LLTQ FAQ (last updated 10/27/16)
Q: What does this FAQ cover?
A: Mostly, this covers backstory and other things that played a role in having things go the way they did, but weren't mentioned explicitly 'onscreen' in the story.
Q: What doesn't this FAQ cover?
A: Anything that might happen in the future, as well as almost anything that might have happened during the time jumps in the Epilogues. Basically, if you want to know what happened with X, Y and Z and it wasn't mentioned in-story, I'm not likely to tell you here either.
Q: What if I have a question not covered in the FAQ?
A: Send me a PM and ask! I've tried to cover most of the questions that have come up in reviews and PMs, though it's possible I've missed some. If you send me a question I'll do my best to answer it, and if I think it belongs here I'll update the FAQ as well. That said, Real Life™ has been getting in the way lately, so it may not happen very quickly.
Q: Will there be a sequel?
A: Probably not. Even if there is, it won't be soon. See the Afterword & Acknowledgments for more details.
Q: Where did all the author's notes (A/N) at the beginning of the chapters go?
A: Since most of them were more relevant to when the chapter was posted than they are now, they've been moved to the end of the Afterword & Acknowledgments (chapter 43).
Q: Why are you bashing Dumbledore/Molly?
A: I'm not. Both of them have faults in the original story, and JKR chose to portray them in the best light rather than the worst or even a more neutral one. Beyond that, reread the story and look at the arguments used against both of the characters and you'll see that they're perfectly valid from the point of view used in this story.
Q: Why aren't you bashing Ron/Hermione/Ginny?
A: First of all, let me say that there's plenty of bashing that can go around to pretty much any character in any story, especially if you take a disliking to them. That said, I tried to take a mostly neutral approach to dealing with the characters, and only hit them with reasonable criticism based on their actions "onscreen" as it were. Ron, Hermione and Ginny all have their flaws in canon, and most of them could be at least mitigated if not fixed by having them grow up a bit more in their early years – which is what I essentially did. Had Ron been given a slight nudge in 3rd or 4th year and been less self-centered he could have easily turned into the young man I made him into. Hermione has a problem with blindly bowing to authority figures , but here she's at least come to recognize it and is trying to change – something that isn't going to happen instantly. Ginny is still a young girl with a crush on her brother's best friend, but she's trying to work on it. Again, something that isn't going to happen overnight.
Q: Why does the Queen sign her letters 'Elizabeth R.'?
A: I don't know, but that's how everything I found on Google showed her signature. I'm guessing it's something like Regis or Regia, effectively making it 'Elizabeth the Queen'.
Q: Why does the Queen go back and forth between using "We" and "I"?
A: In purely formal situations, and with people she does not have a personal relationship with, she uses the Royal We exclusively. In less-than-formal situation, she uses "I" to indicate that she is speaking simply as "Elizabeth the person" rather than as the Queen, and vice versa,
Q: How come Fudge only got 5-15 years in prison?
A: Because, in the grand scheme of things, most of what he did/allowed that warranted a longer term was not technically prosecutable since it was within his legitimate function as Minister or he had no foreknowledge of it. While having Sirius kissed would have been a travesty of justice, at the time Fudge thought he was a properly convicted murderer who had escaped Azkaban, and had a legitimate "Kiss on Sight" order for him. Barty Crouch Jr. was officially already dead, and on top of that it's pretty clear that Fudge hadn't intentionally had him Kissed, he just didn't consider it to be a big deal. And while there were several encounters between Harry and dementors, none of them could be laid at Fudge's feet as an intentional act. That left primarily the corruption charges, and while he could have been saddled with consecutive prison terms, that would have just been purely vindictive, and the "new" Ministry was trying to show that it could be firm but fair. And just because the term is officially 5-15 to get Fudge to agree to it, even he knows he's not likely to get out anytime before serving at least ten of them, and quite probably not before he's been there for the whole fifteen.
Q: How come Snape only spent a year in prison?
A: First of all, while he was convicted of 14 counts, his sentences were served concurrently, meaning they all happened at the same time. Second, while he was tried and convicted, the application of the law was a bit of a stretch, and as part of his whole cooperation agreement he didn't fight being tried on those charges (he still defended his actions, but no legal motions to dismiss on technicalities) in exchange for a reasonable sentence. Plus, while he was certainly a right b****d to his students, all of his abuse was purely in the form of verbal harassment and intimidation and not physical or worse. Combine that with the fact that even if he'd not volunteered it he would never have been allowed to teach children again, and his role in helping to take down Voldemort, and he was given a chance to take his lumps and move on. Given that it got him away from both of his "masters," as well as teaching, he was more than happy to grab on to it with both hands and make the best of it.
Q: Why was Sirius so generous with Draco Malfoy?
A: Because it gave him the best chance at the outcome he wanted. Look at it this way: of all the things that Draco had taken away because of the loss of his father and his father's influence, the one that will have the biggest impact on his day-to-day life is the loss of the Malfoy fortune. It's also the one that's most easily dealt with – there's no way to fix the Malfoy name anytime soon, and even if he had the money to try and rebuild the influence, under the current Ministry that would just get him arrested, tried and convicted for bribery. So no matter what he does and where he goes, Draco's going to have to learn to live with having nobody to run to to fix things when his mouth writes checks he can't cover.
Money to live mostly in the lifestyle he's accustomed to, on the other hand, is something that can be fixed. And it gives Draco one less thing he has to adjust to, hopefully making it easier for him to do so and turn away from the path he's been walking for the past few years (since while it's enough to live comfortably, it's not enough to go around buying politicians). Combined with having to be outside of Magical Britain, and Sirius figures hopes that Draco will grow up, settle down, and not be a problem when he finally returns (if he even chooses to do so!); or, if he doesn't manage to change his ways he's either going to find himself quickly stomped by the local authorities who have no investment in looking the other way or six feet under after taking on someone who's more powerful and ruthless than he is. In both cases, it's a win for Sirius and Harry, as he's not a problem for them anymore. Plus, even if Draco gets straight Os on every single N.E.W.T. that's offered, the sum total is minuscule to Sirius, but will help Draco get himself established well enough to make his way in the world rather comfortably.
Q: What about Narcissa? Does Sirius really think she's going to change her ways?
A: Not really, but that's not the point. He's asked her to try to accept the changes in Magical Britain and to do so publicly, and that's all he's really looking for. Even if she's seen having lots of trouble with it while making an effort, it'll go a long way towards making other Dark families be willing to do the same. And for those families who have Dark reputations and are worried about how they'd be treated if they actually tried to accept things, seeing Narcissa Malfoy openly trying should make them feel more comfortable doing so – after all, if she can do it and not be shunned/attacked for it, then so can they. Sirius figures she'll do only go so far before she can't force herself to do anymore, but he sees it as mostly being a PR opportunity and that's good enough for him.
Q: What's the deal with Dumbledore, and why wasn't he punished more harshly?
A: First of all, let me start with this: In this story, we didn't have Evil!Dumbledore, Manipulative!Dumbledore, or any of the other more extreme possibilities that I've seen in fanfic. Albus Dumbledore was, at the end of the day, just a very powerful wizard with a number of flaws. For starters, he didn't really have any true peers (other than possibly Grindelwald, back before their falling out), so there wasn't anyone he could really use as a proper sounding board for his plans.
On top of that, ever since his defeat of Grindelwald most people looked at him in one of two ways: either he was the great and infallible Leader of the Light, or he was the Muggle-loving fool who stood in the way of the followers of the Dark. In neither case was anything they said helpful – those who followed him kept looking to him for answers and accepting them blindly, and those who opposed him did so first and foremost on ideological grounds, making it easy to brush off their arguments as being contrary for the sake of opposing him, and not because they had any merit. And over time, Dumbledore committed the biggest sin of one who's in power – he believed his own press, and stopped questioning his own decisions.
Thus, the actions that he took, and the mistakes he made, were done entirely with good intent and no checks or balances. Yes, he knew Harry was in a bad situation, but he honestly believed that in the grand scheme of things there was no better way to handle it (because if there was, he surely would have already thought of it; after all, he was the Great Albus Dumbledore, right?). Only in hindsight, after things came crumbling down around him and still worked out OK was he able to break out of his tunnel vision and start considering that maybe he was wrong. And even then, it took a good 18 months plus for him to really get to the point where he could start admitting to himself that he was, without a doubt, wrong in at least some cases. He probably will never fully agree with Harry or Sirius or the Queen or any number of others as to how wrong he was, but by the time Harry graduates he's at least able to admit that there's more than one way to look at pretty much everything.
As to why he wasn't prosecuted, the biggest reason is Harry himself. The vast majority of things that he could have actually been prosecuted for were related to his treatment of Harry, and any prosecution would have both forced Harry to testify and would have thrust him into the spotlight over things he desperately wants to never even think about, let alone deal with, again. The end result is that prosecuting Dumbledore here and now would actually cause much more harm to Harry than letting it go, and neither Harry nor Sirius would let that happen. On top of that, Dumbledore has been very effectively pushed to the side, and during his last year as Headmaster was kept on a rather short leash, limiting anything he could have done counter to what the Queen intended to happen.
You also have to consider this: For decades, Dumbledore has been seen as the Leader of the Light, even the Leader of Magical Britain (and the whole world – after all, Britain is the center of the world, at least to many of its natives), and now he leads nothing. His role in Hogwarts is to teach a couple of N.E.W.T. level classes, act as institutional memory for the new Headmaster (usually giving context as to why something was done a particular way, but not advising how to do things now), and occasionally tell stories about his vast experiences to those students who come to him asking for them. His invitation to the staff meetings was purely because he teaches some 6th and 7th year students who may not be that well-known to some of the teachers, and thus he can speak about them if needed. For the most part he just sits and listens the rest of the time, and he's explicitly excluded from any decision making that goes on. Additionally, other than while in class, he has no authority to discipline students in any way, even if he catches them fighting in the halls between classes. The most he can do is break it up and summon a full professor to deal with it, at which point he has to step back and let them take care of it.
As much as he's learned to embrace his role as a teacher once more and enjoy his retirement, there's still a part of him that's hurt by how far he's fallen. He's just mature enough to accept that it's how things are now and not make a big deal about it. Besides, if he did, he'd be out of the castle in no time at all, and he's honestly afraid that he wouldn't survive the shock.
Q: Why is Dumbledore's title Professor Emeritus?
A: Two reasons: First, despite the fact that he's teaching a couple of advanced classes in his specialty, he's effectively retired. He has no role at Hogwarts beyond teaching those classes, and is not considered part of the full-time faculty despite living there. And second, it differentiates him from the other professors, full-time or otherwise, who have additional roles and responsibilities at the school. While it might also be considered part of Dumbledore's punishment, it's more intended to let other people know that Dumbledore is no longer considered a core part of the school, and that he's not in charge of anything. Perhaps a more appropriate title would be Adjunct Professor, but that tends to imply that he's an outsider who was brought in to teach/lecture, rather than a retired full professor.
Q: If he's retired, why not Headmaster Emeritus instead?
A: Mostly out of convenience – he's still teaching students, so they're likely to call him Professor anyway, and even while he was Headmaster he was always addressed as Professor, despite his title being "Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry." It also makes the separation between himself and the Headmaster role that much more clear, something the current Headmaster appreciates.
Q: Why did Harry renew his relationship with Dumbledore?
A: He didn't so much renew it as create a new one. Once Harry was able to move beyond the past and let it go, he saw Dumbledore as a knowledgeable resource and someone who by their own actions could be a neutral sounding board for him when his friends couldn't. While he could have just stayed away, once he was able to close the door on the previous chapter of his life he was able to admit that he liked what Dumbledore had become in the past 2+ years and enjoyed talking with the person he was now. So not creating that new relationship, while it wouldn't really have impacted Dumbledore, would have impacted him. Since it would have been his loss, he decided it was worth talking to Dumbledore and seeing if things could work, which fortunately it did.
Q: Are you British?
A: Nope, American. Born in Virginia, raised just outside of Boston (Massachusetts, not Lincolnshire), now living just outside of Philadelphia. If that's not as anti-British as it gets I'm not sure what is. :P
Q: If you're an American, how did you find out so much about British X, Y and Z?
A: Research. Lots, and lots, and LOTS of research. For every hour I spent writing, I probably spent at least a half hour researching, and early on that ratio was flipped. By the time I posted chapter 13 (Charter School – and I was writing 4-6 chapters ahead at that time), I'd put in at least 40-60 hours of research on the Queen and British law alone, plus an additional 20-40 hours of research on other topics (mostly Harry Potter canon, plus supporting documents where canon was lacking). It's a lot of work, but in the end it was definitely worth it.
Q: Lots of good stories on FFN are unfinished, how did you not only finish this one, but stick to regular releases of chapters?
A: Pure luck? All kidding aside, luck certainly played a part in it, in that I was able to keep writing even when I had writers block at times, plus I gave myself a posting schedule that wasn't more aggressive than I could handle. When I first started posting weekly, I always had at least 3-4 chapters "in the can" waiting to post barring any last-minute issues, and occasionally as many as 6. My goal was to always be writing at least a month ahead of what was posting, so I had plenty of time to go back and fix things that caused me problems in later chapters before I was committed.
As the chapters got longer, the queue of waiting chapters got smaller, and when I got down to only being 2 chapters ahead, I switched to the 2 week posting schedule to keep myself about a month ahead. I also wrote several of the epilogues well ahead of finishing (Epilogue 1 was written at the same time as chapter 17!), and often used them as a way to write something while working through a block on the current chapter. In the end I still had one chapter (26) post a week late, but that was because the chapter as it posted didn't even exist less than a week before the scheduled posting date and I needed the extra editing time.
Ultimately, the thing that helped the most with both regular posts and being able to finish was a fairly clear outline of what was to happen in each chapter (through chapter 29, though some things changed on the fly as I wrote them) along with a clear picture of where the story was going to end (Harry returning to Hogwarts, though originally it would have ended on the train rather than after the Opening Feast). While the outline did evolve organically as I wrote (up until the mid twenties, I tended to update the outline so it stayed 6-8 chapters ahead of what I was writing), it was a great help at making sure I didn't leave out any notable events that needed to happen, even if they didn't appear significant at the time.
Q: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.
A: Pick one:
1. Four Quarts.
2. A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.
3. Hey you woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!
Q: What's next?
A: I'm having shoulder surgery in 6 weeks for a torn rotator cuff so I really don't know. I may try to try and get 'Till Death Do Us Part edited and posted before then, but that's probably not going to happen. We'll see how much I can do with it during my recovery, but any heavy writing will probably have to wait until spring. Other than that, we'll just have to see where my muse takes me :)