What you recognise is not mine, it's JKR's and she makes the money, not me.


This story takes place after the events of Unforgiven Love. Please note that the central theme is surviving traumas, so there will be angst, mentions of rape, self-harm, suicide, war atrocities and torture. It's supposed to be an optimistic story and I try not to be too graphic, but it sometimes can't be avoided to explain how it affects individuals.


Please bear with me for the "boring academia" of this prologue: I promise it helps understanding some parts of the plot... but if it's not your style, you can easily skip it and go to the first chapter where the story really begins in Snape's office at Hogwarts on May 2, 1998.


This prologue and the first chapter have been betaed by FionaLaFleur and Astoria Telerin.


Prologue


Encyclopedia Magica, Vol. XXIV, p 39 245 to 39 273 – Photographs and portraits – CCXIXth Edition.

[…] A photograph will just freeze the echo of an event. There is nothing of the real person in it, except the physical traits and the appearance of emotion. There is nothing more to it than what meets the eye despite the illusion of reality given by movement. (See *photography: techniques).

Ordinary paintings are also an echo of the past. They do not echo a moment in time but a person at a particular moment in time. Once the painting is finished, the echo of the person is permanently locked in the painting with their looks and personality until the very moment of the activating spell. You can interact with them, but they have only limited existence, capability of memory and they cannot evolve, rendering subsequent interaction superficial at best. If the portrayed person is still alive, they will ultimately differ from what they were at the time they were painted, as their range of experience will expand. First level Blood magic is implied, with a small shedding of the person's blood incorporated into the pigments, but the spells are very similar to photography.

The magic used in wakeful portraits is different from that used in the ordinary paintings. The intent is to keep a part of a living person after their death in order to benefit from their experience, cleverness and particular gifts. Since the aforementioned purpose can be accomplished only by capturing a portion of the soul, complete with the essence and memories of a person and link them to a painted portrait, the core of the spells are not very different from those used to make a Horcrux (See *criminality, *dark spells, *Voldemort). However, there is no dark magic implied in making that kind of portrait and no evil motive. The intent is based on love or respect

Furthermore, the reversal part of the spell is missing unlike a Horcrux, since there is no intent to ever bring back the dead. Necromancers have tried to introduce it with poor success, like Phoebus Mephistopheles. he achieved the return of his lover Georgius Faustus' soul but only by his person transforming in a murderous squib. Faustus was sentenced to death by the German muggle authorities and Mephistopheles was sentenced to life in prison by the Magish Hoher Gerishtshof.

[…] In the process of portrait making, the soul is not fractured in violence as it is typically supposed to in the case of Dark magic. If death is implied, it is only as part of a time spell. The death of the portrayed one will activate the blood magic and suck in part of the soul in the portrait, thus enabling the waking of the painting. The portrait then takes on existence in a parallel plane to both the world of the living and the realm of death. No communication with the world of death has ever been achieved through a portrait, despite the fact that necromancers have regularly attested to trying in vain, resulting in violent reactions both from the portraits and the realm of the dead.

The portrait simply takes over from the point where the original person died. They lose the dimension of time that affects the living, but they can interact with them.

[…] Painters will often use two other time-setting spells. A fealty spell is mandatory for State portraits commissioned by the Ministry for Magic. The second, a displacement spell, is optional but has been systematically added since the making of the Hogwarts portrait of Headmistress Dilys Agripina Derwent in 1741. A displacement spell will enable the portrayed person to move from one painting to another.

Attempts have been made to make wakeful sculptures, link the soul to a Patronus and even make voluntary ghosts, but these seem to be too disturbing for the living and unsatisfactory for the preserved soul. Painted portraits appear to be the most satisfying compromise so far.

[…] The soul undergoes its ultimate destiny and awaits for the end of the portrait or the end of time to be reunited with its missing part. Speculations as to what would happen at the reunion of a soul with its missing part if the portrait has gone on living an entirely different way than its original life, either damning or redeeming, have been difficult to conclude.

[...] In time, entropy will affect portraits too, as raw materials like canvas and paint will age and decay. Restoration can theoretically extend their existence indefinitely but in fact, many portraits tend to become passive and dozy with time. Some even appear to experience depression or senility. A few have actually stilled, and it is supposed from their last words that their inhabitants have decided to reunite with the rest of their soul.

It has often been argued, and by portraits themselves, that it is not the condition of being a portrait that causes dissent, but the very personality of the portrayed person as well as the quality of their interaction with the living. The most powerful wizard in the world could very well turn mad or senile if their personality was rather troubled to begin with and if the living or other portraits were to refuse to engage with them in meaningful communication.

The best examples of wakeful portraits are the portraits of the former Headmasters in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who are bound to the current Headmaster and the portraits of the former Chief Warlocks bound to the Minister of Magic. The tradition of Hogwarts, as well as the need to watch for students all over the castle makes for rather close ties between the Headmaster or Headmistress and the portraits. Interaction with portraits at the Ministry, however, has experienced a steady decline during the twentieth century. It has been directly linked to a growing number of officials with a muggle-born background who felt uneasy with portraits and did not know how to deal with them.

[…] It is interesting to note that the first attempts to develop portrait spells were created by Salazar Slytherin himself, after the death of Godric Gryffindor. He became obsessed with the fated loss of knowledge and understanding about what they had tried to achieve at Hogwarts. That obsession was further fuelled with the fear of leaving an incomplete legacy for his followers. He didn't carry his work very far before his own death, no doubt because of the poor quality of paintings at the time, though the Slytherin family boasted of a 'living' tapestry representing their famous forbearer, and that enabled him to hold a place of honour at all family gatherings. However, the tapestry was not heard of again after the burning that destroyed Slytherin Hall in 1651, as collateral damage of the Muggle Civil War (See *history of Britain).

The Quattrocento's developments in creative arts enabled wizard painters to progress Salazar Slytherin's fascination. The necessary spells were perfected by Rudolfo di Mugello, an Italian wizard who was Professor of Charms and Head of Hufflepuff from 1434 to 1555, and a friend of Fra Angelico and Leonardo.

[…] By the 1780s, there was hardly a European aristocratic family that did not boast of a gallery of prominent ancestors, who aided the Head of Family in decision making. It later proved more of a liability than an asset, since it tended to encourage conservative attitudes in purebloods by discouraging innovation and the seeking of knowledge outside the realm of their closest relations.

Modern historians now outline the portraits' significant influence in the trend that lead most continental pureblood families to be caught in muggle revolutions against nobility in the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries, and as the major cause of the devide between the muggle and wizarding society that developed in Britain later.

In that country, the absolute separation process began straight after the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations organised by the British muggle government in 1851. The afflux of visitors made for several very close calls when the magical firms building Platform 9 ¾ narrowly escaped being outed to the muggles. The most conservative pureblood leaders managed then to carry out in the Wizengamot a vote for a more definitive and drastic separation from the muggle world than even Salazar Slytherin had ever dreamed of. The display of muggle technological achievements fed the fear that they now had powerful means to find out, pursue and eradicate magical settlements. It is well known that the portraits of Chief Warlock Godwyn Diggory and Chief Witch Ambrosina Crabbe refused to be silenced during that session and insulted each other as traitors to the wizarding world, a quarrel that has been going on for decades now, despite repeated entreaties by the successive Ministers for Magic.

This plainly shows the level of independence portraits can develop despite the loyalty binding, all the more since they were forceful personalities to begin with. It also explains why they are often irreverently referred to as 'watcher portraits'. Hence the vast amount of legal texts concerning the portraits: copyrights or patenting rights for their post-mortem contributions, credits awarded in published research and recognition of the validity of their judicial procedures… But also formal demands from offended or harassed descendants to break the bind, take the portrait down and have them exiled, generally to Hogwarts.

[...] Weak minded persons should be barred from prolonged association with all kinds of portraits. As far as ordinary paintings are concerned, these individuals primarily risk projecting too many emotions on the portrait in a self delusional relationship, which often leads to depression.

A few examples show that forceful personalities can still grow as wakeful portraits, even to the point of manipulation of the living, e.g. the destruction of Dorian Gray's portrait as ordained by the Wizengamot in 1890 after the scandal of his breaking part of the Secrecy through a muggle work of fiction. He was sentenced for murder, manipulation and abuse of muggles, blackmail and repeated violations of the International Code of Wizarding Secrecy. In fact, the scandal was so overwhelming that it led to the last reform to date of the Code. (See *capital punishment, *International Code of Wizarding Secrecy).

During the Second Death Eaters War (1994-1998) and its aftermath, several events at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and at the Ministry proved the validity of this analysis. [...]

Credits:

Techniques and Theory: Augustin Colin Creevey, Wizarding Academy of Arts, May 2078.

History and Sociology: Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, June 2077.