Shiny Objects wrote in a review of The Prisoner of Memory that a whole novel could be written about the Black family and thus the idea for A Goblet of Blood was born! Thank you, Shiny Objects, for the inspiration. At one point over the summer I lost interest in pursuing this story, but Malianani encouraged me to continue, and she has my great thanks for doing so. In her PMs we talked through the vision of the story, which allowed me to clear up in future chapters certain elements of the plot that were unclear. RemusLives23 inspired me to make this the raciest of all three stories, something I had not previously dared to do. Thank you, Julie. Prfm has provided beautiful and thoughtful comments throughout all 3 stories, so thank you for sticking with it. As always, I have to thank Clare Mansfield whose beautiful story Without You, I'm Nothing inspired me to write slash fiction in the first place. Her companion piece, Sleeping with Ghosts, still gives me chills to read.
In addition to the many reader of A Goblet of Blood, additional works of fiction have been inspirational to this story. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley tells the story of Goddess worship in Great Britain in the time of King Arthur and that inspired the seasonal aspect of the Black's religion, as well as the Beltane ceremony that Sirius witnesses. Also, the character of Walburga Black was inspired by the character of Vivienne in The Mists of Avalon, who manipulates and sacrifices those she loves to protect a religion that is rapidly disappearing. American Gods by Neil Gaiman is another novel whose plot involves the lost traditions of polytheism and that was inspirational as well. The blood-mingling scene between James and Sirius was insprired by A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving in the scene where Owen saws off John's finger to keep him from having to go to Vietnam with the words "I love you" (it makes more sense if you've read the book.) In writing the chapters I often imagined them set to music and the music I chose was neo- Celtic like Enya, Lorena McKennit, and Clannad. Planet Drum by Mickey Hart, formerly of the Grateful Dead, inspired the drumming at the Halloween bonfire.
If you have read all three of my stories, you can see the connections. The Secret Keepers is a first person narrative of the Remus/Sirius relationship that moves beyond Sirius' death to explain Remus' reasons for marrying Tonks. It is insinuated in HP and the Deathly Hallows that Remus marries Tonks because she is pregnant (quick, quiet ceremony and throughout the first few chapters Tonks as described as radiant and Remus miserable.) To give the Remus/Sirius relationship some staying power without being cruel to Tonks, I made their child to be a product of Sirius' love and magic, thus allowing the love of Sirius for Remus to live on posthumously. The Prisoner of Memory is written from Remus' perspective and mostly told through flashbacks to their days at Hogwarts as he tries to determine whether or not Sirius is the cold blooded killer everyone thinks he is. It begins with Remus unable to even say Sirius' name because he felt so betrayed, but as the story moves on, he remembers and dreams about their more intimate encounters, with the well-known resolution in the Shreiking Shack. And, of course, A Goblet of Blood is Sirius' background story, exploring more in depth his parents, Andromeda, Bellatrix, and Narcissa. I never bought the line that Sirius' parents hated him and vice versa because of differing political views – blood runs deeper than that.
If you read closely, you'll notice I only used the word "gay" twice. I also wrote the female characters to be very strong and independent of men. They did what they wanted to do, not because they wanted to please a man. In The Prisoner of Memory Remus has relationships with several women, none of whom want more than a casual encounter with him, which is all he is capable of giving in the aftermath of his relationship with Sirius. In A Goblet of Blood Andromeda is a headstrong hippy-chick (it is the 70s after all) who defies her parents to marry outside of her "race." Of course, Walburga is a strong leader who advocates for the rights of women in the Ministry and lives by her own rules. Cissy also has a quiet strength. In the books, it is presumed that she is evil simply by the fact that she is married to Lucius, but if you read carefully you can see that her actions are very independent of him. The important presence of a female deity is another feminist aspect of that story. I look forward to the day when women are not portrayed as weepy romantic messes in books.
Going forward, I am working on Ashes of the Phoenix, a story that will follow Sirius in Grimmauld Place during The Order of the Phoenix. Until that is posted, I still check my messages and reviews so I hope to hear from everyone in the future. And, as I mentioned above, I open to your inspriration.
- Eliza (SomethingBorrowed)