A still image: Platform Nine and three-quarters. An adult Harry and Ginny are watching the Hogwarts Express pull out of the station. Harry's hand is raised in farewell to his children onboard the train. Text quickly superimposes itself upon the image, as if typed by some unseen hand.
"He'll be alright, " murmured Ginny.
As Harry looked at her, he lowered his hand absent-mindedly and touched the lightning scar on his forehead.
"I know he will. "
The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.
The text scrolls past an invisible line and disappears. The image slowly fades to black.
"Hello, is anybody there?"
Harry Potter was floating in a pitch-black void.
Harry was bewildered. Just moments ago, he had defeated Voldemort and decided to forsake the power of the Elder Wand. Immediately afterwards, he had lost all awareness of his physical body, experienced a bizarre subtitled slideshow of his future, then was dropped back into a physical body floating in a vast expanse of non-illuminated nothingness.
Harry briefly wondered if he had died. Then he remembered that he had died before. He compared the two experiences and decided that, while similar to each other, they weren't quite the same.
Text appeared in front of Harry, and he could only stare in confusion.
Congratulations! You have completed Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!
You have now unlocked New Game Plus mode!
You can now try your hand at new quests, gaining bonuses to your character each time you complete the game!
Each year has 8 unique quests to uncover, so replay them all for hours of entertainment!
Whatever this was, it certainly wasn't the afterlife.
Harry reached out to touch the text. Either the text was too far away to touch or it was immaterial, because Harry's hand encountered no resistance.
Harry dropped his hand and said out loud "um, okay."
The text disappeared, and more text immediately took its place.
-HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY-
New Game Plus
"So, what am I supposed to do?" Harry asked.
Harry said nothing, waiting for a response that never came.
"Where am I?" he yelled. "What's going on? Why am I here?"
"Hmph. Okay, I can figure this out." Harry thought about his situation for a minute. "The text said something about 'new game'-"
Immediately a flat square appeared, blocking out parts of the existing text. Inside the square was written:
Would you like to start a new game?
"Ah! Oh, um, no. Thank you, but no."
The box disappeared, and the rest of the menu text reappeared.
"Okay, so I just need to say the option I want-"
Another square appeared.
In-game hints: Disabled
Combat Tutorials: Disabled
Camera view: First-person
Team Battle: Automatic
"Huh. I wonder what these are. 'subtitles'-"
The text now read "Subtitles: On". Additionally, below the box was text of a different font.
Harry Potter: "Huh. I wonder what these are. 'subtitles'-"
"Okay, that's too weird."
Harry: Okay, that's too weird.
"Yeah, I'm going to turn these off. Whatever they are."
Harry: Yeah, I'm going to turn these off. Whatever they are.
Harry did so. He then went down the list, seeing what else was there.
"In-game Hints? Um, I guess that sounds useful. What sort of hints are-"
"... well that doesn't tell me anything. Okay, what about Combat Tutorials? Does that mean somebody teaching me to fight, or me teaching somebody else to fight?" Nobody responded, and Harry thought about it. "Either way, I guess it couldn't hurt. Turn that on."
"Camera View. What does that even-"
Harry's point of view shifted to a point behind and to the left of him. Harry was seeing the back of his own body as if from an outsider's perspective.
"AAAAAAHHHHH!" he yelled, waving his hands madly in the air while watching himself flail about. "NEVER MIND, NEVER MIND!"
Harry's point of view resumed its more normal location. It took a minute for Harry's heart to stop racing and his breathing to resume a more normal pace.
"Okay," he finally said once he had calmed down. "I think that's enough fiddling around with options."
The square obligingly disappeared, and the main menu took its place.
New Game Plus
"Hmmmm," Harry said. "Load Game."
Harry had no idea what this meant. "Load game?" he tried. "Empty Slot?"
"Fine, go back."
New Game Plus
"Well, I guess there's nothing left but to try New Game Plus."
Would you like to load a New Game Plus file?
Please choose your skills bonus.
Defense against the Dark Arts
Harry didn't know what form the bonus took, but if it somehow improved his performance in the relevant class, there was really only one choice. Directly or indirectly, Voldemort attacked Harry almost every year. If Harry wanted to survive, he had to get good at defending himself against Voldemort's dark magics.
"Defense against the dark arts."
+5 to DADA.
Please choose your attributes bonus.
The attributes seemed a little odd to Harry. What was the difference between "relationships" and "persuasion"? For that matter, what did "leadership" do?
"Still," he said to himself, "I am tired of nobody believing me. Better make it Persuasion."
+1 to Persuasion.
"Wait," he asked, as everything faded to black, "does that mean I only have a 2 in brains?"
Harry wasn't sure what that meant, but he felt rather insulted.