iExcerpt from "Changing the Tides: Modern Wizarding Business Practices" by Isobel Allen/i
"…In the years following the second Voldemort war, the Wizarding world experienced a baby boom similar to the years following Grindelwald.
It became the fashion for witches to marry directly out of school and start their families right away, and Wizarding business leapt at the chance to accommodate them, with new child minding services, private primary schools, and charm-a-meal outlets opening weekly. Modern witches took the challenges of career and child-rearing in stride, and operating a Wee Wizards Playcare™ franchise was very profitable.
Matchmaking services also experienced considerable growth in this period, due to the number of younger witches looking for older husbands. The august and established firms such as Match-A-Mate International, Firespark, and Wand to Heart, had a resurgence of business. Several new services cropped up almost overnight, although most faded away within the first eighteen months. Some failed because of branding challenges, such as Bag-A-Bloke, owned by now-famous clothing designer Lavender Brown. Others simply produced unhappy couples. One new firm, however, continued to be quite popular, although the older firms dismissed it as a fluke.
Sadie Harbrenner, age 154 and head Yenta of Match-a-Mate International, remembers the day she found out who was behind this particular firm.
"Heard about him, hadn't we all? Wasn't he the one who had killed the headmaster up at Hogwarts and kept spying for You-Know-Who? And then You-Know-Who tried to kill him! And after all that, he comes along, bold as you please, and sets himself up in a profession that has belonged to witches since the beginning of time! It was a scandal, dearie!"
Madam Harbrenner speaks of none other than reformed Death Eater and spy for the Light, Severus Snape – but Mr. Snape's involvement in the company did not come to light until he decided to expand into the Muggle world.
Snape, tired of teaching and potions, wanted a quiet desk job after his grueling years of service to Tom Riddle and Albus Dumbledore. Years of teaching Hogwarts' finest had given him a view into human psychology that few others could match. After careful consideration of his options, he threw his hat into the ring of new matchmaking services. First, people came out of curiosity about the name, W-Harmony, and the new methods used to match couples. Then, as word spread, people came to get the best service. Happy couples gushed over the twenty-nine dimensions of compatibility that W-Harmony used. The company began running splashy, full-page advertisements in mainstream publications like the iDaily Prophet/i, iThe Quibbler/i, and iWitch Weekly/i. The advertisements featured the love stories of actual happy couples matched by the W-Harmony service, complete with photos.
Soon, the company was poised to expand past where Mr. Snape could no longer both head the company and oversee day-to-day operations, forcing him to bring on a business partner to further his goals…"
"Thanks so much for letting me stay at number twelve, Harry. I had no idea that Mme. Germain would kick me out of my apprentice housing the second I passed my Mastery exam!" Hermione said with a shake of her head, taking the keys from her friend.
"It's no problem, Hermione. There probably should be someone here full-time anyway. Kreacher gets lonely. He won't leave except to go to Hogwarts, and Pansy prefers the flat in Kensington, since it's near her mum."
Hermione nodded. "I never would have pictured you two together, but I guess W-Harmony really knows what they're doing. I've never seen you happier."
Harry blushed. "Thanks, Hermione. Stay as long as you like. Put Kreacher to work. And no, you may not pay me one Knut for rent. And if you ask Kreacher where he's getting the food, you won't get any answers."
"You know me too well, Harry," Hermione wryly quipped. "I'll be out as soon as I find a job. It shouldn't take too long."
Harry just rolled his eyes and pulled his cloak on. "I don't care if it takes a year, Hermione. You're family. Stop acting like a guest. And feel free to invite Neville down for a weekend," he said, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.
Hermione chuckled, waving, as Harry shut the front door behind him.
She made her way into the house, leaving her shrunken belongings in the hall. It was easy to see that Kreacher had been bored and lonely – she'd never seen the place looking so bright and clean. Soon, she had a cup of tea, a roast beef sandwich with horseradish, and a pile of crisps. While Hermione ate, she perused the "help wanted" section of the iDaily Prophet/i. There weren't many openings, but one tucked into the bottom of the last column caught her eye.
Arithmancer with Muggle background or significant experience with Muggle computer technology to design and implement cross-culture services for established firm. Qualified individuals to reply to Professor Harmonious, Diagon Alley postbox 299, with C.V., letter of introduction, and salary expectations./b
'Oh, right. Like it could be ithat/i easy,' she thought to herself.
A snap of her fingers later, she had parchment and quill in hand.
An hour later, several drafts had been tossed on the floor, iIncendio'd/i, turned into paper airplanes, and sculpted into a fetching paper model of the Tower of London in the case of a particularly bad version. The last draft was in front of her, the ink drying on her signature.
Upon careful review of my qualifications, I believe I would be an excellent fit for your company. I have recently attained my Master in Arithmancy from Mme. Sophie Germain of Lyon, France, and I'm familiar with the latest research in Arithmantic applications and concepts such as chronomancy, telemancy, and the cross-culture discipline of compumantic science. However, my strengths lie not only in Arithmancy, as I hold NEWTs in five other disciplines. I am a Muggle-born witch and currently maintain a residence in a Muggle neighborhood, allowing me to effectively straddle the line between the Muggle and Wizarding worlds. I am comfortable around computers, extremely organized, and trustworthy.
The job description sounds like a large responsibility. It will likely require travel and significant effort beyond regular business hours. I will require at least 119 Galleons weekly, travel reimbursement and profit-sharing options.
An owl addressed to Hermione Granger will find me in London.
Hermione J. Granger/i
She attached her C.V., called her owl – the affectionate Great Horned, Spock, had been a present from her parents – and sent the letter off to Professor Harmonious. She knew she'd never heard of the professor before, but people used aliases all the time. A little mystery was good for the soul.
By the time Hermione had finished her correspondence, it was after eight. She brushed off Kreacher's offers of a full formal dinner and instead allowed him to unpack her trunk while she took a bath. Immersed up to her neck in scented bubbles, she was able to relax and assimilate the events of the past twelve hours.
She had read that damnable Apprenticeship contract twelve times before signing it and had never noticed it said anything about lodging after the Apprenticeship had been completed. In Hermione's opinion, it wouldn't have killed Madam Germain to give her a grace period to arrange new housing. Luckily, Hermione had Harry, and Harry's extra house. Personally, she thought Madam Germain was a little miffed at how easy Hermione had found the Mastery exams and testing. After all, she hadn't kicked Alain out, and he'd finished his exams the same day.
It was all water under the bridge now. The ink might be barely dry on the parchment, but she was a full-fledged Arithmancer with all the rights and privileges accorded to those of her rank. Unfortunately, that mostly meant invitations to dreary conferences where they hashed over the same tired theorems and equations in use since the time of Archimedes. Maybe she could infuse the membership with her fresh ideas – if they took her seriously.
She clambered out of the tub with a sigh, wrapped herself in her warm blue bathrobe, and pulled the plug on the water.
She was tired. Changing the world could start tomorrow.
Mme. Germain was named for French mathematician Sophie Germain (1776-1831), an early contributor to calculus who formed mathematical models for vibrating strings and membranes, oscillating springs, and elasticity. She won a prize from the French Academy in 1816 for her paper entitled "Memoir on the Vibrations of Elastic Plates." Larson, Roland, Hostetler Robert, and Edwards Bruce. Calculus. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Company, 1994, page 1114.
Chronomancy, I believe, was first used by ladyofthemasque in "In Annulo".
I. Something Old
A. Oldies but Goodies
1. revisit a once popular challenge
2. Yenta Livery Company Challenge