Sooo... I wouldn't say that I'm new to Harry Potter fanfiction, because well, quite frankly, I'm not. I've read a lot of fanfics, many of them bad, many of them even worse, but there are of course a number of gems out there. Anyway, this is the first I've written, even though it doesn't really have a plot, seeing as how it's an essay type thingy.
I was just inspired one night, really, and I decided to write it. It took me three or four days to complete it and post it, which is quite a miracle for me, seeing as how it takes me really long to write stuff. Anyway, it's different. There's an actual idea here, even if there is no plot. There isn't a story, just a short narrative, but it's better than fluff. Fluff sickens me, there's way too much of it in this section. Anyway, I hope that whoever reads this will enjoy, and please review!
Pride and Prejudice
Scowl on face and hair slicked back, he spitefully eyed Potter and his friends as they studied noisily a few tables away. They were laughing, as he often saw them do, but he thought little of it. The only time he laughed was in mockery of Potter and his pathetic posse; otherwise, he found the sound displeasing to the ears. Ignoring them, he returned his attention to the blank roll of parchment in front of him.
He had recently discovered that there was an elective for Creative Writing, and as he fancied himself a nascent writer, he secretly signed up for it. His professor, Jan Zrcaldo, had given them an assignment to write an informal essay about a topic that was relevant, in lieu of the current events and situations.
The moment he received the assignment he knew what to write about, but he was having a difficult time in starting his essay. After a few more unfortunate staring matches with the blank parchment, he turned his attention back to Potter and his pot headed friends. Well, certainly she wasn't pot headed.
He studied her intently, but discreetly, watching each movement she made. He watched her bury her face in a broad, leather-bound tome. 'Probably Hogwarts, A History,' He mused to himself, a small smile forming on his sallow face, 'Well, she isn't Head Girl for nothing.' She had to be considered perfect by any standards. She was at the top of her class, Head Girl, her boyfriend was Gryffindor's star player, and the two were likely to be married and producing offspring as soon as they graduated. He gazed absorbedly as she played with her thick hair and as her sparkling eyes eagerly digested the information she was reading. He felt a slight pang of unwanted pain as Potter put his arm around her and elicited a laugh from her.
For a moment, after she threw her head back in amusement, her gaze carelessly fluttered upon him. Their eyes met, but she turned away the moment they did and a frown replaced her beaming smile.
Eyes narrowing, he immediately set his dripping quill into action, angrily scratching the no longer clean parchment.
Pride and Prejudice: Observing the Social Effects and Implications of the Four Houses of HogwartsSchool of Witchcraft and Wizardry
An Essay By: Slytherin or (Simply) Student (S.O.S.)
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is an establishment, like any other school, which promotes camaraderie among its denizens in the broadest sense. Not unlike other schools, Hogwarts has many a student that does not eagerly and easily accept all of his fellow scholars, digesting and believing all preconceived notions and slanderous hearsay. Cliques inevitably form, creating a thick and nearly impenetrable barrier for the social outcast, who they conveniently forget to invite.
However, unlike many other learning centers, Hogwarts has a particular and isolated aspect, which only adds to the total lack of unity—The Four Houses: the chivalrous, yet arrogant Gryffindor, the wise, yet insipid Ravenclaw, the warm yet dunderheaded Hufflepuff, and of course, the notorious and much maligned Slytherin. These houses, these divisions, are the roots from which pride and prejudice flower. And while the eponymous novel contains a happy ending, the same has yet to be said in the case of Hogwarts.
Aside from being judged by one's physical appearance or mental capacity, here at Hogwarts, we are being segregated according to an unabashed statement proclaimed by a tattered hat (which, by now, should be a breeding ground for all sorts of parasites). A student is judged by his strongest trait and branded accordingly and for all eternity. There is no chance for an appeal, because they've put all their faith into a grimy accessory, ignoring things like change, maturity, and disquieting revelations that force us to open our eyes to the truth. You are either thrust into the highest regard or looked down upon by others, once they hear what house you've been sorted into. Reformations of character become null and void because people refuse to look past the colors you wear.
As students, although it is an unwritten rule, we are very highly discouraged from fraternizing with people from other houses. We carry our colors, we carry our pride and we shun all else who oppose it. We find ourselves forming our own ideas of the aliens we share our classes with, learning what we can about them, while keeping as far away as possible. We form our stereotypes. We form our beliefs. We hate Gryffindor for their brazen arrogance and stupidity, which oftentimes is mistaken for bravery. We jeer at Ravenclaw for their almost mindless quest for knowledge and utter blandness. We scorn Hufflepuff for their simplemindedness and insignificance. And they all accuse us, whether it is behind our backs or waved directly in our faces, of our evil. They see us as evil beings that are only driven to serve Lord Voldemort.
And while a number of these allegations may prove to be factual, therein lies your problem and the flaw of the system under which Hogwarts functions. The very people, whom your students must trust, must get along with in order to secure a fruitful future for the Wizarding Community, are instead labeled as "Gryffindors," "Ravenclaws," "Hufflepuffs," or "Slytherins," which have now lost the noble resonance derived from the Four Founders. These titles have mutated into a form of profanity that commends one person, while insulting another.
Much like racism, sexism, and ageism, Hogwarts has created an all new form of discrimination—Housism. We look not at their skin color, but at the patch sewn onto their standard school robes. We look to see if the banner they walk underneath is of a lion, an eagle, a badger, or a snake. We look at their colors, whether red and gold, blue and bronze, yellow and black, or green and silver. And then we look at our own, and if they do not match, we reject their company and flock to those we are familiar with.
I am quite certain, that by now, you, the reader, can tell where my loyalties lie. My house is Slytherin, and I was, and still am, the prototypical, stereotypical Slytherin. I am sly. I am cunning. I keep to myself, with my own thoughts and convictions, but I am able to converse easily with my peers. I do not tolerate muggles or muggle-borns, as I was taught by my family. And I know the value of blood in our society, as I was taught by my lineage. I have learned to fix my face into a permanent scowl and I have become an expert in scaring away First Year Students. I openly scorned the creatures I called "mudbloods." I had no restrictions about voicing all of my insults and opinions of people who I knew were beneath me, because I knew that I was right. All that I was taught by my parents justified every cold shoulder, every lewd insult, every confrontation, and every tear that I had caused.
After all of that being said, you must be wondering why I am writing this essay. You must be wondering about the epiphany I had which inspired me to do this. You must be wondering about the event which opened my eyes, so to speak, and drew me away from the bigotry I grew up embracing.
After a group of Gryffindor students (who shall be left unnamed) put me through the most embarrassing ordeal I have ever had the misfortune to endure, Professor Albus Dumbledore asked that I be sent to his office. I feared that I would be reprimanded for something I had taken no part in, but was ultimately subjected to against my free will, but those fears were soon put to rest as he just asked me plainly, "Why do you think you and Mister Potter do not get along?"
I can recall staring at him blankly for a few good seconds, as if the answer was completely obvious. And to me, at that time, it was. "Because I'm a Slytherin and he's a Gryffindor."
"And if he wasn't?" He replied in the same, kind manner. I recall it infuriating me, because I mistook his warm tone for condescension. I recall feeling that he was merely toying with me, and like a little child, he was impatiently waiting for me to understand what he was saying.
But I understand now that it was needed, because I didn't understand him.
"You mean if he were in Ravenclaw?" I asked like a petulant boy, "Or Hufflepuff?"
"No," he answered calmly again, which only added to my agitation, "I meant that what if he was sorted into the same house as you? Whether that house be Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff? If you were housemates do you think that you would get along?"
I remember getting over the initial shock and insult of Professor Dumbledore even insinuating (however hypothetical it may have been) that I may ever be sorted into Hufflepuff, but I also remember my pride, which forced me to say, "No. Potter and I would never get along, never in a million years!"
For once, the twinkling in the Headmaster's eyes ceased and the sad, almost disappointed expression he had on his face burned its place in my memory. "Why? Because you are from Slytherin and he, from Gryffindor?"
"Yes—" Before I could continue, I understood the Headmaster's point. I understood how stupid I sounded and I finally saw the prejudice not only I was guilty of. I did not speak for a while, but I could see the old twinkle in his eyes returning. I found the courage to speak once more, "Professor, I apologize for speaking out of turn."
"You were always one of the more introspective students. I could tell that you were very insightful," I remember flushing with gratification as he spoke, "And yet it puzzled me to an inestimable extent why you did not bother to look deeper into the meaning of your house, and the three others." He knew as well I did that I understood, that I was enlightened.
"Thank you Professor."
"Now, Mister—" A loud cry from behind me sounded and I turned around hastily. It was the Headmaster's phoenix. It cried once more before bursting into magnificent flames, and after a few majestically tragic moments, it was reduced to ashes. Although there is beauty in its resurrection, as I look back upon it now, I can see it as an analogy of prejudice and bias.
For one moment, it is strong and alive within everyone, but eventually, people's hearts soften, and the prejudice is burned away. It dies; in despair that people have finally found that the beauty of acceptance is far greater than the seductiveness of elitism. It is reduced to ashes, dead now that people do not discriminate. But it is born, once again—in a different form, but still very much the same. It is born within the confused hearts of new people, and there it continues to take a life of its own, repeating the whole terrible cycle once more.
After witnessing this amazing event, the Headmaster gave me a few more encouraging words and sent me back to my house, but I was in too much of a daze to comprehend most of what he was saying. I was enlightened. I could see people, but I could not see their patches, their colors, or banners. For those things were insignificant.
Although I was enlightened by my encounter with Professor Dumbledore, it did not stop me from disliking people. I think that I was truly born to be a misanthrope, but now I knew that I could dislike people, no matter what house they belonged to. As cruel as that may sound, it is true. I was no longer prejudiced against anyone who belonged to a house that I did not belong to. I disliked all Gryffindors, Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs, and even Slytherins alike.
I was enlightened, but I was not inspired. I saw others close doors of friendship or companionship that they had never opened, but I did not act, because I felt no need to. I knew that the system was flawed and there was something wrong that was being ingrained into the minds of young students, but I made to move to intervene. In my mind, I had always thought, 'The Houses worked for a couple hundred years. It'll last a few more still.'
So, I let a lesser evil live and flourish within the hearts of students, who didn't know any better. I let a lesser evil live, but I wonder now if there ever was a greater evil. Because that lesser evil grew, it grew and spread throughout the halls of Hogwarts. Pride ran rampant through the tables, as each student upturned their nose at the people who stayed a table, which now seemed like a continent, away. Prejudices strengthened and only intensified as packs of students from a particular house, harassed and hazed lower classmen from opposing houses. Even Quidditch, which had always served as an outlet for rivalry, had turned all the more bitter and all the more violent.
But still, I did not act.
I remained quiet as I watched my fellow housemates bind, gag, and lock two unsuspecting Hufflepuffs into a room which was only there once a day. I stood impassively as a Gryffindor prank escalated out of control, and students from the other three houses were left to nurse their injuries in the Hospital Wing. I did not speak, because I knew that they would not listen. If I ever had any chance to change their minds, their hearts, it had been lost, now that the division was far too great to heal.
One day though, one day, I decided to break my silence. Why, you ask? What possessed me to crack under the pressure and start on my evangelizing mission?
I will not lie to you. It wasn't a tragic death that would scar me for life. It wasn't a chivalrous act, done simply from the goodness of one's heart. It wasn't the loss of a limb or any other important appendage. It wasn't a deadly disease, nor was it the loss of any of my five senses. It was a girl.
A pretty enough girl, not beautiful by any standards, but pretty still. A smart girl, the smartest in our year. A girl from Gryffindor. A muggle-born girl. A girl who I tormented relentlessly, cruelly. A girl who was a thorn in my side, with her high pitched voice and vocal indignation. I admired her for her strength and intelligence, but I would never admit it to anyone. And until one day, I truly enjoyed each eloquent scream that came from her mouth, relishing in the fact that I had someone up to my level that I could verbally spar with. But then I found her surrounded by a gaggle of Slytherin girls, who made no effort to hide their distaste for her, openly ridiculing her lack of wealth, her tainted blood.
Something within my blood boiled, and although I knew that I was guilty of the same thing, I was outraged at their behavior, but I could not move from my hiding place. After a few more scathing remarks and petty appraisals, the girls lost interest and left her there, trembling and sobbing quietly.
Deciding that I could no longer stay put, I revealed myself. Instantly, I regretted it, because I did not know what to say to the girl, who, by now had been weeping openly on the floor. I would sound like a hypocrite if I apologized for them, because she saw how I harassed her friends. I could not take her into my arms and console her with my warmth, because I knew I had none. But as soon as that thought entered my mind, a foreign urge surged inside me, and I wanted nothing else but to do just that. But I couldn't.
"Listen," I said boldly, though my voice wavered slightly. She hadn't noticed my presence until I spoke, "I—"
"What? You're sorry?" she shrieked at me, her voice breaking as she hiccupped, "How dare you?"
"I wasn't going to say that," I protested, suddenly angry at her, and angry at the situation, "I meant—"
She interrupted me again, "Then have you come to laugh at me a bit more? Trample me further into the ground? Because that certainly seems to be the style you Slytherins are following?"
The more my anger grew, the more regret I felt, "I did not—"
"Why do all of you hate me so much?" Although she was crying, I could tell that she was angrier than she was sad, "Is it because my parents are muggles? Is it because I'm a Gryffindor? Or is it both?"
"Just as well, I hate you and your... kind." Her crying subsided, but her breath still came out in ragged gasps.
"My kind?" I remember my surprise at managing to get a word in.
"Slytherin!" she screeched, spitting the word out as if it were a lethal poison. She got up from the cold ground, and began gesticulating wildly, "All of you think that you're better than the rest of us. You think that your house is so much better, but I'd choose bravery, wisdom, or loyalty over cunning any day." She let out an unpleasant snort, "Cutthroat more like! You walk, laugh, and live with each other, under the false pretense of unity, but unlike the three other houses, we know that once given the opportunity, any Slytherin would betray another Slytherin just so that he may profit." She was breathing so heavily that I thought she might have a seizure, "You rich, evil, pompous asses! You rat faced dissemblers who'd sooner betray a comrade than get your clothes dirty! You sad excuses for human beings, who give a damn about nothing else, but blood and money! Blood means nothing! Blood doesn't determine how great or how smart you are, but you bigoted Slytherins are too narrow-minded to see that!" I remember each word, because each syllable she uttered stabbed me in the heart.
I grabbed her balled up fist as it swung towards me, and I stared at her with the coldest gaze I could muster, "I see all of that."
She stopped for a while, her clammy arm still locked within my hand. She looked at me with her glossy eyes and I looked back with mine. Our eyes were, indeed, locked together, but there was no spark or tingling sensation, whether or not I would have wanted it, but there was passion. There was passion in her eyes that was fueled by her hate for me. And there was passion that burned within my cold eyes, because this girl didn't know anything about me.
But I refused to say anything else.
With one great cry, she wrestled her arm from my grip and began pounding her small fists on my chest, "What do you know? If you see anything at all, then why do you hate me and my friends so much? Why do you hate me? If not because of my house or my blood, then why? Is it because I'm smarter than you? Is it because I'm ugly? Is it because I'm not rich? Why? What's wrong with me?"
Aside from the beating I was receiving from the tiny girl, my throat constricted and my mind refused to work properly. I grabbed her hands once more, though not as roughly before, and I looked bravely into her eyes once more, "You're not ugly..." I managed to say, lamely.
But she stopped. She stopped and she looked at him, a new horror replaced the anger in her eyes. Likewise, did guilt and embarrassment appear in mine. Her mouth opened and closed, and she looked like a lame doll, "I—I can't..." She took a step back, and another one, and another and another, until she was gone.
I stared after her miserably. 'Of course she would run away,' I remember telling myself despondently. After a monologue like that, it was clear where she stood, and that was away from me, far, far away. Away from my arms, where she had never been held; away from my laugh, my real laugh, which she had never heard. And away from a future, our future, which would never be, because of the two seeds which had been sown tightly into her heart and blossomed into great, but hideous flowers.
Pride and Prejudice.
It is foolish (and uncharacteristic) for me to become sentimental over a girl, much less a girl who I knew only through her unsavory acquaintances. I will not pretend for the sake of dramatics that I was ever in love with her— far from it. But pride and prejudice robbed from me, from us, any chance of becoming lovers, much less friends. Because I was blind, and because she too could not see, the attraction I felt for her (which at first, I had been ashamed of) could not be pursued and I was left unsatisfied and yearning for something I kept denying myself. I had been afraid of public shame and she had been afraid of me.
And now, I have paid for it dearly.
Our relationship, which was like a tumor, was removed immediately, before friendship or love could run throughout my body. But it would be unfair to compare love to cancer, and cancer to love, seeing as how I haven't experienced either of the two. I cannot be cynical towards love, since I have had no experience with it, but after our encounter I became dissatisfied without it. I had lost my chance with her. I lost my chance for it.
The regret I had for her filled me, but I pushed it aside, because it was a useless emotion. I took it and transformed it into something useful: Inspiration.
I decided to break my quiet and this essay is that first step. And while it may be a small one, it is the beginning of what I hope will be a revolution, whether that means the dissolution of the four Houses, or the dissolution of pride and prejudice. And while the former is the likelier of the two, one can only hope that eventually, people will look past petty things such as money, blood, and status. If change were to start in the whole Wizarding Community, pray that it starts within the students. That their hearts may soften and that their minds may be more open.
In the cycle of pride and prejudice, we are currently in the first stage, and we have been there for a long time. This is the point where the evil in our hearts is strong and we are weak. This is the time when the evil is welcomed, because it distances them from people who they wouldn't want to be associated with. As I write this essay, I can only hope that it will serve as a catalyst to a chain of events that will unsettle the Wizarding World, but ever the realist, I would be happy to simply affect this school, by which we all unite under. I would already be content if at least one heart, one soul blackened with housism or any other form of discrimination will see the light, as I have.
In the end, the school, which to any student would be the world, cannot survive if its students are to live selfishly underneath an elitist banner. Though our school crest is divided into four, we must unite under the very thing in its center.
As he wrote the final word with a tired scratch, he looked discontentedly at the piece. It had transformed itself from an informal essay, into a narrative composition, into a rambling monologue. 'This is not acceptable.' He thought with distaste. He hadn't followed the proper format, pace, and style that an essay, whether formal or informal required.
He had been too caught up, too passionate, about what he had been writing that he just let the words, plain and unembellished, fall easily onto the parchment. There was no organization, no clear outline that he should have been following. He wondered for a moment what possessed him to write so arbitrarily. Random ideas had been placed in random paragraphs, something he would have not usually done. But as a wad of balled up parchment hit his face, he looked up and he suddenly remembered why.
The thought rang unpleasantly through his head. He knew that she was looking at him now, as she scolded Potter for acting immature, and with all of the venom he could muster, he gave her his most withering glare. And as he saw the hurt on her face, which was replaced by a cool impassiveness within moments, he hated his essay all the more.
Deeming it, 'profusely unacceptable,' he left the library in a silent huff, deciding instead to write an essay which would be entitled, "Analyzing the Effects of Wolfsbane on the Fitness and Wellbeing of Lycanthropes and Humans Alike."
After the quietly seething boy made his exit, the girl who he had been ogling excused herself from the table, stating that she needed a book for History of Magic (Knights of the Pentagonal Table: Fabled and Differently Able), and as she passed his table, she noticed a number of long, used sheets of parchment.
Curiosity getting the better of her, she made a slight detour and retrieved the discarded essay from the table. Glimpsing at the title, she was intrigued, but she read no more of it. Scuttling back to her friends, she hid the many sheets of parchment into her book and sat back down on her seat.
She read silently, enthralled by the piece, nodding her head in agreement in some parts, cringing in others, but left silent and spellbound for the majority of the piece. She knew that he had written the essay, but she had no idea that he thought about the houses, Hogwarts, society, and her this way.
Near tears as she finished the essay, her friends asked her what was wrong.
She only gave them a bitter laugh, thinking how ironic that question was.
So, how was that? I hope it was good. I think I lost the storyline (not that there is one really) along the way, but I suppose it's decent enough. Anyway, all the views reflected in the story are pretty much my own. I do think that the House system is flawed and encourages discrimination. Tsk tsk, but that's just me probably. The one thing I can hope, by writing this, is that someone saw my point and agreed with it. Thanks for reading (whoever was kind enough to click on this link), and you know what would be even kinder? A review!
I hope Wicked fans got that.
I'm sure that you're wondering who S.O.S is. Well, it's a secret. You can decide for yourself who he is, whether he's a character we all know and love, or just some obscure Slytherin character who's constantly overlooked. If you'd like, you could post your speculations in the form of a review!
Squee! Shameless self-promotion!