Chapter Commentary, Part Two
Chapter 11 – The Squib of Fate
Hermione has learned a thing or two from Harry Potter; she expertly manipulates Lily into not going after Nihilo, even projecting motherly concern as a way to distract Lily's normally 'keen and penetrating mind' (shoutout to the POA film!).
While Voldemort's defeat certainly discredited his ideology, I don't think it would have gone away entirely, because unlike with real racism and prejudice, there is a difference between Wizards and Muggles. As I mentioned earlier, Lily has a hint of it herself, even though she would vehemently deny it. Her development and realization of this is a major theme of the story.
Lily's speculations about Great Elves, of course, ultimately comes to nothing, but it is an interesting question, what other kinds of magical creatures exist in the HP world. Although Andromeda was always the victim, I was tempted to go more into the background of Great Elves, and even considered bringing one to life as an accomplice. But for reasons discussed below, I stuck with my original idea that the Ortus would be the force making events go into motion.
Nihilo and Nihila make their direct appearance here. One of the tricky things I had to work out is how they can use the antimagic blood without getting harmed themselves. Exploring this issue brings into the story my original character of Martin Andrews. From the beginning I was planning on involving a Muggle scientist that would actually be able to help Lily and Harry. Immediately it became obvious how to make the character even more interesting: make him a Squib as well. As hinted later, despite being a witch Hermione, like Dumbledore, still keeps tabs on the Muggle world; you never know when those blasted Muggles will be helpful! ;)
Lily's intense initial discomfort with Martin is again a way of showing Lily's flawed personality. But to her credit, she is very respectful and open-minded when she encounters him in person. And that's the point: we're all people, no matter our backgrounds. No reason we can't all be friends, or at least civil! Getting back to the blood, the way Nihilo/Nihila can use it safely is that, due to the way it works, it only becomes 'antimagical' in the presence of magic. So what they did was to coat their victims with it, then cast a spell on it, which 'brings it to life' so to speak, and destroys the magical properties of whoever and whatever it is in contact with.
Martin's wonder at magic is a sad reminder that he was kicked out of the magical world without a say in the matter. That purebloods would do this is not surprising, if regrettable. The sheer joy of having magic, which is not fully described in PS/SS, is something I wanted to convey when Martin miraculously becomes magical thanks to the Ortus.
Of course, Lily's suspicious mind immediately makes things grim again: having been warned about the Squib of Fate, she now suspects their new ally of being the one who will destroy wizardry! It's not easy overcoming one's prejudices, so we should be patient.
Chapter 12 – Dumbledore Again
Xenophilus' involvement is foreshadowed here; he is the link that will bring Lily and Harry to the Ortus. In reading OotP, I was always struck by Luna's story about her mother and what happened to her. When Dumbledore speaks about the terrible thing behind those locked doors, knowing how JKR operates I immediately suspected that Luna's mother (who doesn't have a name, which is why I keep calling her Luna's mum!) was killed by that same thing. Additionally, the implication in this story is that Xenophilus (and to a smaller extent Luna) are such odd characters in no small part due to that 'terrible experiment gone wrong.'
As I mentioned earlier, the antimagical blood reacts to magic; it was inadvertently activated by Dumbledore when he unsealed the tomb, which caused the perseveration charm around Slytherin's hands to disappear. Those tiny red flags on the top of Hogwarts were also coated with small fragments of Yumi's blood—in a sense, Nihilo and Nihila's own weapons turned against them! In other words, by wearing clothes dabbed in Yumi's blood, no magic can penetrate them; however, to protect from the blood taking away their magic, Nihilo and Nihila wore nonmagic-made clothing beneath the robes, to isolate their skin from the blood-soaked robes. It sounds a little convoluted, I agree, but I hope it's consistent enough!
As we see later with Teddy, Harry unlike Dumbledore is willing to trust others with vital information. Accordingly, he finally takes Lily fully into his confidence, and they are no longer just father-daughter, but partners. The 'Harry Potter' tour, mentioned earlier, refers to the idea that Harry would undoubtedly become a Hogwarts legend (even if he never returned), so there will be a whole folklore that will be passed down to future generations of Hogwarts students. Among them are trips recreating the places Harry travelled in and around Hogwarts as part of his quest to defeat Voldemort.
Harry leaving the Resurrection Stone in the Forbidden Forest was always a central point of this story. I still find it curious how blasé he was with the Deathly Hallows (as an aside, I don't think either he or Dumbledore ever had all three at the same time; if anyone knows differently, please correct me in a review or PM). His 'carelessness' with these objects, along with his decision to tell Teddy everything, sets things in disastrous motion. As Lily notes, the question is how Nihila learned of Voldemort's secret weapon, when even Harry with his connection to the Dark Lord's mind, never knew of it. The answer of course is that Nihila didn't contact Voldemort first, but Bellatrix, who through some nasty Dark Magic finds out the secret.
All the wandlore involving ownership of the Elder Wand is interesting if a bit convoluted. I must say I'm not entirely convinced that the Elder Wand would have changed allegiances with Draco just because Harry took Draco's wand, as opposed to the Elder Wand itself. So as I discuss later, I retcon it by saying that the Elder Wand, always desiring power, hates to be powerless; it always wants to serve a master. So if its master abdicates ownership of the Elder Wand, it becomes a free agent, willing to serve whoever reclaims it.
Another mystery from DH is Dumbledore's portrait, which seems much more conscious and capable than an ordinary portrait would be. Almost like a Horcrux! ;) Indeed, I hint at that in Chapter 14. Note carefully Dumbledore's first words to Harry, and compare to what Dumbledore says to Harry inside the Veil. Not a coincidence! Of course, by contrast Snape's portrait is like any other, so it has no memory of Snape's real attitudes and memories towards Harry.
Those chilling portents of doom from Xenophilus gnaw at Lily, and are the hook that causes her to go to him, which leads to the most mysterious, difficult and controversial part of this story: the Ortus.
Chapter 13 – The Ortus
'Foul loathsome evil cockroach!' – a shoutout to the POA movie!
As I mentioned in Part One, in speculating about what HP6 and 7 would be about, I speculated that what was behind those locked doors in OotP was what I called the Heartstone, being the source of all magic in the world. When I started to write this story, I knew that this source of magic would be involved in some way. But because JKR said that it was a fountain, I needed a new name. For many of the spells in this story, I used a Latin-English online dictionary. For source, I found the word 'Ortus', which sounded perfect! Knowing about what happened to the Lovegoods, I knew Xenophilus would have to be involved, as the gateway character that leads Lily and Harry to the Ortus, for better and worse. As Luna says, the backstory is straightfoward: Luna's mom (what's her name, lol), working in the Department of Mysteries, wants to do what no wizard since Merlin did—touch the Ortus, which is in the heart of the Ministry of Magic. As JKR revealed, it's hidden behind a fountain. Knowing that magic is love (more about that later), Luna's mom, accompanied by the two people she loves the most in the world, tries to approach the Ortus in a spirit of love. Unfortunately, she is too successful; by so exhibiting love, she immediately becomes one with the Ortus/Magic. Desperate to keep what happened secret, the Ministry puts the Prohibitorium curse on Xenophilus, which keeps him from speaking about it to anyone, but the impact of that day lives on, leaving him restless and wanting to know about the hidden nature of the wizarding world, hence his belief in the Hallows.
I toyed with having Luna under the Prohibitorium curse as well, but decided that because she was only nine at the time, the Ministry believed she would not remember. They underestimated Luna, as so many have before! ;) As an additional tie-in with Deathly Hallows, the actual physical appearance of the Ortus is similar to the symbol of the Deathly Hallows, except in a three-dimensional form. As part of the backstory I speculated that the Peverell brothers also managed to explore the mysteries of the Ortus, so designated their symbol based on what they saw. Originally the Ortus was even going to have three tiny specks missing, which would have been the magical cores of the Elder Wand, Invisibility Cloak and the Resurrection Stone, but I changed my mind. So briefly, the Ortus is not a magical device like a wand or cloak; it represents Magic itself (more in next chapter). So in a sense it has a mind of its own. It doesn't take sides, so it will help Harry and Luna when they have it, and Andromeda when she does, because they are both part of Magic as well.
As Harry notes, instead of treating the Ortus like a powerful magical object—an it—he treats it as if it were another person. He acknowledges his relation to Magic, and therefore the Ortus as part of Magic as well becomes part of Harry, and safe to handle. In so doing, Harry wielded the full power of Magic, which can do almost (but not quite) anything.
In addition to the Ortus, I had planned that the Veil would be in this story, for the final climactic conclusion, and because Harry and Lily would travel through the Veil to the beyond, and meet Dumbledore there. Understandably Harry is a little reluctant given what happened to Sirius, but Lily, learning from her dad's example, is willing to trust what the Ortus reveals.
Chapter 14 – Beyond the Veil
This was such a wonderful phrase I knew it would be a title of the story even before I had fully planned the plotline! The same goes with 'First Day on the Job', 'The Squib of Fate', 'Magic's End', 'The Last Wizard', and 'Secrets for the Grave'. For the latter, you will see that phrase sprinkled in as foreshadowing in this chapter and others.
One of the major plotlines cut out due to time was greater involvement of Andromeda and especially Teddy. I cut it out for several reasons: length, a fear that I would spoil things, and because it led to difficulties for the story. Had I included more of Andromeda's views about her past, which she was going to share with Lily, Nihila's rant against Lucius would have sounded very familiar. Though I don't show it, she gets at least part of her revenge by turning all the Death Eaters and sympathizers (especially Umbridge!) into Squibs. But as discussed later, her hatred is much deeper and broader.
As discussed earlier, I found Dumbledore's portrait suspiciously capable, almost as if it had part of his soul in it. I explain it by saying that before Dumbledore died, he put shadow of his own mind into it, not enough to split his soul, but enough for his form to not be perfectly preserved. In the King's Cross chapter of DH, Dumbledore is completely whole; here, his tampering with himself is manifested in the fact that, even after death, his hand is still burned. I highly doubt JKR planned things this way, but it was a way of working things out for myself.
Note how the real Dumbledore, beyond the Veil, says almost word-for-word what he says to Harry and Lily in Chapter 12!
Another part I cut out due to length was the reason Harry was mad at Dumbledore: it's because Harry thinks that Dumbledore still didn't tell him the whole truth! Go back to HBP, Dumbledore says to Harry: "Four years ago, I received what I considered to be certain proof that Voldemort had split his soul." Note the adjective certain—I strongly believe Dumbledore strongly suspected Voldemort had made a Horcrux, from the moment he learned that Voldemort had disappeared. As we know from the final victory in DH, the rebounding curse does not destroy your body, but merely kills you like Avada Kedavra. But no body was found, which must have raised suspicions with Dumbledore. He tells Snape not long after that 'The Dark Lord will return,' but if Lily's charm would have caused the curse to rebound, he should have been confident that Voldemort was actually dead. And not only do I think Dumbledore knew from the very beginning that Voldemort had made (at least one) Horcrux, I think he also knew (or reasonably suspected) that Harry's connection to Voldemort was due to Harry being a Horcrux as well! Assuming I'm right, one wonders why Dumbledore didn't tell him this from the beginning; maybe just because he didn't think it relevant. But here, Harry has had almost thirty years to think about what happens, so this is what he suspects. And now that he has the chance to talk to Dumbledore 'again', he remembers his anger at Dumbledore for not telling the whole truth. This is what Harry refers to when he says he's angry at Dumbledore; it's not because the portrait didn't tell him about the Squib of Fate, but because Dumbledore still didn't tell everything—that tricky Albus! ;)
The Ontology of Harry Potter
I'm certain that JKR has a fully realized vision of the ultimate nature of reality and magic in the Harry Potter world; I'm also certain she will never tell us all the details, although she might hint at them in her encyclopedia, if and when she ever writes it. But in creating the Ortus for this story, I had to think about the ultimate nature of magic and reality as revealed in the Harry Potter universe, which is the philosophical subject known as 'ontology'.
You will notice how I constantly refer to magic as Magic, and how wizards in this story often seem to use Magic in an almost-religious manner (e.g., 'may Magic be with you'). This latter part is not in evidence in the Harry Potter novels, but after thinking about this subject, I began using it more and more in the story, even if it's not strictly canonical. So my idea about the ultimate nature of Magic in the Harry Potter universe is this: Magic is conceived in pantheistic terms. In other words, Magic is the universe, as is everyone and everything. I also use the notion that Magic is Love, and given what we understand love to be, it raises an immediate question: is self-love truly love? If not, if true love is the elevation of others rather than self, then there is a conundrum—how can Magic love, if everything is Magic? That's where I create my legend of the Fall, which should be familiar to many. Only if there was something—someone—apart from Magic, could Magic truly love. But that Other, being Not Magic, realized its inferiority to Magic and rebelled against it. This division between Magic and lesser parts of Magic—wizards, people and all other sentient beings in the HP universe—is the ultimate reason for death and its irreversibility. By being separate from the all-pervading nature of Magic (or Magick as Merlin called it), people have the freedom to live their lives, choose their paths, and love others. Eventually, because all flesh (as a limited form of Magic) is mortal, the fragile individual souls who inhabit this world become part of Magic again. Magic enforces the barrier between life and death, but that barrier can be breached by Magic. In attempting to become immortal, Voldemort would ultimately have to pervert Magic, and become all of Magic himself, as the Carus (Latin for Beloved) tried to do.
Now, none of this is necessary to understand or enjoy Lily Potter; it's just part of the background. The Ortus can work as a mysterious magical device, although why it would be willing to destroy all magic if it is magic itself may seem strange. I will try to explain my thinking more in discussing the last chapter. In a way, it's like the Elder Wand—it doesn't make a difference to the Ortus whether it's one wizard or all of wizards, in a nonlogical way both are equal in its view.
Dumbledore reveals he is the one who found Slytherin's Tomb, the first of many revelations that take place in this story. All these revelations are actually something of a weakness, they should have emerged organically from the unfolding of events, but because I shortened the story a lot, people like Dumbledore and Andromeda have to do a lot of monologuing to present required background information.
The prophecy of the Squib of Fate was a lot of fun to write; I haven't really written any poetry since middle school or high school, but the prophecy is meant to read like very ominous poetry. The second stanza is of particular interest, as I will discuss shortly. You may wonder: does it come true? Pretty much yes; the meaning of each line, each word of the prophecy, should be crystal clear by now. As an aside, was the prophecy of Harry and Voldemort fulfilled? The only line I find inconsistent with how the story turned out is the most crucial one: 'Neither can live while the other survives.' As we now know, both Harry and Voldemort were, in a sense, each other's Horcruxes. If the prophecy were 100% accurate, it might have said: "Neither can die while the other survives", or "Neither can live while the other perishes." Tricky things, prophecies! ;)
Dumbledore's remarks about Nihilo and Nihila's character are another hint of foreshadowing of Andromeda and Teddy; he senses that whoever they are, their hatred is not some unthinking prejudice, but the result of concrete wrongs.
Chapter 14 – Magic's End
More than anything, this chapter is the reason why it took so long to finish the story. Perhaps for the first time as a fanfic author, I had writer's block.
I had most of the plot for this story well-conceived, but I wasn't exactly sure how to get from Harry and Lily stepping out of the Veil, to Harry, Lily, Hermione and Martin finding Yumi. This chapter was probably going to be several chapters long, and originally some of the subplots would have been: Ron, Harry and Hermione working together to fight Nihilo and Nihila; Harry finding Teddy and Andromeda after they were 'attacked' by Nihilo and Nihila, where Teddy would take Harry's wand away from him as he lay 'injured' on the ground, in order to get the allegiance of the Elder Wand; Lily and Martin trying to work with the Ortus, and Martin becoming magical in this chapter; a much more intense attack on the Ministry of Magic where Nihilo and Nihila try to steal the Ortus but fail; and perhaps most crucial, Nihilo and Nihila casting a spell which causes everyone to notice that their magical abilities were draining away.
In other words, Nihilo and Nihila had told the wizarding world that magic would soon be destroyed. I originally wanted them to do some powerful spell that would have made it obvious to everyone that they were losing their magical powers; it would have made the quest to find them that more urgent. But try as I might, I couldn't think of something that would make sense, especially since the original idea of how magic would be destroyed was that either the Ortus was put in Yumi's blood, or that it was taken into the Veil. Neither of these plans could be made consistent with the idea of a universal magic-draining spell, but I thought I needed to include it. Finally, after a few weeks of intense thinking, I simplified things considerably: as soon as Harry and Lily come back, the Ortus, aware that in the near future it will be in the hands of Andromeda and Teddy, decides to vanish. Once the Ortus has vanished, magic begins to fade from the world, which is referenced (rather weakly I admit) when Harry discovers his magical strength has decreased. Of course, if the Ortus disappeared, how could Andromeda's plan to destroy it with the blood or throw it in the Veil work? I decided to just continue using the idea that if the Ortus was gone, then magic would come to an end. So when everyone is captured, their only hope is to wish that the Ortus came back! This became a difficulty because originally Martin became magical in this chapter (before The Last Wizard), so the Ortus would have been with them. By bringing the Ortus to Nihilo and Nihila, who could not remove it themselves from the Ministry of Magic, Harry and Lily would have done Andromeda's work for her.
There were lots of related inconsistencies and plotholes that I won't go into further detail here. So I decided I would just leave things a little vague and explain everything in the final chapters. I hope it worked out!
I always imagined Xenophilus dying at the hands of Nihila/Andromeda, without fear, willing to become one with Magic. It was hard to do because it seemed out of character, as Andromeda really didn't want any wizard to die (she wanted them all alive, and suffering!) But because the Ortus was so important to them (for differing reasons as I imagined the story), it was justifiable to do. It's clear Nihilo is not as militant as Nihila; I made it deliberately so in order that Teddy could be somewhat redeemable in the final chapter; had he killed someone, Harry and Lily could not have covered things up, no matter how much they might have wanted to.
The Squib of Fate being Japanese is a shoutout to all the Japanese Harry Potter fans! I remember being impressed by a story in the news about how big Harry Potter is in Japan, and I always wanted the final battle to take place in Japan as well. I think the idea is that the Ministry of Magic is the wizard government for the entire world, but it's not entirely clear, as the immediate world of HP is Eurocentric (in a good way). Originally Martin would have found out who the Squib of Fate was through magical abilities (as he was to become united with the Ortus in this chapter originally), but I then changed my mind and decided better to use his actual scientific abilities in a realistic way!
We know in Deathly Hallows that it takes place in the year 1998, so 29 years after it is 2027, which is when Lily Potter takes place. I imagine in 14 years DNA databases will be more extensive, making what Martin did more plausible. Let's keep hoping we don't end up in a Gattaca world!
Unfortunately in order to finish this story as quickly as possible, I did only cursory research into the Japanese scenes. Note that, in keeping with the idea of the Wizarding world being somewhat archaic, I use archaic names for Hokkaido (Ezochi) and Tokyo (Edo). But the places do exist, at least on Google Maps! ;)
Originally the Squib of Fate, Yumi Noriko, was simply a normal Japanese girl, who just happened to have blood DNA patterns similar enough to the Artisan. But just as I was writing this chapter, I changed things and created a richer, darker backstory, with Lord Azon. I was very pleased to see how much it fit with the Squib of Fate prophecy! And in the final editing, I did make a change which now I'm not so certain I should have: originally Lord Azon created Yumi's antimagical powers accidentally, but here Andromeda puts an Imperius Curse on him and makes him do it deliberately. It makes Andromeda more evil, but in retrospect it might have been better if Yumi's creation were a lesson as to the twisted consequences of blood-based thinking. I almost never have second thoughts about what I write, so I wanted to let people know this and draw their own conclusions. It's not a major thing, but it is worth noting. And perhaps the lesson is not to tinker too much!
I'm not sure if the Pokemon character card thing makes sense; originally Nihilo and Nihila were to have left a Portkey behind, but that seemed too risky; what if Harry had come with the entire Auror department? The implication with the way things are written now is that the discovery by Harry was a surprise; the original intent was that it was to be a trap.
Finally, the original plan was to leave Harry saying: "Andromeda" to the beginning of the next chapter! Because I wasn't sure when I would complete it, I didn't want to leave things hanging too much, so I decided I would spoil it. Hopefully when all of you read it, you were surprised, and began rereading the story and seeing all the clues left behind!
Chapter 15 – The Last Wizard
Having struggled mightily to get to this stage, the final three chapters have gone almost exactly as I originally conceived.
When I started writing this chapter, at first Andromeda's desire for revenge seemed a weak motivation for her actions. But then I realized that the answer was staring me in the face: even though Harry and company say differently, Wizards and Muggles are different, and not in meaningless ways like skin color or language. It's also clear that magic, for the most part, is more powerful than technology. So the problem Andromeda identifies is real: wizards are always going to feel, in some way, superior to Muggles, and the temptation to use magic against Muggles will always be there. In Andromeda's mind, that's intolerable, as it will one day mean another Voldemort, so this gives her added motivation to destroy magic. There is a self-hatred part of it, but the twisted rightness of her cause in her eyes makes her a much stronger villain.
Originally Teddy was to have been influenced by something called a 'Famalatus Potion', which is not quite like the Imperius Curse; it merely ensures loyalty to a cause the victim is sympathetic to. In the end I decided I'd invented enough magic, and used the Imperius Curse, leaving it ambiguous as to how hard Teddy actually resisted.
The Epilogue of DH shows Teddy to be a reasonably happy and well-adjusted young man, but things can always be changed! ;) I cut out some of Teddy's explanations of his motivations, but the basics are unchanged. I do think Harry would eventually tell the whole truth to him, whether he would do it so early is unknown, but we know how much he resented Dumbledore for dribbling out info, even to the end, so while I do think Harry would have modeled his role as a father on Dumbledore, this is a change I could imagine him doing.
The Resurrection Stone was a key part of the plan; the difficulty was getting from the Stone to Voldemort. I quickly made use of Bellatrix as the stepping stone: with that seriously-nasty piece of Dark Magic I conjured up (along with a suggestion I read elsewhere that Voldemort probably had an affair with Bellatrix), it was easy for Andromeda to learn the truth. I mentioned the changes made to Azon; at the last second I added the ten year delay part, because I had to explain why Andromeda did not immediately execute her plan when Yumi was born. I also have Teddy give what I think is a better explanation for how the Elder Wand would behave after Harry did what he did (apologies to JKR!) Perhaps he should have done what he did in the movie! :p
As I said earlier, the Ortus is capricious and acts in mysterious ways, which is why I have it simply come out the other end when Andromeda throws it in. Her second plan would have worked, however.
The Last Wizard, as we now know, refers to Teddy Lupin. Andromeda originally planned for all wizards, including her, to be made Maigcless, except for Teddy, who would have been the Last Wizard of old and the First Wizard of new. Originally Lily would have been far more receptive to Andromeda's offer, as a means to escape, but I decided that would have been out of character.
The spell that knocks out Hermione is the same one used in OotP; don't know what it is, but I had to make her unconscious so the focus could be on Harry/Lily and Andromeda/Teddy. Sorry Hermione!
Yumi of course helps them escape the chains and shields Lily from Andromeda. Not sure if in reality Yumi would have been so friendly to Harry and Lily, but I wanted to make her a good person. At first she was going to die, but I quickly dropped that idea. Sorry for not giving her more speaking lines.
Martin becomes a wizard! That was long-planned, and like I said it was to happen in the previous chapter, but here is good too. I like that he becomes super-powerful, but everything has a price, and the Ortus does it in a mysterious way: Martin is essentially omnipotent, but only gets 3 lives. Sadly, he squanders them before anyone realizes the truth. And yes, he was always going to die! :p
Harry being robbed of his powers by Andromeda was always part of the story: it was a way to raise the stakes, as a story where the main characters can never die or be badly hurt is boring. I speculated Harry would die at the end of the series, and that Voldemort would have been turned into a Squib; I will discuss this issue more in the next chapter.
Chapter 16 – A Black Death
Originally 15 and 16 were one chapter, but it was too long, so I divided it in two. 'Black Death' is a play on Andromeda's maiden name.
Incredibly, this chapter (or part of the chapter) is written almost 100% exactly as I imagined it when I first conceived this story over 5 years ago: Harry turned into a Squib, Lily using the Resurrection Stone to bring Tonks back, Tonks stepping out of the Veil, showing everyone how she dies, then going back into the Veil, with Andromeda following behind and the Veil exploding. OK, not 100.00% exact—originally Harry was going to use a powerful charm called an Empathus Charm, where he shares with Andromeda his deepest thoughts and feelings. When Andromeda realized how much Harry loved Lupin and Tonks, how much it killed him to see them dead, and his willingness to sacrifice himself to save his friends, it made Andromeda turn away. When writing, I decided it was redundant with Tonks returning, and her coming back was strong enough motivation to cause Andromeda to change her mind.
As I said earlier, JKR can be one cold cat! ;) Offing Fred just like that, and killing Tonks and Lupin without even a single word was just crushing. I wanted to do a flashback to the Battle of Hogwarts, and one which was far more brutal than described in words or on film. In them, Tonks sees giants pulling a wizard in two; she then sees a dementor actually performing the Kiss. Snape in the POA movie said it was 'unbearable to watch', but the movie version was just eerie. Here, seeing the soul as an actual person, being silently consumed and destroyed by the dementor, I think is far more horrible and unbearable—I had trouble writing it, and it gave me bad memories for a while. Finally, we see students being eaten by the spiders—good thing Ron wasn't there.
And the death scene of Tonks. This is inspired by a piece of fanart I saw on the Deviantart website, where Tonks is in tears over Lupin's body, and behind her Bellatrix is smirking as she's about to kill Tonks. It's a horrible, degrading death, which puts Bellatrix in the worst possible light; I could have done even more, as one of the sad realities of war is mutilation of dead enemies' bodies, but this is a T story (and granted Tonks and Lupin were physically unblemished when dead).
We do get a few scenes recapping how Harry felt when he saw his parents; when Ted Tonks died; how Andromeda responded to the news of their deaths; and Teddy's own rage and pain. All through the magic of the Ortus! At last, Lily understands who Harry Potter is and what he endured.
Both the Resurrection Stone and the Elder Wand are destroyed—again this is a fanfic that does not stay with the status quo!
Finally, the curtain of the veil tearing in two is a deliberate reference to what happened to the veil in the Temple after Jesus dies on the cross. However, the symbolism is opposite in intent: instead of breaching the barrier between life and death, the tearing of the veil and the destruction of the Arch is an act of the Ortus/Magic/Magick reestablishing the barriers between the two.
As said earlier, Voldemort is 'punished' (by Magic?) for tearing his soul repeatedly; sorta like Beetlejuice, I guess the way you look in the afterlife depends on how you die! ;) When Slughorn says killing rips your soul apart, I explain it from the view that Magic considers all of us united, one; no difference between yourself and your neighbor—to destroy another is to destroy yourself. So Andromeda's soul must have been torn by her acts of murder. However, like I said Magic works in mysterious ways, and because of the strength of her grief, and the fact that her anger and hatred were created from the destruction of all that she loves, Magic may have forgiven her by making her one with Magic.
Chapter 17 – Secrets for the Grave
There's something very stark and serious about the title. What Lily and Harry do—lie to protect the truth of who Nihilo and Nihila were and why they did what they did—still leaves me conflicted. On the one hand, to not tell the truth means all the positive changes that result (reexamining of wizard attitudes) from they do is built on a false foundation. On the other hand, no terrible consequences will take root on the truth of what happened, either. I think the dilemma would have been even starker had we gotten to know Andromeda and Teddy more, seen their good side. It would have made the shock of their turn stronger, and conflicted feelings even worse. But even as is, I think it's still a good meaty dilemma left behind. Poor Grindelwald; in the end he actually showed remorse and positive change before Voldemort killed him, and his reward? Harry and Lily disgrace his name further! ;) But it's all for the Greater Good
It was good to have Rose make one final appearance—she leaves the faint possibility of hope for the victims of Andromeda and Teddy. And villain to the last, Lucius Malfoy takes the cowardly way out, proving sadly that some people will not change. I wanted Rose to be in on the secret, but having Lily's entire family know is already too many.
I basically didn't include anything of Xeno's funeral because I was running out of steam! But I do think mourning and dwelling on his death is not what he, or Luna, would have wanted. This was as good a place as any to have Lily meditate on the significance of the Ortus; the idea is not to provide answers, but raise questions. Perhaps the magical universe is a reincarnation one, where death leads to a new life, the cycle ever repeating? I did want to show that Luna fully understood what happened with her mother and the significance of it all, and unlike her father did not need to be restrained to accept it. Luna's a very wise woman—Harry was right to make her godmother to Lily!
Poor Teddy! Like I said, in truth what he did was probably unforgivable, and only greater development would have made it more palatable. But in the end, sometimes justice is not done, even in the cause of the greater good. There's just the hint of shippiness between Lily and Teddy; let's leave it at that!
The Potter family is a very positive one, so even in such a crisis they are all level-headed and not without a sense of humor! I would have loved to have shown more of Lily, James and Albus interacting, but like I said cuts had to be made. Same thing with Ginny; the love of Harry Potter's life deserves greater development! Hopefully you will find many other fanfics which do so.
In writing Harry and Lily's final conversation, I had omitted discussion of how Lily felt about the coverup—a pretty big omission! So it's been added in, in case you haven't reread this story since it was finished. I especially like Harry's comments about how revenge has to come to an end for peace to prevail, and the sometimes impossibly complex motivations of people.
Like I said earlier, the Ortus is not just a magical tool, but an embodiment of Magic itself. Paradoxically, that means numbers don't necessarily matter: in the hands of the right one, it will act over all others. So when Andromeda's powerful grief had propelled her to hatred and revenge, when the Ortus became part of Andromeda her feelings became part of the Ortus, and of Magic itself. In that moment, Magic would have destroyed itself to carry out Andromeda's will—more precisely, would have stripped magic from all wizards. But when Tonks came back, Andromeda's rage had disappeared; all that was left was a desperate yearning to be with her daughter again. Magic/the Ortus could not do that, as it had created the division between life and death to prevent Magic from being destroyed by not-Magic, but it did bring peace to Andromeda by making her one with Magic, and thus one with Nymphadora and Ted Tonks. Therefore, the Ortus is not 'good' or 'evil' in our sense of the word. It is both, and neither; but ultimately it is our choices that determine whether we are characterized as good or evil, not 'good' or 'evil' natures that lead to good or evil choices. I'm sure JKR believes that.
I had so much fun with Harry's prophecy that I almost changed the title of this chapter to "The Prophecy of Harry Potter", but no. I think it is a (Magic?)-inspired revelation of the idea that one day, the divisions that we see in the world between magical and non-magical, and all other divisions, even life and death, will one day be resolved in Magic. Finally, I always imagined the end being Harry giving Lily his wand, for safe-keeping, until he returns with Magic. As the final line says, I'm sure that one day, Harry Potter and his new adventures will return once again. Here's hoping!
Epilogue – An Unexpected Guest
These places are real, again thanks to Google Maps!
I always imagined the first step of Harry Potter's new quest to undo the damage done by Andromeda would be to pay a visit to the Dursley's, who I'm sure he hasn't seen in 29 years. You see a much older Vernon and Petunia, and a Dudley who seems to be a somewhat redeemed individual. Contrast with a cool, confident middle-aged Harry Potter. I don't want to give the impression that everything has gone back to the beginning, when Harry was an ordinary boy in a depressing situation about to step into greatness. Like every moment in life, he's at one stop along the way.
Whew! I think that's about all there is to say about this story, but if you have more questions please let me know. One thing people may be wondering: what happens next, and will you write about it? Sadly, I probably won't, so I feel free to share some ideas. Like Harry said, his quest is not like hunting Horcruxes; it's more a spiritual journey, trying to understand why Magic has divided the world between wizards and Muggles. Along the way Teddy is there, and Harry teaches him and helps him heal from the horrors he inflicted. Along the way, there may have been one or two bad guys, victims of Andromeda (sigh revenge). Harry then travels to the Ortus, back to the world of the dead, learns the answers to everything, and returns to a world where the curtain is finally lifted, and the barriers between the wizard world and the Muggle world are erased once and for all. Finally, the two branches of humanity must learn to live with each other and move forward as one. And Harry's powers are restored and he returns to his family!
I don't think I'm going to write a sequel to this story, which is why I've given all my ideas away. You can play with them in your own stories or imagination! If I do return to Harry Potter, it will be my Dumbledore versus Grindelwald story, a fast action-packed tale with a surprising ending. But I'm not going to do it until I have time to do it all at once—I promise again, no more sporadic updates!
Thanks again for reading, and remember to always do what is right instead of what is easy! Magic be with you all!
- June 21, 2013