrics have thematic relevance eventually :P
Thanks for commenting; I really enjoyed writing this Yule Ball scene :D Also, thanks for catching that repetition also ;)
Aw, it would have been nice reading Rose (and Gary!) attending the ball! But Dumbledore does have a point . . . then again, without the parents around, I do feel like the Muggles would be safe with the other students? As long as they weren’t alone too long? >_> Oh, also, perfect Dumbledore line here: “We could . . . and then we would have to live with the consequences.” Extreme 10/10 Dumbledore, good job!
You almost got me to overlook that beetle! I’m so used to finding spiders and moths stuck inside at work (and I just pulled a shiny figeater beetle out of the black-and-white ruffed lemur’s room last week!), I’m like, “Ah yes, a beetle has wandered into Dumbledore’s office. It’s probably not the point of this scene, but if I were there, I would be catching that beetle and releasing it outside . . .” But that’s not a beetle, THAT’S NOT A BEETLE! And I suspect the resulting article will be more accurate and truthful than usual, because “Dumbledore and Potter were discussing breaking the Statute of Secrecy” is already pretty bad on paper!
And I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I still love how normalized homosexual relationships are in this universe, and how everyone in Gryffindor is excited by Seamus and Dean going to the ball together.
—doctorlit will totally get around to reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin any decade here
I think on the most part it would've been fine, though I imagine some kids deeper in the Circle of Gits would've had a field day and... yeah, consequences, consequences.
Glad you picked up on the beetle ;) For some reason, I knew you would ;)
It's normalised with the wizards, since there's a different angle to it--magic exists to remove the barriers between queer people and "being normal", so obviously all queer people should aspire to Bonding and children... but yeah, Seamus and Dean's actors were dancing together in the Yule Ball during the films:
So it just felt like a cute detail to bring out into the open!
I’m skipping straight to the best part: I adore the party scene in the Room of Hidden Things! I love all of the Hogwarts houses partying together, largely forgetting the Harry vs. Cedric rivalry, and just. Everyone rooting for the school, together. Draco and the twins working together! A Slytherin accepting that Luna has a good point! It’s so lovely! I want more scenes like this! “Hidden Things,” though? Did the room get used for hiding things so much that everyone knows it publicly as that version of the room now, so no one thinks about needing anything else, and the room is prevented from changing shape?
The dragon escapes! But not for a gratuitous action sequence, like the film did, but with an actual connection to this year’s plot: because I’m sure Skeeter’s tabloid instincts are actually correct this time. It’s kind of cool that Crouch Jr. gets to be a little more proactive about going after Harry in this timeline, since Gaunt just wants him dead instead of a duel. It helps make the tournament itself feel less like an “excuse plot,” as it was in the original series.
YES French house-elves are hardcore YES. Of course they would be! The French are the best at that! You’d better listen to your elves, Antoine! Or should I say, W-ant-ed oine thing too many and didn’t know how to ask politely, so no all his house-elves are in the front yard with picket signs? Also love the boxing match story used as cover for Rose, not that she’s going to buy Harry punching out a huge dude, but still funny!
I sense this is a stupid question even as I ask it, but: the first task is being broadcast to the UK, France, and Bulgaria, the countries of the three participating schools, of course, and also . . . Norway? Why Norway specifically?
—doctorlit, casting “Accio elf unions! . . . and also human unions? Please?”
It's called primarily the Room of Hidden Things because that's what people need from it most of the time. Only a few students know that it can change its shape, I think. But I'm still developing who knows what about the room in 5th year. The Marauders didn't know about it (since it's not on the Map in the books), so I imagine that the room was "discovered" in between theirs and Harry's eras. Fred and George are probably likely to figure out that it can change shape depending on your needs, though.
Luna frequently makes good points, it's just that she covers it in a thin veneer of bullshit, haha. If you pay attention to some of her lines, you might notice that she predicts the big bad each year! (Astoria's wrackspurts=grief, Ministry Atrium bombing being an inside job, the Umgubular Slashkilter stalking Harry...)
Yes! The dragon has a reason to escape this time! And French house-elves take no shit! There is magic in a union, Dobby~
Durmstrang is located in the far north, while Bulgaria... isn't. I didn't want to put Durmstrang in Russia, given that there's already a Russian magic school, so I decided to put it in Svalbard, Norway instead. Hence the Task being spellcast to Norway (and Bulgaria because Krum is Bulgarian). There were hints of it earlier with some of Viktor's coterie having Scandinavian names and Camilla Storstrand (Miss Cam, you might even say) taking a Norwegian dish from the Gryffindor table.
~Lily is excited for hot labour... fall!
Doesn't help that Krum is like, 70% of what we know about Durmstrang . . .
—doctorlit needs to pay closer attention to Luna's lines!