Reviews for When In Doubt, Obliviate
Temple Cloud chapter 21 . 7/2/2022
'Having someone unprepared, like, say... us isn't going to end well.' Yes, Harry, and this is WHY you need to prepare as much as possible by learning what sort of things (like music, and cakes) are likely to calm a three-headed hell-hound. (Okay, obliviating him might also work as it had on the troll, but it's probably harder when you have to aim at three heads at once.) Because, truthfully, you know that your father is a pretty useless wizard (okay, in deference to Gilderoy I'll insert a comma: he's a PRETTY, useless wizard) and that some of the other staff are either untrustworthy or dangerously irresponsible. What's the point of being a Slytherin if you're going to be too blindly trusting to believe that adults would do daft things?
Temple Cloud chapter 19 . 7/2/2022
Oooh, Draco and Theodore not wanting to be brave or loyal in saving anyone (even a fellow Slytherin) because Gryffindor and Hufflepuff virtues are clearly beneath their dignity! Snape really needs to get the message through to them that because everyone else hates Slytherins, they need to look out for each other (even people they can't stand). Blaise being revolted by the sight of blood - well, when your family contains a possible-but-never-actually-convicted serial killer, you have to be really, really careful about keeping up appearances, and this is probably something he learned as a small child in the same way that Harry has learned to obliviate people out loud.
Temple Cloud chapter 18 . 7/2/2022
"You're making it sound like I'm a snitch." Hmm - it's a common enough slang word (in the sense of 'sneak', as used here), but would it be part of Hogwarts slang? Considering that it's the technical term for the most prized ball in Quidditch, I'd have thought that using it as an insult could prove confusing. Though I suppose a lot of slang in our world does that anyway, using words (usually crude biology-related terms) to mean both 'something worthless' and 'something very good or important'. Not to mention the tradition of using words to mean their opposite, such as 'wicked' to mean 'really, really good'.

"TROLL! In the dungeon! Thought you ought to know..." and he's scared enough to forget that he's supposed to stutter! (Yes, we know that Quirrell is the scheming villain, but if he forgets a key strand of his cover persona, I think he's genuinely scared here.)

"I do not share your plainly plebeian mentality, Harry. And if the alternative is that he's doing something Gryffindor like trying to stop whoever did do this or protecting something then I'll take him sneaking a troll into the castle any day." Draco, there's such a thing as taking stereotypes TOO far. And the one thing you want your Head of House to be even less than Gryffindorly heroic is crazy.
Temple Cloud chapter 15 . 7/2/2022
I wonder whether Fawkes (if he knows enough about human history to know why he has that name) sometimes tries to arrange his burning days to fall on 5th November?
Temple Cloud chapter 17 . 7/2/2022
Oooh! Was the name 'Andrew Kirke' a deliberate shout-out? I'd just been thinking, 'The problem is that muggles in the twentieth century have developed nuclear weapons that are at least as dangerous as the most horrific magical curses,' and reflecting that Aslan says pretty much exactly that to Digory Kirke at the end of The Magician's Nephew, and - we get the name 'Andrew Kirke'. (Though Digory's Uncle Andrew, an inept would-be magician, isn't surnamed Kirke but Ketterley, but - oh well, this Andrew Kirke, nearly a century later, might still be a descendant of that family!)

Not only do muggles outnumber wizards by about 10,000 to one (which means that, while it's unlikely that the majority of muggles are particularly violent or a threat to wizards, the TOTAL number of muggles who might pose a threat to everyone, wizard or muggle alike, is greater than the total number of wizards who are dangerous), but another thing Quirrell is carefully not admitting is that he isn't comparing like with like in terms of geography. Gellert Grindelwald and Voldemort are the only very notorious Dark wizards IN EUROPE in the twentieth century - and we don't know whether Voldemort even had much influence outside Britain. We know that he has travelled across Europe at least as far as Albania, and that he has recruited giants probably from outside Britain (since Hagrid and Madame Olympe had been sent on a diplomatic mission to win a tribe of giants round to the Order of the Phoenix's side before Voldemort had a chance to recruit them to his). But probably wizards around the rest of the world have villains of their own to deal with. By contrast, Quirrell is discussing wars that have occurred all over the world in the twentieth century. (Do wizarding newspapers like the Daily Prophet even cover much foreign news? For a lot of British muggles, almost the only news we get about African countries comes in the form of reporting about wars, epidemics, famines, and terrorism, which creates the highly unbalanced impression that the whole continent of Africa is one big disaster zone.)

But, again on the other hand - improved transport networks across the muggle world mean that muggle wars have much more tendency to become WORLD wars. A despotic ruler in the Middle East invades a neighbouring country? Britain and America fly in to fight him! He's a nasty ruler and the country looks ripe for regime change? We fly in and kill him (without reflecting that the government arising out of the power vacuum might not be an improvement). Far more people were killed by World War Two than by World War One, but a typical war memorial in a British village will show far more names of soldiers dead from this village who were killed fighting in World War One - partly because in World War One it was common for a whole village's worth of young men to sign up and go off to war together and nearly all get killed, partly because more of the casualties in World War Two were civilians, but also because far more of the fighting of World War Two wasn't in Europe, therefore far more of the combatants weren't from European countries.

Still, it's good that Gilderoy has noticed that there's something badly wrong with the unbalanced picture of muggle life that Quirrell is teaching? I wonder whether any of Quirrell's pupils who had him last year or the year before have noticed an abrupt change in his curriculum content?

'I'm halfway certain that Snape tortured you for three hours, erased your memory, and then implanted the memory of doing something that wouldn't get him thrown into Azkaban.' I know Theodore Nott is a conspiracy theorist (and he's probably at least half joking or trying to wind Harry up), but it's worrying that Snape has this sort of reputation among Slytherins themselves. Okay, these are first-year pupils who have only been in the school a few days, but surely the older pupils have given them some idea of what to expect? Even allowing for Snape's tendency to favour Slytherins, I would have thought that word would get around that detentions with him mainly consist of chores that are dirty and unpleasant but not particularly dangerous - and that you're really, really lucky not to have a Head of House like, say, McGonagall, who is quite willing to deny you access to the password to your own House when there's a dangerous criminal prowling the corridors!
Temple Cloud chapter 14 . 7/1/2022
I love Hermione and Daphne's arrangement to have a fake rivalry - it sounds as though Hermione might have found a friend she can actually be on the same wavelength as, rather than one she has to try to be a responsible older sister to! And I like Harry exasperating Zacharias Smith by being sweetly polite to him, and dealing with Dumbledore's ardent hopes to get him and Snape to get on.
Temple Cloud chapter 12 . 7/1/2022
"Besides, what's the point in being secretly evil? You really have to cut down on all your evil activities and have to spend a lot of time pretending to be good." Oh dear, Ron, doesn't wizarding culture include any stories (either historical or fictional) in which it isn't immediately obvious who the villain is? This is one of the things that the Harry Potter series is good at: looking at the villains of the early books, Quirinius Quirrell is an expert at giving the impression of being just a pathetic, nervous schoolteacher; Gilderoy Lockhart (okay, canonical Lockhart hasn't come to the school with the intention of harming Harry or any of the other children, but he has no hesitation in doing so if it preserves his reputation as a hero) manages to appear, if not as competent as he claims to be, at least no worse than vain and shallow; Peter Pettigrew has kept up the pretence of being a harmless household pet for twelve years; and fake!Moody manages to keep the respect of most of the class for most of a year - yes, demonstrating Unforgiveable curses is a bit dodgy, but he can argue that he needs to do this in order to teach the class how to fight them, and yes, he turned Draco into a ferret and hurled him repeatedly at the floor, but people who don't like Draco can't see anything very terrible in that, and he even appears to be kind to Neville when most teachers can't be bothered with him. The first teacher who is openly abusive to numerous students is Dolores Umbridge, and even she tries to keep up a veneer of sickly-sweetness at first.

"You do realise that was fictional, don't you?" Sadly, fiction is a lot more effective in shaping people's imagination than real life. There was a real-life account of some teenage boys who were stranded on a desert island, quickly realised that they would have to avoid quarrelling with each other if they were to survive and agreed to put themselves in time-out whenever conflict started to brew, survived there for years despite the island being a waterless rock in the middle of nowhere, and finally managed to get rescued? Yeah, but that's totally unrealistic because it wasn't like Lord Of The Flies, so it doesn't count.
Temple Cloud chapter 11 . 7/1/2022
I love the conversation between the teachers, with Snape being genre-savvy about how AU fanfics are meant to turn out, and announcing in advance that he's not playing. Especially as Harry in this AU hasn't had the sort of abusive upbringing that might make Snape feel sympathy or even empathy with him, and is more likely to be the sort of arrogant brat that Snape would have expected him to be anyway (though he seems remarkably well-balanced so far).

My character Gardas in my stories How To Be A Human and sequels - which you can read over on FictionPress at www. fictionpress s/3340495/1/After-the-Battle-or-How-to-Be-a-Human or on Archive Of Our Own at archiveofourown works/24862237/chapters/60147157 is genre-savvy in a slightly different way. As far as he can see, the only roles open to him are either villain who changes sides at the last moment to save his teenage son the hero and then is mortally wounded and dies soon afterwards (Darth Vader); or apparent villain who turns out after his death to have been secretly protecting and helping the teenage hero (Snape); or, at a pinch, repentant villain who is the teenage hero's faithful bodyguard until the hero grows up, at which point he can get killed when someone from his villainous past catches up with him and wants revenge (Sergeant Bothari, in the Miles Vorkosigan books). So he isn't sure what to do with the fact that he is still alive after having climactically killed his evil master, and having to work out what to do with the rest of his life, and how to build a relationship with his teenage son who hates him.

Talking of dysfunctional families, though, Blaise Zabini - aarghh! Not only is he always going to carry the stigma of being the son of a probable serial killer (the Aurors have never actually managed to prove it; she might just happen to be attracted to men who suffer from terminal illness), but probably his biological father died before Blaise had a chance to get to know him, and since then his childhood has had a succession of short-lived stepfathers. If he was a muggle kid on a council estate, people would feel sorry for him, but as he comes from a wealthy pureblood family, people just think, 'Slytherin, son of a serial killer, he's almost certainly destined to be evil.' (This is something I see in real life - a lot of my friends were abused as children, regardless of their background, but whereas the ones from poor families got taken into care in infancy, and as likely as not were then abused by the orphanage or foster parents, the ones from wealthy upper-class families who were abused by their parents or at expensive boarding-schools were just ignored, because no-one would think that children from well-off families needed a social worker.)
Temple Cloud chapter 10 . 7/1/2022
I don't think Ron comes across as an ass, just a believable small boy when most of the other characters seem exceptionally mature for eleven years old. Neville in particular seems a lot more confident in this story than in canon, where much of the characterisation he gets in the early books is mainly 'timid, absent-minded boy who is good at herbology but hopeless at most other subjects, tends to get picked on a lot and doesn't really seem to have any close friends the way Harry and Ron and after a while Hermione, or Lavender and Parvati, are close'.

I like the way that Harry's upbringing telling him to make friends whose traits and ambitions 'might come in handy' conflicts with his conscience telling him that it's unfair to avoid close friendship with Ron just because he's a bit immature and unconfident and not obviously special or outstanding.

The discussion between Harry and Draco about choosing rivals made me laugh, and read it out to my partner. Draco doesn't know a lot about having actual friends. Whatever faults Cursed Child had overall, one point that was spot on is when Draco as an adult complains that when they were at school, the thing he envied Harry most was that he had real friendship with Ron and Hermione, while Draco just had henchmen. Crabbe and Goyle probably are good friends with each other (not so much with Draco, he's just the boss) so that it must be devastating for one of them when the other dies - but because the books are told from Harry's point of view, we don't learn more about them than just 'Draco's big stupid henchmen'. If being sorted into Slytherin results in Harry becoming friends with Draco, I'd guess that this is more likely to be a good influence on Draco than a bad influence on Harry - after all, even being brought up by Gilderoy Lockhart hasn't ruined Harry's character THAT much.

I like Hermione's analysis of how fighting a troll could be an alternative way of sorting pupils into Houses. Especially as, in canon, three eleven-year-olds (well, Hermione is twelve by that point, but even so) do wind up having to fight a troll only a couple of months after the Sorting - but in an AU, all sorts of things could be different.

Next thing to see is how Harry and Snape react to each other - that should be interesting.
Temple Cloud chapter 8 . 6/30/2022
Riddles - the good thing about these is that (if the person asking them is intelligent) they don't necessarily have just one right answer, as long as they have a well-reasoned answer. If the king sits on gold, who sits on silver? The traditional answer is 'the Lone Ranger', but it could just as reasonably be 'the parrot'. What do you see people doing when it's raining cats and dogs? Well, they might be hailing taxis, or they might just be trying not to step in poodles. What's black and white and bounces? There are any number of possibilities, though my favourite answer is 'a photocopy of a cheque'.

'It was only when You-Know-Who began recruiting almost exclusively from the old Slytherin families that that [muggleborn-hating] image flared up again.' Exactly - Severus Snape as an eleven-year-old in 1971, based on what his mother has told him about Hogwarts, assumes that he as a half-blood who grew up in a muggle town, and Lily as a muggleborn, are going to get on just fine in Slytherin, because they've got a Head of House who appreciates talent (i.e. grooms anyone who might be able to do him a favour when they grow up) regardless of your background. And in fact, Voldemort's campaigning up until the 1970s doesn't seem to have been nearly as fixated on blood purity as his renewed campaigning in the 1990s, given that he recruited Snape and that many people are surprised that he didn't try to recruit Lily.

"I would recommend choosing a best friend and a rival now." Another Hogwarts tradition that really, really needs to change, even more than the entrenched hostility between the Houses. Generations of wizarding children have grown up learning that you have to decide whom to be friends with and whom to hate before you even reach the school - which in turn influences which House they are placed in, as their thoughts are driven by, 'I don't want to be with HIM!' which reinforces the hostility.

I wonder who Gilderoy's friends, rivals, enemies and crushes were in his schooldays? Did he even have any? I suspect that he wanted to be one of the popular, idolised boys like James Potter (but to be idolised it helps actually to be good at something, rather than just good-looking), but wasn't comfortable with actually forming close friendships with anyone (because he wasn't confident that someone who actually knew him well would like him).
Temple Cloud chapter 7 . 6/30/2022
'I find it a little unlikely that my father would have attacked you, wiped your memory and then taken you to a hospital.' Oh, Harry, why, when you already know that he does this sort of thing routinely and doesn't think it's a big deal? Canon!Harry has an excuse for clinging to an idealised image of his biological father as a hero, at least until he has seen evidence to the contrary, but this Harry really doesn't have any excuse for refusing to believe that his adoptive father wouldn't wipe someone's memory (because there is something he doesn't want them to know) and then taking them to a hospital (mainly because he wants to be seen as the good guy).
Temple Cloud chapter 6 . 6/29/2022
I like Harry's first meetings with Neville and Hermione. I wonder whether Neville will get sorted into Hufflepuff in this AU, if he isn't desperately thinking, 'I've GOT to be in Gryffindor like my parents or everyone will be terribly disappointed in me,'? After all, Neville is brave, but not the stereotypically thrill-chasing, adventure-seeking Gryffindor sort of brave. And having Professor Sprout as his head of house instead of McGonagall would probably be good for him and help build his confidence.

Harry himself seems a lot more mature and confident for an eleven-year-old than canon!Harry. Part of this is that he isn't angry and insecure after years of being mistreated by his muggle family, and that he knows enough about the wizarding world not to be overawed by it - but probably part of it is also that, having Gilderoy Lockhart as an example of how to be charming in talking to people, he knows how to say the sort of things that people will find encouraging and helpful. So, while I don't like Gilderoy, I have to admit that (as written in this story, at any rate) he isn't a bad role model in all respects.
Temple Cloud chapter 5 . 6/29/2022
Great chapter - I love McGonagall and Snape's reactions - 'Why on Earth would you consider it a good move to send the obscenely famous child of an attention-seeking prat to the magical world's biggest attention-seeking prat in living memory?' And Sirius starting to put the pieces together about what Lockhart was really up to when they encountered each other.

I'm curious now about Professor Quirrell - in this AU, did he still get approached by Voldemort, or has this not happened yet, as Voldemort knows that he isn't going to be Defence Against Dark Arts teacher yet, but just teaching an elective class which none of the first-years take, so there's no point in targeting him yet? (I get the impression that Voldemort had met him when he was travelling to try to learn about Dark creatures of Albania as preparation for teaching Defence Against Dark Arts - apparently he hadn't considered it necessary to explore the muggle world while teaching Muggle Studies, so probably he hasn't encountered Voldemort.) It'd be interesting to see what non-Voldemort-possessed Quirrell is like - for all I know, he could even end up being the hero in this AU. But alternatively, if he IS Voldemort-possessed and everyone expects Professor Lockhart to deal with him - hmm, I'm looking forward to seeing how this develops.
Temple Cloud chapter 4 . 6/29/2022
Hmm - Gilderoy, you may have very expensive lawyers, but I'm sure Rita Skeeter does, too. And she LOVES bringing down anyone the wizarding world regards as a hero, whether her stories are completely made up (as with Harry) or a mixture of some actual facts and speculation that is wide of the mark but scarcely worse than the true version (as with her book on Albus Dumbledore). Admittedly, she can be a bit of a coward about this (for example, not writing a muckraking book about Albus Dumbledore until after he was dead and everyone who had known him a long time was either actually senile, or old enough that Rita could claim they were senile), and she isn't likely to cross someone who has the blackmail material to send her to Azkaban - but you never know.
Temple Cloud chapter 3 . 6/29/2022
Okay, I'm sorry my first review was a bit harsh - Gilderoy Lockhart isn't a mass-murderer, granted (because he wants to be adored and admired rather than feared), and he does (at least as written in this story) genuinely seem to believe that what he does is for the best. I wonder - judging by the backfiring spell in Chamber Of Secrets, he seems to have no scruples about casting memory spells so powerful that they don't just erase the memory of one incident, but of the victim's entire life and identity, in a way which can leave them incapacitated for years, and perhaps forever. But probably he doesn't make a habit of doing this very often - it would look too suspicious if he left a trail of amnesiac victims everywhere he went, and there's a limit to how often he can use the 'The monster was so terrifying that just seeing it robbed my companions of their senses, but I'm just glad that I was able to avenge this injury by killing the monster,' line before someone becomes suspicious and wonders why the monster didn't have that effect on anyone until he turned up.

At the very least, though, by erasing people's memories of how they dealt with a dangerous creature, he is lessening their ability to do so again. The werewolf in this story presumably needs someone to cast the homorphus charm on him every month as soon as he starts to transform, to prevent him from harming anyone else, so it would have been practical to encourage Mr Hagopian to find him and suggest a regular arrangement. After all, wolfsbane potion is rare and hard to obtain, and anything that alleviates the symptoms of lycanthropy, even if it isn't a permanent cure, is far more important than one man's fame.

Now I'm wondering - what would have happened if Gilderoy Lockhart, instead of interviewing people and then obliviating them, had learned to conjure the relevant memories out of someone's head so that he could view them in a pensieve? If impressions of another person's thoughts and feelings and behaviour had become, in a way, HIS memories, might they have come to change his own personality and behaviour, perhaps leading him to become a genuine hero?

I'm thinking here of how memory tapes work in the Sector General series by James White. The idea is that, in a multi-species hospital in space, surgeons treating an alien patient whose anatomy they are unfamiliar with take a memory-tape which imprints on their mind the whole life experience (no editing is possible) of a doctor from that species. If they take memory-tapes from doctors of several different species at once, they can even combine these donors' medical knowledge to devise new treatment techniques. Unfortunately, this also means having to share the sexual desires, phobias, food preferences, body image etc of a whole bunch of aliens, which can be very confusing, but occasionally is useful. One of the characters in the series comes from a species which evolved to be highly timid (because they are a prey species) and very gentle and tactful (because they evolved the ability to read emotional radiation so that they could sense predators coming, and being acutely sensitive to everyone's emotions means that hurting their friends' feelings is immensely painful to them). But by the final book, when this character is promoted from loyal best friend of the hero to protagonist, he is carrying the memory tapes of several more forthright species, and therefore is capable of bringing the memories of these personalities to the forefront when he needs to be assertive.
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