A couple quick notes: I've been reading all the comments in the reviews & via PMs. I haven't been replying, for the most part, but I have read and reflected on all of them. There are a couple slight misconceptions I'd hope to clarify:
- a few have questioned the embarrassment I noted, confusing that for to be my reason for discontinuing NWNH. It's not that I think the story is horrible - what I meant was that I recognize a lot of things in the first half that, if I had a do-over, would be changed. I'm surprised at how well thought-out it is, how many subtleties of language my chapter notes included. Whenever I read the last 4-5 chapters, I completely understand why it became as popular as it is. (over 250,000 hits, in a category that had 30 stories when I started and still has less than 100.) I take pride in NWNH; that doesn't mean I have to ignore its blemishes.
- To be honest, if I were insecure about my writing ability. I'd still be writing NWNH. I know, it's ironic. My decreasing interest in NWNH has in part been because I've gained more confidence in my writing. I work as a writing tutor now in college. NWNH is no longer my sole writing outlet.
- I don't advise anyone to hold out hopes for an adoption. I would have high standards for any would-be adopter, and I've also seen really mixed results with adoptions. (Example: "It's Not Easy" by Ashvarden) In my view, it's better to have an unfinished work that evokes fond memories than to have an adoption that leads to mixed reactions. (Does anyone know of a successful adoption? I'd love to read it and see what kinds of changes occurred.)
- If I ever decide to write another fic, you'll all be the first to know. From my current vantage point, however, it's unlikely. Writing fanfiction no longer fills a unique niche in my life.
Unfinished NWNH Ideas:
Create two ongoing, complementary stories with Wizarding Britain and Alagaesia, where the issues mirror each other in some respects. (pacing, narrative tension, themes, etc.)
Britain was going to present a campaign by QE2 to dramatically change wizarding culture. As the second interlude alluded to, this campaign was going to be met with a mixture of confusion and zealous opposition, and could easily become embroiled in controversy. Key plot points (and flashpoints) would be Teddy Lupin's custody trial, the criminal trials against those listed in Interlude 2, and the counter-campaign by purebloods, including a third reign of terror by death eaters.
I never really wrote my ideas for Wizarding Britain. In some ways, it would resemble the civil rights movement in the US; a dramatic overhaul of the legal code and societal structures in order to make things more equal, but which inspires endless opposition by those who benefit from the current system – i.e. the purebloods who dominate society. In other ways, it would result in a third wave of Death Eaters who inflict terror in an attempt to combat QE2's changes. I hadn't quite worked out how the Death Eaters would be crushed, and how QE2's public image would be affected as a result.
The increased stature of goblins (as QE2's principal magical advisors), the breakdown in structural inequality between muggleborns and purebloods, and the complete reinvention of the Ministry of Magic would all play subtle but important roles.
One of my more interesting ideas was to have Death Eaters themselves, in one of their attacks, inadvertently expose the magical world. I don't know of any fics that actually depict in real-time the reaction & subsequent actions by muggle governments when they learn of their magical counterparts, but I know it would be chaotic. And thus fun to write and examine.
To be clear: QE2 would become a highly flawed character. Ultimately good, but flawed.
QE2 would lose the custody battle for Teddy Lupin on a technicality or other such nonsense, and purebloods would rejoice. This puts them in the awkward position of supporting a werewolf child and a disowned, disgraced blood traitor (Andromeda) who married a muggle, but they would support Andromeda and Teddy if only to spite QE2.
After that defeat, QE2, with goblins' aid, would review existing law and alter the legal code to ensure her victory in all future criminal trials. Her status as Monarch lets her unilaterally strike down laws & statutes and rewrite them to her satisfaction. While it would mete out justice, it would also be an abuse of power. She'd effectively control the legislative and executive branches in order to force the judiciary into handing her victory. (Hence why I say she'd be a flawed character.)
Ultimately, Teddy would grow up and go to a drastically different Hogwarts. However, via betrayal and subterfuge, he'd end up thrown into Azkaban and later forced through the Veil; thus he ends up in Alagaesia, as Blagden's prophecy predicted.
On the Alagaesia Side:
I'll first explain Blagden's prophecy (reprinted below):
Only Cold and Memories Await / As Dog and Deer / Will the Wolf Follow
"Cold and Memories" refers to Dementors. Dog & Deer refer to Sirius & Harry, and the Wolf is Teddy. Basically, Teddy will suffer the same fate as his godfather and his godfather's godfather, being betrayed, declared a criminal, imprisoned in Azkaban, and later thrown into the Veil. Since he was also betrayed, he ends up in Alagaesia, like the other two. (insert confusion-filled reunion as the epilogue)
To anyone who didn't get my hints: Harry's jailer is Sirius, and his partner is Galbatorix.
Harry would gradually become more comfortable with Sirius, not quite recognizing his real identity. (Harry has believed Sirius dead for 6 years; he wouldn't make the connection with the Veil unless prompted.) Eventually, he would break out but not escape. Sirius or Galbatorix would stop him in time, and there would be a teary reunion as Harry recognizes his godfather. Harry might confess to being a Rider; I hadn't decided if/how Sirius & Galbatorix would learn of that.
Regarding Harry's (potential) relationship(s): I had nothing romantic planned. I did warm up to the idea of a platonic (not-quite-romantic) pairing with Sol; in writing the dialogue in Chapter 9, I just felt like there could be chemistry. It seemed to have potential. One option was for Sol to like Harry, but for Harry to not reciprocate those feelings in a romantic/sexual way. It's something I hadn't decided, and I figured it would sort itself out as I continued writing these characters.
After Harry's disappearance, I figured that Islanzadi would assume the worst, and that Sol & Oromis would fear for the worst. (i.e., Islanzadi assumes betrayal, Sol & Oromis assume abduction/death). Nasuada, when she pries Harry's Rider status out of Eragon, would become fearful: she has no lever of control over Harry, and feels insecure because of that.
It was never a guarantee that the Varden/Elves would actually win outright. Harry would become nervous about Sirius's (and by extension Galbatorix's) situation as the Varden gained ground. He'd certainly play a key role in any stalemate or peace agreement. One thought was that the two sides would reach a deadlock, and Harry would use his connections on both sides to force them into negotiations (guilt card with Sirius, friendship with Oromis/Sol/Eragon.) Galbatorix might even succeed outright, and since he wouldn't force Eragon & Murtagh to fight (he'd be taken by Harry's abilities, like he was with Sirius's), he wouldn't be defeated. The desperation that lets Eragon cast that final spell would never have materialized.
Unused Idea List:
When I write chapters, I usually create long lists of ideas for scenes, emotions, interpersonal relationships, etc. Here's everything I had that didn't get put into the previous chapter, or that I planned on including in the future: (Literally copy-pasted, with a few elaborations, from those "idea list" documents:
Arya thinks that Harry is from the past – "may the Deeply Betrayed be given life anew" – thus, brought to the future or reincarnation. (Only Harry knows that it's another world)
Maybe have Arya confront/discuss with Sol? Ask him to keep her informed of anything important?
Harry doesn't really believe that King Orrin is a king.
(He was so skeptical when Orrin tried to take the egg. If someone gives him an update on the Varden's situation, or he comes into contact with Orrin during negotiations between Galbatorix and the Varden, have a mini-scene where Harry questions: "Wait, he was serious when he said he was a King?")
Nasuada isn't trustworthy – and she constantly grills Eragon about Harry & the egg. Wants to know if it hatched.
Eragon is torn between loyalty to Nasuada and not wanting to break Harry's trust, since he's the only other Rider on their side.
Saphira steps in – her sole interest is protecting the dragon, and she never swore loyalty to Nasuada. Only Eragon did. She'll take unspeakable measures if Nasuada presses.
Orrin & Nasuada are suspicious of Arya because she's in more contact with Harry.
Someone points out Harry's pointy ears when he accidentally undoes the glamour (like the finite incantatem from Chapter 8/10). Harry quickly reapplies it and tells the person not to mention it.
Have Sirius see past the glamour at some point. Commence freakout that Harry was also in Azkaban.
Eragon refuses to let the pointy ears lie (since it takes forever for a human Rider to develop them), and Harry blows up.
- They're a symbol of everything that's wrong with him.
- He only has them because of the power boost for doing the inheritance at 21. Which itself only was delayed because of his stay in Azkaban. It reminds him of the friends who betrayed him.
- The ears remind him that he's not in Britain, that he's not where he should be. He should be with family, he should be with Teddy. He should be somewhere where he doesn't see elves' pointy ears all day long.
- Harry argues that Eragon is lucky - all his scars disappeared. But Harry still retains all of his, and they bring back horrible memories every time he looks at them.
When Harry notices the Sorcerer's Stone (never actually destroyed) in his trunk, he's overjoyed.
- It's his financial security forever. (Turn any metal into gold).
- Because of the stone, Harry has financial weight to throw around as he pleases.
- If Orrin threatens to pull-back support for the Varden, Harry could step in to make an offer…with his own conditions and restrictions. (Selling cheap lace can't support the entire Varden when wartime makes everyone more impoverished anyway.)
Have an interlude about Sirius meeting Galbatorix
- the Veil dumped Sirius in Galbatorix's castle. Bellatrix's curse leaves Sirius critically injured, so Galbatorix heals him.
- He then tries to keep Sirius in the castle, with mixed success. Eventually, it's the fact that Sirius brought nothing with him that keeps him tethered to Galbatorix.
- They test their magic against each other. Their styles are so different that neither can permanently defeat the other. For both, it's like trying to trap water in a strainer.
- Sirius becomes Tori's confidante. Tori effectively becomes Sirius's therapist.
If there are any questions that this hasn't answered, PM me or leave a review and I'll answer them. Just keep in mind that the answer may be that I don't know. Not everything was already decided.