notes from the wizarding world

For all the HP nerds out there. Magical dreams, foibles, & fuckups. Occasionally just a look at the humdrum of daily magical life. Photos are not mine unless otherwise stated. Harry Potter & his universe are not mine either. Feel free to ask me anything; I am also here and my HP fic is archived here. I will no longer be updating daily in 2014, but submissions will remain open, although I can't guarantee that your submission will be posted. By and large, there are no warnings for what you may find here, so scroll carefully.
8th July 14

wizardingworldpostscripts:

Do you know the Bent-Winged Snitches?
Well I don’t suppose you do.
But we’re going to the concert later on.
They’ll stir up every cauldron.
They’ll make a trouble brew.
Dragon girls, banshee girls with wands outdrawn.

Their raiment’s coarse.
Their manner’s coarser.
They’ve no love for the pureblood drawing room.
They’ll disregard the Statute enforcer.
And the old blood ways they’ll entomb.

Do you know the Bent-Winged Snitches?
Well I don’t suppose you do.
But we’re going to the concert later on.
They’ll stir up every cauldron.
They’ll make a trouble brew.
Mudblood girls with jinxes dark and wands outdrawn.

Well the Snitches they heard
From a sly little bird
Veela Victory, so they say’s her name
That in certain parts talk of Light’s still the word
Talk of Dark, talk of monsters the same.

Well the Snitches, those witches
Though they prefer wix
Open wide, and they’ll show teeth and claws
To the Snitches no creature’s the enemy, no.
To the Snitches the enemy’s: LAWS.

Do you know the Bent-Winged Snitches?
Well I don’t suppose you do.
But we’re going to the concert later on.
They’ll stir up every cauldron.
They’ll make a trouble brew.
Lupine girls with a bite and wands outdrawn.

‘Kiss the werewolf, the goblin.
And all Mudbloods out.
Work the elf to his death.’
Say the ones with the clout.
‘No creatures allowed.
We’ll keep dark and light cowed.’

But the Snitches their mentor’s a centaur.
And danger they learned from old Granger,
Lily, Dorcas, Minerva, any old witch
Who stood her ground, ho gave not an inch.

Though they’d duel ‘em if they had to
The Snitches know well
Who gave ‘em their world view.
So now the Snitches give hell!

Do you know the Bent-Winged Snitches?
Well I don’t suppose you do.
But though they call us bitches,
The Snitches are ME and YOU!

Do you know the Bent-Winged Snitches?
Well I don’t suppose you do.
But we’re going to the concert later on.

- graffiti found in a bathroom in the Patagonian desert, following the Quidditch World Cup (image credit

5th July 14

bunniesandbugs:

livesandliesofwizards:

batmansymbol:

i did a thing i have been wanting to do for like eleven years now

It is Friday and/or a holiday where some of you are, so I am dropping this here for celebratory purposes even though it’s not a story. Listen! You will not regret it.

Also, there’s a potential story in it: the unwritten tale of Harry and the short-lived Slytherin a cappella group. Which I would probably read if it ever got written. Do drop me a line if you write it (also accepting general HP musings, Cap2 musings, FF8 musings, odes to the greatness of minor characters, ‘road not taken’ AUs, descriptions of magical places, fairy tales — you know, my usual schtick).

Also also, in honor of today’s completely non-HP related holiday, let me offer you a post-canon epic that winds its way into and out of the Quodpot World Cup — in a most spectacular fashion. Quodpot is not the point of the story. The point of the story seems to be to bite my nails and make me scream at things, also to give me a lot to think about with regard to Harry’s post-Hogwarts years, the relations between wizards and Muggles, and the general shadiness of Salazar Slytherin and Godric Gryffindor both. So I highly recommend it even for non-Quodpot purposes.

But, quodpot being the most popular magical sport in the United States, it seems topically relevant.

Pansy skidded into the common room, nearly knocking over the boys heading out. She didn’t think to excuse herself as she hurried past Karla and Elle, sitting in their usual nook in the common room, and whistled a few notes on her way. Elle’s eyes lit up as Karla quickly gathered their textbooks, and the girls followed Pansy up to her dormitory.  Anne looked up as the door swung open but waited until it was closed to speak.

“You’re up to something, Parkinson. What is it?”

"Remember how we never thought we’d get to perform?" Pansy drew out a piece of parchment and laid it on her bed with a flourish. The other girls clustered around.

“Draco gave it to me,” she explained once they’d finished reading the words. “He wanted a chant for the next game, but I think we can do better than that. Don’t you, girls?”

Anne’s grin grew to match Elle’s as Pansy hummed her way through the verses. “And we have full permission? This will be fun.” She went over to her desk to take out the pitch pipe as Karla cast a quick silencing spell on the room and Pansy handed out parts.

“Karla, you take lead. Anne, do second alto. Elle and I will backup. I think this tune will work for a first try, then we’ll refine. Ready? Here we go…”

OMG. This fandom is the best. It always delivers.

4th July 14

batmansymbol:

i did a thing i have been wanting to do for like eleven years now

It is Friday and/or a holiday where some of you are, so I am dropping this here for celebratory purposes even though it’s not a story. Listen! You will not regret it.

Also, there’s a potential story in it: the unwritten tale of Harry and the short-lived Slytherin a cappella group. Which I would probably read if it ever got written. Do drop me a line if you write it (also accepting general HP musings, Cap2 musings, FF8 musings, odes to the greatness of minor characters, ‘road not taken’ AUs, descriptions of magical places, fairy tales — you know, my usual schtick).

Also also, in honor of today’s completely non-HP related holiday, let me offer you a post-canon epic that winds its way into and out of the Quodpot World Cup — in a most spectacular fashion. Quodpot is not the point of the story. The point of the story seems to be to bite my nails and make me scream at things, also to give me a lot to think about with regard to Harry’s post-Hogwarts years, the relations between wizards and Muggles, and the general shadiness of Salazar Slytherin and Godric Gryffindor both. So I highly recommend it even for non-Quodpot purposes.

But, quodpot being the most popular magical sport in the United States, it seems topically relevant.

27th June 14

Just dropping by to let everyone know that there’s a new HP blog opening up.

Wizard History is, in the words of the mod: “a new Harry Potter canon blog supplying you with realistic articles published about the Wizarding World, informing you on current news or past events.”

In addition to articles about the magical world, the Wizard History tumblr is interested in posting stories about canon characters that give readers insight into their lives before, during, and after the series.

It already has quite a few posts up, so go check it out!

13th June 14

I’ve gotten an upswing in messages here this past week. Please message me here instead. I’ve said that I’m completely abandoning this space, but actually what I do instead sometimes is log in and reply to the messages, feeling like it’s sort of rude to leave them sitting there. I will probably keep doing that as long as people keep messaging me here, but I would rather stay logged into my personal. Why? Laziness. That’s it. That’s the reason. It’s a silly reason, but I will think the world of you if you indulge me wrt it. 

I am still not taking submissions. Sorry. 

And another sorry because I am just not a good source of info on existing submission posts. Five or six messages have revolved around the same two submissions, pieces that have really piqued people’s interest. That’s amazing, and I’m glad. But if you want to know the thought processes/canon interpretations that go into certain submission posts, the best way to get this information is to contact the submitter directly. As a writer, it makes my life when people contact me with questions like that. I can’t imagine these authors would feel any differently.

Finally, an obligatory plug for my new, much slower, much easier-to-handle blog. I wrote a brand new thing for it this week, included below. But I will probably not be making a thing out of writing brand new things for it.

Instead, for a regular fic fix, I entreat you to check out other cool peeps who are still going strong

wizardingworldpostscripts:

image

source

Arthur’s uncle, Breunor, learned his sums in a small and curving building in Periffer Alley owned by Archimago Selwyn, who had so many buildings that they became very irritating and difficult to keep up with. Some of his properties Selwyn gave to the Ministry. Others went to various mistresses. And for the curving building he hit on the idea of offering lessons for proven non-Squibs below the age of eleven.

This was not an uncommon practice. There were small schools run by smaller schoolteachers all across wizarding Britain. But Selwyn stood apart. His school would reject anyone, for any reason. And magical persons all over Britain heard of this: young Abbot rejected for living too near a centaur forest, young Goodheart rejected for performing underage magic ‘unconventionally,’ young Turpin rejected for having impure blood (he was, after all, one sixteenth Muggle and one sixty-fourth Veela). And with all these very public and embarrassing rejections, it soon became clear that St. Bloys — for this was the school’s name — was the very best preparatory academy in all wizarding Britain. 

Read More

30th March 14

Bye, guys. I’m not going to be checking this tumblr anymore as of right now. If you want to contact me, you can reach me at my personal (which is all art spamming and scattered fandoms and history and fashion, not totally HP-focused; fair warning). It’s been great, and I wish you all the best in your fannish endeavors. And, hell, in your RL endeavors, too.

Some of you have asked if this tumblr is staying up as an archive. It is. Everything will remain in place. All the fic should still be accessible.

Some of you have asked about fic-of-fic. Fic of fic is totally cool by me, but I can’t speak for submitters. If you want to check back here as a reference and repurpose some of the ideas I came up with for this project, feel free, just please remember to credit if you copy things wholesale. If you want to use submitters’ ideas, then please check in with them before you do. If you want to podfic, credit and drop me a link if it’s mine. If it’s something someone else submitted, then, again, please check in with them.

Finally, some of you have asked if I’m still writing in HP fandom. I am! I have an ao3 where a lot of this project is archived. I have a Black family epic in the works. I have a Voldemort Wins AU that I’m slowly chipping out a sequel to. I’ve just reblogged the first chapter to that, for those who asked to be updated on my future work; it is a weird little story, dark in places, and probably a good barometer of where my writing in this fandom will take me.

I’m not going to be posting here anymore or putting my fic up in this space after today (and the wizardingworldpostscripts blog is really more of a personal reflections and crotchety ranting thing than a fic blog, so don’t expect to see a lot of early chapters up there, though I may drop links). But consider this my parting gift to you. And thanks for your interest. As I told a lot of you via PM, I’m probably going to be focusing on the odd longfic and on canon-divergent AUs in the future, and less on vignettes. But this project will always have a special place in my heart, and I’m thrilled that the fandom has embraced it so wholeheartedly, and that so many of you have been so kind. Thank you all.  

30th March 14

wizardingworldpostscripts:

image

image source

The house on Helvede Hill was slate-grey. It had two tall, tall windows on either side of a tall, narrow door. There was a wraparound gallery added some time after the initial stone structure had been built; this was incongruous, and gave passersby the impression that the house was hiding something. An assortment of windows were tacked onto the place: oval ones with black and green panes, and small circular ones, and square ones with heavy shutters, and high, high up on top of the house there was a lone dormer, and if someone squinted they might have seen, made insubstantial by the ever-present rain, a lone white figure with pale hair staring glassily down the drive.

This figure was the cherished crowning glory of Helvede Hill. All other inhabitants of the house were soggy with their regard for this person. They would come in, dripping from the rain and damp that blanketed the gardens and the drive, obediently spell this all away in the mudroom, and then completely forget to remove the enormous degree of concern they had for their own tow-headed boy; they would proceed into the house drenched with it, covered head to toe in worry for him and full of disquietude, fearing that he might go down the wrong path at any moment. Oh, surely not! Not the house’s crowning glory!

The persons who stomped to and from the house were these: three (3) nearly-interchangeable tutors, constantly being dismissed and exchanged for new tutors, whose specialties were generally defense and dueling and Darkest Magic. For the glory boy, of course. Then also four (4) house elves, whose jobs were to trim the muddy gardens and make them suitable places for quiet juvenile reflection, also to cook healthful pumpkin meals to aid in growth and childish digestion, also to keep the house as neat and free of filth as necessary to inculcate cleanliness in a young mind. Also to iron their ears when he told them to. Then there came on occasion one (1) Borgin’s salesgirl, far too old to be termed a girl at all, who was contracted to keep the house properly outfitted with the latest accoutrements, the house on Helvede Hill being very charmingly modern and ambitious, a forward-looking house that believed in the latest modes, always at the cutting edge of taste. The crowning glory did not have to suffer the indignity of living like all those squalid old-fashioned Hufflepuffs out in Habbitew Alley.

Finally there often came three to four (3.5 or so) official visitors each week, always for his parents, stopping by to beg the glory-child’s pardon and to deliver official missives. These sat on the narrow black hall table until the elves could tackle them, heavy with official seals and secrets. To the crowning glory they appeared for all the world like countdown hexes ready to go off at any minute. He would squeeze past them anxiously, pale face pinching with fright, fearful even to look, let alone touch. 

There were two people who did not inhabit the house. These were his parents. The Mr. and Mrs. of the crowning glory family lived at present in Wiltshire, in a grandiose style befitting their positions and beauty and ability. They did not visit; when they needed him, the crowning glory of Helvede House came to them, always in the same expensive but uncomfortable pressed grey robes, present at the appointed time and not a minute earlier or later, or else a house elf would have to suffer for it. And he would have to suffer for it, too.

Read More

30th March 14

Another one for the writers (& readers) among us! Previously I plugged flourishandblottsstoriesthepostmodernpotterncompendiumthelethifoldwitch, and blatherversity

Now I’m glad to report that amortentiafashion also accepts submissions! Even if you aren’t planning on submitting, you should check them out, because they’re a great blog. But if you happen to be writing in the fandom, drop them a line. The mod is primarily interested submissions revolving around fashion, history, and culture. So go submit!

27th March 14

One more HP-focused tumblr to add to the list (previous: flourishandblottsstoriesthepostmodernpotterncompendium, and thelethifoldwitch).

blatherversity is also accepting submissions!

blatherversity accepts submissions on spells, potions, fashion, herbology, magical beasts, food, magical celebrities, and just about everything else. In the words of the mod. “anything and everything that has to do with the magical world, worldwide, with no preference to canonverse in the U.K…I’ve even accepted things as vague as magical food names and am working on posts about them.”

So that looks like a good place to try and submit worldbuilding pieces, looks at different cultures, or even headcanon stuff that isn’t fully-fleshed out. And an interesting space to read about a huge breadth of topics involving the wizarding world, besides. 

22nd March 14

Another tumblr that accepts submissions! In addition to flourishandblottsstories and thepostmodernpotterncompendiumthelethifoldwitch also accepts submissions. It is described by the mod as a headcanon blog. It’s very shiny and new, just debuted today, but the mod has been running themonsterblogofmonsters for some time, so I suspect your writing will be safe in their hands. Submit away!

Also, to other mods out there, I’m going to keep posting these throughout the end of the month if they keep coming my way. Feel free to drop me a line here or at my personal through the 31st; I want to let people know where the HP fic will be, as well hopefully link my submitters to spaces they can feel comfortable offering fic to. So let me know if you want me to add you to the list. Just please do so by the end of the month. <3

21st March 14

Of interest to you HP writers out there:

I previously mentioned flourishandblottsstories as a place to submit. Now I’m also going to plug thepostmodernpottercompendium. The mod has reached out and confirmed that they also accept submissions. thepostmodernpottercompendium is particularly interested in submissions based around general world-building, theories of magic, different cultural understandings of magic, stories around OCs in the wizarding world or very minor characters in the series.

Which should, incidentally, make for some interesting reading!

If people aren’t too sure about a submission, they can post it on their blog and tag it with ‘postmodern potterverse’ and the mod will reblog if they like it. 

So go forth and submit, if you are in a writing mood. 

20th March 14
Michael Finch-Fletchley did not go to Eton.
He had always known his father was odd, though no one ever actually told him that.  No one wanted to insult a Member of Parliament.  But Michael could hear their whispers, even when he was so far away that he could not see their faces clearly
Their grass was always too green, they said, and too perfectly cut.  The lawn never became a muddy mess when it rained for weeks without end.  No one ever came to clean the chimney or the gutters, no exterminator ever set mousetraps or bug bombs.  Their house was simply perfect.
They did not see what was inside.
Inside there were mirrors, mirrors everywhere.  Everywhere you went, your reflection followed you.  No corner was left hidden, no place not illuminated.  His parents had company over often, and no one ever commented on the oddness of the interior.  During these times, if Michael snuck out of bed to go to the loo or get a glass of water, the mirrors would seem to flicker in and out of existence, his face coming in and out of view as he crept through the unusually dark house.
He got the letter on a Saturday.  It was heavy, made of some kind of paper he had never seen before, and had his name and address written neatly in green ink on the front.  He showed it to his mother, who turned white and she handed it to his father, who turned whiter.
His father sat him down after dinner and told him the whole truth.  How there was another world hidden from view, a world of magic and dragons and a school high on a hill.  How he had chosen to go there and it had been the stuff of dreams and nightmares.  The friends he’d made and lost.  The power he’d felt run through his body when he cast his first spell.  The giant basilisk who turned him to stone, the death of his childhood hero, the years his family spent in the States outrunning the most evil wizard in generations.  Justin Finch-Fletchley held nothing back.  And he gave his son a choice.
Like father, like son.
(written and submitted by ppyajunebug. This is our final story post, and it seems fitting that it be a look at a minor character, one not explored so much in the text, moving on and making an interesting life for themselves. I&#8217;m very happy that ppyajunebug submitted it, and am pleased to announce that they are now running their own fic blog: flourishandblottsstories. Do go check it out. I can&#8217;t think of a better candidate for this, as ppyajunebug plainly loves the canon and handles it well. Oh, and they take submissions!)

Michael Finch-Fletchley did not go to Eton.

He had always known his father was odd, though no one ever actually told him that.  No one wanted to insult a Member of Parliament.  But Michael could hear their whispers, even when he was so far away that he could not see their faces clearly

Their grass was always too green, they said, and too perfectly cut.  The lawn never became a muddy mess when it rained for weeks without end.  No one ever came to clean the chimney or the gutters, no exterminator ever set mousetraps or bug bombs.  Their house was simply perfect.

They did not see what was inside.

Inside there were mirrors, mirrors everywhere.  Everywhere you went, your reflection followed you.  No corner was left hidden, no place not illuminated.  His parents had company over often, and no one ever commented on the oddness of the interior.  During these times, if Michael snuck out of bed to go to the loo or get a glass of water, the mirrors would seem to flicker in and out of existence, his face coming in and out of view as he crept through the unusually dark house.

He got the letter on a Saturday.  It was heavy, made of some kind of paper he had never seen before, and had his name and address written neatly in green ink on the front.  He showed it to his mother, who turned white and she handed it to his father, who turned whiter.

His father sat him down after dinner and told him the whole truth.  How there was another world hidden from view, a world of magic and dragons and a school high on a hill.  How he had chosen to go there and it had been the stuff of dreams and nightmares.  The friends he’d made and lost.  The power he’d felt run through his body when he cast his first spell.  The giant basilisk who turned him to stone, the death of his childhood hero, the years his family spent in the States outrunning the most evil wizard in generations.  Justin Finch-Fletchley held nothing back.  And he gave his son a choice.

Like father, like son.

(written and submitted by ppyajunebug. This is our final story post, and it seems fitting that it be a look at a minor character, one not explored so much in the text, moving on and making an interesting life for themselves. I’m very happy that ppyajunebug submitted it, and am pleased to announce that they are now running their own fic blog: flourishandblottsstories. Do go check it out. I can’t think of a better candidate for this, as ppyajunebug plainly loves the canon and handles it well. Oh, and they take submissions!)

(Source: wallmirrorguide.com)

19th March 14
“It may prove of interest to you,” Mr. Linzmeier had written in sharp, curt script, “That a number of Jewish Muggles here in Poland are proceeding to disappear under what can only be called mysterious circumstances.”
And so Mr. Caractacus Burke found himself, in March of 1943, standing in the home of a now-unconscious Muggle-born named Hanna Krupnik and staring at the most fantastic transporting cabinet he had ever encountered.
When Mr. Burke discovered the sister cabinet located under British jurisdiction in an empty Liverpool residence, recovering the set proved easier than he could have anticipated.
“Muggle after Muggle has been exposed,” his report to the Ministry exclaimed, “Right here under your noses!”
The Department’s hands were tied.
The Minister saw to the confiscations and obliviations himself. Ms. Krupnik was found guilty of violating the Statute of Secrecy in transporting no less than 36 Muggles from the continent through magical means, though due to Polish intervention her Azkaban sentence was reduced to a single year. And as for the cabinets, a few well-placed bribes found them in Mr. Burke’s own collection.
It is no wonder, then, that many decades later the cabinets were put to use carrying passengers of a far less innocent sort.
(written and submitted by littleredspaces. This is our penultimate story post, and I&#8217;m very grateful to littleredspaces for submitting, though the subject matter is so dark. They create an interesting and horrifying backstory here for a canon detail not often touched on.)

“It may prove of interest to you,” Mr. Linzmeier had written in sharp, curt script, “That a number of Jewish Muggles here in Poland are proceeding to disappear under what can only be called mysterious circumstances.”

And so Mr. Caractacus Burke found himself, in March of 1943, standing in the home of a now-unconscious Muggle-born named Hanna Krupnik and staring at the most fantastic transporting cabinet he had ever encountered.

When Mr. Burke discovered the sister cabinet located under British jurisdiction in an empty Liverpool residence, recovering the set proved easier than he could have anticipated.

“Muggle after Muggle has been exposed,” his report to the Ministry exclaimed, “Right here under your noses!”

The Department’s hands were tied.

The Minister saw to the confiscations and obliviations himself. Ms. Krupnik was found guilty of violating the Statute of Secrecy in transporting no less than 36 Muggles from the continent through magical means, though due to Polish intervention her Azkaban sentence was reduced to a single year. And as for the cabinets, a few well-placed bribes found them in Mr. Burke’s own collection.

It is no wonder, then, that many decades later the cabinets were put to use carrying passengers of a far less innocent sort.

(written and submitted by littleredspaces. This is our penultimate story post, and I’m very grateful to littleredspaces for submitting, though the subject matter is so dark. They create an interesting and horrifying backstory here for a canon detail not often touched on.)

(Source: pesadillacreciente.deviantart.com)

Mod Announcement

19th March 14

This blog is shutting down. ETA: It will remain up as an archive. I just will not be checking or updating it in any way after March 2014.

It’s been a great run. So many of you have been incredibly supportive and kind, and I owe you a ton. And so many more of you have been thoughtful and incisive and unafraid to tell me where posts here on livesandliesofwizards have misrepresented facts or given rise to unpleasant implications. I owe you even more. But lately I’ve had to face up to two unpleasant truths:

1. I haven’t been running the blog very well. I’ve simply not been as attentive a mod as I can be, and as a result in many ways the presentation and content have suffered. I apologize to any submitters who were impacted by this. It wasn’t my intention. I owe you guys most of all. 

&

2. A lot of people in this fandom look up to me. They expect better of me, I think, than I can give, in part because they see my writing as inextricably linked to this project. It is. It always will be. But I cannot always intimately convey their experiences in the way they want me to, and I cannot know where they are coming from, and invariably I will let them down. I think that it’s unfair to those people to keep this space going; it’s like a false promise. So it’s time to put an end to livesandliesofwizards.

If anyone else wants to make a space like this one, drop me a line! I’d be happy to advertise, so that fans could find another place to get their HP fic fix. I’m also going to list those existing blogs that take submissions, so that writers in the fandom can find a new home. 

There will be one or two more posts — submitters in my inbox, I haven’t forgotten about you! But by the end of this month the blog will be done. I’m sorry.

And thank you so, so much for being here, and reading, and being so supportive and creative and helpful. I have learned so much from so many of you. 

10th March 14
ninnieamee:

You will want to know who the unhappiest student to ever walk the halls of Hogwarts was. 
I mean the one who probably deserved Hogwarts the least.
For unhappy, after all, must mean ungrateful in this case, and that must mean also undeserving. For Hogwarts is a home to so many! Hogwarts is a warm roaring fire or the cool spark of knowledge beyond the windows looking out onto the murky secrets of the lake, of the heart. Hogwarts is everything dead — portraits, alumni — coming back to life again, and forbidden adventure just beyond the reaches of the forest, and a humorous and twinkly-eyed Headmaster offering a lemon drop. So anyone who does not love Hogwarts surely does not deserve these rewards, does not deserve the warmth or the excitement or the secret knowledge Hogwarts gives one. He surely did not deserve it. And he knew he was undeserving.
Everything came easily to him. This is the first point we must make. Some people struggle with their magic. They hold out a hand to make a duck into a dove, and instead they produce a dragon which turns on them, or else a damselfly, or else they only kill the duck. Magic is at odds with these people. They might possess is, but in fact they are less worth bothering with than any Muggle, for Muggles simply walk on past magic, unheeding, and attend to their own business. They do not pervert it, or cause it to snap back angrily at them, as though they have no business mucking about with it.
But magic loved him. This is like being loved by the Fates. You do not have to try. The duck becomes a flock of doves, which in turn fly out of the tower window in a cloud of ethereal white, which return a moment later with berries and flowers and crowns of leaves, and drop one glorious gift before each gasping Gryffindor, each hale Hufflepuff maiden, before reverting, at last, to a common duck. And then there is applause. All eyes turn to you. Favored, talented, lucky, magical. All without the slightest effort.
Understand that this is a bit like being a fraud. Success so easily won means nothing. Classmates cluster about, good friends clasp you on the shoulder. And you only think, Well. Alright. But that was easy enough. And you begin to see that what really happened (not trying at all; suffering no pain; deserving no reward) is perceived as something very different (leaping ahead of the rest; exceptional without a doubt; deserving extreme praise). You begin to feel as though you were dreaming, and when you awoke, someone had thrown a disguise on you. The disguise was one of those crowns. They felt you deserved it the most. 
For him, this did not happen only with magic. It happened, too, like a kind of happy accident, when he should give away, rather carelessly, a kind word. When he should blink his clear blue eyes in such a way that it seemed like he understood someone perfectly. When he helped a classmate with their homework, or without thinking obliterated someone else’s cruel Howler at supper. It cost him nothing to do these things. But more and more people saw this as evidence of greatness, of some lofty and noble soul. They would see the crown even if he did not intend them to. It caused him no small amount of discomfort. The Hat had warned him of this, told him that his life would be artificial, all keeping close his secret listlessness, and that he would be better served being honest about that, at least. For he was an artificial creature, often without meaning to be. The more he protested that he was not so wonderful, that he was not trying, the more eyes flickered down to his house scarf or his badge and replied that it must be false modesty. Which of course made him even grander to them. But he had done nothing worth their approval. Not really. He was a secret double-dealer, a hoax. This ate at him.
It ate at him more when he should read of the lives of the luckless. Those Fate cared nothing for. There were people living oceans away, in tin-roofed hovels, who could summon up magic as easily and wonderfully as he could. But no Hogwarts letter would ever come for them. They often had no local school. There were sick and mad people, some of them people he knew intimately, who likewise had no avenues for earning crowns. No one wanted to applaud them even if they should accomplish something great. It was better that they be locked away. There were even people in his own dormitory, separated by thin layers of bedhangings, who tried and tried and at last summoned up a dove, at last saw some glimmer of reward. But no one cared. Their eyes were not so blue, their demeanor not so easy and kind, their blood was perhaps a touch too muddy.
Oh, how good you are to care about people like that! others would say, simpering, when he explained this. Oh, you are such a hero.
But this would only anger him more. The great unfairness. It was not even really the people he cared about, after all. It was the awful broken system all around him. It was how here he was, reaping all the rewards the Hat had said he would, and yet he did not earn them. They were only thrust at him, because he was easy to love, powerful, not quite so muddy — because he passed by the skin of his teeth all those strange unspoken tests the Wizarding World set, before it could consent to crown you.
In his own family, there were those not half as lucky. And it was only by some quirk of fate that he was born the right shade, and in the right order, and with that ability to control his magic even when feeling very mad, and not have it control him. But he knew in his heart that to rearrange one chromosome or allele, just one, would have been to make him less lovable to the rest of the world. Perhaps he would have been a girl, abused in a field. Or a bitter young boy, born not quite so talented, ready to give up at age fifteen. Perhaps he would not have been the great crowning glory of the family. And what a random, ugly, chaotic truth that was.
He wanted always, in his own way, to replace the chaos with order. Order was a powerful word for him, intoxicating, like a spell. He searched and searched and searched for ways to bring the universe into some more sensible system, one that wasn’t marked by unfairness and cruelty. Some of these attempts were quite terrible. Those were the unnoticed ones. The ones people noticed were the ones that brought him accolades. There he was defeating dragons so that they would not turn on the hapless crowd, rescuing young and handsome schoolmates who did not deserve to be made into prizes, unraveling labyrinths, unpacking every lie at the heart of alchemy and mediwizardry, every misconception about blood that formed the basis for transfiguration and the dark arts.
There he was, seeming greater and greater, year after year. All the while committed to ending his own greatness, in a way. To bringing about a universe in which others, the people like him, who were quick and clever, could not take advantage, seize all the crowns for themselves. He learned to see the humor in this. He spoke very wryly of his successes, poking fun at himself. People (who he had begun to see as somewhat silly. Human and worth caring about, but still silly) called this evidence of great humility.
It was not. It was a reaction. It was the great lie he’d inadvertently created spinning out in a beautiful web. The more they believed the lie, the more power it gave him. The more power he had, the more he could work to end the lie.
Often he did the wrong thing. Valued the wrong person. Crowned with laurels the wrong side. He was not superhuman. He only seemed that way.
He wanted to do good. It became very funny to him that he could never do as much good as he liked, and never without also doing some evil, and never without receiving more than his fair share of the credit. How huge the lie, the mask seemed to grow then! It was such a silly thing, the mask.
But if you had wanted to go without credit, or to be seen as every bit the liar you are, the Hat would tell him. Then you would have been better served in Slytherin or Hufflepuff. Or even Ravenclaw.
An I-Told-You-So. For the four-way hatstall.
But do you know? He died without regrets. He had by then become accustomed to the school, which he had hated as a youth, for one day there had come before him a pair of frank green eyes, and they seemed to say:
Everyone thinks I’m a hero. But I’m not, not really. Who thrust this on me?
In this case it was not Fate or the personification of magic that had done it. Not completely. It was a man looking to end all that, a desperate man, a man sick of the system, unhappy. But Harry, Harry was not like him. Harry did great things because someone had to do them, because he had to, not as part of some great web of lies meant to end the system. Harry suffered more than he had to, and became a hero, and deserved his heroism. Harry was not dissatisfied. Harry had not become so jaded that he began to find most people very silly. Harry loved Hogwarts. Hogwarts, and its Head, loved Harry. 
And Harry had earned it. You should not have to earn love. But, truly, the unhappiest student at Hogwarts had never understood how it could be so freely given. Particularly in a world like theirs, where so many people went without, and beyond this went without even a modicum of respect, never mind crowns. He’d known that to love must be a great thing, seen how its lack warped people. But he did not approve of the way the system parceled it out. Grand and powerful as he was, he waged war after war against the system.
This is why we remember him as the Greatest Wizard Who Ever Lived. The Supreme Mugwump. The one who stood above all the others as a leader, as Head Boy, as Triwizard Champion. The Greatest Head of Hogwarts. 
But know that he was not happy there, not really, not at all. Not until Harry came.

ninnieamee:

You will want to know who the unhappiest student to ever walk the halls of Hogwarts was. 

I mean the one who probably deserved Hogwarts the least.

For unhappy, after all, must mean ungrateful in this case, and that must mean also undeserving. For Hogwarts is a home to so many! Hogwarts is a warm roaring fire or the cool spark of knowledge beyond the windows looking out onto the murky secrets of the lake, of the heart. Hogwarts is everything dead — portraits, alumni — coming back to life again, and forbidden adventure just beyond the reaches of the forest, and a humorous and twinkly-eyed Headmaster offering a lemon drop. So anyone who does not love Hogwarts surely does not deserve these rewards, does not deserve the warmth or the excitement or the secret knowledge Hogwarts gives one. He surely did not deserve it. And he knew he was undeserving.

Everything came easily to him. This is the first point we must make. Some people struggle with their magic. They hold out a hand to make a duck into a dove, and instead they produce a dragon which turns on them, or else a damselfly, or else they only kill the duck. Magic is at odds with these people. They might possess is, but in fact they are less worth bothering with than any Muggle, for Muggles simply walk on past magic, unheeding, and attend to their own business. They do not pervert it, or cause it to snap back angrily at them, as though they have no business mucking about with it.

But magic loved him. This is like being loved by the Fates. You do not have to try. The duck becomes a flock of doves, which in turn fly out of the tower window in a cloud of ethereal white, which return a moment later with berries and flowers and crowns of leaves, and drop one glorious gift before each gasping Gryffindor, each hale Hufflepuff maiden, before reverting, at last, to a common duck. And then there is applause. All eyes turn to you. Favored, talented, lucky, magical. All without the slightest effort.

Understand that this is a bit like being a fraud. Success so easily won means nothing. Classmates cluster about, good friends clasp you on the shoulder. And you only think, Well. Alright. But that was easy enough. And you begin to see that what really happened (not trying at all; suffering no pain; deserving no reward) is perceived as something very different (leaping ahead of the rest; exceptional without a doubt; deserving extreme praise). You begin to feel as though you were dreaming, and when you awoke, someone had thrown a disguise on you. The disguise was one of those crowns. They felt you deserved it the most. 

For him, this did not happen only with magic. It happened, too, like a kind of happy accident, when he should give away, rather carelessly, a kind word. When he should blink his clear blue eyes in such a way that it seemed like he understood someone perfectly. When he helped a classmate with their homework, or without thinking obliterated someone else’s cruel Howler at supper. It cost him nothing to do these things. But more and more people saw this as evidence of greatness, of some lofty and noble soul. They would see the crown even if he did not intend them to. It caused him no small amount of discomfort. The Hat had warned him of this, told him that his life would be artificial, all keeping close his secret listlessness, and that he would be better served being honest about that, at least. For he was an artificial creature, often without meaning to be. The more he protested that he was not so wonderful, that he was not trying, the more eyes flickered down to his house scarf or his badge and replied that it must be false modesty. Which of course made him even grander to them. But he had done nothing worth their approval. Not really. He was a secret double-dealer, a hoax. This ate at him.

It ate at him more when he should read of the lives of the luckless. Those Fate cared nothing for. There were people living oceans away, in tin-roofed hovels, who could summon up magic as easily and wonderfully as he could. But no Hogwarts letter would ever come for them. They often had no local school. There were sick and mad people, some of them people he knew intimately, who likewise had no avenues for earning crowns. No one wanted to applaud them even if they should accomplish something great. It was better that they be locked away. There were even people in his own dormitory, separated by thin layers of bedhangings, who tried and tried and at last summoned up a dove, at last saw some glimmer of reward. But no one cared. Their eyes were not so blue, their demeanor not so easy and kind, their blood was perhaps a touch too muddy.

Oh, how good you are to care about people like that! others would say, simpering, when he explained this. Oh, you are such a hero.

But this would only anger him more. The great unfairness. It was not even really the people he cared about, after all. It was the awful broken system all around him. It was how here he was, reaping all the rewards the Hat had said he would, and yet he did not earn them. They were only thrust at him, because he was easy to love, powerful, not quite so muddy — because he passed by the skin of his teeth all those strange unspoken tests the Wizarding World set, before it could consent to crown you.

In his own family, there were those not half as lucky. And it was only by some quirk of fate that he was born the right shade, and in the right order, and with that ability to control his magic even when feeling very mad, and not have it control him. But he knew in his heart that to rearrange one chromosome or allele, just one, would have been to make him less lovable to the rest of the world. Perhaps he would have been a girl, abused in a field. Or a bitter young boy, born not quite so talented, ready to give up at age fifteen. Perhaps he would not have been the great crowning glory of the family. And what a random, ugly, chaotic truth that was.

He wanted always, in his own way, to replace the chaos with order. Order was a powerful word for him, intoxicating, like a spell. He searched and searched and searched for ways to bring the universe into some more sensible system, one that wasn’t marked by unfairness and cruelty. Some of these attempts were quite terrible. Those were the unnoticed ones. The ones people noticed were the ones that brought him accolades. There he was defeating dragons so that they would not turn on the hapless crowd, rescuing young and handsome schoolmates who did not deserve to be made into prizes, unraveling labyrinths, unpacking every lie at the heart of alchemy and mediwizardry, every misconception about blood that formed the basis for transfiguration and the dark arts.

There he was, seeming greater and greater, year after year. All the while committed to ending his own greatness, in a way. To bringing about a universe in which others, the people like him, who were quick and clever, could not take advantage, seize all the crowns for themselves. He learned to see the humor in this. He spoke very wryly of his successes, poking fun at himself. People (who he had begun to see as somewhat silly. Human and worth caring about, but still silly) called this evidence of great humility.

It was not. It was a reaction. It was the great lie he’d inadvertently created spinning out in a beautiful web. The more they believed the lie, the more power it gave him. The more power he had, the more he could work to end the lie.

Often he did the wrong thing. Valued the wrong person. Crowned with laurels the wrong side. He was not superhuman. He only seemed that way.

He wanted to do good. It became very funny to him that he could never do as much good as he liked, and never without also doing some evil, and never without receiving more than his fair share of the credit. How huge the lie, the mask seemed to grow then! It was such a silly thing, the mask.

But if you had wanted to go without credit, or to be seen as every bit the liar you are, the Hat would tell him. Then you would have been better served in Slytherin or Hufflepuff. Or even Ravenclaw.

An I-Told-You-So. For the four-way hatstall.

But do you know? He died without regrets. He had by then become accustomed to the school, which he had hated as a youth, for one day there had come before him a pair of frank green eyes, and they seemed to say:

Everyone thinks I’m a hero. But I’m not, not really. Who thrust this on me?

In this case it was not Fate or the personification of magic that had done it. Not completely. It was a man looking to end all that, a desperate man, a man sick of the system, unhappy. But Harry, Harry was not like him. Harry did great things because someone had to do them, because he had to, not as part of some great web of lies meant to end the system. Harry suffered more than he had to, and became a hero, and deserved his heroism. Harry was not dissatisfied. Harry had not become so jaded that he began to find most people very silly. Harry loved Hogwarts. Hogwarts, and its Head, loved Harry. 

And Harry had earned it. You should not have to earn love. But, truly, the unhappiest student at Hogwarts had never understood how it could be so freely given. Particularly in a world like theirs, where so many people went without, and beyond this went without even a modicum of respect, never mind crowns. He’d known that to love must be a great thing, seen how its lack warped people. But he did not approve of the way the system parceled it out. Grand and powerful as he was, he waged war after war against the system.

This is why we remember him as the Greatest Wizard Who Ever Lived. The Supreme Mugwump. The one who stood above all the others as a leader, as Head Boy, as Triwizard Champion. The Greatest Head of Hogwarts. 

But know that he was not happy there, not really, not at all. Not until Harry came.