You are so good at lulling us into a peaceful feeling and then all of a sudden bringing something up out of the blue. I guess I never thought about who's in charge of the Order now and Snape's analytic skills are so good that there's no reason to doubt them. I think it's kind of interesting that Snape wants protection from the Order. The legal arguments were fascinating--especially to consider that Voldemort might think of Snape as a prize. Great chapter. It gave me lots to think about.
Author's Response: What a relief that you didn’t find the legal arguments too dry; I really worried about that. In the end, you will see that Voldemort’s true motives are somewhat more sinister than either of them imagined.
There’s no doubt that Snape managed to paint himself into a dank little corner at the end of HPB. Right about now, he wishes he’d mastered the art of making friends while at school.
Snape continues to intrigue. I should explain that when I ask questions about something in the plot--something that will happen in the future--I don't really expect you to answer the questions. They're just things I'm thinking about and I figure the answer will come later in the story. There are some things that really stood out for me in this chapter. Snape seems to still be in a teaching mode with Harry. That is something I will continue to wonder about and follow with great interest. I'm delighted with how Harry interacts with Tonks and how comfortable he seems in front of a class. It just seems like he's a natural teacher. I'm still envious of how teaching and learning is occuring for the 7th year students this year. It seems like they're colleagues and learning from each other. This seems the best way to go about teaching this group of students who have done so much already in practical terms. It would be pointless to have them sit in a lecture and rely on textbooks. Great chapter.
Author's Response: So pleased you find Severus as fascinating a character as I do. I definitely took him in a different direction than JKR did, but since he’s shrouded in mystery until the very bitter end (which I’m disregarding), he was pretty much a blank slate. Writing the free-wheeling confrontations he has with Harry were so much fun, it was almost criminal! It’s not everyday you get to be supremely sarcastic without having to suffer the consequences. It’s another lesson that he will unwittingly impart to Harry.
As an antidote to the unhappiness Harry expressed at the end of the previous term, McGonagall and Remus agree to get Harry involved with some of the other students. (You don’t see this scene since the story is written almost entirely from Harry’s point-of-view.) As the Headmistress knows, some students just need that extra push to get involved with those outside of their own familiar circle. McGonagall takes a more nurturing approach to her students than Dumbledore did. Of course, it’s ironic that society will not fault a woman for that, while the same actions from a man (especially a gay man) will be unseemly.
I'm still curious about Snape's wife. You haven't mentioned her for a while. He isn't married to Trelawney is he? Can't be--I just can't see it. I'm glad Remus got after Ginny. This is the first time in your stories that I've seen her act in such a childish way. It's like she was really pushing Harry when she made the decision to date someone else. I really didn't think that Harry made that bad of comments about her either. She was just looking for a reason to be mad at him. I'm always so jealous of the time Harry gets to spend with his mentor. It just seems like such an academic idea-sharing time. Great chapter.
Author's Response: You’ll just have to be patient when it comes to any revelations about Snape. Think of an onion being peeled back layer by layer. So much of it is integral to the development of the plot that I’m not able to give anything away too soon.
Ginny frustration is taking over and she keeps trying to put Harry on the spot, hoping that she will force him to admit that he still wants her to be his girlfriend. Harry feels that he’s been manipulated by Fate enough so his stubborn streak kicks in. Since each of them secretly and stubbornly still wants the other, neither one walks away from any confrontations. Typical teenage angst and overblown theatrics.
Remus recognizes how each of them really feels and is wise enough to let them work it out on their own terms, even during class time. Just as long as their recklessness doesn’t extend to their use of magic.
Harry did such an outstanding job with Tonks' classes. I liked that you brought up the fact that your "happy thoughts" needed to produce a patronus would have to change over time. I hadn't really thought about it. What struck me the most was the conversation between Remus and Harry as to what Remus had done for many of his past years. That provoked a lot of thought on my part. There are times in my past that are better left in the past. Not that I did anything hideous but they are very unhappy memories. I really understood what Remus was saying. I swear to God if you bring up that damn chocolate souffle again I'm going to make one myself:D Great chapter.
Author's Response: Without giving anything away, Harry will be tested further in upcoming chapters.
Can’t make any promises about the chocolate soufflé, though. I’m certain that in future chapters Harry encounters other delectable concoctions as well. What can I say? I like using food as metaphor just like JKR did so liberally in the first book. (Let me know if you need the recipe.)
There were several interesting scenes in this chapter. I found it very interesting that there were muggle discussions and writings about horcruxes. I'm always intrigued by comparisons between the magical and non-magical. I believe that even we simple muggles have a bit of magic. Harry's and Ron's efforts to awaken Hermione were heroic. I hope Dobby is able to get a box for Harry to store the dark items in. Harry's research was also intriguing. I was very interested in his comparisons between his case over the dementors and Snape's case over torturing his father. It seems that Harry developed some sympathy for Snape and how he grew up. Of greater interest was the fact that Voldemort came in as Snape's defense attorney. That was very strange reading about Voldemort right there in the middle of the Ministry of Magic, acting as an attorney. Great chapter.
Author's Response: I, too, find the overlap between the wizarding and Muggle world intriguing. Just wait until Ginny prepares her term paper for her Muggle studies class. Hermione has a rather interesting take in her “undergraduate thesis” that she presents to the Headmistress at year end, but you won’t find out about that until the sequel when we return to that in a flashback.
As usual, Dobby will prove himself above and beyond the rest. He is one of Harry’s true friends just as much as Ron and Hermione are.
The Ministry has a long history of blindness and ineptitude. I also imagine that this early in his first rise to power, there would be nothing in Lord Voldemort’s outward appearance that hinted at the corruption within. Dumbledore may have been inwardly seething at Riddle’s theatrics, but he put Snape’s welfare above everything else.
Harry’s research answers the long simmering question of why the other teachers don’t detest Snape as much as the students do.
That was an amazing chapter--just perfect. It must have been fun to write. To begin with, Harry's and Neville's prank was pretty funny. It was made more funny by Remus' playing into it by signing Neville's name on the address label and then crossing it out:) Harry's dinner with Remus and Tonks sounded so relaxing and delicious--especially the chocolate mousse--and I don't even care that much for chocolate. The best part of the chapter was the description of the masquerade party. You described all of the old time characters so well that I could see them. The description of the chess game was great. I could see how the whole mess happened. It must have been an embarrassing moment for Flitwick but possibly one of the best moments of his life too. I'm sure he didn't mind seeing that long leg in fishnet stockings swung up on a chair while 'Dietrich' pondered her move right across from him:P Excellent chapter.
Author's Response: Harry needed to put his personal problems on the back burner and this certainly helped. I had great fun imagining the adults cutting loose at a party of their own. Teachers are rarely anything like students think they are in real life and I wanted to demonstrate that conclusively.
Remus’ style as Head of House is definitely different from McGonagall’s. That’s not to say they’re likely to get anything past him that he hasn’t already seen, or done, or planned as part of the Marauders.
That was really interesting. I had almost forgotten about the mirror and the mysterious wizard from the beginning of the story. I get motion sick so I was feeling a bit green reading about Harry traveling in his trunk back to Hogwarts. I was very glad he found an alternative. I didn't expect to see Snape in the mirror. He was, again, in the position of giving a warning to Harry. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Snape’s motives are, as usual, totally unfathomable. Is he lending assistance or just working a confidence game to get Harry to trust him? Lupin and/or McGonagall would warn Harry to not let himself be manipulated, but neither of them are there.
Let’s be honest, anyone who suffers from motion sickness might just as well shoot themselves before they boarded the Knight Bus in the first place! And that’s standing on their own two feet. Personally, the thought of being locked inside with the key on the outside bothers me more.
Wow--I didn't expect Ginny to do that. I feel sad for Harry but I also understand that one of them had to do something. Lives must go on. I was touched by Harry's planning in the event of his death. It's just so tragic that someone so young has to worry about losing such a big battle. As always, great chapter.
Author's Response: So you didn’t see that one coming! Neither did Harry. Deep down, Ginny’s not really as mature as she’d like everyone around her to think.
Another great chapter!! I was impressed that Harry was allowed into the conversation with the men. I say it's about time--he has a man's job and he needs to know what's going on. I was also impressed with the objectiveness of the group as they discussed Plan B. I'm very much into planning and I think you can't ever be overprepared. Poor Harry to assume that he'd be dead before they implemented Plan B. I was glad Remus reassured him. I can see where something else could go wrong and they'd have to use their alternate plan. Thank God, Ginny and Tonks got home. I wish Harry would talk to Ginny. You are really showing her sensibility and humor. As I said before, great chapter.
Author's Response: I agree that if they’re asking him to do a man’s job when he confronts Voldemort, then they should start treating him like one. That alone does a lot to bolster Harry’s confidence, whether he realizes it or not. Lupin also suspects that if they had done more to keep Harry from feeling so totally excluded and worthless at Grimmauld Place, he might not have been so desperate to lead the Hogwarts Commandos in a raid of the Dept. of Mysteries. As bad as the outcome of that was (Sirius & the veil), it had the potential to be a totally fiasco!
How frightening that there are bombings in muggle London on the day that Ginny and Hermione went shopping. Magical people are still human and can get injured or killed. It's particularly worrisome that no one in that group sent a patronus or even apparated back. I can imagine the tension in the Burrow as everyone waits for news. The fact that the wizarding world is not paying attention to the bombings is also disturbing. If one world is affected so is the other. Now Remus and Hermione are back but where are Tonks and Ginny. Will Harry be goaded into something more with Ginny out of this incident? Great chapter.
Author's Response: The reality is even more sinister and not just for Muggles. Think: Guinea pigs. As for Harry and Ginny, their path is full of rocks. That’s all I can say for now without ruining the cliffhanger. Slews of answers, and some surprises, in the next chapter.
My question is, and I don't expect you to answer it, are you going to solve the conundrum that surrounds the Potter's home in Godric's Hollow? This is so complicated and brings up so many issues. It makes me wonder how JKR wrote what she did. She must have had to pick a path and follow it. Otherwise, she would've gone insane trying to consider all of these side issues. And that's what makes it fun for the rest of us and I think makes the Harry Potter books so popular. There are all of these side issues to think about and interpret. One surprise to me in this chapter was that Remus is reporting to McGonagall. I'm brought back to the end of the last story when the Order got involved to "manipulate" Harry and company back to Hogwarts to watch over them. This is so intriguing. Will the Order find out what Harry is looking for? What will become of Ginny? Again, I don't want you to answer these questions--I'm just posing them as something for me to think about. Great chapter.
Author's Response: You bring up some well thought out points, so I will try to at least address your questions obliquely. (Remus would be proud, I daresay.) For this story, I have borrowed the structure of all the six HP books that came before. The narrative begins close to the start of the school term (maybe a little earlier so that Harry’s birthday is incorporated) and follows the academic year. In so doing, I have adopted many of JKR’s recurring techniques: telling the tale almost totally from Harry’s point of view, overheard or half-heard conversations, clues going in every direction to mask the occasional red herring, playful antics mixed in among more serious events. In each book, there is a mystery that is fundamental to the core of the plot, often being unraveled just to create a new, more complex puzzle. Some issues are resolved more than others; many have repercussions that affect other things. The Godric’s Hollow Conundrum is the central mystery of this story – and yes, I promise that the plot will continue to thicken, but that’s the richness of the HP universe that we have all come to love.
Personally, I felt that the way in which DH revealed the Potters’ ruined cottage in Godric’s Hollow did not quite fit in with the facts that were previously presented concerning the Fidelius Charm. Obviously, JKR intended to tweak the end result in an unexpected manner as is often her style, but in this case it just didn’t come off, not to my way of thinking. Too many loose ends were left unexplained as if she just wanted a certain result but was no longer willing to take the reader’s hand to demonstrate how they got from Point A to Point B.
With that in mind, I took the established facts about the Fidelius Charm to create a more challenging Conundrum without any holes in the logic (hopefully). Adding a full moon on that fateful Halloween night was my invention, although I’ve found nothing in canon to contradict it. It seemed like just the sort of diabolical twist that would allow Peter to exact his revenge on all the Marauders at once.
So glad that you found the scene between Remus and Minerva to be thought provoking. Afterall, she is the Headmistress and he is only the Head of Gryffindor House; it follows that he should defer to her. But there’s lots more to come on that front as well. (Cards held close to vest.) Suffice it to say that I wanted that scene to be ambiguous enough that if a reader were determined to propose a wacky, way-out-there theory that Remus was actually a closet Death Eater intent on subjugating Harry to his own ends, it could still be done at this point in the story You’ll just have to trust your own instincts about the contents of Remus’ heart just like Minerva does.
I'm finally back. Mugglenet wasn't functioning for a few days and then I was really busy at work all last week. I'm so glad to be able to read again. I'm so happy that Remus was able to have a talk with Harry and give him some great advice. I was really touched when Remus gave Harry advice that had originally been given by Lily under similar circumstances. That must have been comforting to Harry. I agree with Remus. Harry has to be clear with Ginny. He has been wishy-washy. Their dinner sounded delicious. Why can't I have a house elf:P Great chapter.
Author's Response: It’s nice to be back online. It’s amazing how disjointed I’ve felt. Like I’m out in left field while I work on the sequel to this tale which is currently about 75% finished (and about 50% posted).
This is one of my favorite chapters and clearly when the interactions between Harry and Lupin started to take center stage. Harry’s reached a pivotal point where he is able to ask for assistance as well as accept it. He’s hardly been very receptive to Hermione’s (unsolicited) attempts in the past.
As for Remus, he’s at a turning point also, but you won’t see that so much until the next chapter temporarily departs from Harry’s point of view. With his return to the Hogwarts faculty, Remus has finally found acceptance and feels secure enough to flex his muscles, so to speak.
Traditional British cuisine being what it is (practically a contradiction in terms), Dover sole was the only delicacy that I could come up with. I confess that I ask for a house-elf every Christmas, but Santa never seems to comply. Which makes no logical sense; he works with elves himself so he knows how industrious they can be.
Maybe Remus will be able to guide Harry a little bit in his relationship with Ginny. I could really picture the snowball fight. It's so good to hear Remus laugh. I really think McGonagall will be the perfect adviser for Hermione. They seem like two of a kind. What I really liked was your description of dueling practice. You've got some really creative stuff here. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Bearing in mind that Remus’ werewolf nature makes him less sensitive to the cold, it’s easy to visualize him taking part in an impromptu snowball fight. Hogwarts is truly an oasis in the midst of a war-torn world as many will witness first hand over the holiday break.
Knowing how much Hermione likes a challenge, I felt that she would really relish working closely with the Headmistress. Remus is too caught up in his duties to Harry to have been able to do double-duty in this case. I also suspected that in the conservative wizarding world, they would always pair a male teacher with a male student, etc.
Describing the dueling turned out to be more challenging than the Quidditch matches, believe it or not. It’s hard to describe something when the only terminology I know is for fencing moves (thrust, parry, etc.) or possibly for dance steps. Sure dueling can be likened to both when you get down to it, but the terms are not transferable. There’s definitely more to it than just throwing spells at one another.
That was really interesting. Again, your theory about the Fidelius charm and Harry's home was amazing and very creative. Essentially, if you're correct, the house in Godric's Hollow will never be seen. Unless Harry doesn't have any children. I don't know, maybe that's for the best. I'm kind of thinking you might have something up your sleeve--Harry may see his birth house yet. Luna will be an excellent addition to the dueling group. After all, she was at the battle in the Ministry of Magic. Wow, someone had Snape's patronus be a thestral? That's pretty awesome. That's going to be something everyone's going to wish they'd thought of. I bet JKR is even wishing she'd thought of that. I'm glad you pointed out more specifically that you are presenting a little different view of Snape--rather than the view that he had one love and that was it. I guess I realized that but it's more obvious when you point some of this stuff out--kind of put it up front so I can think about it. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Glad you liked my take on the Fidelius Charm. It figures prominently in the story so there will be a good bit of discussion and attempts to unravel it in upcoming chapters.
In case you’re interested in following up, the thestral Patronus is in the story Denial by little beloved. Be warned, though, it’s a rather long chaptered piece and the Patronus does not appear until at least a third to halfway through it.
My heart just breaks for Ginny. This is a situation when Ginny and Harry should talk--kind of like last year when Remus and Tonks needed to talk. Remus was trying to protect Tonks and she wanted to be with him and be his helpmate. The same goes for Harry and Ginny. So you had Snape's patronus be a bat? I was wondering if you'd go with his traditional patronus of the doe. Flitwick as a penguin? That's cute. I love penguins. I can see Trelawney as an ostrich. That must have been a fun part to write. And you had to mention the cider again:) I made a really good mulled cider for my Harry Potter marathon last week. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Now you know Ginny isn’t going to just curl up into a ball – she’s too stubborn for that. But make no mistake about it, Harry’s hurting, too. Don’t worry, he’ll open up in the near future -- it just won’t be in the way you’re probably expecting.
I gave Snape a different background than in canon, allowing him to actually grow beyond his adolescent love for Lily – not that one ever forgets their first love, mind you. It follows that his Patronus would not be so mired in the past. Another story gave him a thestral Patronus that I still envy, but I decided to just go with the obvious. You’ll find out more illuminative details later.
Can you imagine Cornelius Fudge’s Patronus as a pin-striped ostrich buried up to its shoulders in the sand?
I was afraid you were going to let Hufflepuff win there for a minute:) That is really cool to identify people by their patronuses. I don't think I really thought about it before you mentioned it. I'm not surprised that Snape is skulking around the Hogwarts grounds. But what is he really looking for? So, what did Tonks wager--can't wait to find out. Great chapter.
Author's Response: When you consider how many close calls have occurred due to Polyjuice, it makes sense that Hogwarts would adopt an identification system that could not be compromised in such a manner. Besides, it was great fun thinking up likely Patronuses for everyone. Believe it or not, Remus’ proved to be the most difficult one.
You could say that Remus and Tonks each bet their dignity on the outcome of the Quidditch match, but you’ll see in the next chapter.
I like that you presented Ginny as a strong dueler. I thought your writing on the Fidelius Charm was creative and convincing. Besides, Harry doesn't need to be investigating Godric's Hollow right now. It's way too dangerous. It's sad to think that there's no gravesite for James and Lily though. Great chapter.
Author's Response: I wanted to make sure that Ginny proved a very able companion to Harry. One unequal relationship in Ron/Hermione was all that I could handle. Ginny’s determination will lead her to overblown teenaged angst with Harry; yet at other times, she will be his voice of reason.
So pleased my rendition of the Fidelius Charm made sense; that’s something I felt was a little lacking in canon. I worked hard to make sure that my explanation was air tight.
I feel bad for Harry and Ginny that young love can't take its course. The Slytherin party sounded lovely. Of course, I was most interested in the comment about Snape's wife. I don't doubt that he can have a wife. It just seems odd and I'm wondering who it is. With his job as a spy it seems like he wouldn't want to get close to anyone. I mean, what does his wife think of all of this? Is she a Death Eater? So many questions and so interesting. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Just bear in mind that not all Death Eaters knew that Voldemort had the groundwork for his own “miraculous resurrection.” Dumbledore is the only one who seems to have put the pieces together. So while Voldemort lay dormant, Snape enjoyed a much less stressful role as a sleeper agent.
The conversation surrounding the Fat Lady was pretty funny, especially the thought of her learning French or being owled to the Riviera or being an "exchange portrait." I wasn't alone in thinking that Snape was trying to teach a lesson. I think it's great that everyone will be practice dueling with Harry--that will benefit everyone. Great chapter.
Author's Response: The portraits have so much potential for comedy. Like when the Fat Lady had to take a few days off in PoA after being spooked by the madman, Sirius Black. I kept thinking of that half-mad Don Quixote wannabe who changed the passwords so often poor Neville had to start making a list. Then when he invariably lost said list, Black had a way to get into the Gryffindor common room…
It was good to see Harry and Remus enjoying each other's company and laughing so much. Laughter is truly the best medicine. It's your fault I keep thinking of Ginny as a chameleon--what with her being able to sneak up on people and sneak away. I don't think they figured out what was up with Snape. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Remus’ boyish happiness at being back doing something he loves is contagious. He and Harry are definitely beginning to relax in each other’s company.
Ginny is definitely just as devious as the twins in her own way -- and she is determined to worm and wily her way into Harry’s life. It just makes it that much more difficult for him to try to keep up the pretense that he doesn’t relish the extra attention.