Believe, Care, Invest: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Okay, I’ve been meaning for a long time to do a series on this blog examining “Believe Care Invest” in fifty stories or so and generating my next book in the process. My original publisher going out of business took the pressure off me to do that, but now my new publisher is finally ready for new submissions, so it’s time to get back to it.

But I’ve had some reservations. I’ve been reluctant to start this for various reasons, but they don’t really make any sense:

  • I worry that this will be too familiar from previous stuff on the blog, but I’ve only posted 63 posts this year, so any material is good material, right?
  • I worry that the posts I generate will be too short, but ditto.
  • I worry that this will become too repetitive: I’ll make the same “insights” on example after example. In the finished book, I’ll revise to say unique things about each one, but here on the blog, I won’t be able to work backwards like that.

I had meant to start with chapters defining Believe, Care and Invest, but I think I’d better work backwards on that, generating my raw data before I preview it. So let’s just jump in, shall we? Here’s:

The Two Introductions of Harry Potter

  • Suburban England,1983: Pompous buffoon Vernon Dursely, on his way to his drill factory, keeps trying to ignore that there are lots of wizards around him that are celebrating. That night, unbeknownst to him, a witch and wizard meet outside his door and talk about how a baby named Harry Potter has defeated an evil wizard. A giant brings them the baby and they drop it off to be raised by Vernon. Cut to nine years later: Vernon and his wife and child treat Harry terribly. They reluctantly bring him to a zoo, where he unconsciously uses magic to free a put-upon snake.

The first Harry Potter book starts weird.

First of all, we spend several pages with Uncle Dursely, trying to ignore evidence that wizards are celebrating around him. We are searching for someone to identify with right away, but we just can’t connect with this guy. We do believe in his reality, because of lots of curious details (He makes drills for a living, he has a big mustache but no neck), but we don’t care about him and we certainly don’t invest in him. So why don’t we reject a book that isn’t giving us someone to identify with? Oddly, Vernon Dursley works as a sort-of anti-POV character. Yes, it’s frustrating, because we want to see all the things he doesn’t want to see …but it’s kind of fun to feel that frustration, for just a few pages.

Then, in the second half of the first chapter, we finally meet the character who we know from the title will be the hero of the book …but he’s just a baby. Any writing-advice book will tell you not to do this! It’s impossible to identify with a baby, unless this is the world’s most compelling baby.

But that’s exactly what Rowling gives us. Against all odds, she gets us to believe in, care for, and invest in baby Harry Potter.

  • We believe in his existence for various reasons: Strange physical details are always great for making a character feel unique and real, and this baby has a big, bad-ass scar, in a cool shape! And his life is filled with odd details: He’s brought to his meeting by a giant on a flying motorcycle.
  • And he is, of course, easy to care for, because we learn that his parents have just been killed in front of him: the worst thing that could happen to a baby.
  • That just leaves invest…Surely we can’t invest in a baby? But this is one hardcore baby: He’s just killed wizard-Hitler, and nobody knows how he did it! The entire wizarding world is in awe of his abilities!

So we’re saying, “Hell, yeah, this is an awesome hero!” But of course we’re also thinking, “Uh, I hope he learns how to talk soon, because it’s hard to identify with the character who has no dialogue of any kind.”

Nevertheless, Rowling has certainly compelled us forward to Chapter 2. Thankfully, Harry is now 10-going-on-11, but a 10 year old is basically a totally different person from a 1 year old, so now she has to reintroduce the character all over again and get us to identify with our real hero.

So can we believe in, care for, and invest in 10 year old Harry?

  • He’s believable because of his specific details: Too-big hand-me-down clothes, unkempt black hair, green eyes, and of course he still has that scar. His life is also full of good unique details: His babysitter’s house smells of cabbage (Always good to have a hero smell things that we might have smelled in our own lives, but never heard described in quite that way.)
  • Once again, he’s very easy to care for, because his adoptive parents have only pictures of their biological son, and make Harry sleep in a spider-filled closet under the stairs. His parents and brother denigrate him constantly. The reader deeply identifies with this, because what child with siblings has not feared at some point that their parents preferred the sibling? And of course we’ve all had to watch someone open presents and wish we could get one as well. It’s a good mix of suffering we’ve only feared and suffering we’ve actually experienced.
  • So that brings us to the trickier question: Can we invest in 10 year old Harry? Clearly his wizard-Hitler-killing days are long behind him. He has no idea he’s magic and he has no agency in his life whatsoever. It’s a good general rule that we first identify with kid heroes the first time they sneak out of the house, but Harry doesn’t do anything like that, despite his awful circumstances. He is, in fact, rather passive. But he does just enough. Most importantly, at the end of this chapter, he frees a captive boa constrictor. He does so passively and unconsciously, but he does it, and sort of knows he did it. This is just enough to get us to say, “Well, okay, he’s not exactly bad-ass yet at this age, but I’ll keep reading about this hero until he learns how to use these powers actively and intentionally.”

For many young people, this will be the first novel they’ve had read to them, or maybe the first novel they ever read on their own. And it’ll be a bit of a weird introduction to the world of novels. Neither the book nor 10-year-old Harry are begging to be liked …but maybe that’s why we like them so much.

Harry Potter: The Archive

I’m all ready to go with the next book, but it’s Thanksgiving week, so I figured I would just wrap up for this week with a review of all the Harry Potter pieces I’ve written over the years.
Last week I annotated the first twenty pages of Harry Potter and wrote a series of posts about what we can learn from those pages:

But Ive written a lot about Harry over the years.  Most infamously, I did my Harry Potter Meddler Week:
But Ive also written lots of other posts about Harry over the years:

Storyteller’s Rulebook: The Value of Rowling’s Omniscient Third Person

It’s my opinion that readers crave as few points of view as possible. I prefer either first person or third person that’s strictly limited to one head. But writers love to skip from head to head, because it’s more convenient to tell a story that way, and Rowling is no exception. The first chapter begins in Mr. Dursley’s POV, then switches to McGonagall’s, then to Dumbledore, and only in Chapter 2 do we switch to Harry, where we will remain for most of the rest of the book.

But there’s also a fourth POV here, and it’s the one that makes all the others work: Rowling’s own. The very first time we leave a POV, as Mr. Dursley goes to sleep, on our way out the window to McGonagall, we pause for a one sentence paragraph where Rowling inserts her own voice.

The POV isn’t just idly wandering from one character to the next, our goddess is plucking it away from one character, commenting directly to us about what a fool he is, and then safely setting us back down in the POV of McGonagall.

In the above excerpt, “How very wrong he was,” makes all the difference. It establishes that we have omniscient third-person narration, and that our omniscient third-person narrator might sometimes, very rarely, have something to say directly to us. This isn’t Harry’s book, it’s J. K. Rowling’s, and she’s going to show some character herself.

Even before this, Mr. Dursley’s thoughts aren’t necessarily summarized in the way he would summarize his own thoughts, but rather in the way that Rowling would:
  • Mr. Dursley was enraged to see that a couple of them weren’t young at all; why, that man had to be older than he was, and wearing an emerald-green cloak!
That “why” is key. It diminishes Mr. Dursley. It’s also a subtle hint that we’re reading a children’s book, despite the adult characters. It sounds like the narrative voice of a picture book. Even when narrating our POV character’s thoughts, Rowling’s omniscient narration is making itself heard.

Storyteller’s Rulebook: To Prologue or Not to Prologue?

Should you start your book with a prologue or chapter one? Declaring your opening pages to be a prologue can have its uses.

When we begin to read a book, we’re desperate for a hero. We want to find one character we can believe in, care about, and invest in, then settle in comfortably to that character’s POV as we launch into this book. But sometimes it’s not convenient to begin your book that way. Sometimes you have a good reason to begin your book away from your hero’s POV.

Maybe you want to begin with a scene featuring the eventual villain, or one of the victims of that villain. Maybe you want to begin in the past before your hero had his or her current personality.  In each of those cases, you have a problem: You’re not presenting the audience with what they want, a fully-realized hero in the story’s modern-day to start the story with. The danger is that they’ll try to bond with whatever character you’re giving them, only to find them woefully insufficient, because of course this isn’t your hero yet.

One solution is to tip off your audience that this isn’t your hero yet by declaring those opening pages to be a prologue, not chapter one. This is a way to buy yourself some time. You’re assuring your reader: Don’t be alarmed if you can’t find anybody to care about yet, the book hasn’t really begun yet, this is just to establish plot or tone or whatever. Character will have to wait.

This way, you can maybe get a few more pages out of your gatekeeper as well.You can’t put it down after five pages if you haven’t even gotten to chapter one yet! You at least have to give me that long.

So all of these are reasons that the opening pages of Harry Potter book 1 could have been identified as a prologue. We begin in the POV of Mr. Dursley, of all people, for five pages, then jump briefly to a cat, then Dumbledore, then meet our hero as a baby. It’s only in the next chapter that we’ll jump ahead ten years and the real narrative begins.

But Rowling calls her opening Chapter One. Is it possible that this hurt her with the twelve publishers that rejected her? Would they have kept reading longer if they had been reassured that Mr. Dursley wasn’t going to be the hero of the book?

Would there have been any downside to declaring it to be a prologue? Would it seem too fussy? Would kids be less likely to pick it up if it didn’t seem like it would get going right away? Or is there some fear that they would simply skip those pages?

Ultimately, the book sold, and caught on like wildfire, and now it’s the first book that many kids read on their own, so clearly it did something right. Maybe we should do away with prologues altogether? What do you think: Is this intro better off as a prologue or chapter one?

Rulebook Casefile: Harry Potter Goes From Hero to Zero

It’s the greatest paradox of writing: Readers want heroes to be underdogs, but they don’t want them to be losers. They don’t want your main character to actually go from being zero to hero: they want him or her to start out with skills and admirable characteristics that will carry him or her though the story.

But Harry Potter does come off as sort of a loser in the first chapter of his first book:
  • Harry had always been small and skinny for his age. He looked even smaller and skinnier than he really was because all he had to wear were old clothes of Dudley’s, and Dudley was about four times bigger than he was. Harry had a thin face, knobbly knees, black hair, and bright green eyes. He wore round glasses held together with a lot of Scotch tape because of all the times Dudley had punched him on the nose.
Harry then takes a lot of abuse, without much pushback.  He’s really downtrodden.  Rowling is totally playing up the underdog aspect. We fear for him more than we cheer for him.

Why does this work? Because of the first chapter, when we saw Harry at age 1, having defeated the scariest wizard of all time. We don’t find out until book 4 (in a moment that I think should have gotten more emphasis) that Harry did not defeat Voldemort due to any inherent powers, but simply because of a spell his mom cast to bounce Voldemort’s spell off the baby. Until that reveal, we assume that Harry has some sort of special superpower that leaves all the greatest wizards in his world in awe. He’s the great hero they were all waiting for, right from the start.

So we’re more willing to put up with loserish qualities in Harry when we meet him again at age 11. He’s allowed to go from zero to hero, because he’s already gone from hero to zero. He’s secretly the ultimate bad-ass, so it’s ironic that he seems so weak now. If we didn’t know better, and we had the sense that he really was simply a weakling, we might be put off and quit reading.

Storyteller’s Rulebook: The Value of the Baby in a Basket in Harry Potter

One of the basic story archetypes is the baby in the basket: A baby is destined for a glorious life, but then, usually to save his life, he is taken away from his parents, who often die, and he’s sent to live in more modest circumstances, where he is raised humbly, believing himself to be a commoner. When he gets old enough, he finds out about his glorious legacy and rises to become a hero.

Oedipus is a baby in a basket. So is Achilles. So is Superman. One variation on the theme is Moses, who is sent to less modest circumstances, but even there, he’s separated from the source of his future super-powers until he discovers his birth parents.

And of course Harry Potter is a classic “baby in a basket” hero.

Why does this archetype work so well? Because there are two competing human impulses: the inclination to admire those of great birth, and the contradictory inclination to admire those who learned from rough circumstances. The magic of the “baby in a basket” is that he gets to be both at the same time, ensuring that everyone will like him

These stories also speak to us because they reflect our universal sense of being misunderstood. We all feel like we are destined for greatness and mistreated by a world that insists on treating us like ordinary people, and we long to read about characters for whom that’s really true. The moment where the hero finds out that he was born to be great is the ultimate wish fulfillment for the reader.

Rowling also taps into another universal feeling, as least for anybody with a sibling. Every sibling feels, at one time or another, that they’re being slighted in favor of another sibling. Rowling takes that universal sense of injustice and magnifies it a thousand-fold, creating deep identification.

Straying from the Party Line: Harry Potter and the First Five Pages Test

Update: This post originally said that Rowling had no agent, which is what I was told by my wife, but my mother-in-law has now corrected me, so I’ve rewritten appropriately.
So we all know that J. K. Rowling had a hard time selling Harry Potter.  Her packet with the first few chapters and a synopsis got turned down by twelve publishers before a Bloomsbury editor decided to take a chance on it.

It’s entirely possible that those twelve publishers never even took a look at it before they rejected it, but what if they did? It’s well known that most gatekeepers will only read five pages before they give up on a manuscript that hasn’t grabbed them. So you’ve got to subject your work to the five-page test. How would you feel if you stopped reading there?

If I just read the first five pages of this book, would I buy it? Nope.

This is now one of the most of the most beloved books of all time, so it’s easy to see the greatness in those opening pages. They’re funny. They’re a good entry into this world. But those pages are a big risk, and they could easily have kept the book from ever being published.

Rowling chooses to start with what I would call an anti-POV character: We’re seeing hints of amazing things, but we’re stuck in the head of a buffoonish character who refuses to look at them. Because Rowling is a great writer, she makes this POV very entertaining anyway: We enjoy laughing at his buffoonery and we enjoy peeking over his shoulder to see the things he’s trying not to see.

But if you’re a reader for those first twelve companies, then rejecting this is a no-brainer: We’re reading about an unlikeable character! There’s virtually no dialogue! The title character doesn’t appear! We’ve been promised a fantasy book by the pitch but we’re in a world that’s mostly mundane.

Rowling took a huge risk. She starts us off in an unlikeable head, then introduces our hero as a baby with a huge info dump, then jumps ten years ahead in chapter two, only belatedly letting us get to know our hero then. It’s all well-written, but it’s no surprise that twelve publishers rejected it. The patience of that thirteenth editor was a miracle. He stuck with it and discovered gold.

If Rowling had been more concerned with the rules, this classic novel would have had a very different beginning, for good or ill. Instead, we have this odd beginning that has gone on to enchant so many readers.

The Annotation Project: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

So let’s try something new: I’m thinking it would be fun to annotate famous books with my thoughts as to why the writing works. I wish I could post these bigger so they were actually readable here, but instead you have to click on every one (and it’s not going to be very readable on people’s phones.) I’ll also include all twenty pages as a downloadable word document if that’s easier. We’ll start with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (Actually, the only version I could find for download was the American-ized version, so I guess we should say Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

We’ll do this like the checklists, with a big document dump on the first day, followed by follow-up pieces for the next two to three weeks. See you then!


Storyteller’s Rulebook: Voldemort Dies at the End of the First Book

Everybody dreams of writing a series. It seems like every manuscript has a subtitle: Book One in the Flizzbozz Quartet. And why not? Series are a license to print cash. Look at J.K. Rowling. Look at Suzanne Collins. Hell, look at E. L. James, and she was just writing fan fiction.

But there’s another reason why people like to write the first book in a series: Because they think that it’s less work. You don’t have to explain the whole backstory yet. You don’t have pay off the love story. And you don’t have to defeat the bad guy.

Here’s what everybody forgets: Vodemort dies at the end of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” There’s one last remnant of him, fused onto the back of Quirrel’s head, and then they burn him away into nothingness. That’s it. Sure, Rowling allows for a tiny sliver of doubt afterwards, but we’ve had a satisfying killing to provide catharsis. Then Harry has good closing scenes with all his friends and Dumbledore and returns home happier. It’s a satisfying book.

I have a creeping dread reading any book identified as the first in a series, because all too often they don’t provide that satisfying ending. Sometimes the villain isn’t even confronted yet. Sometimes the villain’s plan or motivation is still unclear. Sometimes the hero and his or her friends are still separated in different storylines and don’t get a chance to deal with the events of the story. I often say, “This makes no sense,” only to be told, “It’ll make sense in the sequel.”

Yes, there are rare exceptions, but as a rule, if you don’t provide a satisfying experience with the first book, you’ll never get a chance to finish that quartet. Reveal the whole story. Defeat your villain. Provide an emotional resolution. (Defeating the villain can be ambiguous, like shooting Darth Vader off into space, or it can be symbolic: Snow is humiliated at the end of the Hunger Games, but not killed.)

And whatever you do, unless you intend to self-publish, don’t start the sequel before you sell the first one! Your agent will demand big changes to the first one. Your publisher will demand even bigger changes. Characters will be eliminated. Timelines will shift. You don’t know what your final story will be yet. That’s not entirely up to you. So you don’t even know what story you’re writing a sequel to. More likely than not, you’re going to have to throw all that work out, and it’ll just make you more reluctant to make the changes you need to make to the first one.

Meddling With Harry Potter Book 7

In “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows,” Harry and friends blow off their senior year (didn’t we all?) to hunt horcruxes. The death eaters take over the ministry and Hogwarts, making the fugitives increasingly desperate. Eventually, they realize that Voldemort is on a quest of his own, to get three magical items called the Deathly Hallows. Finally, the two quests converge in a big fight at Hogwarts. Voldemort seemingly kills Harry, who has a ghostly talk with Dumbledore, then resurrects and kills Voldemort. Years later, we see him as an auror married to Ginny.

Some Strengths of the 7th book:

  1. The posthumous revelation of Dumbledore’s many flaws is a masterful touch. A beloved but idealized character is belated granted all of the complexity he deserves.
  2. Rowling suddenly remembered that the villain shouldn’t just be trying to stop the hero’s plan, he must have a desire of his own, so she whipped up a delightful new mythology around the Deathly Hallows. It made the plot of the book dizzyingly complex, but she somehow pulled it all off.
  3. Rowling also pulls off one of her classic “plot meets theme” reversals: One of her major themes for the series is the power of naming and/or refusing to name. Until now, Voldemort’s opponents have drawn moral strength from their unique willingness to say his name, but now that he is in charge, their great strength ironically becomes their great weakness as he curses the word that only they will say.
  4. For the most part, Rowling does a great job rounding up dozens of old characters and locations and giving almost all of them a fitting emotional send-off. The scope is epic and the emotions are intense.
  5. The action scenes are absolutely breathless, which explains why most of the book-reading world was able to devour this brick-sized tome in a day.

Some Weaknesses of the 7th book:

  1. All that endless waiting! Why do they wait all summer to begin? Why do they procrastinate so much like Achilles in their tent? We get multiple passages that say “they spend the next month reading that book for clues,” or “they spent weeks going over their plan…” Why should this process take so long? It’s presumably because Rowling felt that she was tied down to the structure of the previous books, but here it makes no sense and it creates massive character inconsistencies: Hermione never even seems to care that she’s missing school!
  2. They blew off their seventh year—so why are they done with school at the end? No matter how grateful the teachers are, they can’t really give them anything but honorary degrees if they don’t come back and actually do the classwork, right?
  3. There is a massive overreliance on the same few magic tricks, all of which had already been exhausted in previous books. Rowling has gotten too logical in her plotting when she should be inventive. This is fan-like thinking: “Gee, if I were in that world I would use polyjuice potion all the time so that nobody would ever know who I was, and I’d never take my invisibility cloak off, and…” Sure, that makes sense, technically, but it’s Rowling’s job as storyteller to take those tools out of their hands when they’ve lost their novelty for the reader. How hard is it to write “Oh no! Voldemort has now got polyjuice and invisibility cloak sniffing dogs!” After six books of constant invention, she spends too much of this last one coasting on old ideas.
  4. I’m all for keeping kids’ books relatively sexless, as long as you don’t flaunt the sexlessness in our faces. This book has coed pairings of seventeen year old high school drop-outs spending month after month camping in a tent with nothing to do, fearing for their lives. And they never have sex? Nope, that’s not the way the world works. She should have avoided this awkward situation.
  5. I understand that she was going for a “war is hell” vibe and she wanted to get pitch black before the dawn, but the grimness at times becomes ludicrously exaggerated. In addition to all the death, Lupin turns into a crappy husband and father, then he and Tonks both die offstage, orphaning their baby?? That’s just an undignified end for two beloved characters. What a relentless bummer!
  6. But the biggest problem was that, in the end, it really was just all about killing Voldemort. Maybe I was spoiled by the Star Wars trilogy, but I’ve always had a marked preference for stories about heroes who find a more spiritually redeeming goal than revenge. Harry doesn’t even feel bad that it had to end this way!
  7. Even worse, Harry is merely fulfilling the prophecy, which cheapens his achievement. Is that really a fitting reward for Harry? Doesn’t he want something different than to simply become what everybody expected him to become?
  8. In the epilogue, I was also disappointed that Rowling fell for the classic flaw of so much children’s literature: implying that getting the job you wanted as a child and marrying your childhood sweetheart is a good thing. It usually isn’t a good idea to get shackled for life by the limited perspective you had as a teen. I would hope that Harry would learn and grow as a result of his quest, or as a result of his subsequent freedom from responsibility, and form new goals.

My fixes for the 7th book:

  1. Harry and friends reconvene two weeks later (Let’s include the wonderfully sad scene that the movie added of Hermione’s parents forgetting about her.)
  2. They reconvene for the wedding (which happens earlier in the summer) and the plot goes pretty much as it did in the book, just much faster. They try to finish their quest in time to be back by senior year, but they realize that they’re making slow progress…
  3. …When the time comes, Harry and Ron both expect Hermione to go back for school, but she won’t leave them, which gives her a little “how much I’ve changed” moment (though her constant grief at playing playing hooky should provide running comic relief)
  4. Continuing through the events of the book at a doubletime pace, we get to the climax before Christmastime.
  5. Let Harry actually speak to the dying Snape, rather than have Snape clear his name posthumously, as he did in the book (As I’m sure you guessed, in my version of book 6 from yesterday, Snape had already whispered to Sirius that he couldn’t save him, only ease his pain, so when the death eaters arrived Sirius surreptitiously grabbed and drank another poison to save Snape’s cover, which earned Snape’s appreciation, which is why he smiled…)
  6. Harry does not get everything explained to him again by Dumbeldore at the end (death should have consequences!) but that’s okay because he knows what Dumbledore would have said to him anyway.
  7. In the finale, Harry comes to a dawning realization…. He begins to suspect that there are actually eight horcruxes, the last one is one of the objects from Voldemort’s miserable youth at the cabin, which he has around his neck.…
  8. Sure enough, they destroy the seven horcruxes but Voldemort doesn’t die. Harry is about to destroy the last one he’s discovered, when he realizes something pitiful: the last Horcrux was the first part that Voldemort split off from himself, because it was the small part of him that was good. It’s the only part of him that’s left now, so he is left small, wretched and wracked with guilt at what he’s done.
  9. Harry suddenly loses his bloodlust. He tells the small circle of friends within earshot that they should let him live out his days, coping with the guilt of his crimes in Azkaban. Most agree, but Neville (who was always shown to be more traumatized by his own parents’ deaths than Harry was) is horrified by the thought, so he impetuously picks up Gryffindor’s sword and shoves it through the horcrux and Voldemort, killing him permanently. The gathered forces of good, unaware of what was said at the end, see this deed and suddenly remember that the prophecy could have applied to either Harry or Neville. They instantly switch their idolatry and begin a massive celebration of the true chosen one, Neville.
  10. At first Harry is incensed, but then he realizes that this is the greatest reward he could have won: the chance to be a normal wizard for the first time, freed from the burden of history and expectation. He is disappointed in Neville’s act of vengeance, but happily lets him take the credit.
  11. The teachers invalidate the death eater-run semester and agree to give everybody credit for a foreshortened school year crammed into the second semester. One chapter breezily sums up this happy, uneventful semester.
  12. They graduate, Hermione gives the valedictory (taking the place of Dumbledore’s words of wisdom at the end of the other books) and they all go their own ways. Harry tells Ginny that he’s sick of violence and no longer wants to be an auror, so he’s got to go out in the world and decide what he wants to be. She says that he should make sure he really wants to come back to her too, and they agree to re-evaluate their relationship when or if he comes back. They sadly part…
  13. But, in the final chapter, twenty years later, Harry is revealed, after much suspense, to be married to Ginny after all (after years apart) and acceding, after fifteen years as Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, to be the new Headmaster of Hogwarts. Ron and Hermione, who work for the now insufferable Neville at the ministry, attend the ceremony.

(Okay, okay, I couldn’t let the ‘shippers down, but at least let them make the final decision as adults, not kids! Those who get married at eighteen regret it!)

So thats it! This was supposed to be a quick storytelling exercise, but it quickly descended into epic vainglorious fan fiction. Its a testament to how real and wonderful these stories are to me that I’m still running them over in my head all these years later, greedily trying to take this wonderful story away from Rowling so that I can make it my own.