Harry and the Chocolate Factory, Chapter 5, Explanations
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter Universe belongs to JKRowling. The Willy Wonka Universe belongs to Roald Dahl.
Charlie ushered them into the Factory at last, and the visitors found themselves in a marbled entry hall. There were beautiful portraits lining the walls, of some of the kindest-looking people Harry had ever seen. But as Harry looked closer, he saw that the portraits seemed to be made entirely of candy. Chocolate, marzipan, cream, spun sugar and other confections that he didn't recognize were woven together in a bewildering array of colors. Harry decided, right then and there, that being a candy maker must be the most fascinating job in the world. Perhaps Charlie, or Willy, or whoever he was, would like to take on an apprentice?
Harry's inspection was interrupted by Charlie again. "Now, my friends, I must take some time away from our tour to explain a few things. I know that I owe young Harry an explanation or two, and I think that there are a few things that I need to tell the rest of you also. Please come into my office and everything shall be made clear," and he pointed them to a small door off to the side that had escaped their notice.
The inside of the office was as beautiful as the entry hall, although much more cluttered, and bore the marks of being used, very often, and only cleaned when necessary. Charlie apologized for the mess, saying that normally everything in the entire Factory was unnaturally tidy, thanks to his many workers, but that he had forbidden them to clean his office for the last three weeks. "Although, knowing them, they've been sneaking in every so often and cleaning where they don't think I'll notice."
"Now, Harry, I'm sure you'd like to know why I have two names, is that correct?"
Harry nodded vigorously, and Charlie continued. "Perhaps the first thing I need to tell you is the name I was born with. I am Charlie Bucket."
At this revelation, Hermione's hand shot into the air, as if she were volunteering to answer a question in school. Charlie's eyes twinkled as he looked over at her.
"Miss Granger, do you have a question?" he asked, with a smile in his voice.
"Yes sir--" Harry smirked at this, knowing what was coming.
"Oh please, Miss Granger, I would really rather you call me Charlie. I feel old enough as it is, without having a beautiful young girl like yourself--", Hermione blushed, "--referring to me as if I were a grandfather."
"Sorry, sir, I mean, Charlie." Hermione looked distinctly uncomfortable at using his first name, and Molly Weasley looked plainly scandalized at the old man's behavior. After a quick glance at her mother, who nodded slightly, she continued, "And you may call me Hermione, if you please."
"I would love to, Hermione. Now, please continue your interrogation."
Hermione blushed even harder at his gentle teasing, but gamely continued. "Are you the Charlie Bucket that went into the Chocolate Factory so long ago and never came out? I read a lot about the so-called Bucket Scandal when the announcement was made about the Golden Tickets being hidden in the chocolate bars again, and the stories seem to conflict about what happened to you after the tour of the Factory. Some of them say that you came out just fine, and it was the other children that went with you that had problems. Some say that no-one ever saw you again. And some even hint that you killed Willy Wonka and stole his entire chocolate empire." At this point, Hermione realized exactly what she was accusing Charlie of, and once again blushed a bright red. Harry wondered if all all the girls he was going to be around would not only talk his ear off, but also spend half their lives a bright tomato red.
Charlie, thankfully enough for Hermione's sake, didn't seem to take offense at what she'd said. In fact, he laughed, and laughed, and laughed. So infectious was his good humor that pretty soon the others in the room were either chuckling, in Harry's case, or giggling, in the two young girls' case, or smiling faintly, in the case of the adults, as they seemed better able to control their reactions.
Finally Charlie was able to control himself, and wiped his eyes and blew his nose. "Hermione, thank you so much. That's the most I've laughed for years. I had forgotten all those wonderful accusatory and inaccurate stories, and I am glad to know that there is at least one person in the world who cared enough to research them and bring them to light again."
Hermione's blush, which had been receding again, came back again in full force, but in this case it was pleasure in being complimented.
"Now, if I may be permitted to speak..." He glanced slyly at Hermione again, delighting in the young girl's discomfiture, and continued. "When I finished the tour of the Chocolate Factory those many years ago, it is true that I was alone. Well, I and my Grandpa Joe, that is. The other children all seemed to have fallen into sticky situations, what with being greedy, and selfish, and having other undesirable qualities that compelled them to make unwise decisions as we toured the factory, most of which decisions were in direct opposition to Mr. Wonka's guidelines. Having made it to the end of the tour, however, I found that the whole contest and tour were expressly designed to find a successor to Mr. Wonka's chocolate business. He told me that he was getting up there in age, and, having no children of his own, had needed to find a child who would be able to take over for him. He selected me! There weren't words to describe how happy I was at this. My family and I moved into the Factory, and I commenced learning everything I could about the chocolate business. As I grew more knowledgeable and was better able to assist him, he took a smaller and smaller role in the day-to-day running of things, and I became the one in charge. He eventually retired completely, and moved to a small island in the South Pacific, where he spends his days lying on the beach and surfing."
Hermione interrupted yet again, although this time she forgot to raise her hand. "You mean he's still alive? That's impossible, he must be about 150 by now!"
Charlie smiled again at the young girl. "He's actually about 137, as of last May. But he's feeling fine and just yesterday popped 'round to see how things were going. If we're lucky, maybe he'll visit today too."
"How is he still alive and able to visit? Shouldn't he be dead by now?" This came from Harry, who, while wanting to believe what Charlie was saying, couldn't quite swallow this. Curiously, Mrs. Weasley and Ginny didn't seem too distraught, nor did Mrs. Figg.
"Ah, well, I will explain that, if you let me continue my story, but I have a few other things to clear up first."
At the nods of the children, indicating he should go on, he resumed his narration.
"So, as I took over a factory named 'Willy Wonka's', it was necessary that I also become Willy Wonka. Thus I have two faces that I present. Willy Wonka is who I am when I'm acting in the official capacity as owner of the chocolate business, and believe me, I can look like an slightly crazy old busybody if I really want to. But I also have found it necessary at times to go out as someone much less recognizable. That is when I become just plain old Charlie, and find it quite liberating."
"But today you showed up as just Charlie!" was Harry's comment to this.
"Ah, well, Harry, that speaks to something else that I need to explain. While it is true that the face you saw today was the face you knew as Charlie, and the same for Miss Weasley, the face that the rest of the people saw was that of the eccentric old gentlemen that is instantly recognizable as the frontman for Wonka's Chocolates."
Harry was floored at this. "How can you show two different faces at the same time? I really don't understand."
Charlie looked with compassion on his young friend, and decided that now was the time to really bring out the big surprises. "Well, Harry, this brings us to the question of why you, and Miss Weasley, and Miss Granger were able to find the Golden Tickets."
Hermione looked rather offended that there might be something besides blind luck that caused her to find a Ticket, but this warred with her instinctive desire to find out everything, so she remained uncharacteristically silent.
"You see, I'm getting older too, while not as old as the original Willy Wonka was, and I decided that I needed to find a worthy successor. Not wanting to run the risk of attracting too many of the wrong, horrid, selfish types of people to the factory, I managed to do a little research and find a small, very small, selection of people that I thought would be good candidates. Having done so, I managed to place myself in proximity to them, and sort of 'guide' them in finding the chocolate bars with the Tickets in them."
Harry was flabbergasted at this--"But Mr. Fordham gave me the chocolate bar that had the Ticket in it!"
"Did you never wonder why that particular bar had 'accidentally' fallen on the floor? Did you never question why I needed to go talk to him before I let you into the shop?"
Harry just stared at Charlie after hearing this. Thinking back, he could remember the almost desperate look on Mr. Fordham's face when he was talking about not being able to sell the chocolate bar in question. He had chalked that up to worry about the lack of income from the sale, but with this new knowledge, he could certainly understand the look better.
Charlie turned to Ginny. "And I was in that shop the day you and your family came, and was able to hand the correct chocolate bar to your brother George--"
"Fred", Ginny interjected.
"Sorry, Fred, so that he could buy it for you. And you, Hermione, have you ever really met your uncle that supposedly sent you the chocolate bar?"
Hermione's mother smiled at this, and commented, "I just thought it was one of Dan's relatives. He probably thought it was one of mine."
"So, you engineered all of us getting the Golden Tickets?" Harry didn't know what to think about this. He was a little bit sad to realize that everything had been planned out ahead of time. But then he started thinking more about it, and a smile grew on his face as he realized that this meant that someone had been watching him enough to realize that he was worth something. That Charlie felt that he, Harry, was a good person. That the Dursleys were wrong in their assessment of him as a selfish freak.
Ginny, on the other hand, had a gleeful look on her face, and was just about jumping out of her seat. Only her mother's calming hand on her arm kept her from springing up and accosting Charlie.
Harry looked over at Ginny, curious as to why she wasn't surprised by all these revelations. "Ginny, why aren't you surprised? Did you already know about all this?"
Molly's hand lost its grip on her daughter as the little girl sprang to her feet, arm outstretched, pointing directly at Charlie. "You're a wizard, aren't you? That's the only explanation for all of this, isn't it?"
Molly's and Mrs. Figg's faces went white as they heard the young girl shatter the International Statute of Secrecy. Charlie, perversely, smiled at her, and calmly answered, "Yes, I am a wizard. Very good for figuring that out, Miss Weasley."
"But, but, what are we going to do about the Grangers?" This came from Mrs. Figg, who was casting worried glances at the pair in question, while still keeping a watchful eye on her charge, making sure that he didn't do something stupid before they could explain things to him.
"Ah, but Arabella, surely you don't think I would have let the Golden Tickets go to just any Muggle, do you? Miss Granger has magic in her too, quite a lot, I suspect. In fact, she should have received her Hogwarts letter already this summer, had I not decided that I would rather provide her a Golden Ticket. This way, when I give her the letter she should have gotten, she will know that she has options."
Harry was lost. He had been trained from a young age to never use the m-word in #4 Privet Drive, and had tried hard to not think about it either, but here were people, grown-ups even, discussing magic as if it were a real, everyday fact of life. Mrs. Figg he had known ever since he could remember, and had never seen her do anything out of the ordinary--how could she talk about magic? Ginny . . well, if anyone were able to do magic, he could believe it would be her. She had brought such a bright spark into his life that he had no compunctions attributing wondrous things to her. But this Hermione girl looked to be quite as lost as he was.
"Charlie," he asked tentatively. "What do you mean by magic? Do you mean pulling rabbits out of hats?" This was the only type of magic he'd been exposed to, that he knew of, and couldn't think of what else they might be talking about.
"No, my boy. I mean real magic. Stuff like this..." and he snapped his fingers and in an instant there was a large Easter basket sitting on the desk at his side. "And this..." and he waved his hand and Harry's chair started floating. "And this..." and a second later, there was a large, real rabbit sitting in the chair where Charlie had been. After a few seconds of everyone staring at the animal, the rabbit turned back into Charlie, although he still had two fluffy bunny ears sticking out of the top of his head, which he didn't seem to notice.
"But you say that Hermione is magical too? Does that mean she's a, what did you say, a wizard?" Mrs. Granger put in. "This would certainly go a long way towards explaining some of the strange things that have happened in our house in the past few years."
Harry was taken aback that the ordinary-looking dentist seemed to be taking all this rather well, but that took second place in his mind to the question that now formed.
"So, Charlie, you say that you're looking for some special child or children to tour your factory. Yet, you chose me. Why?" He asked plaintively.
Mrs. Figg took it upon herself to answer this one. "Harry, didn't you ever make anything happen when you were scared, or mad? Gotten yourself out of danger in some miraculous way, or caused some accident to happen to your bullying cousin?"
Harry thought back to the times when strange things had happened, which usually presaged his most severe punishments. This would certainly explain those incidents.
"So, are you saying that I'm...?" And Harry's thoughts balked at the next logical step in the chain.
"Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying." Charlie was smiling directly at him now, a smile of affection and gentleness. "You're a wizard, Harry."
Author's Note: I actually plan on continuing this, and perhaps fleshing out this part more. You know, breaking it into chapters and such. It will probably be titled something like "Harry and the Chocolate Factory" and will be posted here, as well as some other places, my LiveJournal pages being a good bet.
Disclaimer: The world of Harry Potter is owned by JK Rowling. The world of Willy Wonka is owned by Roald Dahl. The world of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is owned by Ian Fleming, although the delightful book doesn't mention Toot Sweets. So, they are probably owned by the authors of the script, Ken Hughes, and surprisingly enough, Roald Dahl. See? It's one big circle thingy.