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Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Starfox5, Apr 23, 2016.
Hm... so Hermione lost two fighters and has three temporary disabled. On the other hand they've proven themselves and they've got a perspective to end this civil war on their terms. Recruiting more should get easier at this point.
I really hope Dumbledore has figured out a way to find Voldemort and take him out for real. I expect something like putting him into coma or mindwiping him.
But training new recruits will take months - and tie up at least two members.
He's still counting on Harry facing Voldemort in their minds. But Voldemort now knows he can sense Harry.
Actually, consider the following.
Dumbledore admits that he's trying to get any Aurors whose actions might be considered questionable by him and / or the muggleborn to openly join Voldemort, even if they weren't previously his followers, since "it would greatly facilitate matters".
Now Dumbledore is reverses his stance, saying that those whose actions were questionable but who aren't members of Voldemort's followers "should not be forced to join him out of desperation".
Given what we've been shown of him previously I merely consider him flawed, but to Amelia it would very likely seem that he deliberately tried to get as many Aurors as possible killed. Considering what Voldemort is attempting if she doesn't consider the possibility that Albus will try to take over the country via force, using the Muggleborn Resistance, seeing as he deliberately weakened the Ministry's ability to resist him, I will be surprised. Which leads to seeing the Resistance and Dumbledore as enemies and working to develop counters to them. Which leads to a shifting of focus in the civil war, making any ending of it quite a bit harder.
Dumbledore wants to ensure that there won't be any relapse after the war - which means he wants to get rid of all Death Eaters and their sympathisers. That doesn't exclude some tactical concessions. Though it's not really a reversal of his stance - he still wants all those who supported Voldemort with gold or deeds gone, including those bigos who used the laws to hurt mugglrborns. But the idiots who voted for those laws thinking those were needed but did not actually harm others he is willing to spare.
With regards to stopping Dumbledore, the Ministry can't really do anything right now. Dumbledore and Voldemort are like nuclear powers. They can stop each other, but the Ministry can't really stop them. Once Voldemort is gone, Dumbledore effectively has taken over already. That's why the bigots played nice and let Dumbledore push equality for muggleborns after he had defeated Grindelwald in this story - they knew they stood no chance.
The problems are that from what we've seen so far Dubledore is rather flawed. He is shown (at least from what I've read) as biased for muggleborn and biased against purebloods. His lack of support in the government blindsided him. His political successes (that I recall) were either due to threats, underhand tactics or Voldemort showing his colours too early. He has Snape as the head of Slytherin and, since there's nothing in the story that shows evidence to the contrary, that means that Snape has been acting like Snape. Either because he knew when he appointed him that Voldemort was coming back, which leaves the question of what he was doing about it, or because he either did not notice or care. He's been headmaster for decades, but the bigotry in the school is left to get worse. (In fact, considering the amount in the other houses and outside the school, I expect that there are some real reasons, even if it's just the generic rude muggleborns reason.)
Please believe me that this isn't a negative. I've been reading this story and seeing a powerful wizard who due to his skill and actions received positions he wasn't suited to fill and who has been trying to do what he believes to be right ever since. Sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding and sometimes making no difference at all. I've been anticipating the various people, Hermione, Harry, Ron and even Albus realizing that his decisions aren't necessarily always right or the best. And then having them learn from the past, grow and work to make a better tomorrow. (And making new mistakes and working together to fix those.)
The thing is how they see Dumbledore's actions. After all, what's the difference between fighting and losing or sitting twiddling your thumbs and losing? If you fight you tried. So if they see Dumbledore's actions negatively enough... And I can't really see how Amelia heard his words positively.
Stopping Dumbledore in a fairish fight... Why fight fair. Poisons, potions, explosives, a real surprise attack (killing curse to the back), a knife in the back, powerful magical items (if they exist in your reality) or rituals.
Dumbledore is "Biased for muggleborn" in the same way the civil rights movement was biased for minorities - he wants them to be equal members of society. He started getting them equal rights after he defeated Grindelwald, proving himself to be the most powerful wizard in the country, and dragged Britain on to become one of the most progressive countries with regards to muggleborns. But he underestimated the resentment of a big part of the purebloods, who really don't like mudbloods.
In short, before he started, things were much, much worse, and he did a whole lot - he changed Wizarding Britain from 19h century Deep South to 1970s Deep South, at least as far as laws are concerned. Yes, there's still a lot of bigotry, and many waited for Voldemort to reappear so they could oppose him, but overall he did very well.
As far as the bigots fighting him... did the racists in Alabama fight the Army once it was deployed? Here, there was the First Blood War, but after that failed, taking most of the brave bigots with them, the rest didn't want to expose themselves again. After all, just because you dislike mudbloods doesn't mean you want to risk your life doing something about them, and a failed assassination attempt would have had quite drastic consequences.
Edit: Dumbledore has made many mistakes, but his biggest was his mistaken belief that just because everyone played nice without Voldemort in the picture meant that his reforms had been accepted. With regards to his political moves, he was hampered some by the fact that this Wizengamot is made up of hereditary and appointed seats, meaning the rich Old Families basically rule the Country. Now he might be swaying too much in the other direction - the Wizengamot is cetainly up for "reform" once the war is over, if he has his way.
Basically he tried it the nice way, but chances are he'll just be a dictator for a few years once the war is over.
He's old enough to know that he needs lasting changes - he's not getting any younger, after all. And changing the Wizengamot into an elected parliament would be a big step towards reforming Britain, giving the half-bloods, the muggleborns and the poor purebloods a voice in the government.
Since right now? Wizarding Britain is an aristocracy in this story. That's what "inherited seats" means.
Thank you for the information.
It is nice to know some of the backstory, but it has no impact. Maybe because it's presented outside the story.
Dumbledore sitting and working through his options after talking to Harry and Ron about the attackers of Haley's Hats, dismissing the Aurors killed (and owner as well possibly) as inconsequential and not arranging the survivors escape only because (if I remember correctly) doing so would make rescuing captured Resistance members more difficult, or perhaps more likely that people would discover he arranged it, has impact. Dumbledore being happy about the "rescue" of the attackers of Haley's Hats make an impact. Buildings on fire because of his memory charmed dupes, a very stupid decision in my opinion, make an impact. (Or perhaps that's just me, since I've seen and helped with a few grass fires.) Regarding the attackers of Haley's Hats, no, given the information provided to us I do not believe they were close to being in the right. And there are a few others things well, although those are mostly him not caring or being negative towards the Purebloods, specifically the Aurors.
Against that... The only two things I can recall is Dumbledore considering what he would decide if he managed to find out where Neville's grandmother was kept, and deciding nothing, and him mentioning once (I think) that he pushed for equal rights for Muggleborn..
That's mostly why I see Dumbledore as biased for Muggleborn and against Purebloods in this story.
Now, how could he be shown as more balanced, striving towards equality?
At this point, it is rather difficult since Brenda Brocktuckle and Dapne Greengrass are basically out of the picture. Either of them having discussions with old timers about the "good old days" and how Dumbledore ruined it could have shown Dumbledore in a better light. Now? Perhaps Dumbledore having a discussion with somebody, a Wizengamot member who opposes both him and Voldemort, with said member stating how this whole fiasco would never have happened if Dumbledore didn't push such and such legal changes through years ago.
My point about the poisons, potions, explosives, knifes in the back, killing curses from behind, rituals and powerful magic items was that with how Amelia sees his current actions, her attempting to find a way to counter him would not be unexpected. Let's see how Amelia might see his actions. She now knows that he was involved with the Resistance, he told her that he saw the death of a number of innocents and neutrals as acceptable collateral damage, he threatened her and Fudge, he told her to her face that he was trying to push as many Aurors as possible to join Voldemort so he could kill them and he suddenly changed his tune when Voldemort escaped. The various conclusions she could draw from that is rather bad. So if she sees bad stuff coming anyway, why not work on a counter or ten?
I don't know, I think the school was his biggest mistake. He had decades as headmaster to influence the new generations and from what was written in this story he screwed it up. Snape is a major one, Christmas and Halloween is another, and not using it to influence the kids is the biggest.
Mandatory classes in Pureblood culture on the one hand, so unintentional rudeness does not occur and mandatory expeditions into Muggle cities on the other hand, with optional shopping, movie and dancing trips so Purebloods and Halfbloods can learn something about what shaped Muggleborn. If he had the clout to force in Halloween and Christmas that should have been possible. Teachers who aren't bigoted and who quietly push for greater understanding. Grooming of Wizengamot heirs, not obviously, but still, doing so would have let him accomplish a lot in the long term.
For now it's late and I'm tired, so the above will have to do for now.
It's mentioned in the story as well. Voldemort thinks about it, after he has talked to Augusta. Dumbledore thinks about it, and mentioned it to Bones and Fudge.
It's also quite clear that a lot of the Aurors are bigots who will happily abuse the law to abuse muggleborns.
He's biased against the Old Families, and the bigots. The latter make up a sizeable part of the pureblood population. So, yeah, he is biased against the racists.
He is striving for equality. It's just that many purebloods are more or less violently opposed to that. I think I pretty much wrote it out how close Wizarding Britain became to Nazi Germany at the start of the story. And just like Nazi gGermany, that wasn't just a tiny part of the population supporting it.
He told Bones and Fudge that and why he had been pushing for equality in Chapter 24.
She might try to - but if she fails, or if he finds out what she's preparing, he could decide that the Ministry is too far gone to be reformed, and crush it.
And he did influence the children. Things did improve greatly - but just as our world is not perfect, things are not perfect there either.
As Fred explained to Daphne, her "pureblood culture" is not the pureblood culture - the Weasleys, and many other "blood traitors" don't give a damn about that culture since it has long excluded them for marrying mudbloods. And, to be quite clear: For Draco's kind of pureblood, mudbloods will always be "unintentionally rude" just for not bowing to "their betters".
Dumbledore has been trying much of what you mention - but as anyone can see in the real world, racism and bigotry is not easy to change, or quickly changed with such "soft measures". Which is, incidentally, part of the reason that he's grown quite callous towards the bigots and their system, and thinks maybe the Allied solution for Germany after WW2 - crush the whole damn militarist culture and rebuild the country - might work better.
Chapter 34: Hogwarts
‘At first sight it might seem odd that even after having fought together in the bloodiest battle in the war so far, the Ministry’s wounded were sent to St Mungo’s while the Order of the Phoenix and their allies, as well as the Resistance, moved their casualties to Hogwarts. However, the close cooperation that followed the battle was largely the work of Dumbledore, who managed to convince the Resistance and the Ministry to join ranks despite the bad blood between the two factions. But the separation of the wounded heralded the fact that while the three factions were at this point united against the Dark Lord, they had by no means truly reconciled. Deep rifts remained, a situation the Dark Lord was poised to exploit.’
- Excerpt from ‘The Second Blood War’ by Hyacinth Selwyn
Hogwarts, January 18th, 1997
“Good morning, Aberforth.” As usual, Albus Dumbledore greeted his brother with a friendly smile. And as usual, Aberforth ignored his greeting as he sat down in front of Albus’s desk, staring at him.
Albus didn’t sigh. “I trust you have heard about the events at the Ministry.”
“Yes. Quite the massacre.” Aberforth scoffed. “Why did you let that happen? You expected the Dark Lord to launch an attack following that vote in the Wizengamot.”
The Headmaster shook his head. “I took precautions, but the sheer number of spies Voldemort had inside the Ministry hindered my and my friends’ efforts.” He might have been too cautious, Albus knew, but if Tom had learned of his precautions then the Dark Lord would have been able to counter them. The battle had been close enough. If not for the Resistance and the Delacours and d’Aigles, the Ministry would have fallen.
“Really?” His brother snorted. “Didn’t the battle end just as you wanted, with the Ministry both weakened and indebted to the muggleborn and your friends, and the Death Eaters broken?”
“I certainly did not wish for so many good people to die,” Albus said, forcing himself to remain calm. That there was some truth to this accusation made it harder - with both the Resistance and the Ministry suffering such terrible losses, they were unlikely to attack each other until the Dark Lord had been defeated, and Albus hoped that by then, the rift would have been mended sufficiently to avoid further bloodshed.
“Hah! You may claim that, but no matter what you intended, people keep dying while you scheme and plot,” Aberforth sneered at him. “Children as well.”
Albus knew what his brother was not quite saying. Decades had dulled the pain of the loss of his sister, but not the shame he felt for his part in it. He felt the urge to lash out at his brother, remind him that there had been three wizards fighting each other that day, that Aberforth was guilty as well, but he knew couldn’t afford it. He needed Aberforth’s help.
So he slowly nodded, denying his brother the satisfaction of seeing him react with anger. “I try my best, but the Dark Lord is no ordinary enemy.”
Aberforth scoffed again, but didn’t press the matter. For a short while, neither Albus nor his brother said anything. Then the Headmaster broke the silence. “The Dark Lord has lost most of his Death Eaters in the Ministry. He will be looking to recruit more unscrupulous wands to fill up his ranks.”
“There are not many left in Britain who’d follow him,” Aberforth said. He had to know what Albus was asking. “And I think your French friends will not look kindly on attempts to recruit their scum.”
The Headmaster nodded. “But Tom will look further abroad as well. He spent years in Albania as a shade.” He didn’t react to his brother suddenly growing tense.
“He couldn’t have built up a network of contacts as a shade,” Aberforth answered.
“No. But he had ample time to remedy that since his return - a number of his inner circle are not accounted for.” Albus folded his hands and propped his elbows up on his desk. “I am not asking you to go there.” Aberforth relaxed minimally. “But I need a few names friends of mine can contact there. Trusted mercenaries. And mercenaries who would be joining the Dark Lord.”
“If you try to put pressure on them not to join the Dark Lord you might cause them to join him out of spite,” Aberforth said. “They’re a prickly sort.”
“I am not planning to do that,” Albus said, shaking his head. “I intend to hire them myself, although the less trustworthy ones I would probably send to guard something unimportant abroad, just to deny them to Tom.”
“Expensive, but effective.” Aberforth chuckled. “Although they’ll grow restless sooner or later.”
Albus spread his hands. “I would rather have them grow restless after a few weeks than attack us straight away.” And if things went well, Tom would be dead before this became an issue.
“I’ll give you a list. I don’t know if any of them are still alive, though. Is that all?”
Albus doubted his brother’s professed ignorance of the fate of his former comrades. Aberforth was far too loyal to the thieves and other shady people he associated with to have abandoned those he shed blood with during the troubles in the Balkans. He shook his head. “Tom will try to recruit in Britain as well. If your friends could keep an eye and ear out for his recruiters…”
“I’m not going to have them risk their lives for you, Albus.”
“Shouldn’t that be their choice?” Albus said softly.
Aberforth muttered a curse, but he couldn’t very well accuse Albus of manipulating others like puppets, and then try to make such decisions for his friends. The Headmaster waited until his brother had gotten up, then spoke up again. “The Resistance might need your help as well.”
Aberforth whirled around. “What? Are you sending them into harm’s way again, before they have recovered from this debacle? They lost half their number!”
Albus made a mental note that his brother had kept track of the Resistance. That and his reaction meant he cared for them. The Headmaster shook his head. “No. But as you said: They lost a number of dear friends. They, or rather Miss Granger, might need to talk to someone who has gone through this before.” Albus couldn’t help but feeling a small bit of satisfaction at seeing his brother jerk - Aberforth wasn’t the only one able to use old tragedies against another.
His brother stared at him, then nodded, and left the Headmaster’s office without a further word.
“Good morning, Alastor.”
“Morning Albus.” The old Auror’s peg leg made a loud noise with each step he took. Albus ignored it; Alastor was doing this so his enemies, both real and imagined, would not suspect that he could move far more quietly if he wanted to.
“You sent your brother off on his errands already?” Alastor said, sitting down on a chair he had conjured himself.
“Good to see the old bugger doing something helpful, for a change.” His old friend snorted.
The Headmaster shrugged. He might still harbor hope for a reconciliation with his last family member, but he was certain Alastor and Aberforth would never be civil to each other. There had been too much bad blood, back when Aberforth had just returned to Britain from the Balkans, and both men carried grudges like no one else Albus knew. “What did you find out?”
Alastor grinned, his scarred face twisting. “Ah, I got lucky - the very first traitor I interrogated was the one who snuck those cursed aeroplanes in.”
Albus leaned forward. That was very important news. “Did they know what curse was used?”
His friend shook his head, the enchanted eye spinning wildly. “No. The fool just did what she was told to, without knowing exactly what would happen. She knew that it was a dark curse, and that the spell would not hit anyone near the target - but that might have been a lie told to her as well.” He scoffed. “Two Aurors were behind that nasty business, Malcolm Parkinson and Brenda Brocktuckle. They organised the traitors in the Corps, sent those cursed planes out, and fought in the coup. Parkinson was the leader of that group, but Brocktuckle had quite the authority, for a recent recruit. We got the names of the others in their cell too - but they were killed in the fighting.”
“Did either know the Dark Lord’s hideout?” One of them, at least. Mister Parkinson had been a very well-connected Slytherin; it was not impossible for such a wizard to have gained the Dark Lord’s trust.
“Parkinson knows the locations of the spots where he met his master. Which means that the Dark Lord is certainly not living there. And with his Death Eaters captured, he’ll know we now know those spots as well.”
“I see.” He remembered Miss Brocktuckle. A very determined, stubborn student at Hogwarts. A good Auror too. To think she had joined Tom… “Is there any chance that Miss Brocktuckle was just a follower?”
“Technically, she was just a follower, but she was being groomed for more by Parkinson. He wanted to sleep with her too.” Alastor chuckled. “Won’t be doing any of that, not anymore.”
Albus nodded. With so many Ministry employees and even Wizengamot members cursed, and the Ministry and the Wizengamot almost falling to the Dark Lord, mercy would be in short supply. “How is the mood among the surviving Aurors?”
“Mixed. They still don’t trust each other, even though everyone claims to want to avenge their dead comrades and fight the Dark Lord.” Alastor shook his head. “There’s talk about dosing everyone with Veritaserum.”
Albus frowned. Veritaserum was a powerful tool, but it was not infallible. There were a few of ways a spy could foil such an interrogation, provided that they knew it was coming. And it threatened to expose several actions taken by his own agents.
Alastor scoffed. “They don’t realise just how much skill it takes to spot memory charms, or someone skilled at Occlumency.” He sighed. “The Corps will take a long time to recover from that blow. Traitors, and then so many dead…”
“You will be busy getting the survivors into shape then.”
“Yes.” For a moment, the old Auror looked almost apologetic. “I’ll still be training the boys, of course. But if the Corps can’t pull their act together, then the Ministry’s going to be doomed.”
Albus nodded. His friend was correct. That Alastor, for all his complaints about the younger generation, and the useless rookies and Ministry, still cared for the Auror Corps, didn’t change that. But while his training of Harry and his friends was essential, Alastor would be missed on the other missions he had undertaken for the Order. “There might still be spies among the survivors.” In Tom’s place, Albus would have ensured that not all of his spies exposed themselves.
“Of course there’ll be spies! But we’ll find them.” Alastor grinned. “We’ll get more names from the prisoners. Would be easier if we had more prisoners. Your friends were quite bloodthirsty.”
Albus ruefully spread his hands. “They will kill rather than risk their lives to capture a Death Eater.” At least unless they had specific orders, or the opportunity to capture a member of Tom’s inner circle. Although Bellatrix had proven that even then, capture might not be an acceptable option.
“Yes. Like Hit-Wizards.” Alastor shook his head. “Is your spy any closer to getting the Dark Lord’s location, now?”
“Such things cannot be rushed, but I think the sheer scale of the casualties the Death Eaters suffered means there’ll be an opportunity for us.”
“Let’s hope so. It would be a shame if so many people died just for the war to go on as before, after a recruiting period.” Alastor snorted. “There’s another thing: Both of the traitors were living in a muggle house. And they assume many others did so as well.”
Albus nodded slowly. He didn’t think that Tom would live among muggles - the Dark Lord had no fond memories of his childhood in muggle Britain - but other Death Eaters might have followed Parkinson’s example. But how to find them… he might have to ask Miss Granger for some ideas.
Hogwarts, January 18th, 1997
When Hermione Granger left Harry’s room with Ron, they ran almost straight into Ginny. “Ron! Hermione!” The younger witch was whispering, and glancing around, even though no one in the main room seemed to be paying any attention to her. “How’s Harry?”
“He claims he’s fine, but that’s up to Madam Pomfrey to decide. You know how he is,” Ron said. “Shouldn’t you be in class?”
Ginny glanced at Hermione, then back at her brother. “No one’s paying attention in class, not after the Daily Prophet arrived this morning.” She huffed. “I’d rather see my friends and family than Snape.” Glaring at Ron, she added: “My family and friends who almost died in those battles.”
Hermione stepped in. “Ron and Harry didn’t plan to fight. The Dark Lord surprised them.”
Ginny gasped. “So it’s true! You fought the Dark Lord!”
“Dumbledore and Harry did. I was being chased by Death Eaters,” Ron said.
Hermione saw that he was wincing - he must be remembering the wizard he had killed. “How are the students taking this?” she asked. She hadn’t left the infirmary yet since she had arrived.
The girl winced. “Those who have family in the Ministry are trying to find out if they lost someone. The rumours are crazy. The rest... “ She shrugged. “I think they are happy that the Dark Lord was defeated, but with so many killed…” she sighed, then looked at Hermione. “You were fighting in the Ministry, weren’t you? The Prophet claims the Resistance was called in by the Minister and Dumbledore.”
“Yes.” Hermione hesitated, then continued. “Dean Thomas and Mary Smith were killed.” They had been Gryffindors, and Ginny had known them. She nodded at the area the Resistance had taken over. John was standing guard now. “Tania and Seamus were hurt, but should recover soon.”
“It looks like half of Gryffindor is in the infirmary,” Ginny said.
“More like half the patients here are Gryffindors,” Ron said.
He might very well be correct, Hermione thought - the members of her old house certainly were living up to its reputation. “I’ll have to check up on my group,” she said when Ginny eyed the door to Harry’s room. It would be good for Harry to have more visitors. Her friend was too prone to blame himself for everything if left alone.
Ron hesitated a moment, then nodded. “We can grab something to eat afterwards.”
Hermione bit her lower lip. She wanted to take him with her, but… she was checking up on her group as the leader of the Resistance. She wasn’t visiting friends in the infirmary. “Alright.” She nodded, and left the two siblings.
“Any trouble while I was away?” she asked John once she reached the corner where the Resistance members were being treated.
“No.” He shook his head. “Lots of glances, but no one bothered us.”
Hermione wasn’t certain if that was a good or bad thing. The Resistance had fought side by side with the other wounded in this room, after all. On the other hand, the transfigured curtains and conjured cover didn’t look inviting. Quite the contrary. It was understandable that no one had approached them.
“Justin, Sally-Anne and Seamus went to get some food,” John continued.
Something Hermione should have taken care of. They had food in their enchanted pockets, but the meals the house-elves cooked were far superior, and Hermione should have organised that. Another mistake. “Good,” she said, passing him. “I’ll check up on the rest.”
True to Madam Pomfrey’s diagnosis, Louise was fine and up already. The former Hit-Witch was sitting at Jeremy’s bed when Hermione entered the improvised room, looking at her cursed friend, who was still, or again, asleep. Seeing the two, Hermione felt another pang of guilt. If she had planned this better...
“Hermione!” Louise smiled at her. “Madam Pomfrey said he’ll be cured in a month.”
Hermione had known that already. “Yes. And Tania should be fine in a day or two.” After another day of suffering from Skele-Gro’s effect. She shuddered.
“We used to get stunned when we had to take that potion, in the Hit-Wizard Corps,” Louise said, glancing at the bed next to her. “She didn’t want to, in case we had to fight. Took her hours to finally fall asleep.”
Hermione shook her head. “Stubborn idiot,” she muttered under her breath.
“How are your friends?” Louise asked.
“They were lucky. Ron’s fine and Harry should be fine.” He better be fine, she added to herself.
“Did they really face the Dark Lord?” Louise sounded doubtful. “Bellatrix Lestrange almost killed all of us, and the Dark Lord is even worse.”
“Dumbledore arrived in time, and fought the Dark Lord off, but yes - they faced him, although they were running rather than fighting.” Hermione frowned at the look of awe on the other witch’s face. Then she reconsidered - this might help her friends get accepted by her group. Still, she felt a little bit vexed. The Resistance had bled fighting Death Eaters, and saved the Ministry. They should be proud of that.
She heard someone approach, and drew her wand without even thinking about it. Louise had done the same, she realized, when Justin and Sally-Anne entered, floating a large tray between them.
“Hermione!” Sally-Anne was smiling, no, beaming, at her. “Did you sleep well? Ron’s waiting for you outside.”
Hermione sighed. Her friend was anything but subtle. “Yes.” Let the other witch make of that what she wanted. “Did you get enough rest?”
Sally-Anne nodded, and Justin didn’t frown, so she was not fudging the truth, Hermione thought.
“Good. I’ll have to check up on a few things, but I’ll be back soon,” she said. “Have you talked to your friends here yet?”
“Not yet,” Justin said.
“We’ll stay another day here, until Tania is fine. Keep one guard posted, but otherwise…” she trailed off. She couldn’t tell them to enjoy the day, not with two of their friends dead.
Justin nodded. “We’ll be visiting our friends here.” He looked at Sally-Anne. “They don’t know about us yet.”
Hermione nodded. She hoped that the couple would keep Lavender and Parvati busy enough to not bother Ron and herself. She’d not put it past those two to use the Marauder’s Map to track the couple down.
Harry Potter wasn’t quite relieved when Ron and Hermione left the infirmary, but he couldn’t help but relax a bit. He had been the one who had hared off to Hogsmeade on a whim, forgetting about Moody’s lesson that if he could see the enemy, the enemy could see him. Ron had dutifully followed. If his friend had been killed it would have been Harry’s fault. In hindsight, he should have known better than to underestimate Voldemort.
“What’s wrong?” Sirius asked.
Harry sighed. “Hermione’s going to blame herself for the deaths. I need to talk to Ron so he can talk to her.”
“I can talk to her as well.” Sirius coughed. “But there’s something we need to talk about.”
Harry closed his eyes. “I’m sorry for flying off. I really thought it would be safe.”
“You shouldn’t have left Hogwarts.” Sirius didn’t raise his voice, which somehow made Harry feel even worse.
“I know. But… I couldn’t just do nothing.” He narrowed his eyes at Sirius. “It’s not as if you stayed back either.”
“I wasn’t behind the strongest wards in Britain,” Sirius said.
“That’s a long way from the best, in this case.” Sirius snorted. “Besides, I’m an adult, and we were under attack. You should have stayed safe.”
Harry pressed his lips together. Arguing otherwise would make him look foolish. Even more foolish, at that.
His godfather sighed. “I know how bad it is, to wait while others risk their lives. James was the same. James was ranting about hiding like a coward. Not where Lily could hear him, of course.”
For a moment, the older wizard seemed lost in his memories. Memories which, Harry hoped, were slowly returning to his godfather as he recovered even more from his ordeal in Azkaban.
Sirius shook his head. “Sorry.”
Harry simply nodded.
“As I was saying, you need to stay safe. You know why.”
“Yes.” That didn’t mean he had to like it, Harry thought. “But he knows now.”
Sirius cursed through clenched teeth. “We need to tell Dumbledore.”
The Headmaster would likely have realised that already, Harry thought. But it wouldn’t hurt to ensure that he knew. He nodded. “Please carry on with your rant about my security.”
Sirius glared at him. “You’re supposed to be all contrite and repentant.”
“Didn’t you tell me not to be predictable?” Moody had said so as well.
“Foiled by my own short-sighted words!” Sirius shook his head, but he was grinning, if only a little bit.
Harry forced himself to chuckle. Before he could say anything else, they heard a knock on the door.
Harry drew his wand at once. He didn’t bother with finding an excuse for it, like levitating a glass of water over or such. He had just survived a battle with the Dark Lord, after all. “Yes?”
“Harry?” Ginny peered inside, then slipped into the room. “Sirius.”
“Ginny.” Harry nodded at her, lowering his wand.
“Miss Weasley.” Sirius sketched a bow and grinned at the witch. “Welcome to our humble but temporary home. Harry picked it out.” He was keeping up appearances, Harry knew, and played along by scowling at his godfather.
Ginny didn’t seem to be fooled, though, and smiled politely. “How are you doing?” She grimaced. “Or rather, how are you holding up?”
“You’re not ‘fine’?” She touched his sheet with her left hand, running her fingers over it. Not quite sitting down, not quite keeping her distance.
He snorted. “Pomfrey recently threatened to give me Veritaserum if I didn’t stop answering her questions with that.”
Ginny giggled at that. “That would fit her.” Then she took a deep breath, and grew serious. “I heard some of what happened from Ron and Hermione. Dad, Bill and Percy told us a bit about the Battle at the Ministry, enough to sift through the Prophet’s propaganda.”
“Technically, it should be our propaganda now,“ Sirius said. “Since the Ministry is now allied with the Order and the Resistance.”
“There’s more to it, though, isn’t there?” Ginny was looking at him.
He closed his eyes, sighing, then blinked. The Dark Lord probably had another wand too, since there hadn’t been that weird effect that had happened back at the graveyard. “I can’t tell you more. Secrets.”
She huffed. “My whole family is keeping secrets. Everyone but me.”
“Well, they’re not sharing them with me either,” Harry said. “That’s just how the Order’s organised.” And he shouldn’t even talk about the Weasleys being in the Order, even though that was pretty much publicly known.
Sirius nodded. “He’s right. Back in the last war, we suffered from traitors a lot.”
Harry knew which traitor his godfather was thinking of. If he ever managed to find the rat...
“I need to learn Occlumency then.”
Harry shook his head. “That’s not a perfect protection, not against Veritaserum, for example.” And a few other things Moody had taught them about.
“Perfect or not, it’ll help.” Ginny looked determined.
“That’s rather pessimistic, Ginny,” Sirius said. “You presume that we will not have dealt with Voldemort before you’ll be eligible for the Order?”
She looked at him. “The last war lasted for a decade.”
“Well, I think we have learned a few lessons from that,” Sirius said.
“But so has the Dark Lord,“ Harry added.
No one had an answer for that.
“How’s Gryffindor?” Harry asked, to break the silence.
“Full of rumours. You’ll get mobbed once you’re back. Ron too. Some of them might even mob Hermione, if they meet her.”
“They better not,” Harry spat. It wouldn’t do to ruin her time with Ron.
“We’re keeping the map under close guard.” Ginny grinned. “Though if they head to the Great Hall, it’ll be their own fault.” She nodded at him. “I have to head back now.” With a grin, she added: “Snape’s lesson should soon be over.” Then she slipped out of the room again.
“She’s skipping Snivellus’s lesson?” Sirius grinned. “There’s a Gryffindor for you!”
Harry nodded. Though knowing how many Gryffindors had died last night, he wasn’t quite certain if that was a good thing or not.
Ron Weasley had thought that taking the long way around to the kitchens in Hogwarts was a good idea. Hermione had agreed - it was a detour, so almost no one used those passages. The twins probably had used them for their pranks, but they had graduated last year. So when he heard footsteps coming closer, he glanced at Hermione, and the two split up, wands out. Just in case.
The blonde witch walking around the corner stopped when she saw the two of them aiming their wands at her, but didn’t shriek, or go for her wand. She didn’t even look scared. “Hello, Ron.”
Luna Lovegood hadn’t changed much, Ron realised. The weird blonde witch was smiling at him and Hermione, and not quite looking at them. Those strange fruit earrings of her were floating near her ears, and she had her wand stuck behind her ear.
“Luna,” he nodded at her.
“Hello, Hermione.” The Ravenclaw cocked her head sideways and stared at her. “I would like to thank you for saving my Daddy.”
“Your father?” Hermione looked surprised.
Luna nodded several times, her head bobbing up and down. “He was covering the Wizengamot session, and was trapped there when the Death Eaters attacked. He’s in St Mungo's, getting treated. I’m on my way to visit him.” Her smile widened. “I’ve just heard the news that he’s there.”
Ron winced. That meant that she had not known whether her father was alive or not for the whole night.
“You’re welcome,” Hermione said, if a bit belatedly.
“If you need The Quibbler for your mind-controlling propaganda, you’ll just have to ask. Although you’ll have to figure out a way to get past the tinfoil hats our readers are certain to be wearing.” Luna beamed at the witch.
Hermione was lost for words, so Ron nodded. “She’ll get back to you - such things take careful planning.”
“Of course! Like the Rotfang Conspiracy!” Luna smiled. “Is your family safe? Your dad was there as well, wasn’t he?”
Ron nodded. “Yes. They’re all in the infirmary here.”
“Oh.” Luna blinked. “That makes visiting them easy. Do you think I can get my father transferred as well? We have no other family, so he’ll be lonely in St Mungo's.”
She was asking with such an earnest expression, Ron felt even worse for being annoyed by her. “You’d have to ask the Headmaster, I think.”
“Right. It’s his school, after all.” Luna nodded again. “Are you looking for Death Eaters here? Or looking for secret passages to sneak in and out of Hogwarts?”
“We were actually on the way to the kitchens,” Hermione said. “We want to avoid the crowds.”
“Oh.” Luna blinked again. “But the Nargles have largely disappeared from Hogwarts, so the crowds should be safe. For now, at least - they breed quickly, after all.”
“Nargles?” Hermione asked.
“Invisible animals,” Ron quickly said. Luna beamed at him. “But we shouldn’t hold you up any longer, Luna. Your father is waiting, isn’t he?”
“Oh, yes. I shouldn’t get distracted. Have a nice day, you two!” Luna said, then continued on her way.
“I hope her dad is not too badly hurt,” he said, once they were again covered by a privacy spell. “Her mother died six years ago.”
“I don’t know what happened to him,” Hermione said, answering his unasked question. “Do you think Dumbledore will move him to Hogwarts?”
“I don’t know.” Ron shrugged. “But I think he’ll have a hard time refusing her.”
“The Quibbler… They covered some of our leaflets. We had considered contacting them, you know.” Hermione smiled, a bit ruefully. “But nothing came of it. Or rather, we didn’t get around to doing anything about it.”
“Well, you heard her - she’s offered to help you.” Ron wasn’t quite certain how much help the Lovegoods could offer the Resistance, but it was a nice gesture.
“Yes, she did. I might take her up on that. Provided I can spare the time.” The witch sighed. “Which doesn’t look like it’ll happen any time soon.”
Ron wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her in for a quick, or not so quick, kiss. They had to make the best of what time they had, after all.
Hermione Granger saw the two witches the moment she entered the Hogwarts kitchens with Ron at her side. She recognised them too, which was why she wasn’t quite aiming her wand at them.
“Hermione!” Lavender said, loud enough to be heard over the noise filling the kitchens as dozens of elves worked to make and serve lunch for hundreds of students and teachers. “See, Parvati? I knew Ron would head to the kitchens.”
Ron muttered something about being too predictable that Hermione didn’t catch completely. She was watching the two witches carefully as they approached. They were Gryffindors, and had helped guard the school, according to Ron and Harry, but why were they looking for Ron? She knew Lavender had asked him out, and Ron had turned her down. Narrowing her eyes, she took a half-step closer to Ron.
Parvati grinned. “Ah! You are a couple!”
“Lavender. Parvati.” Hermione nodded at them.
“You cut your hair!” Lavender looked at her.
Hermione frowned. She should have thought of wearing a wig. Technically, she didn’t have to hide from the Ministry anymore, but she wouldn’t trust them even if Dumbledore were the Minister; they had too many spies for the Dark Lord in their ranks. And too many bigots. “Yes. It’s more practical.”
“Well… it suits you.” Parvati nodded.
“Why were you looking for me?” Ron asked.
“Because you were with her,” Parvati said. “I heard from Padma that the Resistance was in Hogwarts as she’d met John Emmet earlier, and since Harry’s still in the infirmary, we decided to look for you. We checked the library first, but you were not there.”
Hermione was slightly impressed by the reasoning, but then, the two witches always had shown considerable talent when it came to gathering gossip. “And why do you want to meet me?”
“We want to drag you to our dorm to talk, of course! We haven’t seen you for months!” Lavender sounded very excited.
Hermione almost groaned. If those two thought she’d waste time gossiping with them while the war was still going on and she could be with her friends… On the other hand, she had to think ahead. “I’d been planning to visit later, when the lessons were over.” Ron looked at her in surprise. She nodded at him. She’d tell him later.
“No one’s paying attention to the lessons today. Not even the teachers themselves!” Lavender said.
“We still need to eat first,” Ron said.
“Alright! Let’s get a table!” Parvati waved to the closest elf.
“So! Tell us! When did you get together? How was your first date?” Lavender was almost twitching with excitement, looking back and forth between Hermione and Ron.
Hermione stared at the two witches. That was what they wanted to talk about, when the Ministry was in ruins, the wounded and dead filled St Mungo's, and Hogsmeade had barely escaped a Fiendfyre conflagration? On the other hand, it would be nice not to talk about the war, about death and killing. About the friends lost and cursed. For a little while at least.
And Lavender had asked Ron out, hadn’t she? Hermione sat down very close to Ron - their sides were touching - and leaned into him. “We became a couple some time ago, but our first date was a wonderful evening in muggle London.” Then she proceeded to give the two witches a detailed account of her first date with Ron - though bereft of names and locations.
For a little while at least, the war was far away.
“...and so I wanted to ask if Daddy can be transferred to Hogwarts, Headmaster. So he’ll not be alone in St Mungo's.”
Albus Dumbledore smiled at the earnest young witch in his office, though he was torn. It would be easy to grant Xenophilius’s daughter her wish, but what if other students asked for the same? He couldn’t turn Hogwarts into a hospital. Not only would that compromise the school’s security, Poppy would be hard-pressed to treat so many people. She was already straining.
On the other hand, it was known that members of his Order of the Phoenix were treated here instead of St Mungo's. One more wouldn’t cause much suspicion - although the public might assume that Xenophilius was a member of the Order as well. Which might put him and his daughter at risk. Ultimately, it would be up to the editor of The Quibbler to make that sort of decision. He nodded. “I will ask him if he wants to move to Hogwarts later today, Miss Lovegood. Now off you go to St Mungo's - he’ll be waiting for you.” Provided that the man was not hurt worse than Albus expected. Which was unlikely, unless Xenophilius had joined the battle. Not entirely impossible, of course. “You can use my fireplace,” he added. “That will save you some time.”
“Thank you, Headmaster!” Miss Lovegood beamed at him, bowed, and grabbed some Floo powder. A few seconds later, she had disappeared.
The old wizard kept smiling for a bit longer, then leaned back, sighing. Another family hurt by the war, and doing their best to cope. And with Tom now aware of his connection to Harry, Albus would have to readjust his plans. If Severus succeeded in gaining the Dark Lord’s trust… the Death Eaters had suffered so many casualties, there were bound to be some openings in the Dark Lord’s inner circle.
The spell on on his fireplace alerted him that his next visitor was about to enter his office. Right on time. He flicked his wand and opened the Floo connection. A second later, Remus stepped out of the fireplace, cleaning the soot from himself. “Headmaster.”
He glanced at clock. “Good afternoon, Remus. Please have a seat.” While the younger wizard sat down, Albus asked: “How are things at home?”
Remus looked confused for a moment, which told Albus that the other wizard still felt as if he was a guest at Grimmauld Place - being an outcast for almost all his life, shunned as a dark creature, had left Remus with more scars than the ones visible on his face. Albus still hoped Sirius would be able to help his friend, but once more, the necessities of war would offer scant opportunities for that. At least if Remus followed Albus’s plan.
“But for the Tonkses and myself, no one is currently there,” Remus said. He didn’t have to tell Albus where the Delacours and the d’Aigles, those still alive, were. Nor where Sirius was. “But we’re prepared for their return. Provided they wish to stay.”
“That is up to them, but, as they are French, I doubt that even such losses as they have suffered will deter them from seeing this war through.” Albus smiled grimly, but he was glad for the French élan - Britain could use all the help it could get, right now. “But let us talk about why I called you here.”
The other wizard nodded at him. He looked tired, but determined. The full moon was still almost a week away, so this was not related to his curse.
“The Dark Lord has lost many of his followers, including Bellatrix Black. I expect him to step up his recruiting efforts both in Britain and abroad, to make up for this. We cannot let him do so unopposed.”
“You think he will court the werewolves again, and wish me to put a stop to that,” Remus said.
“No.” Albus shook his head. Remus was not well-liked among the British werewolves. Many envied him his Hogwarts education, or scorned him for hiding his affliction for so long. “I would like you to head to Albania.”
“Albania?” The younger wizard looked puzzled. “I’m not very familiar with the area.”
Albus knew that. He hoped Aberforth’s ‘friends’ would help there. “But you are very familiar with who I assume is Voldemort’s main agent in the area.”
Remus’s eyes widened and his voice sounded almost like a growl. “Peter.”
Albus nodded. “Peter Pettigrew has not been seen in Britain since the Dark Lord’s return, and he has been to Albania before.” Pettigrew had been the one to fetch the Dark Lord’s shade from there. As young Mister Diggory’s murderer, the animagus had been a political liability for the Dark Lord’s cause. Sending him abroad would have served Tom’s purposes most, Albus thought, and there had been a report about a man whose description fit the traitor from one of Albus’s friends in Greece. “He might call him back, but the Dark Lord will need wands, and Albania and Northern Greece are rife with mercenaries.”
“I’ll find the rat.” Remus was definitely growling now.
“Just be careful - there might be other agents. And spies, and traitors.”
Remus scoffed. “Just like in Britain, then. I may not be too familiar with Albania, but I am familiar with mercenaries.”
Albus was aware of that, of course. It was an open secret that many werewolves, those whose families were unwilling or unable to provide for them, turned to that life. Being seen as a dangerous dark creature was not a drawback for most mercenaries. He nodded. “I would ask Sirius to go with you, but…”
“... he’ll not leave Harry.” Remus finished for him.
Not again. Albus knew that Sirius having left Harry to chase down Peter Pettigrew was one of the decisions Sirius regretted most.
And while Albus didn’t like to admit it, as a member of the Wizengamot and the head of the Black Family, Sirius was needed in Britain right now. Far more than Remus.
For a seventeen-year-old girl, she was feeling very nostalgic, Hermione Granger thought while she and Ron walked towards the Gryffindor dorms. The familiar hallways, the moving stairs, the smell, even - all brought back memories of her time at Hogwarts. Mostly good ones.
But she also was almost painfully reminded that that time had past, and would never return. She wasn’t wearing school robes, but fatigues. She was not returning to her dorm, but visiting. And she was not carrying a bag full of books, but enchanted pockets with weapons, ammunition, and explosives, while keeping an eye out for ambushes, her wand ready to cast.
She wasn’t the girl who had left Hogwarts at the end of her fifth year. And she’d never be that girl again. Even though Lavender and Parvati acted like she still was their dormmate.
They reached the entrance to the Gryffindor tower. The painting let them pass, but then, it probably let everyone with the correct password enter.
“Everyone! Ron and Hermione are here!” Parvati yelled into the common room. Which promptly erupted into loud yelling as everyone jumped to their feet. To Hermione’s surprise, the Gryffindor students didn’t rush to mob them, but stopped after a few steps. After they had seen her, she realised. Of course, being Gryffindors, they didn’t stop for long, and soon surrounded the four, far too close for her comfort, and asking questions all at the same time.
“Oi! You lot!” Ron yelled. “Back off a bit!”
It took quite a while for the excited students to back off and settle down. It was worse than after some of Harry’s adventures, in Hermione’s opinion. She wasn’t quite certain any more that it had been a good idea to come, even though she had to talk to the students. But she wouldn’t quit now. She owed it to them, and to her friends.
A quick Amplifying Charm helped her be heard over the whispers still going on. “Please listen. Yes, we have beaten the Death Eaters at the Ministry, but at great cost. You already know that many Aurors and Hit-Wizards died, and more were cursed. They weren’t the only ones. Dean Thomas and Mary Smith were killed fighting Bellatrix Lestrange. Tania Dennel and Seamus Finnigan and two more of our group were hurt and are currently being treated.” The Gryffindors weren’t smiling any more. Many of them would have lost family members as well, she realised. But they deserved to hear about the death of their friends and fellow Gryffindors.
“Did you kill Lestrange?” Neville asked. She hadn’t seen him joining the crowd.
“I shot her while Seamus and others cursed her. She was dead the instant her shield failed, and fell down into a fire,” Hermione said.
Neville slowly nodded, but he didn’t look happy.
“We had her cornered, but she still killed several of us and the French,” she added. Just in case Neville had wanted to kill her himself. “It was the worst battle I’ve been in.” Yet, she added to herself.
“Did you fight the Dark Lord?” a young boy asked.
“No,” Hermione said. “He wasn’t at the Ministry. Ron met him.”
Her boyfriend shot her a glance, then smiled wryly. “I wouldn’t say I fought him. He and his Death Eaters were chasing Harry and me, and we tried to escape. We didn’t, but managed to stay alive long enough for Dumbledore to save us, and took out a Death Eater or two.” He snorted. “They cast Fiendfyre at Hogsmeade, but the Headmaster put the fires out before too many buildings burned down.”
That made a number of students shiver - mostly the youngest, and the oldest, Hermione noticed. Probably the most impressionable, and those who had read up on Fiendfyre for their DADA N.E.W.T.s.
“How many Death Eaters did you kill?” A third-year student asked. He reminded Hermione of Dennis Creevey.
She had expected that question. “I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. In war, what matters is that you achieve your objective in a battle. And for that you need to work together.”
“But you have killed Death Eaters!”
“Yes.” She forced herself to keep smiling. “I didn’t keep count, though.” And she didn’t know how many of those she had killed had been Death Eaters anyway.
“Shouldn’t killing Death Eaters be the main objective?” an older student asked.
“It’s usually one objective. It depends on the mission, and the battle.”
“We won’t have peace until all of them are dead,” Neville said. “Every last Death Eater and the Dark Lord himself.”
Hermione agreed with him, though she wouldn’t have said it like that. It sounded far too bloodthirsty.
“Dead or in Azkaban,” Ron said.
“They escaped from there once already. They’ll do so again.” Neville glared at Ron.
“We certainly cannot trust the Dementors any more,” Hermione said. “And Azkaban relied heavily on them to keep the prisoners from escaping.”
“I doubt that the Wizengamot will show much mercy to Death Eaters anyway,” Ron said. “Not after so many in the Ministry were killed or cursed.”
“And after the Death Eaters attacked the Wizengamot,” she added.
“Now that you’re allied with the Ministry, will you be returning to Hogwarts?”
That question, coming from Fay Dunbar, almost made Hermione wince. “We’re needed in the war. Some of us might, though that’s up to them.” Colin and Dennis would be safer here, and able to take up their studies while waiting for a cure for the withering curse. But she doubted that the two brothers would want to ‘desert’ their friends.
“I don’t know yet how long this war will take.” Or if she would be alive at the end.
But, Hermione thought, she knew that she wouldn’t return to Hogwarts. She didn’t fit in here anymore. She had organised and led the Resistance. Fought in the war. Killed scores of people. Her, going back to be a student again? Having a curfew? Listening to Snape berate her for being a Gryffindor, and a muggleborn? Dealing with all that petty teenage drama?
No. She wouldn’t do that. She was past that.
Harry Potter was watching his godfather pace in front of his bed. Back, and forth, back and forth. Like a caged animal. He probably would be changing into Padfoot soon. And in a way, Sirius was caged. And it was Harry’s fault.
“You know, you don’t have to stay in Britain. You can go with Remus and hunt Pettigrew,” he finally said. He’d miss Sirius, of course, but his godfather would be happier that way.
Sirius stopped pacing and stared at him. “What? No, I can’t.”
“I’ll be safe at Hogwarts.”
Sirius snorted. “I doubt that.”
Harry shrugged. It wasn’t as if anyone could help him if or when he and Voldemort met inside their minds. “I know you want to hunt down the traitor.” He would like to do that himself, but he was needed in the war.
His godfather sighed. “I want to, yes. But I’m needed here. And not just because my godson is suicidally brave,” he added with a smirk. Shaking his head, he continued. “No, Albus needs me in the Wizengamot. And with our French friends. Apparently, I have become a diplomat and a politician without noticing. What a shame!”
Harry chuckled despite himself.
“But yes, Harry, I’m also staying here in Britain for you. I left you once to chase Wormtail, and we both know what trouble that caused. I’m not making the same mistake again.” He grinned. “So, no more talk about me leaving, alright?”
“Alright.” Harry couldn’t help but feeling happy at hearing that.
Sirius didn’t resume pacing, but Harry could see that his godfather was tapping his foot. He was about to tell him to change into Padfoot and go for a run when the door was opened and a blonde head appeared, looking around.
“Hello, Luna,” Harry said, after he had recognised the blonde.
“Hello, Harry. Hello, Mister Boardman,” the Ravenclaw said.
“I’m not Stubby Boardman,” Sirius said.
“He really isn’t. His singing is so bad, it drives people and pests away,” Harry said. “Luna, this is my godfather, Sirius Black. Sirius - Luna Lovegood.”
“Ah, of course,” Luna said, stepping inside and smiling. Her tone told Harry that she was just humouring them.
He glanced at Sirius and shrugged. There were worse fates than being mistaken for a famous but dead singer.
Meanwhile, Luna was peering under the beds, and lifting the sheets off the bed next to Harry.
“Ah, Miss Lovegood, can we help you?” Sirius asked when the blonde started to pat the mattresses.
“Oh!” She turned to them, then nodded. “Yes. How comfortable are the beds here? And how exciting is the room?”
“How exciting is the room?” Sirius sounded as lost as Harry felt.
“Yes!” The witch jumped to her feet. “I’m looking for the best bed for my Daddy! He’ll be moving to Hogwarts from St Mungo's, and I don’t want him to be bored while he recovers.” She gazed at Sirius with wide eyes. “Although I guess if he’s sharing a room with a famous singer and the Boy-Who-Lived, he’ll see a lot of groupies sneaking in.”
“Groupies?” Harry asked.
“Witches who want to sleep with famous wizards,” Sirius said.
“I know what groupies are,” Harry retorted.
“Why are you asking then?” his godfather shot back.
“I’m not a groupie,” Luna said. “I’m a bed-scouter.” She looked at Harry. “Though I could be a groupie, I guess.”
Sirius coughed, and Harry shot him a glare.
“I think this room will suit Daddy. You’re quite entertaining. I’ll inform the Headmaster!” The witch skipped out of the room.
“Maybe I’m really not needed in Britain,” Sirius mused.
“You’re not leaving me alone with her or her family,” Harry said, glaring at his godfather.
“And my thoughts are with you.”
After finishing, Albus Dumbledore remained smiling for a moment longer, then leaned back and sighed. He had done this before, several times. Just in case his next mistake would be his last. And he had come close, in Hogsmeade. Very close.
His near-escape wasn’t the reason he had done this again, though. That was because of the changes in the Ministry, which had necessitated a few plans be adapted. He summoned two vials with his wands, unsealed them, and vanished the silver ribbons curled inside them. Then he touched the tip of his wand to his temple, and drew copies of the memories he wanted out, storing them in the two vials.
For a moment, he held them in his hand, as if he could weigh their contents. This wasn’t his legacy. It wasn’t even his last will. It was just a precaution. A very important one, though. One he hoped he’d never need. Or rather, he hoped would never be needed.
He looked at the clock on his wall. Severus was meeting with the Dark Lord. It was a longer meeting than Albus had expected. That could be a good sign. Or it could mean that Severus had been found out, and was now dead, or wishing he was dead. Albus hoped the younger wizard’s own precautions would work, in such a case. Death was but the next Great Adventure, but no one should start that after hours of torture.
Hm... slice of life. But I still don't see how they want to get at Voldemort. I guess he'll have a harder time recruiting mercenaries now, considering his people tend to die like flies, but he's still around and apparently still has money.
I guess he could go and mass imperio a muggle army or something like that.
Sorry for only replying now, but life didn’t cooperate. Now let me post this and then read the new chapter.
My apologies, but could you give an indication about where I should look to see Dumbledore’s thoughts about how bad things were? Voldemort’s thoughts basically just were that Dumbledore was progressive and the purebloods didn’t like it and Dumbledore’s talk about the muggleborn situation was “nothing to lose and everything to gain” and seemed to be about European muggleborn mostly. (Or didn’t I look closely enough at chapter 24? Say the word and I’ll look at it again.)
Considering his thoughts shown about the attackers of Haley’s Hats and his feeling of guilt at allowing the firebomber to be executed, but not a sympathetic thought about the neutrals killed along with Malfoy, the people burned in the first firebombing and those affected (and perhaps killed) by his arranged firebombing, as well as the fact that he arranged the firebombing in the first place… Has he started to assume the worst of purebloods automatically unless he knows differently or knows them personally?
You most definitely showed how the country was sliding downwards towards something horrible. But I hope you understand that I took Dumbledore’s thoughts about the growing bigotry in Slytherin that he had left alone for far too long as an indication of a growth in bigotry over the years, mirroring what was happening among adults, not something very recent. (When I thought him flawed.)
My point is basically that Amelia’s actions should depend upon how she sees his actions, what she believes or “knows” that his actions indicate and her personality. She might believe that her chance of success is slim, but so far in my opinion you have written her as rigid, competent, dutiful and brave, not the kind of person to ignore a possible coup in progress, and what she had seen from him could very well be interpreted as getting ready to overthrow the ministry. (Whether she does see his actions that way is of course up to you.)
If she believes, even if she only strongly suspects that he is working towards usurping the Wizengamot (involved in the killing of a large number of neutral members, weakening the Aurors by pushing neutrals and edge cashes to join Voldemort and raising forces to support him in his takeover, the Resistance and Order of the Phoenix) then she should act and plan accordingly. Perhaps move dangerous order members who are Aurors out of sensitive or vulnerable positions (“Moody, you’re now part of a rapid response team based out of Hogsmead”), have not so dangerous ones quietly observed by reasonably trusted co-workers (“You have your orders, but let me repeat myself , observation only unless…”) and if manpower permit perhaps have non-Auror order members observed as well. I would expect that she’ll try to work or most likely have others, halfbloods perhaps, do so on how to counter the resistance (“So, if this jinks works no new non magical fires in the affected area will burn? And this helps us how?”) and have her Aurors train using any spells or tactics devised. I would be surprised if she did not try to plan or prepare for Dumbledore, either when he shows his true colours (she believes he is planning a coup after all) or when the Wizengamot gives the orders.
If she believes that he isn’t planning a coup, pushed the neutral and edge case Aurors to join Voldemort to strengthen himself politically, but will work within the current system to change it, I expect that she’ll try to get him and those who follow his orders the hell away from her remaining Aurors, so that they can’t be sacrificed again. Same if she believes he did it out of spire, justice or revenge. Of course, her orders might not allow that, leading to either unhappiness or anger and attempts to safeguard her people from political sacrifice as much as possible.
That is actually not nice to hear. If he acted competently as a headmaster, actively tried to influence and teach the children for the better instead of believing that purebloods just needed to be exposed to muggleborn and did not make major mistakes, the country’s future is bad in my opinion.
Why? Because then there is no medium term solution to the country’s problem via the education of children.
The number of enemies he and the resistance have made and will make when taking over is bad, but if education and the school environment is unable to sway the middle and lower classes from bigotry then those enemies will have a decent support base in the population. Unless of course there’s lots of deaths among the lower and middle class population and the Resistance has the opportunity to quite visibly step between the survivors and the enemy. And even then, positive acceptance might apply only to the resistance, not the general muggleborn population which was in hiding
Which leads to the Resistance having to stay in control and what they need to do to stay in control.
So, then they learn about both sides. Maybe even something about the cultures of other countries, even if only the basics.
And Draco’s kind isn’t the purebloods Dubledore should care about having muggleborns insulting accidentally. Friendly purebloods like Neville need to stay friendly and neutral (or at least non hostile) ones need to be befriended by muggles. That is why they should learn about the pureblood culture or cultures.
Not that thats either here or there for this story. Although if you want to write another story... Go for it. You don't have to use it in a new story to make me smile, you just have to write a new story. And another. And another. And some more. You are basically one of the best, if not the best writer of serious Harry Potter writers I enjoy. (Not to say that Castle doesn't make me smile.)
Nothing in the books or that I noticed in the story up to now seemed to indicate to me that Dumbledore was or is a competent headmaster that actively worked to minimize bigotry through the use of the school. (I could have missed something in the books and it’s always possible I missed something in your story.) Please understand that that is why I wrote what I wrote.
Crush the culture and rebuild it? Would that even be possible without crippling the country, for several generations at least?
It's that part. I didn't think I would have to go into more detail than there:
He shook his head. “What you call a catastrophe, two dozen wizards and witches killed, would have been called a skirmish by those fighting Grindelwald. Thousands died in that war.” With a sneer, he added: “But since they were not British, and most of them were not purebloods of Old Families, I guess you didn’t care.”
“Muggleborns were the most numerous of those fighting for Grindelwald!” Amelia said.
“And they had good reasons to fight for Grindelwald,” Albus said. Once more, the two were shocked. He sighed. “Why do you think I pushed for equal rights for muggleborns so hard after Grindelwald’s defeat? I know first-hand how people fight who have nothing to lose and everything to gain.” He snorted. “And now you know it as well.”
“But… but… why didn’t you tell us that?” Cornelius looked confused and desperate.
“And let the Death Eaters in the Wizengamot claim the muggleborns are the second coming of Grindelwald? You know how that would have been received.” He smiled grimly.
“You didn’t warn us in private either,” Amelia said, glaring at him.
“I know what you would have done, had I warned you of a muggleborn uprising in the style of Grindelwald.” Amelia would have done her best, or worst, to get the authorisation for a pre-emptive strike. And she would have received it - from the Minister and the Wizengamot.
“You… you protected them! You wanted them to be prepared for this war!” The witch sounded mortally wounded.
“I wanted to avoid this war. I failed. Now I want to win this war. At all costs,” the Headmaster said.
The muggleborns didn't have equal rights in Britain, and in Europe. And the situation was bad enough that they joined Grindelwald in a brutal devastating war against their own countries. Dumbledore pushed for reforms, to get muggleborns equality, to avoid such a thing repeating itself, at least in Britain. Was that a bit too subtle? I didn't want to go too blatantly "and things were really bad!"
I think you're a bit biased there. The attack on Hailey's Hats was motivated by getting revenge on a pureblood who made a killing buying the property of a muggleborn who was forced out of business (and worse) for a pittance. That's on the level of Germans profiteering from the persecution of jewish business owners. The people killed were Hit-Wizards enforcing said policies. And the "neutrals" mingling with Malfoy? They were basically showing their conditional support for the Dark Lord, should he win. As Dumbledore said, some would consider this treason.
With regards to the firebombing attack Dumbeldore engineered, that was on Knockturn Alley - and they attacked the roofs of buildings, most of which should have anti-fire wards, not the people on the street. The odds of anyone getting killed by such an attack were rather low, with the Auror patrols out and about.
But in this story, Dumbledore realises, too late, that the bigotry among many purebloods hadn't waned, it had just been hidden from him. He had thought that he had made progress because most were playing nice for his benefit. But underneath the nice facade, opinions hadn't changed. Just because the Old Families didn't publically use 'mudbloods' anymore didn't mean that they actually had changed their views. Dumbledore missed that, yes - but it wasn't things growing worse, but things not growing better as much as he had thought.
The thing is, Amelia does see all those things - but she also knows that there is not a damn thing she can do to stop Dumbledore, because if Dumbledore wins this war, he won't be needing a coup; the entire country will be rolling over and present their bellies to him. It happened before, after Grindelwald, and it'll happen again because that's how things work in Wizarding Britain. Or have worked so far - wizards with the power of Dumbledore can only be checked by other wizards of similar power. At least that's the perception of the majority of the pureblood population. That's how Dumbledore reformed Britain before - he came back the conquerring hero, and everyone did what he suggested, because they knew that if he really wanted, he could go Grindelwald himself.
I prefer to think that changing things takes time. In this story, contrary to canon I believe, it wasn't that things were good and grew worse under Dumbledore's nose. Things were bad - 19th century Deep South bad - and grew better thanks to his efforts. But things are not perfect. Long-term, the solution is to keep going, but it will take a long time. It took almost 150 years from the American Civil War to having a black president, after all, and racism certainly is not dead yet.
Don't forget that the middle and lower classes are not represented in the Government so far. Just reforming the system and turning it into a democracy will win a number of people over. And many, especially the half-bloods, are already leaning towards muggleborns - hiding or not - since they have muggleborn relatives. But to reform Britain, to truly Reform it to a Point where such bigotry can't raise ist ugly head again, one thing has to be done:
The pureblood culture as practised by the Old Families has to go. Friendly purebloods of those families are basically the well-meaning plantation owners in the Deep South who think African-Americans are people too, who might even have freed their slaves, but don't really accept them as equals. And that's because their entire culture has been built upon blood ties, excluding anyone not having born into it.
Thanks! Though this story will go on and touch upon those problems - it won't end with the war ending.
Well, things were far worse before he started. They simply were not as good as he thought they were, which he realised early on in the story. Whether failing to completely change an entire country in two generations through peaceful and sublte means makes him an incompetent headmaster or simply a man taking on more than could be done by anyone is a matter of debate.
The country's not dependent on the Old Families, like the Malfoys or the Longbottoms. It depends on people like the Weasleys - hard-working, talented wizards and witches. People who do not think that it matters who your parents were, or who you marry. People who are open for new things and thoughts, and not stuck in the past. Let me be a bit clearer: The pureblood culture of the Malfoys and Longbottoms, is bad for the country. It stifles progres, it provides a glass ceiling for competent wizards and witches, and it is, if not the sole cause, so responsible for a lot of the country's problems. Nepotism, bigotry, corruption - much of that stems from the idea that blood matters, that being born into the right family matters. And that is, in a nutshell, the core of the pureblood culture of the Old Families.
Yeah. Dumbledore's and Hermione's problem is going to be to enact a cultural revolution without the usual negative side effects of a cultural revolution. They've got a real problem if they need to purge the ministry too much. Trying to replace your entire administration is a catastrophe waiting to happen. There's a reason why the allies didn't go too purge happy after the second world war in Germany.
If they only need to replace the leadership and some personel that's fine. But a grand purge isn't really feasible.
Well, after the Battle of the Ministry, the staff has been reduced to a skeleton crew by the losses taken on all sides. The catastrophe is already happening, so to speak.
Oh well I guess in that case the muggleborn resistance should try to seize the opportunity. If they integrate themselves deeply into the governing structures it'll be very hard to set up that kind of discrimmination again.
They are not that many either, alas. But Hermione certainly is already planning ahead - or trying to. Dealing with those sort of things will be the plot of the second part of the story (although it won't be quite as long as the first part, I think).
The below took me along time, I'm not fast, and I hesitated to post it, seeing as I enjoy your story and do not want to be negative, and I think I came close in one spot. That said, I thought it would be a waste not to post it so read, ignore, pick whatever part you want, basically whatever suits best.
A bit too subtle for me at least. I saw that things were bad, but as Dumbledore mentioned those killed weren't British I saw it as mostly an European issue, with Britain's Muggleborn not being involved because their situation was better. As to the equal rights, considering I saw Dumbledore as biased by the time I read it and he had been shown to manipulate the truth a time or two by then I did not hazard a guess how far behind Purebloods and Halfbloods the Muggleborn were, but rather waited to see what would be revealed. I could imagine anything from Muggleborn being prohibited from holding certain positions (justified as them being able to easily betray the magical world to muggle governments if they held those positions) to purebloods being able to buy a muggleborn's school debt (technically justifiable but so open to abuse no decent person would try to justify it) to purebloods legally being able to kill any muggleborn so long as they can produce any witness that states the muggleborn insulted the pureblood (I can't see that anybody could justify that).
I understand a victim wanting revenge. I also understand somebody profiting from another's misfortune. But there is a difference between somebody approaching the owner, Auror at hand, and threatening her into selling for her shop almost nothing, a person making an offer, saying that that's the highest they're willing to go (and leaving the owner free to choose between offers) and a poor person, offering in good faith all he could scrape together. While all three profit from the owner's situation I would say that one is an evil bastard that deserves an attack, one is a hard bastard that I would feel conflicted about and one is a poor bastard who doesn't deserve an attack.
But all of the above doesn't matter much since it wasn't shown what kind of person the buyer was. For all that was shown it could have been a case of the owner lowering the price again and again until the shop was eventually sold, and it doesn't matter in the slightest when discussing whether what has been shown so far shows Dumbledore as biased or not. What matters when considering whether what has been shown shows Dumbledore as biased or not is whether it has been shown that he knows what the person who bought the shop is like and under what circumstances he bought the shop. As we are not shown anything along those lines I hope you understand why, considering the other items I have also mentioned, I came to the conclusion that Dumbledore automatically assumed the best of the muggleborn and the worst of the buyer.
As to the Hit-Wizards? A direct attack on the Hit-Wizards or Aurors, not killing them to get into your happy place, is one thing I cannot argue against. Not because they enforce the ministries policies, doing it because of that makes it personal and happy place related in my opinion, but because I see them as combatants, a legitimate military target. However, I don't believe that killing them while committing a crime is the same thing.
Let me think a second about why a neutral might have attended Malfoy's ball.
He or she is showing his or her conditional support should Voldemort win.
He or she is not actually a neutral but somebody who has already been swayed (or is looking for an excuse to be swayed) to Voldemort's side.
He or she wants to make it clear that if Voldemort wins he or she will accept it as business as usual.
He or she hates both Voldemort and Dumbledore and want to see if there is a possibility of somehow arranging for them to confront and hopefully kill each other.
He or she is not an adult and was ordered to come by a parent.
He or she is not too bright and thinks of it as just a ball.
He or she is concerned about his or her family, spouse and children, and wants to make it clear that so long as they aren't targeted he or she will stand aside. (This person for some reason, maybe good or maybe bad, doesn't believe that Dumbledore or the Ministry could or would protect his or her family.)
He or she is concerned about his or her workers and wants to make it clear that so long as they aren't targeted he or she will stand aside. (This person for some reason, maybe good or maybe bad, doesn't believe that Dumbledore or the Ministry could or would protect his or her workers.)
He or she is there to take a quiet look without drawing much attention so he or she can judge how much support Malfoy and Voldemort has among the neutrals and let Amelia know, either at Amelia's request or on his or her own initiative.
And the last one, which was brought up. He or she judge that with returning from the dead Voldemort has proven that he is greater than Dumbledore and is now showing Voldemort his or her belly.
One of these reasons I would admire, three of them I understand and one I both understand and pity, as I have a colleague I once helped talk out of answering one of these "YOU HAVE WON..." emails that landed up in all our spam folders. But Dumbledore is biased against the old families, so it doesn't actually matter.
Now, let's take a look at some who we know attends.Daphne, her sister, her mother and her father. Basically, a husband, a wife and all the children old enough to attend a ball. It probably won't be a family group attending in all cases, but I feel it safe to say that a number of those attending consist of family groups. Now, consider the children. While it is possible that Daphne, Astoria, Tracy, Pansy and Draco were the only children that attended, that being so would be something I would see as very unlikely. Why? Because if there's only going to be five of them, why bring any of them? Also, Daphne, Astoria, and Draco being the only teens left when the bomb went off? There was still dancing and according to Daphne, Astoria should have gone home due to not being allowed to stay up so late, but nothing she thought indicated that there were any other reason. So... Given that and the fact that I noticed nothing in story that seemed to contradict it, I see it as overwhelmingly likely that teens, probably some young teens as well, were killed by the bomb blast. But you advised a while ago that Dumbledore is biased against the old families, so I basically just spent far, far too long on this. Hopefully you or somebody can find some of my reasoning interesting.
As to Dumbledore saying something about it being seen as treason? If he cared about things like that he wouldn't have associated with the Resistance.
Don't take any of the above to mean that I believe attacking was wrong though. I saw and still see it as something that needed to be done. Given the information available to Hermione at the time, not attacking would have been stupid and wrong. Also, given the damage done to Voldemort's followers I consider the attack at least a partial success. My comments are about how what was written along with my thought about it formed my opinions about Dumbledore and how he sees those killed in the attack.
So, it's good because it was a bad part of town and the odds of somebody being killed was small?
Now, having deleted the last few things I wrote let me continue.
I can easily be wrong, but I do not recall Dumbledore worrying about any possible deaths or feeling any sympathy for any loss of life, injury or damage caused. It was a callous plan at best. Any deaths among non combatants, and I do believe it was implied that there were some, I cannot see as acceptable collateral. In fact, as he is not flawed, this makes me hope he gets his teeth kicked in.
I also stand by my words that it was a stupid plan. A bit of good luck on one side and bad luck on the other would have given the Aurors a prisoner (one attacker falling hard, surviving but badly hurt and unconscious, the other poisoning himself), and with those supporting Voldemort knowing that their side had nothing to do with it I cannot see how something would not have come out.
It is a great story, truly something I enjoy and look forward to. But while I can emphasize with a flawed Dumbledore who screws up or doesn't realize what he actually did until too late, a competent Dumbledore who arranged this is not somebody I feel positive about.
I do not see that automatically showing your belly is the response of all, never mind people used to power. Sometimes we'll act, despite knowing it is stupid. Well get angry and "Do", not "Don't". Got myself beat up rather badly two times because of that, once when two s***s tried to mug me and once when I confronted a thief, a former co-worker who just asked for "just a little help" before absconding from work. Her husband worked me over quite a bit. And I'm not a fighter. I'm very bad at it. But in both cases I wen't for the "Do" despite that. Or we'll remember, and act when we can or through intermediaries. (It didn't succeed anyway as they had moved when I decided enough time had passed and checked the house.)
The only thing I can think of to explain it is that the culture they live in basically teaches that those who are sufficiently more magically powerful than you have to be deferred to, with larger differences in power and skill requiring more obedience. If it's a culture wide learned experience, something that basically is taught from birth I suppose I can see it. Although something like that seems to go against blood purity.
Oh, I agree that change takes time. A short term fix would likely just butterfly into ten other problems and without really solving the original problem.
However, if educating the children about the realities of bigotry was an area that Dumbledore was lacking in, relying on proximity and examples instead of working at it, it would mean that more could be done in the future. A lower population, greater control over the school environment (I believe that currently Hogwarts is the only school in Britain, although I expect that to change) and forced attendance could I believe do more than what is usually the case to educate children.
The riot in Diagon Alley seemed to indicate that bigotry against Muggleborn is a bit more widespread than just the Old Families. As to the demographics of racism, I always thought it was more widespread among the poor and the lower middle class than among the upper middle class. However, that is just an impression I have due to minimal reading about skin heads in England and I could very well be wrong.
As to reforming the system, a true reform into a democracy is messy, take a look at Africa and all the failures, corruption, massacres and exploitation by the leaders of various countries as they moved from a colony to a democracy. Add to that I can't see how it would not be opposed by the current government, so Dumbledore would likely have to organize a violent take over, and be a dictator in fact if not in title. Perhaps rather inherited positions, the current ones, as well as a number of positions determined by vote as an intern measure? With the purebloods not realizing they'll slowly be phased out, one by one as the years pass?
As to the culture having to go, I see no quick fix that doesn't have the possibility of blowing up spectacularly, unless an outside force conveniently destroys the majority of the Old Families, making it not Dumbledore's fault. If that doesn't happen, then time, education and subtly making it nothing special is all that I see. If specific forms of greeting is a thing among old families, push it for muggleborn since "that is how wizards do it", until it's more common among muggleborn than among old pureblood families. Demystify their traditions, so that a young know it all can lecture her friends, "... considering the type of wards used that still makes sense. However, the Maiden Room is just a holdover from when they tried to stamp out female homosexuality due to the low population caused...". As to their religion, spread it or something identical to it among muggleborn and halfbloods, so that religion doesn't stand in the way of marriage. Until the only thing that makes them special is their family history, and education can take care of that. But that would take decades.
True. If he did work at it where it wasn't shown then he deserves credit for what he did.
My apologies, I wasn't thorough enough when I wrote what I did.
As I see it to crush the culture, he'd have to crush the Old Pureblood Families, his enemies, those who oppose him out of some principle, those neutral to him, those allied to him and those friendly to him. And I cannot see that they would not oppose him once they realize what he started so hello civil war. So he would need to take their existing wealth, destroy their ability to generate new wealth, destroy any political influence they might have and destroy their ability to oppose him using existing, new, obscure and unknown (family) magic.
So, he would need to succeed in a coup and purge the ministry of all Old Family Purebloods, all sympathizers and family members and all family members of any Aurors he pushed to join Voldemort who were subsequently killed. That would lead to some political problems, both external and internal. Then he'll need to confiscate all of their money, at least all he can. After that he'll need to confiscate their businesses and properties. Then he'll need to confiscate all family libraries as well as all items that might be items of power. He'll also have to kill or mind wipe any of the Old Family Purebloods, the sympathizers, family members of sympathizers and family members of any of the Aurors he pushed to join Voldemort who were killed in the ministry attack who might have knowledge of or the skill to create spells or rituals dangerous to him or his supporters. Lastly, he'll need to control the education of all of the (surviving) children of the Old Family Purebloods, the sympathizers, family members of sympathizers and family members of any of the Aurors he pushed to join Voldemort who were killed in the ministry attack, to ensure that they cannot learn how to create spells or rituals dangerous to him or his supporters.
Also, the confiscated businesses, monies and properties. Who gets them. The money is easy, the government gets it.The properties, so long as they aren't farms or business properties, shouldn't be too much of a problem, although the resentment from those who aren't rewarded might be an issue. The businesses though... Running a business, whether a farm, import export business, some kind of manufactory or a service business takes knowledge about the clients, knowledge about the suppliers, knowledge about the business and skill. Start to just hand them out to trusted followers and there will be a lot of failed businesses. That isn't considering any people or businesses that say no, their contract was with the previous owner, not the new one and any businesses whose product depended on or was enhanced by spells only known to the family.
That's my thoughts at least about a quick fix crush the culture solution. A civil war that if successful leads to a lot of very ugly actions, possibly destroying the new governments reputation followed by an economic collapse.
It's great feedback!
I generally assume that British muggleborns were treated like coloured people in America - in the 1940s. Discriminated by laws, as well (and more so) by custom - they'd not be promoted past base-level in the Ministry, for example, without any law prohibiting it, just because such a thing is not done. I also assume that it was worse in the rest of Europe.
The odds that instead of a profiteering bigot a poor pureblood bought the shop with their last money without wanting to hurt the muggleborn or profit from their misery is about zero. It's on the same scale as assuming that the three people in white robes and masks torching a house in Alabama 1940 are actually students protesting the KKK by showing how evil their actions are and using an abandoned house that is unsafe and could collapse and hurt playing children as an opportunity. I work at a penal court, and some hypothesis, while not completely impossible (I didn't know it was full of drugs, I just found them in my jacket, I must have mixed my jacket up with someone else's... half a day ago...) are so absurd, they can and will be dismissed without further evidence.
If the attack on those profiteering from the war against muggleborn is legitimate, then attacking the Hit-Wizards defending them is legit too.
It's basically collateral damage. And Dumbledore is also trying to discredit those who give a Death Eater the time of the day.
Even prisoners wouldn't have done that much. In a propaganda war, truth is not as important as perception.
It's more that as a whole, countries tend to submit. Those who are as inflexible as to not submit when it's hopeless rarely stay in positions where they actually can do much when they are losing a war - they tend to die before the end. In this case, most of the radicals who would not agree that Dumbledore's views are actually correct and would actually oppose his reforms are already fighting him. As Fudge shows, those used to power will adapt, given the opportunity.
I don't really see why we should hold Dumbledore to higher standards than our own societies. We teach children that racism and bigotry is bad - seen the Superman comic where he tells students that discrimination is unamerican from the 40s? - and yet bigotry and racism is not over. You can't simply brainwash kids, not with the parents still in the picture. Not even in boarding schools.
The Old Families are not middle class - they are the aristocracy. The Billionaires of Wizarding Britain. And the riot was staged. Some will get caught up and join, but it was pretty much directed by some Death Eaters.
Why would Dumbledore have to organise a violent coup if he is, de facto, and arguably de jure thanks to his offices, the leader of Britain? But, and this is important: He tried the slow, subtle way. For decades. It did not work. The corruption, the nepotism, all the things that plague the failed democracies you mention, has deep roots in the system.
Why should anyone care about "pureblood culture"? Why teach anyone about it? Why try to preserve and even value what is, essentially, the culture of a rather small minority and built upon looking down on anyone else? It's far easier to break their hold on power, politically and economically, and then simply let them fester and rot in their own tiny pond while the rest of Wizarding Britain goes on. I have to reiterate again: At its core, the Old Families's pureblood culture is built upon the belief that blood matters most. You really do not want to spread that sick ideology around. All the rest? The traditions and such? Trying to spread that to muggleborns is pretty close to trying to tell black kids that white robes and pointy hoods are fashionable, because while that same garb is used in religious ceremonies in Europe, and therefore not evil per se, it stands for something evil in the USA.
They are already in a civil war. Between the attack on Malfoy Manor, assorted attacks on purebloods by both sides, and now the battle of the Ministry, the Old Families already have taken deep losses. Also, the Old Families are already quite prominently engaged in a civil war on both sides. If they had any new, obscure and unknown family magic, they would have used that already to fight their current enemies.
As I said - if Dumbledore wins, there's no need for a coup if you're all that is keeping the present Ministry going. There are no political problems if you could easily take over by force and everyone knows it. There are not many stupid enough to oppose Dumbledore by trying to back political ideas Voldemort stood for.
You seem to think that the Old Families were merchants and businessmen. That's not true. They are aristocrats. They have people - hired help, maybe some of the poorer relations - running their businesses for them.
I've given you my thoughts. I think the main difference is that you see the Old Families as a true elite, leaders knowing more than others, knowing more spells, more about business and magic than others. In this story, that's not true. Their power is based on having been born into families who own Britain. Land, businesses, seats in the Wizengamot. And since they dominate the politics, they can and did ensure that things stay like that.
Also, if you simply confiscate all the wealth from those who supported Voldemort, and end the stranglehold of the aristocrats on the economy, odds are that the new businesses generated by this will sweep the rest of those unable to adapt away. Especially if the most competent employees of the Old Families can now found their own businesses.
Chapter 35: Night of the Dead
‘After the Battle of the Ministry, many expected the Muggleborn Resistance to recruit as heavily as the Dark Lord and the Ministry itself. Indeed, after taking so many casualties - relatively, given the small number of Resistance members - it would have seemed only logical. And yet, that did not happen, for several reasons.
The muggleborn population was still in hiding, not many of them trusting the agreement with the Ministry yet. That made finding recruits difficult - the Resistance Radio could reach the muggleborns, but its audience could not contact the Resistance. Especially since there was still the risk of agents of the Dark Lord, mind-controlled or voluntarily, using such recruiting attempts to strike at the Resistance. Although that alone would not explain why the Resistance did not recruit among the students at Hogwarts during their stay there. At the school they could safely meet potential recruits. That they did not recruit there is a strong indication that, for all their claims about fighting for equality before the law, the Resistance were as biased with respect to blood status as their enemies, and refused to recruit half-bloods and purebloods.’
- Excerpt from ‘Wizarding Britain in the 20th Century’ by Albert Runcorn
Salisbury, Wiltshire, Britain, January 18th, 1997
“You have served me well, Severus. Your information about Dumbledore’s phoenix would have granted me victory, if not for his brother.”
The Dark Lord Voldemort smiled at his spy. He hadn’t missed how the man had looked around - he was probably trying to find out where they were, but the cellar of the safe house to which the Dark Lord had taken him offered no clue about its location - only conjured furniture appropriate for this meeting. The man could be simply curious and cautious, looking for a way out if anything happened - or he could be working to betray Voldemort.
“I beg your forgiveness, milord. I was unaware that the Headmaster’s brother was willing to help him, nor did I know how skilled he was.” The potioneer bowed deeply.
“Blood will tell, Severus. Family matters,” Voldemort said. “It takes a lot to sever those bonds. Only the deepest betrayal will achieve that. Dumbledore might have publicly distanced himself from his unsavory brother to further his ambitions, but it’s obvious that his brother has been working for him.” He chuckled. “The disgraced Dumbledore would have been able to approach people the Chief Warlock couldn’t. An ingenious set up.” He wondered if Dumbledore’s brother had volunteered for this, or had been forced into it.
“I see, milord.” Snape nodded, stiffly though.
“You doubt my reasoning?” The Dark Lord let the smallest amount of menace creep into his voice. After his recent setback, some of his followers might be wavering in their faith in him.
“No, milord. I was merely wondering how best to deal with this.”
“Do not concern yourself with that. I have a more important task for you.” A task that would show him on which side his spy truly was. It would put Snape at risk, but that was an acceptable price to be paid to be certain of the wizard’s loyalty. He had not needed to know before, but with so many of his followers dead, he could no longer ignore the opportunities Snape could offer him - or the danger. It would be easier to simply sift through the man’s mind, if not for the fact that the spy had been hiding his true allegiance from either Dumbledore or Voldemort for years. Considering Snape’s skill at Occlumency, discerning his real thoughts from those faked for his facade would be nigh-impossible without an effort that might irreparably damage his mind.
“I live to serve you, milord!”
“Indeed.” Voldemort smiled. “But first, tell me about the situation at Hogwarts.”
“Dumbledore has brought those members of his Order who were wounded in the battle at the Ministry to Hogwarts for treatment. He seems to distrust St Mungo’s,” Snape started to report.
Which was, of course, only to be expected - Dumbledore would know that Voldemort had spies and agents in St Mungo’s who’d be able to let a blood traitor ‘succumb to their wounds’.
“The most prominent are Arthur Weasley and three of his sons - William, Percy, and Ron.”
The Dark Lord frowned. Ron Weasley was Potter’s friend. That boy had been at Hogsmeade too.
“Then there are several of the French allies of the Order. I have not yet found out their names.” Snape pressed his lips together under Voldemort’s faint glare, then continued. “And the Mudbloods have been invited as well, not just to treat their wounded, but to recover at the school.”
Voldemort nodded. “He has abandoned the charade that they are anything but his tools, then.”
“Yes, milord.” Snape bowed again.
“Good. We can use that to show the truth to some of those who doubt us even now.” He gestured to the other wizard to continue.
“Today, Xenophilius Lovegood was also moved to the infirmary at Hogwarts.”
That was a surprise. Why would Dumbledore reveal that the editor of The Quibbler was working for him? It would serve Voldemort’s enemy better if the public remained ignorant of that, and thought the magazine independent. Or was the Headmaster trying to make Voldemort believe that Lovegood was a member of the Order? He needed to consider this some more. “Anything else?”
“Not yet, milord. We teachers are supposed to continue as if nothing had happened, even though all the students are doing is talking about the battles.”
“Dumbledore is trying to keep up appearances. No matter. Let us now talk about your task.” He smiled, and leaned back in his seat. “I need a young pureblood wizard child as a sacrifice.” He saw that Snape’s eyes widened, and he grew tense - but was that because of the task he was to undertake, or because he was aware of how much of a risk it would be for him? “With most pureblood families hiding from mudbloods or my faithful, you, amongst all my followers, are in the best position to take one of the blood-traitors’ children and bring it to me.” He smiled. “No one would think it too suspicious if one of the children, maybe a recent orphan, was distraught enough after the recent events to run away.”
Snape slowly nodded. “Yes, milord. It might me take a while to arrange matters, with the mudbloods and so many of the Order in the school, but I will manage it.”
“Failure is not an option, Severus.” Voldemort dismissed him with a gesture.
As soon as the man had disappeared, Voldemort left the location as well, apparating to his real safe house. The die had been cast and now it remained to wait and see what came of it. If Snape brought him a child, then Voldemort could be assured of the man’s loyalty - Dumbledore would never allow that. But if he was a traitor… Voldemort had taken a few precautions for such an outcome.
He glanced at his desk, and the skull set upon it. Maybe he should spend some time to find a ritual that could actually use a child sacrifice. It would be a shame to let such an opportunity go to waste, should Snape prove his allegiance to Voldemort.
Hogwarts, January 18th, 1997
Albus Dumbledore knew that Severus was troubled as soon as the young wizard entered his office. The man was a good actor, but Albus knew him too well. “Good evening, Severus.”
The other wizard just nodded curtly and sat down. Another sign that things were not well. Although they were not too bad, either - Severus was still alive.
The Headmaster didn’t have to wait long. “He wants me to prove my loyalty, and deliver a child as a sacrifice to him!”
Albus took a deep breath. He had hoped that Severus would be able to gain Tom’s trust thanks to his spying and his skill with potions, that the deed the younger wizard had done to earn his mark, and his past services in the last war, would be enough, but the odds hadn’t been that good to start with. “I see.”
Severus was looking at him. Albus knew what his friend was asking, and shook his head. Some prices were too high to be paid for anything.
“He’ll kill far more than one child, if he’s not stopped,” the younger wizard said.
“That is likely,” Albus admitted. “But by no means certain.”
“Really? You think you can kill him before more people die?” Severus shook his head, sneering.
“If a plan of mine bears fruit, yes.” Albus inclined his head. He saw Severus clench his teeth in frustration. The Headmaster knew that his friend hated that he didn’t know what else Albus was planning, but as a spy, he could not know about Albus’s plans with Harry. The risk of Tom finding out was too great.
“If, Albus, if.” Severus was shaking his head. “I’m so close. He has lost so many of his followers, if I can gain his trust…”
“But at what cost?” Albus frowned. He knew what his friend was thinking. One life against dozens, maybe hundreds. He had thought so himself, once. And, at times, you had to weigh lives. Send people to die so others would be saved. Any leader in a war knew this. But to pick a child, and deliver it to be murdered… no, that was unacceptable. “You cannot sacrifice an innocent child. Not without dooming yourself.” A price Severus would gladly pay, Albus knew, if it meant the death of Voldemort. His spy did not expect to survive this war.
“A child who’s not innocent then.” Severus sneered. “There are those who have blood on their hands.”
“You know that they would not qualify as children. Not for what the Dark Lord has in mind.” He gently shook his head. “It would be for naught, since you’d lose his trust for making such an obvious mistake.”
Severus hissed in frustration. “A volunteer, then. Polyjuice to appear as a child. I’ll deliver him to the Dark Lord, and we strike.”
“And who do you think would be able to stand up to the Dark Lord long enough to make a difference? Apart from me,” Albus asked.
“Your brother. Moody. Anyone. We only need to last long enough to keep the Dark Lord from fleeing until you arrive with the Order.” Severus looked at him, pleadingly. Albus’s friend knew that if he failed this task, he would not be able to spy on the Dark Lord any more. All his efforts, all his sacrifices, would have been wasted. And, worse, he’d not be able to find the redemption he so craved.
“He’ll be behind wards,” Albus said.
“Granger can blow them away.”
Of course Severus would have studied the attacks by the Resistance, Albus thought. “At great risk to the warded structure, and its inhabitants.”
“A risk I’ll take. Gladly.”
“The Dark Lord will expect such an attack. If not from you, then from others. That is why he always meets you at different locations.” That was why Albus had not intended to try such a ploy until he knew where Tom was living.
“That can be dealt with with a suitable distraction. If he thinks you are occupied elsewhere, he’ll think he can deal with any attack.” His friend was leaning forward.
“I would have to be away from Britain, and yet visible to the public. And the ICW takes a dim view of using Polyjuice to send proxies.” Albus smiled. One or two delegates had tried that in the past.
“Have your brother pose as you, and attack some warded mansion in Albania then.” Severus took a deep breath, visibly trying to calm himself. “Albus, please.”
“You will almost certainly die, Severus,” he said. “Do you think this is worth it?”
The younger wizard simply nodded.
His friend was set on this course of action, the Headmaster realised. Even though it would very likely cost his life. And the life of another volunteer. Even if he refused, Severus would go through with it. Albus considered volunteering himself, but discarded the notion at once. The risk was far too great, and would only serve to alleviate the guilt he’d feel over letting two people sacrifice their lives for a very slim chance of destroying Voldemort’s body. He had far greater sins for which to atone, still, and Britain yet needed him too much for him to throw his life away like that. He closed his eyes and sighed. “Very well. If you, we, find a volunteer, I will be ready to attack the Dark Lord once you meet him.”
“Thank you.” Severus’s smile was thin, but the man’s satisfaction and relief were quite obvious to Albus - and painful. He told himself that his friend wanted this, wanted to die to finally achieve some sort of redemption, but it didn't help.
Hogwarts, January 19th, 1997
Hermione Granger checked the privacy spells in the unused classroom the Resistance had taken over. She had done that twice already, but even at Hogwarts, you couldn’t be too careful. And it gave her something to focus on while she waited for the rest of the Resistance to arrive.
There they were. Justin entered, followed by Sally-Anne, who was levitating Jeremy, to her surprise. Louise stayed at her friend’s side. Behind them were Tania and Seamus, not quite leaning on each other, but close enough, and Colin and Dennis, limping. John brought up the rear.
“Madam Pomfrey was quite put out with us taking Jeremy with us,” Justin said.
“I’m not her student,” Jeremy said in a tight voice. “And this is important.”
He was hiding just how much he was suffering, Hermione knew, but she nodded. It was his decision. When everyone had sat down - or at least managed to get somehow comfortable - she cleared her throat. “I should have done this sooner, but not all of us were ready for a debriefing.” She pointed her wand at the blackboard behind her, and revealed the first of the maps she had prepared. “The mission’s primary objective was to stop the Dark Lord’s forces from taking over the Ministry. Secondary objectives were to destroy the enemy forces, save the Wizengamot members and Ministry employees allied to our cause, and to improve our standing among the hitherto neutral pureblood and half-blood population.”
“Dying for public relations,” Seamus muttered.
Hermione suppressed the annoyance she felt at being interrupted. “We’re in a civil war. Almost all of those are decided by winning over the population. Showing that we’re fighting the Death Eaters, beating them, and saving our friends is a big step in that direction.”
Seamus was about to say something else, but Tania put her hand on his arm, and he settled down. Interesting, Hermione thought. And encouraging, if Tania could influence the Irish wizard. “We achieved all our objectives. In that, we were successful. However, we lost many of our friends.” She couldn’t talk about casualties and losses, not when talking about Dean and Mary, or Louise, Jeremy and Tania. “Too many. And their deaths could have been avoided.”
Seamus looked up, staring at her. Justin frowned. “How?”
She took a deep breath. “We entered this battle without being sufficiently prepared. We hadn’t trained with our allies, and were not ready for the tactics of our enemies. I should have anticipated the poison, and the enemy breaking through the ceiling.”
Seamus muttered something in response to her statement that she didn’t catch, but Tania whispered into his ear. Hermione would have to ask her later, probably. “Further, four of us were wounded, one of whom will take a month to recover.” She didn’t look at Colin and Dennis, who didn’t know when they’d recover. If they would ever recover, a small voice in the back of her head added.
“I’ll be fine sooner than you expect,” Jeremy said. Louise’s frown belied his words, though.
“We need to discuss how to avoid similar mistakes in the future, and how to improve our own tactics - and how to rebuild.” Otherwise, another such loss would mean the end of the Resistance.
“We could start with not trying to save the purebloods!” Seamus snapped. “We should have simply let them kill each other, then mopped up the survivors!”
“What? How can you say that?” Justin yelled. “It’s not about blood!”
“We have many pureblood friends in Hufflepuff and Gryffindor!” Sally-Anne added.
“Really? What kind of friends let us fight and die, while they stay safe at Hogwarts?” Seamus sneered, shrugging off Tania’s hand on his arm while he jumped to his feet. “Dean and Mary died, saving those worthless purebloods!”
“They’re students,” Louise said, “not Aurors or Hit-Wizards.”
“We were students too, until they kicked us out,” Seamus retorted. “If we can do it, they can do it.”
“So, are you suggesting that we recruit those students?” Hermione fought to ask calmly, and not snap at Seamus. He had just lost Dean, she told herself. “I’m certain if we ask, a number of Gryffindors and some Hufflepuffs will join us.” Seamus hesitated, and Hermione went on. “Or is it about the blood? Do you think blood means that much?” She didn’t have to add ‘like Death Eaters?’ - Seamus knew what she meant, and so did everyone else.
“No,” he spat out, “I didn’t mean that. But it’s not right that we died to save people who don’t care about us and a month ago would have applauded if we had all been killed.”
That was received with several nods from the rest of the group. Hermione couldn’t disagree with the notion either. “I don’t like it either,” she said. “But we need to focus on winning this war. And that means we have to make compromises.” And sacrifices, she added in her head. “We need the support of half-bloods and purebloods.”
“More support in the field would be good,” Seamus said. “Most of the dead were ours, and the French.”
Hermione had noticed that as well. She had considered the possibility that this had been by design - to weaken the Resistance, and use expendable foreigners - everyone knew the French wizards were too brave for their own good - while preserving the purebloods of the Order. But she trusted Dumbledore not to betray them like that. And it didn’t make any sense for him to use such ploys when the outcome of the war was still in doubt, and he couldn’t be certain that he would not need the Resistance again for a crucial battle. The war would only end when Voldemort was dead for good, and she knew that Harry was not yet ready for that confrontation.
So she shook her head. “Dumbledore doesn’t have that many fighters. A lot of the best Aurors supporting him died in that trap in East Sussex, and most of the rest, as well as many Hit-Wizards, were probably killed in the Ministry before we arrived.”
“Yes,” Louise said. “That was a massacre. Between that and the withering curses, I don’t think Dumbledore has many wizards and witches left who can fight as well as we can, or the French.”
“Or the Weasleys,” Hermione added.
“Does that mean we’ll recruit from Hogwarts?” Sally-Anne asked.
Hermione sighed. Leaving aside how the Headmaster would react to that, there were a few issues with doing so. “I’d like to, but if we recruit among the older Hogwarts students, we’ll need to be very careful - even now, there are possible spies here.” Harry and Ron had warned her about the likes of McLaggen. She couldn’t mention his name, though, or someone might kill him.
“Not Harry or Ron, though!” Sally-Anne said with a smile.
“No, not them. But they already are committed to their own group,” Hermione said. “They were not hurt hiding inside Hogwarts, after all.”
“So, we might get more Gryffindors as support,” Seamus said. He exchanged a smile with Tania, and glanced at Justin with a smirk.
“Don’t expect too much too soon.” Hermione didn’t quite roll her eyes - house rivalries, here? “They’re not ready for battle yet, with a few exceptions, and those usually have their own missions.”
“Aha! So Dumbledore is recruiting at Hogwarts,” Justin said.
“I think it’s more that he took those who would have become involved with the war anyway,” she explained. “But yes, sooner or later we can expect more help.” Hopefully later - she wasn’t looking forward to seeing more friends die. “In the meantime, though, we’re in a bind. Even if we recruit more from muggleborns, or even Hogwarts, we’d need to train them until they fit in with us.”
Louise nodded at her - the former Hit-Wizard and her friend should know very well how much training had been needed, and they were still mostly using their wands because they were among the weakest shooters in the group.
“That means that we can’t do much while we train them. We cannot prepare for a new mission either,” Hermione went on.
“And after the Ministry, it’s likely that things won’t settle down,” Justin said, frowning.
“Yes. So, new recruits won’t be much help for some time. But we need to recruit anyway. We don’t know for how long this war will go on.” And the more members the Resistance had, the better would be their position after the war. “We might need to hire the Sergeant and the Major again,” she added.
“We can afford it,” Justin said.
“But we need recruits first. John, we’ll need to put a call out in the next broadcast. Put up an e-mail address.”
“I could have done that in the last broadcast, if I’d known,” the wizard said, sighing.
“Sorry.” That couldn’t have been helped. Rushing things would do more harm than good, Hermione thought.
“A public recruitment ad will lead spies to us as well,” Justin pointed out.
“Yes. But we can’t be safe from them even by recruiting through our contacts and acquaintances.” Hermione sighed. “We’ll have to scrutinise each recruit, probably with Veritaserum and one of those Thief’s Downfalls.”
“Do you think Dumbledore will help us with that?” Tania sounded almost doubtful.
“If he wants us to keep fighting, then he’ll have to.” Hermione shook her head. “If we have to spend even more time vetting new recruits, we’ll be unable to do any missions. We certainly won’t rush into a battle unprepared again.”
That was met with much approval.
“And what do we do if purebloods or half-bloods ask to join us?” Sally-Anne spoke up. “If we turn them down just because of their blood status, we’d be as bad as the purebloods. Those purebloods, I mean.”
Hermione sighed. She almost hoped that there would be no such recruits. “They’ll have to be able to fit in among muggles. Perfectly - we can’t afford to be discovered in muggle Britain.”
“Not many will be able to do that,” Tania said.
“We can send those who don’t to Dumbledore.” Hermione shrugged. “So, next point: What can we do better in a fight?”
“Use the Killing Curse on them!” Louise said.
“Yes!” Tania and Seamus said quickly.
“I’m not certain that that would have helped us much,” Hermione started.
“It certainly would have taken Lestrange down!” Seamus interrupted her.
“If we hit her, yes. We’re not exactly experts at casting the Unforgivables,” she pointed out. “And I think we all know that using a spell is not the same as knowing how to cast it. Which we don’t know either. We’d need quite some training to be able to use those spells effectively.”
“It’s not that difficult,” Louise said. “A Hit-Wizard who had fought in the last war said it was easy to learn and to use.”
“Use, maybe, but use effectively?” Hermione scrunched her nose. “I’d rather not figure things out in the middle of a fight.” She had made that mistake already. “The emotional component of the casting also worries me.” You had to feel a lot of hatred to successfully cast the Killing Curse.
“You think we might not be able to muster enough hatred?” Seamus looked incredulous.
“Or it might be too easy.” Hermione looked at him. He had been a good friend of Allan’s. “Not to mention the trouble we can get into for using the Unforgivables.”
“The Ministry has authorised their forces to use both the Imperius and the Killing Curse,” Louise said. “Now that we’re allied with them, there shouldn’t be any problem.”
Hermione wasn’t quite certain about that - Bones hadn’t struck her as the type to allow anyone much leeway when it came to the law, an impression Sirius had confirmed. “I don’t trust the Ministry that much. But I was thinking about the effects on the purebloods in other magical countries, where the Dark Lord will be trying to recruit more wands for his ranks. Us using the Unforgivables will make it really easy for the Dark Lord to paint us as Grindelwald’s heirs.”
“The French like us,” Sally-Anne said. “I talked with them quite a bit in the Infirmary.”
“Those French like us,” Hermione said. “But the vast majority of purebloods haven’t forgotten that muggleborns flocked to Grindelwald’s banner.”
“Because they were oppressed and he promised them equality!” John said.
“Yes. But the other purebloods don’t care much about that. Britain’s about the only country in Magical Europe where we were treated somewhat equal to purebloods, and that’s only because of Dumbledore. Durmstrang doesn’t even allow muggleborns to attend, and in Beauxbatons, they are limited to their equivalent of O.W.L.s.” Hermione had looked into other schools once. The French muggleborn could study for themselves, or get tutors and take their equivalents to N.E.W.T.s later - in theory. “And you can bet that they are watching Britain carefully. If we start acting like dark wizards and witches…”
“If they are afraid of their own muggleborns starting a war, then no matter what we do, we’ll be blamed,” Justin said. He looked grim, though.
“Possibly. But things could be much worse, and I’m not certain it’d be worth using the Unforgivables if we risk driving more purebloods to support the Dark Lord.” Hermione pressed her lips together.
“A single Killing Curse could be the difference between winning and losing the war,” Louise said.
“Yes. Like in the last war,” Hermione said.
“That’s not the same!” Seamus said.
“No. But using the Dark Arts is not something that should be done for expediency. I propose that we research this thoroughly to at least be certain that the mere act of using those spells is not dangerous in and of itself.”
The smiles and chuckles surprised her. She frowned, but before she could ask what had brought this on, Sally-Anne spoke up. “Hermione, proposing to thoroughly research things! We’re really back at Hogwarts!”
Hermione had to chuckle as well. Though she was not quite as amused - the Resistance were facing serious troubles, even if the Dark Lord stuck to licking his wounds.
And she somehow doubted that Voldemort would do so.
Mister Lovegood was a nice man, Harry Potter had found out quickly after Luna’s father had arrived in his room. He was friendly, he was chatty, and he was funny.
He was also stark raving bonkers, as Ron had put it. After a night in the same room as Xenophilius, as the man had insisted Harry called him, he was now well-acquainted with the Rotfang Conspiracy, Muggle Mind Control Techniques, and more animals that had not yet been discovered than he could remember. He was also the proud owner of a ten-year subscription for The Quibbler. And he hadn’t slept much during the night - Xenophilius could talk at length about anything.
The door opened, and Harry went for his wand.
“Good morning, Daddy! Good morning, Harry.” Luna walked in. “I brought the dreamcatchers!”
“Splendid, Luna! I was not certain if I could keep the Nargles at bay for another night!” The older wizard beamed at his daughter.
Luna nodded. “I know, so I hurried with making them!” She smiled widely, reached into her bag and pulled out what looked like a head-sized Acromantula with butterbeer corks and glitter stuck to its legs. A flick of the witch’s wand had the thing float towards Harry, coming to a stop directly over his head.
With a sinking feeling, Harry realised that it was an Acromantula with cork pieces and glitter stuck on it. “Is that thing dead?” he asked, his wand already aimed at it. He remembered Hagrid’s lesson on Acromantula hunting tactics in their fourth year quite well, and how they liked to drop on to a deer and ram their fangs into its head to inject their poison straight into the brain had featured prominently.
“Oh, no! It’s not dead.”
“What?” Harry had never been as quick to roll out of his bed and come up in a crouch. Even Moody would not fault his speed this time. “It’s alive?” Not for much longer, he promised himself.
“It was never alive,” Luna said.
“What? You transfigured something into a dead Acromantula?”
“No, no! It’s the shed exoskeleton of an Acromantula.” Luna smiled. “Spiders are very good at catching things, so their skeleton makes a great base for a dreamcatcher!”
Harry dimly remembered Hagrid talking about Acromantulas shedding their skin. Hermione had started to whisper a lengthy explanation about how non-magical spiders did the same thing, and Harry had somehow failed to follow either lecture. “Ah. So, it’s basically harmless, right?”
“For humans, yes. It’ll destroy bad dreams, and scare Nargles away - they can be caught with nets spun from the finest Acromantula silk, so they shun them, you know;” Luna said, nodding. Then she stuck the tip of her tongue out of the corner of her mouth and focused on moving the floating thing a bit around until she nodded and cast a Sticking Charm. “There! It’ll perfectly protect your dreams, Harry!”
The blonde witch promptly proceeded to pull out a second one and install that over her father’s bed. “They should work well enough, but if there are persistent Nargles, then I can animate them. I had to do that for my own room in our dorm - Nargles kept stealing my things until I animated my dreamcatcher.” She put a finger on her lips, pouting. “I didn’t know Nargles could shriek that loud, or imitate human sounds that well, so you might need a Silencing Charm to sleep soundly through the night.”
“Oh, I don’t need a Silencing Charm.” Harry knew what Moody would do to him should he ever try to sleep while being effectively deaf and unable to hear an enemy approaching. Or a teacher.
“Alright.” Luna nodded and sat down on her father’s bed. “Do you feel better yet, Daddy?”
“I do. But not yet good enough.” Xenophilius sighed. “I’m still weak.”
“But you’ll be healthy soon, right?” Luna asked, and for once, her voice suddenly sounded rather brittle.
“Of course!” Xenophilius reached out and pulled Luna into a hug.
Harry felt both embarrassed at seeing such an intimate moment, and irrationally jealous. Sirius had - temporarily - returned to Grimmauld Place, to organise things for Remus’s absence, and would pass by the Ministry afterwards, so Harry’s godfather wouldn’t be back until the evening.
He could do with a nap, he thought, and returned to his bed to lie down. Which placed his head straight under the dreamcatcher. He was suddenly more understanding of Ron’s fear of spiders.
Ron Weasley felt… not jealous. Hermione was having a lengthy meeting with the Resistance, which excluded him. He knew she needed to talk about several important issues with the rest of her group, and he knew he was not part of that, but it was Sunday, when there were no classes, and they could have spent the morning together.
Which was annoying. Another thing to blame on the war. Although sometimes he wondered if Hermione and he would have become a couple if there hadn’t been a war. Would they even be friends if Voldemort had not let a troll into the school in their first year? He liked to think they would have become friends anyway, but the odds weren’t that good. Without Voldemort to worry about, would they have found common ground, or would they have simply seen each other’s small, petty flaws? Would he have even seen past the nagging swot with the bushy hair? Would he have cared to even try? Would Harry have? And would Hermione have ever been interested in him?
He sighed. He didn’t want to be grateful to Voldemort for anything and forced the idle thoughts away. Just as he had forced the thought of killing that Death Eater away. He took a deep breath. He should visit Harry, and his family, instead of moping around. They would be glad for the visit, too.
As he entered the infirmary, he noticed that Bill had woken up, and had a visitor. Although Ron wasn’t quite certain if Fleur had even left the infirmary since the battle, with seemingly half her family and her fiancé stuck there. Percy seemed to still be asleep, and Dad was gone.
“Good morning, Ron. Dad’s gone with Mum, back to Grimmauld Place,” Bill informed him.
“Good morning, Ron.” Even tired, Fleur sounded perfect.
“Morning, Bill. Morning, Fleur.” Ron nodded, frowning - Moody had told him often that he was easy to read. Although Bill was his oldest brother, which gave him an unfair advantage. “He’s fine then.”
Ron hadn’t been worried, not really, but … it felt good to hear it confirmed. “And Percy?”
“Will be fine. He just needs more rest,” Bill said.
Ron had heard that before. “What about you?”
“I’m fine,” Bill said, grinning. “Pomfrey will see that too, once she returns.”
“’E’s not fine!” Fleur said. “’e needs more rest as well!”
“I’ve had worse at work,” Bill said.
“You work as a Curse-Breaker. Of course you’ve ’ad worse at work!”
Ron thought just the fact that his brother had made such a mistake was proof that he wasn’t quite that fine. “How are your relatives?” he asked.
Fleur’s face fell, and Ron pressed his lips together. He shouldn’t have asked her that.
“They’re doing well, considering the circumstances.” She didn’t have to add ‘those who survived’; her face said enough when she glanced at the corner housing the French wounded.
Ron was about to excuse himself and go to Harry - Bill and Fleur would probably be happier together, just as he would like to be alone with Hermione - when Fleur spoke up again: “This will make quite the trouble at ’ome for Uncle Marcel.”
“Because so many of your family were killed?” Ron asked.
“Non. Because they were fighting side by side with muggleborns.” She sighed. “France still remembers the muggleborns ’oo joined Grindelwald. ‘La trahison du sang’, they call it. A number of people were almost glad when the Muggleborns rebelled - they said that Britain ’ad ’ad it coming for granting them so many liberties.”
“Idiots,” Ron hissed.
“They’re afraid. Which is quite strange for a country famous for their bravery,” Fleur said.
“If they treated their muggleborns better they wouldn’t have to fear a rebellion,” Ron replied.
“That the French muggles celebrate their revolutions so much doesn’t ’elp, of course. The Duc’s Court is very much aware of the fate of the last muggle king. Or was it the second to last?” Fleur shrugged.
Ron had no idea. Hermione would know, of course, but she was busy. “So, what will the Duc do?”
“I don’t know for certain, but I think that ’e’ll do nothing, and tell the people that this is Dumbledore’s country and fault, and ’as nothing to do with France.”
“Don’t they know that the muggleborns started fighting when the Wizengamot took away their rights, and not before?” Ron asked.
“They might think that if Dumbledore ’adn’t granted the muggleborns more rights, there wouldn’t ’ave been a Blood War in the first place - certainly not two.”
Ron snorted. “Why didn’t they support Voldemort back then?”
“He acted too much like Grindelwald, Mister Weasley.”
Ron whirled around, drawing his wand before he recognised the Headmaster. He hadn’t noticed the old wizard arriving. That Bill and Fleur had missed Dumbledore as well was not much of a consolation.
The old wizard seemed to ignore his reaction, and continued while Ron stashed his wand. “Some Old Families fear purebloods from younger families rising in power almost as as much as they fear the muggleborns. The Dark Lord lacked both a history and blood relations among the Old Families. His claim of being the heir of Slytherin did not carry enough weight outside Britain to overcome that handicap.”
“We should be so lucky that our pureblood bigots were not pureblood enough for the bigots of the rest of Europe,” Ron muttered.
“Sometimes, Mister Weasley, fate works in quite ironic ways.”
Outside Stamford, Lincolnshire, Britain, January 19th, 1997
The Dark Lord Voldemort took a deep breath. It was time. Sunday evening. The sun had set already. Two days after the battle. Right when the first of the wounded were leaving St Mungo’s and most of the survivors would still be tired from the rescue and recovery efforts. It had taken him months to create the spell. Back when he had just returned, it had been as much a way to pass the time, waiting for Lucius’s efforts to bear fruit, as a serious undertaking. Given the reputation of the houngans in Britain, even among those sympathetic to his cause, using the curse would have undone all of his faithful’s work. Having a few select Death Eaters test parts of the curse had been as far as he had dared to go. But now, after his other plans had failed, there was no reason not to use it. The British wizards might loathe him for it, but they’d fear him more.
He reached out and picked up the skull sitting on his desk, then walked to the circle he had drawn on the floor of the room, lighting the candles with a flick of his wand. He put the skull down in the centre, on the parchment with the symbol he had chosen, then whipped his wand against his left hand, slashing it open. He redrew the circle with his own blood, then let it drop on the skull. Blood meant power. Even the houngans understood that. He held his hand steady while his blood kept dripping on the skull, disappearing where it touched the polished bone. Finally, the skull started to glow red, and Voldemort closed the gash in his hand before sitting down.
Holstering his wand, he grabbed the skull with both hands and raised it until he was facing it. He took another deep breath, the scent of blood growing stronger. Closing his eyes, he pressed the skull against his head, hissing at the pain this caused. Weaker minds than his would have stopped then, but he had endured far worse in the pursuit of the Dark Arts. Pain was no stranger to him, nor would it ever be his master. He pushed the pain away, and focused. His power. His will. He could feel it reaching out, touching the prepared vessels. Filling them, one by one, with his power. Brushing past wards and spells as if they were not there.
Finally, they were ready. All of them, prepared by himself, or by his followers. All waiting for his command.
Shuddering under the strain, he gave the order.
Rise, and strike at my enemies!
London, Ministry of Magic, January 19th, 1997
Albus Dumbledore was tired. An afternoon spent handling the minutiae of the Ministry’s many tasks was draining on the best of days. Two days after the Battle of the Ministry, with many of the survivors still being treated at St Mungo’s, or resting in their homes, with their families, it was exhausting.
And yet, it couldn’t be helped. Wizarding Britain depended on him, and on his friends and allies - they could not afford to dawdle. Reorganising the Ministry’s forces, planning the war, changing the muggleborn laws, organising repairs - so much had to be done, with so few wands available.
At least everyone was doing what they could. Even the walking wounded. He saw Finegas Smith step out of the restored fireplace. The man had been struck with the Withering Curse during the coup, but you wouldn’t be able to tell it judging by his slow but steady stride. Although with his wand arm withered, he would not be able to help out with the repair work. Still, his help would be useful in organising the work, freeing those who could cast spells from paperwork.
Albus smiled, and nodded at the man as they approached each other in the Atrium. “Good evening, Finegas.”
The other man didn’t return his greeting and simply continued his way. Albus raised his eyebrows - Finegas was always impeccably polite. He didn’t look as if he was alright, either. His eyes were… empty. And he was moving his withered arm, wielding a wand!
Albus conjured a slab of metal right in time to stop Finegas’s Piercing Curse. He cast a Shield Charm while he stepped around the barrier, and sent two Stunners at the other wizard. Both hit, and the man staggered. He didn’t fall, though, and cast a Cutting and Bludgeoning Curse, both stopped by Albus’s Shield, before another Stunning Spell took him down.
“I am very sorry, my friend, but it is for your own good,” Albus mumbled, summoning Finegas’s wand and casting a Full Body-Bind Curse, followed by conjured ropes. He turned to the Auror guards - two very young wizards, Mister Auckley and Mister Runcorn, both Hufflepuffs, graduated in the last year - approaching them. “I fear he has been compelled to attack me - he was acting quite unlike himself. Please take him into a cell, for his and our safety. We need to find out what has been done to him. Merlin’s Staff! The Withering Curse!” He whirled around. “It doesn’t simply cause a limb to wither, it also allows the Dark Lord to control them!”
The Aurors grew pale - they knew as well as Albus did just how many people had been cursed by the Dark Lord’s trap, or his followers.
“Scrimgeour!” Auckley yelled, while Albus sent a Patronus Messenger to warn Hogwarts. “He’s been in to supervise!”
“He’s not the only one!” Runcorn said.
Before they could move, though, screams and explosions once more filled the Ministry.
Hogwarts, January 19th, 1997
“So, you’ll have to stay another night in the infirmary.”
Harry Potter, sitting in his bed, nodded at Luna. “Yes. Pomfrey said that she was taking no chances with anyone who had fought the Dark Lord directly.”
“That is wise, but she missed Dumbledore. And Ron,” Luna said. “Should I go and fetch them for her?”
“I think she has the situation in hand,” Harry said. While Luna trying to drag Dumbledore to the infirmary for his own good was an amusing thought, he didn’t think Ron and Hermione would appreciate having their dinner date interrupted by Luna.
“Are you certain?” Luna frowned. “You can’t take chances with your health.” She glanced at her sleeping father.
“Pomfrey released Ron, so he must be fine,” Harry said.
“But did she know what he did?”
Harry was about to answer when he heard the door opening. He had his wand aimed at it before he realised what he was doing - and so he was able to cast a Shield Charm the instant a small object flew through the widening gap. A second later, an explosion filled the room.
Harry’s shield had protected him from the blast, but he couldn’t see anything but patches of colour, and his ears were ringing. Luna’s screams were just a dim noise to him and he could barely see the furniture as he rolled off his bed. Further, but fainter, explosions sounded, flashes too, and something hit his Shield Charm. Several times.
Someone was shooting at him, he realised. Harry threw himself to the side, away from his bed. He couldn’t see enough, yet, but his enemy had to be standing in the doorway. And Harry had trained under similar conditions with Moody.
He sent a few Bludgeoning Curses in the general direction of the door, aiming high, then covered the floor at the door with oil. He could see contours now. Silhouettes. A figure was stumbling at the door, slipping on the oil, with a large stick in their hands. Luna was still screaming. He didn’t hear her father. The figure was turning around, towards her.
Harry snarled and stabbed with his wand forward, sending a volley of curses at the attacker. His Piercing Curse was stopped by a Shield Charm, he could see the flashes, but his Reductor Curse went through and hit the figure, followed by a Cutting Curse that went wide, before his Fire-Making Spell hit the oil, setting it and the figure ablaze.
The attacker didn’t scream, though. Even burning, they shot at Harry, though the bullets went wide, not even hitting his Shield Charm. Harry dived forward, rolling past another bed, and came up casting. His next Bludgeoning Curse smashed the attacker into the wall, hard enough to break bones, but they still tried to raise their gun until Harry’s Cutting Curse sliced into their arm and the rifle dropped.
A moment later, the figure dropped as well. Panting, Harry kept his wand trained on the burning … boy? He blinked, his eyes finally having recovered from the blinding flash, then gasped - he recognised the burning wizard. He had just killed Colin Creevey.
“It’s almost like a date,” Ron Weasley said as he and Hermione walked down the hallway. “We had dinner together, just the two of us, and now we’re off to…” He trailed off.
“... the library,” Hermione finished for him while he was searching for a better word, “to do some research on the Unforgivables. It’s not exactly a dance or a movie.” She was smiling, though, despite her words. “And I’d not be wearing the fatigues for a date,” she added, pointing at her clothes.
“If we dance or watch a movie in the library, Pince will probably demonstrate all three Unforgivables on us,” Ron said, snorting. “She would cast them silently, of course, so as not to disturb the other visitors.”
Hermione chuckled, then grew serious. “It says a lot about us that we’re joking about the Dark Arts, doesn’t it?”
Ron shrugged. “It’s the war.” If you couldn’t laugh about it you would have to cry about it. And laughing was better.
“It seems so far away from here,” Hermione said. “Hogwarts hasn’t changed.”
“Other than for the better by losing most of the Slytherins,” he said. “And we’ve had our fair share of troubles here too.” Not all of those had been Harry’s or Ron’s fault, either.
“That’s true, I guess.” She didn’t comment about the Slytherins. A year ago, she might have, he thought.
“How long will you be staying here?” He didn’t bother to ask casually. She knew how much he loved her being here.
“A few more days, I think. Until Jeremy is in better shape.”
“You could stay here until the end of the war.” They passed a junction, and he covered the crossing hallway on his side while Hermione did the same on her side.
She sighed. “I’m not certain that would be a good idea. That might endanger the school.”
He scoffed. “With Dumbledore as the Headmaster and Harry here, it’s already a target for Voldemort.”
“It would also make everyone think we’re Dumbledore’s wands.” She was frowning. Not at him, though. “That might bring problems of their own once the war is over.”
“Other muggleborns might not trust us that much if they think that we were just his to command,” Hermione said.
“Can’t win a war without coordination, and an overall commander.” Ron had learned that when he had let his chess set play itself once.
“It’s unlikely, but not impossible.” Hermione pursed her lips. “But we are coordinating. It’s just the appearance of subordination that I want to avoid. We’re the Resistance, his allies, not members of his Order.”
“Well, I don’t know if many care about the difference,” Ron said. “In fact, I think…”
Loud explosions, followed by screams, interrupted him.
“Someone’s shooting!” Hermione said, drawing her wand and starting to run.
Ron hurried to catch up, though he had to push himself to manage it. They rounded the corner to the sound of more shots being fired. “It’s near the Great Hall!” he yelled.
“That’s a machine gun. One of ours!” Hermione yelled. “Someone must be attacking us!” Both had already cast a Shield Charm.
They were close now. The screams were growing louder. Then three students ran around the corner, yelling and screaming. They stopped as soon as they spotted the two of them, though. No, as soon as they spotted Hermione.
“Noo!” one of them - a Ravenclaw, Ron thought, probably in Ginny’s year, all of them were - screamed. “Please!”
Another figure turned around the corner, a gun in his hands, firing, and the three Ravenclaws fell down, like animated statues when the enchantment was finited.
“Dennis?” Ron heard Hermione say.
It was Dennis Creevey. The boy was wearing fatigues like Hermione. He didn’t answer, but lifted his gun, swinging it towards them.
Ron dived to the floor, away from Hermione, an instant before the boy fired again. Split up, force them to split their attention, as far as possible, Moody had taught him and Harry. Not much room in a hallway for that, though.
“Dennis, stop!” Hermione yelled. She was also casting, though, and Ron saw a wall rise in the middle of the hallway, stopping both bullets and Ron’s Stunner. “He must be under someone’s control!” she yelled.
“Help! Please help!” one of the Ravenclaws was screaming, blood gushing from a deep wound in her arm.
“Help her!” Hermione yelled and rushed forward. She threw a small object through the gap between the wall and the hallway’s ceiling, then cast a spell. Thick, black smoke appeared on the other side of the wall, parts of it drifting to their side.
“Episkey!” Ron yelled, stabbing his wand at the girl’s wound. “Episkey! Episkey!”
After three spells, the bleeding started to slow. After four, it stopped. Ron glanced at Hermione. She was waving her wand over another girl, then shook her head. The third was crawling away, dragging one leg behind her.
“Hold still!” Ron said, casting at her. She screamed, flailing, despite his reassurances that he was helping her. He still managed to close the wounds in her leg.
“Let’s move them around the corner!” Hermione said, and Ron saw that she was levitating the girl he had treated.
The other girl was scrambling to her feet, so Ron simply grabbed her arm and pulled her with him. This time she didn’t resist. Just before they reached the corner, the wall behind them exploded. Shots hit Ron’s Shield Charm as he pushed the girl into the next hallway. His shield shattered, and something hit him in the side. Unbalanced, he fell to the floor, bullets passing over his head. Then the pain hit him. He had been shot.
“Ron!” he heard Hermione scream.
He rolled to the side, screaming at the pain that caused, and aimed his wand with shaking fingers, lying on his back. Hermione had conjured another wall. “Let’s blow it up!” he managed to press out.
For a moment, she hesitated, then he heard her agree. “On three. One. Two.”
Ron’s Blasting Curse hit the wall a fraction of a second after hers, filling the hallway with a cloud of dust. He rolled to the side, coming to a stop at the corner, wand still aimed into the cloud. Merlin’s balls, that hurt!
A gust of wind drove the dust back, away from them. Ron saw someone on the floor there. Dennis. The boy was still moving, one arm grasping for the gun. Ron hesitated, then banished the gun away from the boy.
Hermione was there, casting at Dennis. After her second Stunner, the boy stopped moving.
Ron forced himself to stand up and walk, despite the blood running down his side.
“Ron!” Hermione yelled. “You’re wounded! Stop moving!”
He didn’t stop until he reached the boy on the ground, then he stared while Hermione started to treat his wound.
Dennis was bound as well as stunned now, and bleeding from several wounds, but his leathery, dried-up looking arm was still twitching.
London, Ministry of Magic, January 19th, 1997
Albus Dumbledore took a step to the side, deflecting a curse with a conjured floating shield, then swished his wand. The Ministry Employee, Bertie Gibbons, who had cast at him fell down when the floor underneath the man’s feet turned into a rug that was then ripped away. Before Bertie had recovered, Albus had bound him with conjured ropes. He took care to remove his wand and secure the withered limb with a few more bindings - more than one afflicted victim had been stunned, yet their limbs had managed to keep moving. A Stunning Spell knocked the poor wizard unconscious, just in case the Dark Lord’s curse had hidden another surprise.
“I don’t see anyone else,” Mister Auckley said. The Auror wiped some blood from his brow where a splinter from a Reductor Curse had struck him. His partner had been wounded more seriously in the Atrium, and had been taken away to St Mungo’s.
The old wizard looked around, checking his Human-presence-revealing Spell, then turned around and nodded at the latest arrival. “Amelia.”
“How is the situation?” he asked as they started to walk towards the Atrium.
“Under control. We’re stunning anyone stepping out of the fireplaces.” The Head of the DMLE had not escaped the battle unscathed either - her robe was ripped, and there were some bloodstains on her shoulder.
“Good.” It was better to ambush the cursed attackers in the Atrium than block the Floo connection and let them find other targets. “Minerva sent me a message. Hogwarts has been secured as well. There have been victims, though.” He felt guilty - his warning had come too late; the curse-victims at the school had already struck by then. Even if he had been at the school he probably wouldn’t have been able to prevent the attacks; Hogwarts was a large school, and he would have been hard-pressed to be quick enough to find and stop the curse-victims in time. He knew that, but it didn’t alleviate his guilt.
“The Minister’s dead,” Amelia went on. “Rufus marched straight into his office and murdered him.”
Cornelius dead… that would have far-reaching consequences. There were more urgent things to worry about, though. “Did you manage to subdue him?”
“He’s alive.” Amelia said. Her expression told Albus that Rufus had been hurt. It couldn’t be helped - the Head Auror was a talented and experienced wizard, and would have been hard to capture unharmed.
He sighed. “The victims need to be secured and dosed with Draught of Living Death. All of them. We cannot risk the Dark Lord influencing them further until we can cure them.” If they could cure them.
Amelia hissed. “We’re still taking a tally of them. Some of them attacked their own families.”
Abus briefly closed his eyes. He had been afraid of that. They reached the Atrium, and he saw the bodies laid out on the floor. Most bound in conjured robes, and stunned, but too many covered with blankets. The Atrium had suffered more damage as well - rubble and dust was strewn around, and several new craters were visible in the floor. If Albus had stayed here… but if he had, the attackers inside the Ministry would not have been subdued as quickly.
“Albus!” The Headmaster saw Sirius walking quickly towards him. “I’m returning to Hogwarts.” The younger wizard’s robes showed some rips and tears, but he appeared unhurt - he might have already been healed, of course.
Albus nodded, even though Sirius’s presence in the Ministry would be very helpful right now - but nothing short of - maybe - another battle would have stopped Harry’s godfather from checking on his godson.
Amelia led him up the stairs, past an Auror guard - if you could call two wizards who had graduated last year Aurors - to Cornelius’s office. Albus looked inside and frowned. Rufus had used Blasting Curses. There wasn’t much left of Cornelius’s desk, or of the Minister himself.
“What happened, Albus? What did the Dark Lord do?”
“He found a new way to create zombies.”
First of all, if you wish me to stop with a line of thought, just say the word. It will cut down on the amount of time it takes me to answer at the very least, leaving me more time for reading. Which I'm about to do.
Thanks for the information.
I don't believe I ever disputed that whoever bought the shop profited from the situation or the owner's need to sell, even said poor person making an offer in good faith. I used an extreme example to show one end, the bigot using an Auror to force a sale at the price he wanted, a mid range example of somebody making an offer (yes, bad considering the value of the shop) and implied both that said person making the offer could have afforded more but the offer was accepted as the best of a very bad lot, another extreme example on the other end of the scale of a poor individual making a normally inadequate offer in good faith and threw in the possibility of the owner just having to keep on lowering her asking price until somebody eventually approaches her to accept.
The extremes I consider unlikely because, well, because they’re on the two extreme sides of possible buyers, and if we have been shown that it is either I did not read it as such. The middle one, like I said, I’m conflicted about that one. If the attackers had not been attackers but rather robbers, getting the difference between what was payed and what the shop was worth without any killing, I would applaud them. If they got a bit extra I would feel that they deserved it. If they wrecked the shop without killing anybody I would congratulate them. But the killing, which was planned for, considering the explosives, I cannot bring myself to consider appropriate revenge for what we were shown. (And I do not believe that revenge should be planned to spill over onto anybody but he or she who you know harmed you.)
You already know my opinion about how I think Dumbledore saw it, the muggleborn in the best light and the pureblood in the worst, but... You make sense. It makes sense for Dubledore to automatically think ill of the buyer, the pureblood, in this case. I do not believe thinking the best of the muggleborn makes sense unless he is biased, but then I am of the opinion that revenge should not exceed, or not by much, the harm done, and this obviously was revenge
I see the attack as an act of revenge, I do not see it as a legitimate attack against the ministry, against the ministry's infrastructure, against the ministries forces, against the death eaters or against the death eaters’ resources. Because I see it as an act of revenge, not war, I see any Aurors and Hit Wizards killed as killed while trying to protect the public. If your intention was for the killings to be seen as something else then I will have to be the person who cannot see it as such.
I've always seen those killed in the bombing as acceptable collateral damage, and I think I have always stated it as such. My point has been that from what has been shown of his thoughts, Dumbledore doesn't feel any sympathy about any of those who died. And given the possible reasons for attending as well as the young ages of some of those killed it shows us something about Dumbledore that he does not feels sympathy.
Then I hope he gets his teeth kicked in. Violently.
That operation of his basically showed him willingly and out of his own initiative doing something that could (and did if I read Fudge’s comment to Dumbledore in chapter 27 correctly) allow for non-combatants getting killed so he could try and shift the blame for certain actions to Voldemort. And if he felt any worry, sympathy or sorrow I do not see where it is shown.
Quite true. But consider that the ministry appears to be in control of the majority of the media. So, to use the media to influence the ministry isn't possible. That means the ministry needs to be influenced by what gossip and information they receive from their contacts in the Aurors, what truth and lies they receive from Dumbledore and his mouthpieces and what truth and lies they receive from Voldemort’s mouthpieces. So, while Voldemort’s supporters and Dumbledore’s supporters are working on the unaligned ministry members, interfering with each other, the two prisoners are interrogated quite thoroughly because one is a Muggleborn captured in Hogsmeade and the other a Pureblood captured in Knockturn Alley and that doesn't make sense at first. So, what perception is created when it becomes known that the Muggleborn attacked out of his own will and did so for the first attack as well while the Pureblood was compelled to do so via charms? Vicious Muggleborns and victimized Purebloods at best in my opinion. And in the meantime, the Aurors try to find out who did it.
The countries I don’t agree with, since countries submit to countries, not individuals. If you want my reasoning, I can give it.
The point that all with any backbone and a dislike of his policies or him are already fighting him is well made. Something like that I can agree with wholeheartedly and did not see previously. Thank you. I expect that that can change depending on what he does after Voldemort’s so I’ll eagerly wait and see.
I don’t hold Dumbledore in this story to higher standards, I actually preferred him and emphasized with him when I thought him to be severely flawed, unsuited for his positions but doing what he honestly thought best, without always realizing what he was doing. (Currently I hope he gets his teeth kicked in. Violently.)
This part of the discussion started with me stating that I believed Dumbledore’s biggest mistake wasn’t him not realizing how people really saw both him and muggleborns but how he handled the school and how it could have been used to educate the children to racism. You responded that he handled it competently, with me then advising why that made me sad. That led to it being a work in progress and me elaborating on some more “if only’s”.
Which I will now drop. (Even though I’m still sad.)
My apologies, I’ve been working with your statement that a sizable part of the pureblood population are bigots as well as with the riot mentioned in story with regard to the middle and lower classes turning towards Dumbledore, since I don't think bigots will.
I believe there is a miscommunication here. How did you mean “crush the whole damn militarist culture and rebuild the country”?
I took it to mean, considering what was written about friendly Purebloods, that he wished to crush it, not apply pressure, work at educating people or work within current the system.
Make certain insults, Mudblood specifically, illegal. Then make an example, whether it was real or not. Any special forms of address for or between purebloods, make it illegal to even be addressed in such a way or request to be addressed in such a way. Then make an example, whether it was real or not. Any special holidays, religious or not to be made illegal. Then make an example, whether it was real or not. Their religion to be made illegal. Then make an example, whether it was real or not. Mandatory employment of a certain percentage of Muggleborn and Halfblood workers. Then make an example, whether it was real or not. Dumbledore actively working to get all Old Family Purebloods and any potential enemies out of positions of authority, whether via legitimate means or not. Dumbledore actively working to sabotage Pureblood businesses, whether via legitimate means or not. Place names to be changed to more politically correct ones, if the previous name was linked to a prominent Old Pureblood Family. Start to rewrite history books, marginalizing or demonizing, depending upon what was done, all possible mention of Old Pureblood Families.
If I understood “crush” correctly, once he started showing what he was doing, he would be opposed by the all remaining members of the Wizengamot who are not senile, since he is attacking them. Hence the coup.
I think we’re talking about two different things. I’m talking about the superficial aspects of the culture, the greetings, holidays stripped of original meaning and, somewhat deeper, the trappings of their religion being made into nothing special, because it’s common. The demystifying of their traditions. You’re talking about the goal of the culture, the deep part.
And why did I write what I wrote? Why say spread the superficial aspects far and wide? Because with the way the story has been set up so far I one of four things.
The bigoted poor, the bigoted middleclass, the families of the Aurors pushed to join Voldemort and then killed, the families of neutral Purebloods killed in the attack on Malfoy Manor and remaining Old Family Purebloods who oppose Dumbledore pulling together due to their dislike and hate basically destroying the country, either by splitting the country or by what happens when the rest of the country acts to put them down in a quick fix.
Dumbledore acts to break their political and financial power, to crush their culture and rebuild the country, before the split between his followers and the bigoted poor, the bigoted middleclass, the families of the Aurors pushed to join Voldemort and then killed, the families of neutral Purebloods killed in the attack on Malfoy Manor and remaining Old Family Purebloods who oppose him becomes obvious. After the newest war and what “needed doing” there are no more Old Pureblood Families, the country’s financial situation is exceedingly bad and the new government’s reputation is bad.
Voldemort does something that basically solves Dumbledore’s problem. Not an immediate fix, but his actions clear the path and make it possible.
The bigoted poor, the bigoted middleclass, the families of the Aurors pushed to join Voldemort and then killed, the families of neutral Purebloods killed in the attack on Malfoy Manor and remaining Old Family Purebloods who oppose Dumbledore are left causing a split in the country, but due to the education of Muggleborn in their culture, the superficial aspects, the difference between Pureblood and Muggleborn appear to be minimal for the younger generations, allowing the two parts of the country to gradually come together, after which education works to destroy the present goal of the Pureblood culture.
I see obscure magic as something that is learnable if you know where to go to learn it. Not something really secret, but something that requires quite a bit of effort to learn, because of the low number of practitioners who know it. Something like the curse Bill Weasley used.
I see family magic is just that, something someone in the family researched, wrote down and that did not enter into general knowledge. A number of people might know their own variations of it, each variation developed by somebody in a different family, but it isn’t taught to outsiders The withering curse used on the Creeveyss may qualify, depending on how you write it. As for the rest, your choice, but all that dark spells and rituals Voldemort knows had to come from somewhere, and to me it makes more sense that such things are closely guarded family secrets that Voldemort bargained for or stole, than that there are books with them for sale in the right pawnshop.
I see new magic as just that, a spell or ritual the wizard or witch has just researched. Considering that I doubt active combatants do much research, I see that as a problem for Dumbledore for after the current conflict.
Actually, given the number of different Greengrasses and Parkinsons shown I see the Old Families as extended families, clans are perhaps a better term. (Then again, perhaps clans is not quite the right term.) Extended families that own businesses and properties.
And they have been at it for quite some time, are still there and are still rich. Now, when it comes to business, you are quite correct, I don’t see the head of the family as the one managing the various businesses. That is given to other family members to do, so long as they are competent enough to turn a profit. Unless of course the family tree has been rigorously pruned, like the Blacks I believe, in which case an outsider, somebody who doesn’t have any blood ties to the family, would need to be hired. And what kind of manager would they likely hire? The kind of Pureblood who, as far as they can see, shares their values or the Pureblood who doesn’t care for them? I believe the managers of most of the businesses owned by them would either be family members or the kind of people Dumbledore would not wish to leave in charge.
No, not the case. I do not see the old Families as elite.
I see them as having something that works though. Kind of. The most efficient, most profitable system it is not. The best person for a job does not wind up in charge, the most profit isn’t being made and magic isn’t being advanced the way it could be, the way it should be advancing. The amount of wasted talent and skill is enormous. The cracks in their society is large and the current underlying goal of their culture is stupid. Given a minute or two I could think of several things they could have done to improve their country while still remaining on top, and I’m not fast
But I also see them as having been around for a while, with all the advantages that entails. Property, businesses, books and magical items. So long as each family head adds just a little, eventually there would be a lot.
The main problem with new businesses are the old, existing ones with the resources behind them to provide a service or item at a better price than the start up. The stranglehold as you call it. How would you end it, without destroying the economy in the transitionary period?
By all means, keep giving feedback (although I might be slow in replying since I do need to get the next chapter written too ).
You later mention making an example - making an example out of a war profiteerer might cut down on the amount of such things happening. But it was disproportional revenge taken there, objectively. But the muggleborns do see the parallels between their own situation and the situation of the jews in Nazi Germany. They don't see just war profiteerers, they see people supporting the mass-murder of muggleborns and making profit from it. And Dumbledore likely doesn't really show that much understanding for such a distinction either. It's a civil war against nazis - people are getting radicalised.
Since those same Aurors will dutifully persecute muggleborn the next day, I'd say it makes no difference just when you're attacking them.
Good point. I might add something to that extent when I go over the chapters again before posting on AO3 - he does feel sympathy for the children, at least.
I might add some there, but for him, there it's really mostly "needed to be done" thinking, with the actual risk of innocents dying rather slim.
If it ever comes out that the pureblood was charmed - Dumbledore is not exactly an average wizard, and he has moles inside the Aurors too. So, even if there had been a survivor to be arrested, that wouldn't have meant anything came of it. (Like Voldemort, Dumbledore usually has a few failsafes for his plans).
Thing is, in this story (and most of mine) wizards like Dumbledore and Voldemort are the equivalent of armies where military might is considered. So, yes - Wizarding Britain would submit to him or Voldemort, whoever wins.
I see him as the Western Allies in WW2. Far from being pure and saints, far from being perfect, but compared to the other side? They're the white hats.
A sizeable part of the purebloods are bigots. Just as a sizeable part of the population in our world are racists. But usually not on a "let's go an murder people" level.
What was done to Germany after WW2, just a bit more thorough - less Nazis going free or getting pardoned because they are useful. But as with the Hitler greeting and the svastika, symbols of the culture responsible canot be preserved. That includes religious ceremonies and traditions long since tainted by pureblood ideology, but also those more recently instrumentalised by Voldemort's ilk. You don't have to make all of them illegal - discrediting them through various forms will suffice. There certainly were no marches with torches in Germany for a long time after WW2, or anything that reminded people of the style of the Third Reich.
You don't need a coup if you're basically the Allies after WW2. Without Voldemort, the Ministry cannot withstand Dumbledore any more than Germany could resist occupation.
The superficial aspects are symbols of the pureblood bigotry. They are linked to the deeper part - that blood matters.
Or it could be that the majority of the population is so sick of the war and deaths, that it doesn't take that much to blame the blood purists for it, and the Old Families still clinging to their bigotry will lose the support of the rest of the purebloods. As cynical as it is, blaming everything on the leader(s) makes for easy converts to the new regime.
That's a very tall order. Expecting the muggleborns to show understanding for pureblood traditions that they associate with mass-murder? Or wanting to learn about all those nifty quirks of a group of people who looked down on them for generations, when instead they could band together with the rest and buold something new?
Those who would make such an effort are very likely to already making an effort in the war.
The withering curse was created by Voldemort himself. Like many other spells he uses. (I generally don't like the "ancient magic is so powerful, we are but shadows of our ancestors" trope.) So, there won't be many "old family spells" that are anything but quaint variations of common spells - and often already outdated and outclassed.
Well... the two most talented wizards who have the capability to actually do such research are Snape and Hermione. So, unless he really screws things up with them, he'll be good for about 20 years until there's another genius around on that level. Unless there's trouble with the foreign countries. But even so - wizards on his level are not common.
Clans is a good view for them - though not as close as some real life clans. And with quite the distinction between the main branch, and the cadet branches.
Sometimes the blood ties grow rather thin. Or sometimes, a more competent non-relative is hired to keep the competent relative in check. In any case,there are a lot of people able to take over, and enough of them should be untainted.
Part of that was wasted in this war, the last war and in power games in the Ministry (out-bribing rival families can be expensive). Internal struggles within a family probably didn't help either.
If the war goes on for much longer, then the economy is already destroyed. Fortunately, magic means that even with a destroyed economy, people are not in danger of starving, or losing their houses. Provided they have some basic competency with magic.
Rebuilding the economy wouldn't be too hard either. Reparo is king.
Anyway interesting chapter here. So we've just seen Voldemort's plan B. I'm curious how the good guys are going to counter. Just turn people into magic cyborgs, I guess. They can't really afford to wait forever for a cure now.
Either way if Voldemort had any chance to win back significant support he just blew it.
I wonder what the muggleborn in France actually do. Return to the muggle world?
And the Gemino Charm.
It's become a priority now.
Apart from the "Do this, and I'll cure your relative" ploy. And the "resist, and you'll suffer the same fate" threat. If they won't love him, they will fear him.
Probably built their own "parallel society", with muggleborn businesses catering to muggleborns.
A classroom that's available to be used for unofficial activities but is not "abandoned"? Preposterous!
Thanks! Corrected the typos.
Believe me, I much prefer a new chapter over a reply. A large part of looking forward to Saturday at the moment is the new chapter of Divided and Entwined.
If the example you’re talking about is what I originally believed he’d do when crushing the pureblood culture, then I have to say that while I believed it something Dumbledore as how I currently see him would do, it isn’t something I would approve of either. But then, Dumbledore as currently portrayed… I believe me stating I hope he will get his teeth kicked out is a hint of how I see him at the moment.
Also, this wan't shown as somebody making an example. It was shown as revenge. Revenge taken too far in my opinion. That is why I said that Dumbledore's thoughts about the attackers showed bias for muggleborn.
Or, to put it another way. What the attackers did revealed something about themselves. That they are the kind of people willing to take revenge (not a problem in my opinion) and to go too far while doing so (definitely a problem in my opinion). It can be argued why they are the kind of people willing to take things too far, and if shown in any thoughts that could be a reason for sympathy, But Dumbledore wants to help them them to escape and the reasons, if I recall correctly, that he doesn't is that it might make future escape attempts for more valuable prisoners more difficult and that it might be traced to him. And then, when they do escape, he feels he should be happy and would have been if they just used a different escape route. So, to me that shows that Dumbledore has no problem letting Muggleborn who take revenge too far out on the street. I feel that that reveals something about him, how he sees Muggleborn and how he sees Purebloods.
For me it's not the when, it's the why.
I believe that intent matters and that the attack indicated the intent was revenge, making the Aurors and Hit Wizards defenders of the public when killed. (Not very competent ones true, but still, acting as defenders.) While practically there might not be much of a difference between the outcome of them dying in a legitimate war attack and this one, why they went to die and what their killers were doing does tend to colour my view. What can I say, a person, utter bastard or not, risking his or her life to protect somebody I feel deserves to be respected for that. It is one of those things I have a firm opinion about.
I'll have to remember to take a look when the story is done.
My opinion. He needs to be kicked in the head until all his teeth have been kicked out.
Let me go and find the quote.
Risking non combatant lives, innocents perhaps, for that? "Some doubts" and after the war the ability to blame the losers for things that the perpetrators should have been punished for. What he did... Unfortunately one of the blurbs at the top of the chapters already indicated he would survive.
Now, you've been writing him as taking some questionable actions for what he believe is the right reason. That means that some people, myself in this case, will look at the question and will answer it as a "No", not a "Yes" or a "Maybe". And truth to tell I see nothing wrong with having a person or two in a story that requires one to think about actions and costs to others. Of course, I do prefer if said person do not escape all the consequences of their actions, but that's a personal preference.
Oh, I'm certain Dumbledore's spellwork is subtle. However, when his own brother stated that there were Aurors capable of spotting even his Dumbledore's memory charms, he did not dispute it, he stated that he would have the captives act in such a way that they not survive so that it would not be a problem.
The thing though is that I cannot see how Amelia would not see both purebloods and muggleborn attacking in roughly the same manner at about the same time as both unusual and an opportunity. The unusual part should have her investigating it very thoroughly. The opportunity part should have her be careful about her prisoners. Add to this that she probably knows enough about Dumbledore to not completely trust him and that he has both sympathizers and agents among her people. (It goes without saying that she knows that Voldemort has both sympathizers and agents among her people.) So I see the best and most trustworthy people guarding and examining the prisoners.
Now, if Dumbledore owns both Amelia’s best and second best examiner, if Amelia has no reason to think that they might have any outside loyalties and no reason to think that somebody (Voldemort) might be able to apply pressure he could have them conceal the fact that the pureblood was memory charmed. That of course also requires that any changes made are not changes that would appear to conflict with the prisoner’s previous actions and behavior.
As to the prisoner committing suicide by smothering himself with a pillow? I can’t see him being left without a guard.
All that said however, there is a possible form of insurance that could have been used and that you could have Dumbledore mention or think about. Slow acting poison. Something that would kill them after a certain period of time. So any interrogation or examination would have a limited window of opportunity unless bezoars were kept handy or used. Far from perfect and liable to raise questions, but still an added bit of insurance. Making the plan a bit less stupid.
Oh, it doesn't matter that in combat potential Dumbledore can match a small army. That’s not any part of my reasons. The problem with a country staying submissive to him instead of to another country comes in when you consider that he is available to be plotted against and has no redundancy.
Dumbledore is there to be observed, plotted against and assassinated. His habits and general reactions to certain situations can be observed with relative ease, decisions can be made and unexpected situations can be taken advantage of either immediately or at a very short notice.
When it comes to the leaders of a country that forced your country to submit and the leaders of its armed forces, then there’s the distance between you and them, necessitating the use of various agents to observe them, the delay between order and action, more points of discovery, more failure points and being unable to take advantage of opportunities due to the delay between agents reporting the opportunity, reaching a decision and the new orders reaching the agent.
Basically, when plotting to assassinate the leaders of a country or the leaders of the armed forces of a country there are a number of agents required, a line or multiple lines of communication required and a time delay. This leads to more points of failure, more possible points of discovery and delays.
Redundancy (The Main One)
Say you successfully kill Dumbledore, two very small very sharp needles enchanted to cause no pain at all, a painless binary poison that is very quick, very deadly and has no symptoms. Or a fast acting poison gas, odorless and colorless. Or a focused explosion. Or a ritual. Or one of several other things. What then? What happens to the military might he controlled? It goes away.
Now, what about the military might of a country? You kill the king, president, minister, controller of the army or whoever. His or her replacement takes over and whoever ordered the assassination is killed while your country is stomped flat. There are successors.
So, while Dumbledore can win, I cannot see that he can keep a government submissive if doing things that they will recognize as destroying their power, their religion, if they are true believers, or their culture.
I see him as the lesser evil and Hermione as the "white hat".
I believe that this part of the discussion started with me making a statement that Dumbledore and the resistance has made a number of enemies, who will likely have a support base among the middle and lower classes, since education apparently would not work in the medium term against the bigotry of the middle and lower classes. That led to a statement that just by giving the poor and middle class purebloods the ability to vote Dumbledore will win a number of them over. It appears as if this part has wandered and twisted until it serves no purpose anymore.
Given that almost the only piece of Pureblood culture we've seen so far is their religion and that seemed to be more private and family based than anything else, I cannot really say much. (Perhaps it is the only part shown since I can't recall anything else.) As to the religion, have you ever met a true believer of a specific religion? Just to point out, if Dumbledore starts working against any religion he will make enemies who won't forgive him. Ever. (Actually, considering that he's already messed with it once, that might be why some neutral families wouldn't have wanted anything to do with him.)
There we'll have to disagree. For me the various polite ways to greet somebody is just that, polite greetings. The various small courtesies are just that small courtesies. What they originally meant are worn away by use.
For instance, a handshake is a handshake but the woman (or girl) is the one who actually initiates an embrace and a kiss on the cheek if she feels close and friendly enough. A male starting an embrace and kissing the girl and or woman is not exactly wrong, but it can be seen as rude depending on whether the lady has or has note done so first on previous occasions and what the relationship is. A stranger doing so to a family member (or friend) is seen as overly familiar and rude. Where this comes from I do not know and do not care.
The oldest male present is the one who says grace, unless he asks somebody, generally only when visitors are there and the visitor is liked and close. A visitor who on his or her just starts saying grace is very rude. Again, I do not care about where it comes from and any meaning has been worn to almost nothing.
You screw up and you're seen as rude. You don't screw up and you're seen as polite.
And holidays? For instance Christmas, how many people still see it as a church day to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and how many see it as "Gifts & Party" day? By spreading it and commercializing it it is being robbed of deeper meaning.
I can't see that Dumbledore and the Resistance's enemies will go away. (The families of the Aurors pushed to join Voldemort and then killed, the families of neutral Purebloods killed in the attack on Malfoy Manor and remaining Old Family Purebloods who oppose Dumbledore because he's trying to weaken them politically and financially.) That leaves non bigoted portions of the poor, middle class and upper class as well as any bigoted persons who decvide to accept Dumbledore's changes.
Actually, the new muggleborn generally know nothing about the various magical cultures, traditions and histories. They got their letter, got a visit from a professor (maybe) and, as far as we're shown, now has to cope. At 11 years of age. Frankly, basic classes for first years called "Wizardling World: Good Idea - Bad Idea" would be a blessing.
I agree. Obscure magics could be a problem for Dumbledore after the war, not during it.
I see basically four kind of family spells
First, the stuff that isn't worth it. Created years ago, very useful when created but it isn't part of an illegal or controlled tradition or school so there has been enough improvements that it's less fast/penetrating/whatever than newer spells. Or, it has an interesting, useful or unique effect but it needs to be recreated to keep up with the capabilities of new spells.
Secondly, worth it but so specialized that it generally isn't taught or researched, and useful in a not so profitable field. For instance an area of effect fertility ritual that increases the fruitfulness on a farm. Very very useful to know if you have a farm, almost worthless to know if you don't.
Thirdly, worth it and valuable in a specialized and profitable field. For instance, enchanting of brooms if the family has such a business, with family members and talented outsiders researching to improve spells or create new spells to improve brooms. (I expect that non family members who research or know the "family" spells are well paid and agreed to be bound by magical contracts / conditional curses so that they can't let secrets slip.)
Fourthly, the bad stuff. Illegal, controlled and "dark" spells and rituals. Magics that can't be openly researched or taught and just knowing the spells and rituals will get you in serious trouble. Old stuff unless a family member researched and updated some of it within the last generation or two. Since such magics generally aren't researched there are less likely to be counters and less likely to be more modern versions. How such magics compare to modern ones? Probably not too well, though there will likely be some exceptions. But they can be used as a shortcut to research more modern versions. And magics like these would not be taught to children or be common knowledge.
So in this story one needs to be a genius to research new or modified spells and rituals?
I don't know, if somebody believe in the importance of family and blood, who would they appoint to a position, all else being close enough to equal, the blood relative, distant though the link may be, or the stranger? Who would they hire, if no blood relative was available, all else being close enough to equal, the person who shares their religion, culture and views, or the one who doesn't?
As to a relative being too competent, I expect that they're called in, told that they're being considered for an important position in the family, and asked to swallow some Veritaserum. "Nothing against you, but unfortunately it's family policy that everybody assigned to such important positions be dosed once a year."
I assume it is the sacrifice and not the death of the child that is giving Dumbledore difficulty?
We'll have to agree to disagree then. I think you have a biased view of him. I see him as not any worse than the Western Allies in WW2 - and I'd rather not wish to see them get their teeth kicked in.
Again, I disagree. If the Aurors and Hit-Wizards are protecting those who profiteer from the oppression, then they are legitimate targets. And yes, it reveals something of him - that he sympathises with the oppressed, and not the oppressors,. and forgives revenge taken too far more than "just doing my job ferrying jews to the KZs".
Killing SS thugs who act as defenders of war profiteering bigots is not exactly something I think anyone would lose much sleep over.
He takes a small risk of others getting hurt, in the hope of facilitating the peace. Questionable, yes. But understandable in my opinion.
Slow acting poison would be far more of problem than memory charms - especially since the Muggleborn Resistance uses memory charms on their own people.
We'll have to disagree there. I think you overestimate the amount of people willing to risk their lives by a fair amount. Also, by removing Dumbledore, you might remove the one crushing your culture - but you're also removing the one keeping all those mudbloods in check. It's not as simple as "Dumbledore wants to crush our culture, let's kill him!" There are a lot of reasons to not oppose him.
US and UK.
It's not as if you can't be a bigot and a supporter of the new regime. People are like that.
The amount of true believers is quite small in Europe. A rather neglible number in this story.
The Hitler greeting was harmless too, once - and became tainted. Same for some pureblood customs. Christmas is actually a good example - its date was stolen from earlier, pagan religions, to replace them.
The families of the killed Aurors might blame them - it's not as if every German sided with their mass-murdering family members instead of with justice. And the number of Old Families is not that high, and there's also bound to be people among them who are ready to ditch their tainted culture for a new start (especially if they can keep their gold that way). I think you overestimate the amount of true fanatics by some amount.
And they mingled with the Weasleys and their kind, who do not act that differently from them. You can have such lessons without preserving the nazi culture.
Most of the family stuff will not be worth it. See below.
No, you need to be a genius to create new spells or modify spells that are effective. The vast majority of the wizards won't be able to create a new unforgivable, or a new dark ritual. It takes the likes of Grindelwald, Voldemort, and co. to create magic like that. No one really cares if you have a slightly different Cutting Curse. Or yet another "turn the insides of the enemy out" dark curse. That dark curse might have been hot shit in 1540, but that was before the general-counter curse was invented by Elias the Bright. Too bad that your family hadn't a genius dark witzard since then who managed to adapt the spell to render that counter-curse ineffective.
I reiterate again: The Old Families are not the elite. They don't have access to exclusive and effective spells that are game changers.
Dosing each other with Veritaserum will not change the fact that they will jump shop once a better opportunity appears. Competent people often are ambitious as well.
It's the death of a child. I don't really know why you'd assume he'd sacrifice a child, unless you really do think that "drop firebombs on warded roofs in a town patrolled closely" is the same as "burn people alive". Dumbledore did minimise the risk of innocents getting harmed.