DISCLAIMER THE FIRST: It is by JKR's writing alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the grace of coffee that thoughts acquire speed, the back acquires strains, the strains become a warning. The warning is that I make no money from this. It is by JKR's writing alone I set my mind in motion.
PITHY STATEMENT RELATING TO THIS CHAPTER: "This life is a gift, and to reject that gift or abuse that gift is not human and not worthy of us." Michael Moore – American journalist, filmmaker and activist – 1954-
Last Updated: 05-01-2017
BOWLING FOR HOGWARTS
GREENHOUSE #3, HOGWARTS, SCOTLAND – APRIL 17th 1996 – MORNING
This is Mikhail Moor for the Wizard Wireless Service reporting from Greenhouse #3 at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An institution which has stood in these isles as a bulwark of learning for over a 1,000 years. Now it is a scene of a terrible event which has left the Wizarding world stunned. All around Britain, people are asking why?
While there have been many odd rumors coming out of Hogwarts for the last few years, these have been centered mostly on Harry James Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived. Yet the tragedy which has struck this center of learning came from an unexpected source. A quiet boy who apparently spent much of his free time here in this Greenhouse. A lonely boy it turns out and one who loved plants and keeping out of the limelight. Yet it was into that limelight that Neville Franklin Longbottom stepped into when in a fit of rage, he took up his wand and left a trail of carnage in his wake.
Mikhail Moor: "Just let the words flow. We're not pointing fingers; we just want to understand what happened."
Hermione Granger: (laughs bitterly) "Pointing fingers? That's all we've gotten this year! In retrospect I'm surprised it took so long before something like this happened."
Moor: "Many people have already told me they were surprised it wasn't Mr. Potter who snapped instead of Mr. Longbottom."
Granger: (sighs and pulls on a lock of hair) "There is a lot of truth to that. Harry has had to put up with so much since coming to Hogwarts. Finding out he was the Boy-Who-Lived in his First Year. Being mistaken for the Heir of Slytherin in his Second. Then Third Year with the hoopla over Sirius Black, who is innocent by the way, escape from Azkaban. Then last year was the worse with him being entered into the Tri-Wizard Tournament against his will."
Moor: "And supposedly at the site of the Dark Lord's resurrection?"
Granger: (scowls) "You can roll your eyes all you want but I believe Harry and so does Headmaster Dumbledore. He told the truth and we are pleased the Quibbler had the courage to print it. But why trust my word? Three drops of veritaserum or a magical oath would solve things to say nothing of viewing Harry's memories. I guess finding the killer of Cedric Diggory isn't that important to the Ministry. Oh that's right; they're more involved in turning Hogwarts into a prison!"
Moor: (clears throat uncomfortably) "Well let us not drift off point. So why do you think it was Mr. Longbottom who snapped?"
Granger: "Can you blame him? His parents are in St. Mungo's while so many Death Eaters roam free by claiming the Imperious Curse. What I want to know is why Sirius Black was thrown into Azkaban without a trial? Here is a man notorious for breaking with his family and being embraced by the Potters. If there was one man who could have been under the Imperious, it was Black."
Moor: (slightly huffy) "But Black confessed!"
Granger: (sneers) "So? If the curse can make him betray his best friends and his godson to Voldemort, it can certainly implant a compulsion to confess. Is that all it takes to get sent to Azkaban? A confession?"
Moor: (clears throat uncomfortably again) "So I take it you are saying the break out of Azkaban was the catalyst?"
Granger: (shakes head) "No. I'm sure this was building for a long time. It doesn't help that so many of the children of the Death Eaters, especially Draco Malfoy, openly mocked Neville. Then there is Professor Snape who has been especially cruel to Neville in class since his first day. How it finally took this tragedy to have him sacked amazes me. He'd have been let go and probably prosecuted for his actions against students in the Muggle world years ago."
Moor: "So you agree with so many of your professors being arrested? You have, if I may, a reputation of being very supportive of the staff."
Granger: (shakes head again) "That's because I feel you have rules for a reason. Just because I supported the system didn't mean I agreed with it. I just wasn't in a position to change it."
Moor: "Do you agree with it?"
Granger: (laughs bitterly) "Of course I don't! It was obvious that most of the staff was interested in keeping their job over protecting us students. In retrospect there are so many ways our teachers failed us. Why in our first year, Professor Quirrell alerted us to a troll in the dungeons. What was the first thing Headmaster Dumbledore did? He ordered the prefects to escort the students to their Houses. So right there he sent one-half of the student body right into the path of the troll! Not sure what most Hufflepuffs thought of that but let me tell you a lot of Slytherins wondered if the Headmaster was hoping the troll might kill a few of them.
Moor: (nods) "Given how many families traditionally sorted into Slytherin opposed Dumbledore's policies in the Wizengamot, I could see how they might think that."
Granger: "Of course having people in power try to kill us isn't new. The Dementors my Third Year brought home that correcting the Ministry's mistake was more important than our safety. If Professor Lupin hadn't been in my compartment on the ride to Hogwarts, I believe Harry and maybe Ron and I might have been Kissed. Blind chance kept us safe that day."
Moor: "Yes, you mentioned Draco Malfoy earlier; one of the first victims. Do you believe Neville singled him out?"
Granger: (bitterly laughs again) "Singled him out? No, he was just the first target that Neville saw. But yes, I'm sure Neville would have sought Draco out if he hadn't been with Umbridge that day. Draco seems to have made it his life mission to harass Harry and Neville was often collateral damage as it were. No, Draco got what was coming to him."
SEVENTH FLOOR CORRIDOR, HOGWARTS, SCOTLAND – APRIL 17th 1996 – MORNING
Somewhere along this hallway is a secret door. A door which remains secret due to the work of the Hogwarts house elves cleaning up the carnage so quickly. Yet behind this secret door is a room which many students and faculty have found and then lost over the years. It was in this mystery room that Neville Longbottom joined the so-called Dumbledore's Army in training. A name loaded with a veritable Erumpent horn worth of political danger but actually just the name of study group of all things.
The late Dolores Umbridge was many things but a DADA expert she was not. A check of her OWLs showed she barely scrapped a passing grade and that she did not have a NEWT in that field. All students I've talked to along with a few Professors off the record agree she did not teach anything but mostly just promoted Ministerial propaganda. So the students involved in Dumbledore's Army felt in order to pass their OWLs and NEWTs, they needed to train on the sly. To fill the role of instructor, they turned to Harry Potter.
Mikhail Moor: "Was Mr. Potter any good at teaching?"
Katherine Bell: "Oh he was more than good, he was brilliant! Harry is a bundle of contradictions. He doesn't look like much but it is never wise to underestimate him. I've been witness to this in regards to his handling of a broom ever since we started together on the Gryffindor Quidditch team."
Moor: "And Mr. Longbottom?"
Bell: (frowns) "Neville was always so quiet. He was polite to the point of meekness. Frankly I always was a bit at a loss about how Neville got treated. My mom's a squib who turned her back on things due to all the crap which got heaped on her in Magical Britain. Yet after when it became apparent I was a witch, she taught me a lot. It just seems weird that Neville got picked on so much given he was the heir to the Ancient and Noble House of Longbottom. Especially since the people doing the most teasing and pranking were the Weasleys."
Moor: "What do you mean?"
Bell: (makes a face) "Well while I'm team-mates with the Weasley Twins, I'd be the first one to say they often take it way too far when it comes to pranking. I mean who wants to be eating some candy and get turned into a man-sized bird because you ate a Canary Cream? Oh it's all for laughs but it grated on me and I could see it was getting to Neville over the years. He never said anything, but I could see it in his eyes how much he hated it."
Moor: "Canary Cream? I'm afraid I'm not familiar with that. Is it a Zonko product?"
Bell: (shakes head) "Nope. It was one of the Twin's Weasley Wizard Wheezes, products they made themselves. You see that was another thing; they'd test these products out on fellow students. Especially first years or people in need of pocket money. Neville seemed to be the butt of a lot of these tests which he had never agreed to. But then again, he was such an easy target."
Moor: (looks surprised) "No one stopped them? Testing unlicensed products like that could get one landed in Azkaban!"
Bell: (sneers) "Who would stop them? The prefects didn't want to get pranked and they knew Professor McGonagall wouldn't do anything. Hell Umbridge was making Harry write lines with a blood quill and McGonagall just told him to keep his head down! The only one who really tried was Hermione Granger but as a 5th Year prefect she was mostly ignored. I also think she didn't want to push it given the friendship Harry had with the Twins. Harry, like Neville, has gone through a lot and I don't think Granger wanted to make it worse on him."
Moor: "Yet he ended up teaching this DA?"
Bell: (shrugs) "Granger sort of nagged him into it. I know he didn't want to do it but I also know Harry and he doesn't want anyone to get hurt. So given how he saw Voldemort rise up in part from his own stolen blood, Harry didn't want any of us to get killed because we didn't know the spells to protect ourselves with."
Moor: "And did you learn those spells?"
Bell: (shrugs again) "Well we're not going to be dueling Death Eaters but yes, I think he did. While he may not be as verse in theory, Harry is really good at getting you to understand the actual practical mechanics of spell-casting. Him being light on theory was fine because we all had Hermione if we had questions about any theoretical aspect. But Harry also did more than teach; he gave us confidence in ourselves. Neville really soared under Harry's tutelage. After the Azkaban break-out, Neville was on fire to get better. Hell we were working on the Patronus Charm when Umbridge and her goon squad broke in."
Bell: (nods) "Yes really. Amazingly most of us could generate the mist, even 4th years like Colin Creevey. A whole bunch of us manifested corporeal patroni. Mine turned out to be an eagle. Of course Harry learned how to do his because of all the dementors at Hogwarts two years ago. He's really brilliant at it and his Patronus seems almost real."
Moor: "What about Neville?"
Bell: (shakes head) "He only could generate the mist but I think he really didn't have much in the way of happy thoughts to work with. He could, however, really do a lot with more combat oriented spells like stunners and shields. I overheard Harry and him talking about the Azkaban breakout. They were looking at a picture of some militia group that their parents had been in together during the War. Neville was worried about how his parents might view him if they could. Harry assured him that they'd make both sets of parents proud."
Moor: (strokes beard) "Hmm, do you think that perhaps Mr. Longbottom felt he was going to be expelled or jailed and thus denied the opportunity for revenge and to make his parents proud?"
Bell: (hesitates before reluctantly nodding) "Yeah, I think there is something to that. He certainly reacted poorly to Umbridge taunting them about what was going to happen to us."
GREAT HALL, HOGWARTS, SCOTLAND – APRIL 17th 1996 – AFTERNOON
So on the night of April 15th High Inquisitor Umbridge along with a group of her Inquisitorial Squad made their way to the secret room. They had gotten the location from a member, one Marietta Edgecombe of Ravenclaw House. A witch, I might add, is still disfigured from breaking the oath of secrecy made prior to joining the DA.
To a witch and wizard, the Inquisitorial Squad was made up of students from Slytherin House. More to the point every one was the son or daughter of an actual, accused or acquitted Death Eater. All of them had a long history of taunting not only Neville Longbottom but Harry Potter as well. Sources in Slytherin confirm that many of their fellow Snakes had taunted Mr. Longbottom with Bellatrix LeStrange's escape. These taunts were, in retrospect, probably not the most cunning course of action.
Mikhail Moor: "So you got a warning from a house elf; then what happened?"
Parvati Patil: (takes a deep breath) "It is hard to say. I was in the back with Hermione Granger. She was trying to see if she could manifest an exit. We were thinking that while some of us were going to get caught, others might escape. All I remember was hearing Draco Malfoy say something and then laugh. He has…uhm had a really slimy laugh. It really put one on edge. I got so sick of hearing it given all the times I heard it, especially directed towards Neville in Potions."
Moor: "So it was something the late Malfoy said that started it?"
Patil: (shakes head emphatically) "No! Everyone needs to stop seeing this like Neville just snapped out of the blue. This had been building for a long time and the professors should have seen the signs and done something to prevent it. As I'm sure you've probably heard, we're just surprised Neville beat Harry to it."
Moor: "Do you believe that as well? You have a bit of history with Mr. Potter."
Patil: (rolls eyes) "Okay you people, especially the Teen Witch Weekly, need to stop harping on the Yule Ball. I don't hate Harry and he wasn't snubbing me. There were a lot of factors at work that night. The first was Hermione had bailed on Harry at a bad time. Sure I'd have been over the moon if an international Quidditch star asked me to the ball but come on! She spent hours and hours helping Harry get ready so he didn't get barbecued by the Horntail and then completely bails on him when it was obvious to anyone who thought about it for more than a few seconds that Harry had no clue how to dance! So he was stressed over making a fool of himself in front of everyone especially with all the press around. I certainly didn't help either."
Moor: "In what way?
Patil: (sighs) "Oh I don't know. How about I was just a little depressed that my sister and I couldn't get a date till the last minute when Harry and Weasley were desperate. Why shouldn't I be a little put out that I have to hear lewd comments about how pretty I am and yet even though my family has a Pureblood lineage going back past your Merlin, my sister and I are still treated like second class witches in England? So perhaps I was a bit tense that night as well. Harry certainly was a gentleman even if he was enormously uncomfortable. I admit I blamed him for the night to say nothing of how Ron Weasley treated my sister. I was wrong but hey, I'm a teenager; we get upset over things like that. Plus you have to understand Harry has a feeling about how people around him get hurt so I think he felt he'd painted a target on me. History has born this out. Just ask Cedric Diggory! Oh wait, you can't because he got killed on Voldemort's orders!"
Moor: (shudders at the Dark Lord's Name) "What about Mr. Longbottom? From what I've gathered, he had a good time that night."
Patil: "The Yule Ball probably was the only time outside the greenhouse getting compliments from Professor Sprout that I ever saw Neville happy. Of course it didn't help later during the DA when it became obvious to everyone that Ginny Weasley was infatuated with Harry. She's been that way since she got to Hogwarts but I think it hurt Neville after the good time the two had at the Yule Ball that he was still less then the dust under Harry's boots in her eyes."
Moor: "So Mr. Longbottom was jealous of Mr. Potter?"
Patil: (laughs bitterly) "No that position was taken by Ron Weasley. I'm amazed his hair is so red considering how green he normally is regarding Harry. No, Neville seemed to be one of the few people who could see how uncomfortable Harry was with his fame. If anything, I think if Ron wasn't so much of a loud-mouth prat, Harry and Neville would have become fast friends their first year. So many people sort of steered clear of Harry because of Ron and his temper to say nothing of his 'foot-in-mouth' disorder. I know all of us ignored Neville when we shouldn't. I paired up with Lavender while Fay and Sally-Anne did the same. Seamus paired up with Dean and Hermione and Ron were with Harry. So there was Neville, all alone."
Moor: "People familiar with the family would say that was very much his home life as well. Do you agree?"
Patil: (nods) "Yes I do. Dame Longbottom did Neville no favors growing up. All of us Purebloods were often at each other's homes growing up. I think we only saw Neville at stuffy events where everyone, especially us kids, were expected to act a certain way. So Neville never got to be a kid. From things he'd say over the year, it sounded like at home, Neville hid out in his greenhouse with Trevor his toad. Worse are the stories I'd heard over the years. Did you know Neville's relatives use to try and force the magic out of him by trying to kill him?"
Moor: "Excuse me?"
Patil: "Oh yes. Early on, many in his family were worried he was a squib. Never mind that the early trauma of the Death Eater attack might have suppressed his magic a bit. Of course maybe that's something people here in England don't quite grasp like it is in civilized countries like India."
Moor: (harrumphs) "Uhm well…"
Patil: "So there was poor Neville having one relative drop him from a second story building to luckily see him bounce. What lesson does that teach a child? That without magic you are better off dead? Because if Neville had been a squib, the fall would have killed him! And that was just the last effort to test Neville's magic. He was deathly afraid of the water because another relative tossed him off the pier on the lake at Longbottom Manor. He almost drowned! I sat near him while Harry was in the Black Lake during the Second Task and I think he trembled all the way through the event. The initial crossing to Hogwarts in the boats First Year must have been traumatic to him. Makes you wonder…"
Moor: "About what?"
Patil: "Why our safety is so rarely a concern? Neville was scared to death of the water and in retrospect I'm sure a lot of kids have that fear. By Shiva's trishul, Dennis Creevey fell out of the boat during the bad weather during his crossing! The squid put him back in the boat. He thought it a lark but I'd think most Muggleborn would have had a nervous breakdown if it happened to them. First from thinking they're going to drown and then being man-handled by a giant squid they have no idea is friendly. Yet we had no warning; no chance to see if we could go in the carriages. In my time here, we've had to deal with a troll in the castle, dementors on the Quidditch pitch and apparently our own Headmaster hid an important magical artifact as bait for the Dark Lord. So Neville isn't alone in being stressed out."
Moor: "So the school system is to blame?"
Patil: (shakes head) "In part. The House system is designed to fragment us. It is especially bad for me given my twin sister is in Ravenclaw and I rarely get to see her. Why is it so important our different House rooms have to be secret? It's like you want us all to see each others as potential enemies. It's not like our Houses hold state secrets! Plus while there are plenty of empty class rooms, except for the Library, there really isn't anywhere people from different house can hang out. How are we supposed to integrate and learn about each other when we are segregated?"
Moor: (nods thoughtfully) "How indeed?"
Patil: "Of course we Gryffindors need to shoulder our share of the blame for this. None of us made the effort to reach out to him. Neville was just so quiet and easy to ignore. Oh we'd feel bad for him when the Twins pranked him but we'd just laugh with everyone else and soon forget about it. Even people who saw his pain never got involved. Then again as much as we are to blame for this, we're just teenagers. We shouldn't have to be the ones to intervene. In my time at Hogwarts I can count on one hand the times there was an adult in our common room. We have almost zero adult supervision outside of class. So unless some generous upper year takes pity on you, we're on our own."
Moor: "This lack of supervision was critical to Neville's actions?"
Patil: (shrugs) "Critical? I'm not sure I'd go that far other than say this should have been preventable. While Neville was quiet, I think a more engaged staff should have seen the signs. They were there for any of us in Gryffindor to see but we didn't. But again, it wasn't us that should have been taking note of the danger. None of the faculty did anything except make things worse and now we have another thing to be traumatized about. I'm betting the rest of the school is probably still pretty freaked out. I know while we Gryffindors try to pretend to be brave and play it off, it's been a big shock."
Moor: "So his attack was a surprise, yes?"
Patil: (shakes her head) "I wish I could honestly say it was a surprise. Oh sure it was when it happened. But now? Now I look back and wonder how Neville managed not to fly off the broom earlier."
INFIRMARY, HOGWARTS, SCOTLAND – APRIL 17th 1996 – AFTERNOON
The bodies are gone now but just two nights ago this normally quiet room was filled with the injured. It was also filled with enough dead to be mistaken for a morgue. It is easy to forget what a dangerous weapon a wand can be especially when the magic behind it is driven by rage-fueled magic. Even with our history filled with such events like that which brought the Bloody Baron to Hogwarts as a ghost, we always seemed to be shocked anew.
Perhaps much of the blame for this tragedy can be placed upon all of our shoulders. Listening to the stories of the students for the last few days, I hear over and over the same tales. Tales of professors unwilling to intervene. Cruel hazing and pranks which border on assault. Then there are the scars from the last war. Scars which apparently are cracking open as I speak. Mr. Longbottom, like so many other students, lost his parents to the war. He was left with a badly damaged support structure. One which Hogwarts seem to make even worse.
Mikhail Moor: "Given the controversy surrounding you, I'm sure many of our listeners will be surprised you were called in to make the official assessment."
Alcinda Greengrass: (smiles evilly) "I'm sure they will be. It is of no consequence to me. I'm here to do my job and then it's back over the pond for me. If anything, everything I've seen so far does make me regret I didn't give more thought into interning here under Madam Marsh. I doubt Poppy would have gotten half the pressure form Dumbledore if I'd been here training along side her back in the day.
Moor: "What makes you say that? So far, little has come out as to why Albus Dumbledore was arrested. Were your findings what did it?"
Greengrass: (nods) "In part, yes my initial reports were pretty damning. I'm sure as more records are looked at, Dumbledore's role as the so-called 'Leader of the Light' is going to be tarnished. This is, of course, fine by me. I'm sure your listeners are well aware that House Greengrass and Albus Dumbledore don't get along especially after he kept us from raising Harry Potter."
Moor: "Something your family claim was done illegally?"
Greengrass: (nods again) "We shall see. I can't see how it could be otherwise, however. The great Houses have made the line of succession very difficult to mess with and only Albus Dumbledore being the Supreme Mugwump of the ECMS on top of being Chief Warlock could made it happen. That and being able to claim magical guardianship of Harry Potter under the aegis of being the Headmaster. It allowed him also to do the skulduggery I've found here in the infirmary."
Moor: "Can you give examples? I know the investigation is ongoing but still…"
Greengrass: "Well without getting into specifics, I've already found blatant evidence of mind altering to keep various people from either complying with the law or just living their life the way they choose. The DMLE has already released my findings on how both Madam Pomfrey and Professor Trelawney were both subjected to long term mind altering potions, compulsion charms and even items charmed to keep them docile in their living quarters here at Hogwarts."
Moor: "To what end? What was being covered up?"
Greengrass: "Trauma mostly. You see there have been a lot of things which have been going on here at Hogwarts that the Headmaster wanted to cover up. I've done preliminary work which shows that most of the student body has been influenced one way or another. My thinking is the Headmaster managed to trick, if you will, the defensive nature of the Hogwarts wards to power spells to keep students from writing home about many of the things which have happened over the years."
Moor: "Merlin's beard! How is that possible?"
Greengrass: "Hogwarts was built as a castle first and converted into a school later by the Founding Four. This defensive bias in the ward scheme still exists. I believe Dumbledore was able to use the fact that things like the Chamber of Secrets scare would have caused the school to be closed if the general public learned of what was really going on. Keep that a secret meant keeping the school open even as it put students in danger.
Moor: "You mentioned trauma. Were students being injured regularly?"
Greengrass: (laughs) "You mean more than normal especially in regards to the Quidditch teams? No, the trauma I was speaking of was mostly mental in nature. I've already seen many students who had their memories blunted or altered to deal with mental trauma. The problem is this approach might sound to a layman that it would work but that is completely false."
Moor: "What do you mean?"
Greengrass: "Well for example, let's assume you have a student who has a fear of spiders. It's their number one fear. What do you think would be the effect of being trapped in a den of acromantulas and barely escaping being devoured by the slimmest quirk of fate? That sort of mental trauma can only be treated holistically. Even obliviating the memory itself does nothing to deal with the effects of the trauma. As much as we Magicals like to think a wave of the wand can fix most things, the brain isn't so easily healed with magic."
Moor: "So Dumbledore was covering his tracks in unethical ways then?"
Greengrass: (laughs bitterly) "Unethical? Try dangerous! Untreated mental trauma or those under mental compulsions for a long time begin to have unstable behavior. One of Poppy's main jobs, beyond being a nurse, is to watch for signs of mental instability. I am sure your listeners don't need to be reminded of how intent fuels magic. An insane mind can fuel magic in very unpredictable ways. This is the main reason why Bellatrix LeStrange is so feared. Her magic ss unpredictable because the mind which drives it is unhinged."
Moor: "Students I've talked to have said that Mr. Longbottom had a traumatic childhood. Do you believe this may have helped pushed him over the edge?"
Greengrass: "Almost certainly. From the incident reports, it appears that not only did his mental state fuel his rampage, I believe that the wand helped. Mr. Longbottom was using his father's wand. A wand, I might add, was poorly fitted to his more bucolic nature. His father, however, was an auror and when Mr. Longbottom snapped, suddenly his magic was more in tune with the wand. Given how before his encounter with the LeStranges, Frank Longbottom had been the cause of many Death Eaters being taken out. So the wand had dealt death before. Indeed it was combat spells which were the bulk of what Auror Longbottom used prior to the wand being passed to Neville. The wand, if you will, was attuned to death."
Moor: "And this should have been avoided by the boy getting treatment earlier?"
Greengrass: "Oh yes. As I said, so very many student records show the need for a lot of work. I could tell you some horror stories if medical information wasn't confidential. What I can say was a lot of crimes where papered over so things could seem like everything was normal here at Hogwarts. Unfortunately reality was for the students, Hogwarts was a danger to them in ways they didn't realize or were made to forget. When all of this is resolved, I think Magical Britain is going to have to do some serious soul-searching about how we let things get this far."
HEADMASTER'S OFFICE, HOGWARTS, SCOTLAND – APRIL 17th 1996 – AFTERNOON
One factor of leadership is reaping the accolades when things go well to taking the blame when things go wrong. So far, however, it is looking like all roads are leading to Albus Dumbledore as the architect of what drove this terrible event. One cannot look at this tragedy and not see that it happened on his long watch. While the misdeeds at Hogwarts are being unraveled, we must step back and look at the larger picture. Under his leadership in the Wizengamot, there was less of a pogrom against suspected Death Eaters after the war then what many cried out for. In order to 'heal our civil wounds' Dumbledore pushed again and again for reconciliation. Yet while this might have dealt with the issues of the living, it shut out the cries for justice for those killed throughout the war. So many families had to stand by and watch their kin's killer go free in the name of turning the other cheek. Only those who were caught practically over a dead body or lacked the galleons to bribe their way to freedom paid the price for their crimes.
Where was our sense of justice then? For that matter, why did we stay silent when rumors of what had happened to our savior, the Boy-Who-Lived, began to leak out in early 1992? Ever since his return to the Wizarding World, Harry Potter has been reviled as as often as he is practically deified. Again and again we hear how surprised it was Neville Longbottom and not Harry Potter who snapped. Maybe he still might given how so much recent outpourings put the blame for this tragedy on his shoulders. Why are we so quick to blame a boy who, by all accounts, just wanted to help and didn't want others to suffer if he could prevent it? Why do we continue to blame the victims and give excuses for those whose actions scream out for retaliation? Do the galleons of the likes of Lucius Malfoy hold more sway over us than our own sense of morality? From this reporter's perspective the answer seems to be yes.
Mikhail Moor: "So where will you go from here? This must be quite the shock."
Theodore Tonks: (laughs bitterly) "Truer words have never been spoken. To say I was stunned when I heard the news the Board had elected me Headmaster is quite the understatement."
Moor: "Are you up to the job? So many people have reacted very negatively to your appointment."
Tonks: (shrugs) "I think we have forgotten that in many ways the Headmaster's role was mostly ceremonial. While Dumbledore did delegate much to McGonagall, he certainly did more than most Headmasters have traditionally done. However I believe I'm up for the task and I know what must be done. Yet when I leave this job, my successor will have a lot less power."
Moor: "And what must be done?"
Tonks: "First and foremost, I must be fair. That is why I was chosen, I believe. Love me or hate me but even my enemies will concede I work for what is right by the law. I'm a Muggleborn married into one of the most ancient and noble Pureblood houses. It has given me a unique look on our world. It also means I know a lot about how schools are run in the Muggle world and quite frankly we have let our children down and they paid the price in blood."
Moor: "And you think the Board will go along with your plans?"
Tonks: (laughs more jovially) "Of course they will! Most of them are on the Board now because it is customary that Board members be ones who have children or grandchildren currently in attendance. I always thought that was a bit of a conflict of interest but then again you have a vested interest in ensuring things go well. Most of the old Board lost children to the rampage. So the current Board is very motivated not to see this happen again."
Moor: "Do you intend sweeping changes? On one hand I would expect you to want to strike while the iron is hot. However tradition is important to so many."
Tonks: (nods) "My main goal is to increase the staff. We have a castle filled with children and barely a handful of adults. This will also allow the staff to concentrate on what they do. Much of this tragedy can be laid at the feet of Minerva McGonagall. Her hands were tied given she had the duty to be the Transfiguration professor for all seven years while at once being the Head of House Gryffindor and Deputy Headmistress. Any one of these jobs should be a full time position and if I get my way, it will be held by three different people maybe four. If we have adults whose only job is to be there for the students, we will go a long way to avoiding another tragedy like we just saw. In the Muggle world, most students go home every night to their family. Here? We ship our kids off to where they are barely supervised and thus fall prey to whatever the upper years want. Or worse, in the case of Draco Malfoy, what one student with influential parents wants. I'm sure you've already heard many students say they went along with Malfoy in order not to have any reprisals made against their families."
Moor: (nods) "It was, unfortunately, a very common thread, yes."
Tonks: "Well there you have it. Do we want each new generation to be abandoned to hazing and an uncaring and overworked staff? Or do we want to treat our children like the precious resource to the future they are? Is it no wonder we continue to have rise after rise of so-called Dark Lords when we cannot seem to fix a basic institution that we've all see first hand is deeply flawed. Oh we hide behind tradition but we're all just afraid to say the Headmaster has no robes."
Moor: "And now the Headmaster is out of a job."
Tonks: (shrugs with a frown) "As so much of this tragedy was forced by Dolores Umbridge, Albus Dumbledore deserves his the cell at the DMLE. Just in the day I've been here, I've found enough to get him put away to Azkaban for the rest of his life and that isn't counting on the stuff Alcinda Greengrass dug out of the infirmary records! Oh I'm sure with the Dark Lord returned, he'll probably weasel his way out of the jail cell he so richly deserves. Hopefully even if he defeats the Dark Lord, we will give him another Order of Merlin medal and then chuck him back into Azkaban."
Moor: (frowns deeply) "That is rather harsh."
Tonks: (voice rising in anger) "Harsh? HARSH? Let's review the facts of just this tragedy. Let's just forget, for the moment all of the other things he had done regarding Harry Potter. In order to protect a spy, he put in one of the most hated teachers in Hogwarts history. One which has systematically made it harder for Magical Britain to staff our medical facilities or keep our Auror Corps staffed. Severus Snape gave his Snakes free reign and thus an entire generation of Slytherins learned that there would be no repercussions for their actions. Draco Malfoy should have been expelled back in his 3rd Year with the Dementor stunt he pulled. Yet time and time again, he was given a pass. And now he's dead!"
Moor: "Well how is that…"
Tonks: "Wait, I'm not finished. Let's look at the 'victims' here. Everyone is vilifying Neville Longbottom and crying over his victims. Well I feel for their families but you reap what you sow. Every single person Neville Longbottom killed was someone that had tormented him mercilessly . Many of them openly boasted about actions their Death Eater parents or other relatives took. And let me tell you something. Your listeners can go on believing the lie about the Imperious Curse defense but I can tell you from what I've learned from impeccable sources, one cannot take the Dark Mark unless one is perfectly willing to accept it. So these children were bragging about what their terrorist kin did! And we are to accept that Longbottom is the evil one here? That he went after these kids who boasted that given the chance they would do the same types of crimes which landed his parents in St. Mungo's? No! They cannot play the innocent victim card in light of the facts we know. If anything, Neville did what we as a culture refused to accept and implement."
Moor: "It is odd to hear a lawyer like yourself pushing a vigilante concept."
Tonks: (snorts derisively) "Our government failed the dead. All of the families, so many Light families which were either wiped out or are now barely alive. Where is their vengeance? I hope Bagnold is rotting in hell with the blood money she took in bribes being melted and dripped into her eyes for all eternity for what she did! The Malfoys, Parkinsons, Goyles and Crabbes! The Notts, Flints and Jugsons are bleating about the crime against them when they all got away with murder! Let us also not forget the Muggles whose deaths we covered up during the War. Their deaths have been forgotten just like I doubt few give any thought to those poor Muggles tormented at the World Cup last year. I wonder how many who lost children to this tragedy were wearing Death Eater regalia that night?"
Moor: "Yet this generation is now that much smaller."
Tonks: "Of course it is! Because we didn't learn from our mistakes after Grindelwald or the last war. Why do Purebloods hate us Muggleborn so? We come into the Magical world discriminated against and having law and custom against us. The Purebloods hold sway in every walk of life. What threat are we? Only that we occasionally ask questions. Questions that aren't answered because Hogwarts! Of course the Muggleborn are going to be disruptive in regards to our culture when no one teaches it to us! No, all we get is sneers at our ignorance and then rants that we need to be silenced for the good of our culture. We, as a culture, need to wake up to this. The Elites have their cake and want to stamp out any possible threat that any of us might get more than the occasional crumbs. Well now that attitude has come back and bit them. Let them eat their cake in their empty homes as they think of their dead children and how their ideology is what killed them!"
GREENHOUSE #3, HOGWARTS, SCOTLAND – APRIL 17th 1996 – LATE AFTERNOON
As I stand here outside Greenhouse #3, I look in and find a beautiful and serene setting. Lovely flowers all well tended for with loving care. Most of that came from the boy who history may never truly be understand. Already we are seeing it put forth that Neville Longbottom was simply mad like his parents. This tale is gaining traction even as it is unbelievable. The Longbottoms are in St. Mungo's mental ward due to the cruel actions of Death Eaters. Those same Death Eaters whose children were the victims of Monday's rampage.
Then there is Harry Potter. He too is being singled out as being one who should be sent to Azkaban for his part in this. This even while there is ample proof he tried to stop Mr. Longbottom. Indeed if not hit by a stunner fired from his friend Ron Weasley (who had been aiming at one of the Inquisitorial Squad) then perhaps this tragedy might have been averted with only a few deaths. By all accounts, once conscious again, Harry Potter quickly chased after his friend and again tried to stop his actions.
For this, he was almost killed by a Dark spell cast by a Slytherin upper year Adrian Pucey. An Azkaban worthy spell and yet when Mr. Potter responded to this threat, it is he who is being called a murderer even though the cause of death of Mr. Pucey was blunt trauma caused by falling off the stairwell after being stunned by Mr. Potter. Again we see Harry Potter acting with control and good sense and pilloried in the Daily Prophet for it. Again the comments from so many students about Harry Potter cracking come back to me. Should we be thankful that there weren't two students pushed past their breaking point this last Monday? How many more families would be mourning it if had?
With these new rounds of accusations and innuendo, I cannot wonder who will be the next Neville Longbottom? Will it be Harry Potter or some other Light Side son or daughter who is disgusted how the same Dark Families do heinous acts and yet it is their victims or those seeking redress who are made into the villains. While it was Neville Longbottom's wand which struck down so many students this Monday past, I cannot help but think his rage was fueled by anger against the adults of Magical Britain who had failed him and his fellows again and again.
For the Wizard Wireless Service, I am Mikhail Moor reporting from Hogwarts. To all of my listeners, good luck and Merlin watch over you all. In these dark times, we need all the help we can get to save us from ourselves. Good Night."
Haec Fabula Desinit!
A/N: This fic is my view on how JKR lets bad guys get away with crap again and again and the good guys who are the ones to always take it in the shorts. Even the "happily ever after" Crapilogue shows how Draco, a guy who used Unforgivable curses, almost killed Katie and Ron and was an accomplish in the death of Dumbledore (to say nothing of letting terrorists into a school) is free. Remember how Hagrid spent a few months in Azkaban for just a suspicion of opening the Chamber of Secrets? Yeah funny how all it takes is a "I'm sorry; Voldemort was mean to me. I'm on you're side now" and all if forgiven. But yeah, the series teaches such great moral lessons to children. (/sarcasm)
DEATH TO ALL WHO OPPOSE US! Harry Potter fan-fic fans are a bloodthirsty lot. They constantly review asking to see more people go down to bloody ends. I think it is because again and again JKR lets bad people (or bad people masquerading as good people [cough*Weasleys*cough]) get away with things. And in the Crapilogue we see little has changed. Will James and Rose have to team up with the Lovegood Twins to fight a new Dark Lord? It would seem likely given how little seemed to change.
That's All Folks: I don't know why so many people flagged this fic to follow given as it is listed as completed. I could possibly see using this as a sort of prologue if I wrote a sequel, but that would be an entire fic on it's own given how most of the Hogwarts staff got sacked, a lot of the Slytherin's are dead and it seems obvious that Fudge would get sacked and so we'd probably have a free and clear Sirius and a Voldemort suddenly losing a lot of support.
He's to Blame: Feel free to PM xavierp for causing me to write this as well as the last Pernicious Story bunny. He's almost as bad as runecutter for getting me off on a tangent! On the other hand both of these reviewers engage me and help me work through things so good job to the both of you!
Spells: Lots of back and forth on this so a slight change. On one hand, I'll be keeping using Imperito as the actual spell. Yet after discussing things with reviewers as well as doing more research, the curse itself will be called the Imperious curse (changed form JKR's Imperius) given how in Latin this means despotical. With Imperito meaning dominate, I think this pretty much nails the intent of the curse.