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The Needle's Eye 1/16 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
The Needle's Eye 1/16
Well, I said I wanted to do this, and marycontraria offered, out of the goodness of her heart, to collaborate with me. The Prophet just wouldn't be the Prophet without pictures! Anyway, I realized as I started this that it will finish up... right around September 1, 2009... the first day of school for Teddy's year!

Before I get into character, I'd like to thank marycontraria for the awesome Honoria, who looks here almost exactly like I picture her in my mind's eye!


The Needle's Eye


Hogwarts' Smallest Year Comes To An End
Part 1 of 16

Special to the Daily Prophet
from Honoria Higgs
Founder and former Editor,
The Hogwarts Charmer.

As one of the most visibile symbols of our difficult past, Hogwarts' "smallest year"--the fifteen students born during the height of the war--was a matter of great curiosity for some. In the next several weeks, Honoria Higgs will introduce us to her yearmates, and share with the wizarding world the experience of passing through the needle's eye, and coming through on the other side.
alt
Image by Leith (aka, marycontraria), for the Daily Prophet

We arrived at Hogwarts thinking ourselves like any other year--eleven-year-olds, worried about making friends, about how we would enjoy our classes, about who would be popular and who an outcast. Why would we think otherwise? We had led sheltered lives, and none of us really understood the circumstances under which we had been born.

But we weren't like other years. There were only fifteen of us, barely enough to fill our classes.

Perhaps some of it can be attributed to common sense. The dark days of war are foolish days in which to have children. Some of our classmates may simply have been, shall we say, postponed.

More of it can be explained by circumstances less dark than imagined--half-blood and Muggle-born parents escaped Britain during the course of the fighting, and most chose to remain where they landed. One Muggle-born mother currently residing in Canada, who chose to remain anonymous, said, "Two wars in twenty years over the same subject... I decided not to risk my children on a third." These are whole families, whole lines lost to us, but at least still living, and safe in their new homes. There are, at this moment, people finishing their educations in other lands who might have been our classmates. The British Commonwealth--even the British Empire--may be a quaint curiosity for most people, but the structures and relationships still exist, particularly in the wizarding world, and for ten students (mainly born in the first half of the war) who grew up in India, Israel, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and even the United States, the shape of the old Empire is quite clear.

Neither of these reasons negates the simple and chilling truths of life for pregnant women and infants at the height of Voldemort's reign. Recently released documents from St. Mungo's confirm the forced termination of pregnancies for six Muggle-born witches and one pure-blood whose husband was Muggle-born.
Two other pregnant witches whose fitness was questioned under the regime were found murdered and mutilated. And there is simply no way to know how many died in the course of the fighting who might have otherwise borne or sired children who would have walked the halls of Hogwarts castle with us.

And what of the Muggle-borns? The Hogwarts list was protected by loyal faculty members--Headmaster Severus Snape not least among them--but even so, accidental magic was tracked, and many Muggle-borns, not all in our year, didn't live to attend Hogwarts.

What did all of this mean for us?

We knew our own losses, of course--we were the orphaned and the exiled, and the nightmares of those days had haunted our families--but until we stood together for the first time on the shores of the Hogwarts lake, none of us understood the scale of the destruction, because none of us had given thought to those who were simply not there to feel losses of their own.

We sailed across the lake, under a full moon. Professor Hagrid had one boat. We, the students, were split into four. My own boat contained only three of us--myself, Teddy Lupin, and Maurice Burke. The others contained four students each. From above, we must have looked quite lost in the inky black of the water. All of the dreams and aspirations that fall on each year at Hogwarts were sitting on our small shoulders, and we knew, without saying it, that we didn't have the option of being inconsequential.

Each of us arrived at Hogwarts with a story begun--the sacrifice of war heroes, the return of the exiles, the discovery of newcomers. All of us added to our stories, none of us completed them. In the coming weeks, I will introduce you to the smallest year, and the stories we are only beginning to tell.
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Comments
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: August 3rd, 2009 10:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh wow. This looks set to be a wonderful project Fern, I am very interested to see what our own Honeria has to say about her classmates :). And as you say timed just right.

This was a really lovely opening. With a really distinctive writing style for Honaria. (BTW it is a wonderful picture that leithal has done!) I really liked the expansion on the reasons for the smallest year, very chilling.

Looking forward to the rest!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)
The timing was accidental... I just realized, we're pretty close to the timing of chapter one of FG right now!

I love Leith's picture!
malinbe From: malinbe Date: August 3rd, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oooh! This was beautiful! I'm so excited.


You really do miss Teddy. Well, the world you created around him was remarkably well-crafted, and I am very glad to see you have this new project!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I do miss him. He writes so much easier than everyone else!
elendiari22 From: elendiari22 Date: August 3rd, 2009 10:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awesome! This is going to be fun to follow. It's always good to see stories from the Teddy-verse.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. It's good to write them, too.
ladylothwen From: ladylothwen Date: August 3rd, 2009 11:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm going to go cry now. *sniffle*

Can't wait.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm looking forward to writing it.
golden_d From: golden_d Date: August 3rd, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh wow! I'm really looking forward to reading this. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I hope it works out! I know about Teddy and Donzo and Maurice... but what shall I do with Franklin Driscoll and Roger Young?
mrs_norris_mous From: mrs_norris_mous Date: August 3rd, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
A great start :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: August 4th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Great premise, and I'm sure the execution will live up to it! Your post-canon universe is one of the most fully realized out there, and I'm looking forward to reading more of it, in whatever form you choose to explore it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm looking forward to writing these, especially the kids I don't "know" as well.
From: severely_lupine Date: August 4th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, man... It's so sad, and... touching. This should be quite interesting.

I really do need to finish reading Forest Guard and read the other two. I do like your Teddy stories, but there's always this sadness about them. I just like to pretend Lupin and Tonks didn't die, and your Teddy stories, good as they are, make that a bit hard.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. Well, Teddy's not doing much better with the concept than we fans are, if that helps... ;p
From: severely_lupine Date: August 4th, 2009 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I actually went through with a black pen and marked out all reference to their deaths in my copy of DH. I like to live in denial.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, given the great attention paid to their deaths, proportionate to the importance (at least of Remus) in canon, that must have taken... a minute and a half?

(Grr, sorry, the offhanded glibness it came off with--"Oh, no, let's just get to Snape and Saint Lily!"--bothered me as much as the event.)
From: severely_lupine Date: August 4th, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Really, that's why I felt safe doing it. You could easily omit about eight lines of text and absolutely nothing else changes. The only person who got a decent farewell in that book was Dobby. Personally, I would have much preferred if they'd lived and it had been Snape there to round out Harry's little escort into the forest.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 4th, 2009 02:30 am (UTC) (Link)
How exciting! Not only do we get a new Teddy-verse story but one from such a fascinating point of view. As much as I enjoy all of your stuff, Fern, I'll be checking in even more often now, just to make sure I don't miss an update. Wonderful!!

Erv2
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great! See you around!
coralphish From: coralphish Date: August 4th, 2009 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Ugghhh, I'm going to love this. So unique! Can't wait for the next part!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope you'll like it!
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 4th, 2009 03:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi Fernwithy,
It's been a busy summer for me, and I hardly have enough time to check out my favorite sites. But I came to visit today and I'm delighted to see that you've dipped into Teddy-verse once more. I can't wait for this series to unfold, and I am so excited that Teddy's last year is just around the corner. It's going to be wonderful... but one thing at a time, eh? Hornia's chronicle of her classmates is bound to be interesting. I can't wait!
~Amethyst Beloved
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, it's actually his first year that's just around the corner--he actually starts Hogwarts on 9/1/09. :D I don't know if I'll be writing his seventh year (though I'm tempted).
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 5th, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL, oops well it looks like I just jumped to conclusions. Anyway, thanks for clearing things up, and I hope that one day you'll be able to make his seventh year into a reality!
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: August 4th, 2009 04:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh! How creative to do this as a newspaper series. The opening does indeed give a sense of scale and place for these articles to follow and Honoria has rather distinct voice in this. It will be interesting to see characters through her eyes, both ones we've grown familiar with through your stories and the ones who (somehow, considering there's only 15 people in this class) who stayed on Teddy's sidelines.


PS I like the metaphor about going through the eye of the needle.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Needle's Eye" does read better than the real social science term, "Bottleneck Population." ;p

I got to like Honoria better than I probably should...
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: August 4th, 2009 11:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm... now I think I will go search this term " Bottleneck population." I'm not sure I've ever heard it before...

As for Honoria, I think you like her because she is a real person sort of character. Which, all yours tend to be, but still.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 5th, 2009 12:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Bottleneck is in it somewhere, may not be "population." I think I once linked to it in an article about Mitochondrial Eve.

Ah, here it is. Got it backward. Population bottleneck. (Obviously, it would only be a metaphorical bottleneck--they didn't lose that many--but there's a sort of interesting social question of whether a school could have a bottleneck of too few students to keep operating, in some years.

Edited at 2009-08-05 12:12 am (UTC)
shiiki From: shiiki Date: August 4th, 2009 04:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Aw, I'm so glad you're posting this! I adore your Teddy-verse and all the OCs there. Even Honoria, who has really grown up well. I'm glad we'll be seeing more of them!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I plan to have some fun here.
xtineebee From: xtineebee Date: August 4th, 2009 04:45 am (UTC) (Link)
What a great project! I'm very excited to see the next pages. Thanks so much to you and to leithal!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm looking forward to it myself. I'm such a sucker for art, too, I can't wait to see what marycontraria comes up with!
snuggle_muggle From: snuggle_muggle Date: August 4th, 2009 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm sitting here sniffling and I'm not really sure why. That story you wrote a while back, about the smallest year, when they left Hogwarts -- well, it still makes me cry when I think about it. It was sad, but hopeful too, and I just don't why the emotions well up so strongly when I think about that. Anyway, reading about you starting this new project just brought all those feelings back to me, and then when you mentioned the timing, I lost it completely. I'm really looking forward to reading more of this. Good luck as you tackle it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 09:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks... that story was the genesis of this; it's what Honoria was threatening to write that night.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I got as far as getting the eyes-closed version of a blink, then discovered (I haven't tried since getting my new computer) that AnimationShop isn't automatically included in PaintShop! I'd have to buy it separately. I'm debating whether or not it's worth twenty bucks to me, and kind of deciding it is. (Also, I didn't ask marycontraria's permission to alter the picture, anyway.)
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: August 4th, 2009 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you can animate 'em, go for it (since my initial reaction to "the pictures should be animated" was something more along the lines of "Ha. Ha ha ha.") - I was actually trying to figure out how I could draw them animate-able (a subtle change in pose or a breaking smile), but all I was coming up with was that I would have to actually draw multiple frames in order to do that. Which makes it more of a million-years long project than, say, a month-or-three long project. ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 5th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, the nice thing about the image manipulating programs is that you don't have to worry about drawing multiple frames and getting them all the same--Just cover up the eyes to close them, then mix them together. I'll give it a shot.
beceh From: beceh Date: August 4th, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oooh excellent! I am looking forward to these!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Me, too, actually!
mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: August 4th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am so excited to see more of your Teddy-verse! This is a brilliant start, and I look forward to reading the rest of them.

I've friended you so I wouldn't miss anything. ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope you'll like them.

And, yay, Abby icon.

Edited at 2009-08-04 09:24 pm (UTC)
flyingfish33 From: flyingfish33 Date: August 5th, 2009 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm really excited to read these--I love your Teddy stories and I'd been missing him and the rest of his year, so this should be lovely.
...Believe it or not, I have been following Stray as well, and enjoying it a lot...I'm just absolutely horrible at leaving reviews. So I thought I'd better write this one now, just in case I chicken out later on, and let you know that I will definitely be reading this (and looking at the pictures too! This one is very much how I'd pictured Honoria. It'll be interesting to see the others). Best of luck with it!
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 8th, 2009 07:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I am really really really looking forward to reading this. I adore Stray to itty bitty pieces (even though I need to catch up on it) but I know it's hard for you to write. So yes, this looks very very exciting :).
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