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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Seven: Telling Tales, part 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Seven: Telling Tales, part 2
Honoria, following up on Geoffrey's article, has brought the smallest year together to hear their tales of how they survived. Donzo told his story in History of Magic, and Brendan and Connie talk about how Oliver Wood rescued their parents using his Quidditch connections. Honoria tells how Rita Skeeter got her parents out of harm's way. Laura Chapman has nervously raised her hand and asked if she can tell a story. Corky tells her that this is the idea, and that she should go on.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Laura took a deep breath, then said, "No one really knows this. It's not at all daring, like Connie's and Brendan's, or... well, you know... surprising like Honoria's. It's just... well, it's why they left on time in the first place, more than being rescued. And they weren't brave. They didn't come back or whatnot."

"Lots of people didn't fight," Tinny assured her.

"Right." Laura nodded to herself, then said, "My mother never was really talented at magic. She... well, she could do a thing or two, she's not a Squib, but she... well, let's say, she wasn't in line to succeed Albus Dumbledore." She smiled. "I guess I'm not really, either. I only stayed after O.W.L.s because, well, it didn't seem right to leave you lot, make the year any smaller. I didn't want to leave Tinny all alone in our room."

Tinny laughed. "Right, you never know what sort of mischief I'd have done."

"Well, who'd have got you to remember to brush your hair before class?"

"A good point."

"Didn't you say you had a story?" Honoria prodded.

Laura nodded. "Yes. As I was saying, Mum was never very good at magic. Or at her other classes. She quit after O.W.L.s, and she was working at the Leaky Cauldron for a few months. She took the tube back and forth to work, and... well, she saw an advertisement for a school that would teach her to be a model, and she thought that sounded like better work. She was very, very pretty. And she did well in the school, and she got Muggle modeling jobs, and she was making quite a good living when she met my dad. He was a photographer. They fell in love and got married, and then she told him everything. He was very understanding. He became her agent, and he took her all over the world to take her picture. She was even on the cover of a Muggle magazine once.

"Unfortunately, it was the month before Dumbledore died. I guess she offended the Death Eaters. There was a knock at the door one night, and she opened it, and there was a curse in her face. A curse on her face. Dad had just arranged a shoot in Italy, and he used the tickets to get her out of the country, but of course she couldn't very well be photographed again. They stayed there anyway, trying to think of what to do. Then she got pregnant, and that's why I was born in Milan. And why no one sees my mum much. She doesn't like people looking at her."

"I'll have to--" Honoria started.

Joe Palmer stood up and said, "If you say, 'get a picture,' I'll break the camera."

"--get her permission to share it," Honoria said coolly.

"And we'll all pretend to believe that's what you meant to say," Roger said, leaning protectively toward Laura.

Honoria rolled her eyes and said, "Hufflepuffs." She shook her head. "Which brings us to Gudgeon. If I recall the first time we met in this room, you're the only one of the wizard-born who was actually born in the country--except for Lupin, and we all know his story."

Tinny looked up, mildly surprised. "I don't really have a story. My parents were carefully avoiding having a story."

"Which is, in itself, a story."

"No, it's really not." Tinny looked around. "What do you want me to say? My parents worked a the Ministry. I think my mum was copying off those damned pamphlets that Umbridge kept distributing. Dad had a little booth where the lot of them took lunch. They didn't fight, they didn't rebel, and they didn't do anything other than stay alive as well as they could, and keep me alive." She looked at Teddy, and looked away guiltily.

"It's all right," he said. "Sometimes, I wish mine had."

"No you don't. You wish they'd lived, but you don't wish they'd done nothing. My parents always wish they'd done something, or at least showed up for the battle, but they didn't find out about it until the next morning."

The room was quiet, then Corky said, "You know, Tinny, except for Teddy's, none of our parents showed up for it."

"Yours weren't even in the country."

"No, mine were as far away from it as they could get. I just think--well, there are a lot of people who weren't there, and people might find themselves feeling less isolated if someone reminded them that they weren't the only ones."

"Let me talk to them before you write anything," Tinny said. "They're not entirely proud of what they--well, didn't do."

"Fair enough," Honoria said. "That brings us around to Corky."

"Genuinely no story," Corky said. "My mother's from Birmingham, but she'd married my dad years before the war, and they were living in Ontario when the world exploded over here. They weren't planning to relocate anyway. No great story of why they didn't. My sister says she remembers sometimes hearing her yelling at the Daily Prophet when it came--Tess was four, and I guess it scared her--but that's as close as we ever got to the war."

"Closer than we did," Maurice said.

"I actually always did wonder about that," Lizzie said. "My lot left when things went bad in Diagon Alley--no customers for the shop--but Why should a family with a Knockturn Alley shop be afraid of Death Eaters? Why were you halfway around the world?"

"My dad never worked in the shop," Maurice said crossly. "His cousin Veradisia did. Her dad and my grandfather were brothers, and my grandfather didn't want the shop, either, at least as I heard it, and--"

"You don't need to get angry," Lizzie said. "I didn't say you were Dark Arts dealers, though, technically, don't you own--"

"What Maurice owns and doesn't own aren't your business," Donzo said.

Maurice ground his teeth, then said. "Fine. My grandfather and his brother both died in the first war. Voldemort had them killed by henchmen in front of my great grandfather. He probably would have killed my dad and my cousin if my grandmother hadn't got them away."

"Why?" Teddy asked.

"We didn't know. Not until after the second war, when the books started coming out. First, my great-grandfather, Caractacus Burke, cheated Tom Riddle's mother on the price of a locket--"

"Slytherin's locket?"

Maurice nodded. "According to the books, he only paid her ten galleons for it. And Lord Voldemort would have known that, because back when he was Tom Riddle, he got a job--probably underpaid--for my great-grandfather. He was doing what my cousin Veradisia ended up doing, trying to get people to sell their trinkets." He wrinkled his nose. "And this isn't in the books, but I know the family. If Caractacus Burke got it in his head that Tom Riddle was a half-blood, he'd have likely tormented him about it.

"But, like I said, we didn't know the why of any of it at the time. Death Eaters wouldn't have, either; they were probably just thinking they might rob us. As soon as Cedric Diggory died, and Dumbledore started saying Voldemort was back, my Dad decided to get as much ocean as he could between himself and England--to go someplace as obscure as he could find where a young English couple wouldn't seem out of place. New Zealand and Australia had too many very casual contacts, and he knew too many people there, so he apparently threw a dart, and landed us in Stanley, in the Falklands. I think my parents might have been the only wizards. I was born there a couple of years later, and Wendell got there a couple of years later. Then we came back. End of story." He gave a practiced, disinterested shrug.

"Wow," Donzo said after a while. "My business manager is descended from Voldemort's boss."

To Teddy's surprise, Maurice grinned. "Keep that in mind the next time you even think about not taking my advice."

There was some nervous laughter at this.

Honoria looked at the scrolls she'd brought--Teddy had been listening to stories, and hadn't noticed the quills scribbling things down--and said, "Well, I have letters to write, permissions to gather, interviews to do..."

"Do you plan on trying homework at any point?" Corky asked.

"This is my homework," Honoria said. "The Prophet won't care that much about my marks, as long as I pass, but they'll want to see this."

"You're giving it to the Prophet?" Tinny asked, alarmed.

"Well, it's going into the Charmer, and Rita subscribes. Maybe she'll pick it up."


"I said I'd ask permission," Honoria told her. "Honestly. I shouldn't even have to, it's news, but I will."

Tinny didn't look reassured.

"Wonderful," Geoffrey said, standing up, disgusted. "So glad you dragged us all out of bed for this. I'm sure the rest of we Muggle-borns were glad to get your lesson in the selfless bravery of your forebears, the--"

His speech was interrupted by a hard thud, as he was spun around and knocked over a chair, revealing Franklin Driscoll standing beside him, his fist still raised.

Franklin looked at him with great hate and said, "You don't speak for the rest of us, Phillips. And it's about bloody time someone got that through your thick skull."

Jane, Joe, and Roger came over to flank him.

Geoffrey got up, looking untroubled. "Didn't claim to speak for you. But I'm not just speaking for myself, either." He straightened his robes and sauntered out.

Jane rolled her eyes extravagantly and said, "Pity, really, that he's so shy and unassuming. However are we meant to guess how he feels?"
19 comments or Leave a comment
amamama From: amamama Date: June 14th, 2010 09:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, this is interesting. I realised I'd missed something, so had to rush to the previous and read that, too. How wonderful to see Rita having a caring side... Geoffrey is as thickheaded as always, and while I can't say I approve of violence, Franklin's response felt good. *g*

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 14th, 2010 05:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Franklin is actually the one who, poor thing, ends up controlling Geoff most often, which means he's likely going to be the quickest to reach the end of his tether. ;p
(Deleted comment)
malinbe From: malinbe Date: June 14th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Okay, this may be a stupid question...

Fern will obviously reply this better than me, but I think Geoffrey is complaining that even after that devastating war and genocide, the government was simply left in the hands of a slightly better group of purebloods. We know that's not the case, but Geoffrey has blinded himself to all the proof that doesn't support his hypothesis. If we ignore the events of the entire HP series, in theory, his claims sound legitimate. He worries that the underlying problem of muggleborns not really having equal opportunities hasn't been and might never be addressed by this new government, which is composed of other purebloods. The ruling class has changed slightly, but not completely. Like the French Revolution, an old ruling class was deposed to install a new ruling class, the burgeoise, while the people glorify the heroes who supposedly gave them freedom but will start exploiting them soon enough.
Of course, he probably ignores the political history of the recent times (we can blame Binns for that), mistrusts the press saying that it simply publishes what the government wants and rationalizes anything that seems good turning it into an argument for his side.
What is swaying younger students is the call for harsher punishments on the DEs who have done their time and are being released. Since those kids probably are the children of survivors or have non direct family that died in DEs hands, one might understand why they want that. Of course, I blame the lack of a Human Rights course of study at Hogwarts.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 14th, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Okay, this may be a stupid question...

I think what sways the younger kids is less sophisticated than that. It's just the idea, I think, of rebelling against their parents' bourgeoisie values about continuity and beauty and love triumphing, rather than the easily-understood-by-kids rule of the fist.

The French Revolution is definitely the archetypal form of this. Those guys were nuts. ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 14th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Okay, this may be a stupid question...

My take on Geoffrey -

First, his parents are sort of political radicals who have defined themselves more by what they oppose than what they agree with. They may or may not be as bad as Geoffrey but, either way, his parents didn't allow Geoffrey a lot of stuff we would consider normal and healthy because they associated it with the things they were against. So, for example, Geoffrey wouldn't have been allowed fairy tales because those teach lessons supporting a status quo the parents disagreed with.

Second, there are the alternatives they gave him.

As near as I can tell, Geoffrey's parents didn't say, "Oh, yuck, we don't like the story of Little Red Riding Hood with its underlying message of female oppression. Let's read Goldilocks where the representative of the status quo is duly punished for thinking she can take whatever she wants from the lower classes and invade their homes."

Instead, if Geoffrey expressed an interest in fairy tales, his parents would have reacted in horror that he could want one of THOSE things and was treated to a lecture why fairy tales only deserved to be hated.

In fact, I'm guessing that at an early age, the only "safe" reactions for Geoffrey to express were approval of his parents' positions and hatred of anything that varied from them.

The more he may have showed a tendency to like something as a child, the more thoroughly he would have been taught that that desire was evil and to thoroughly hate the thing he might have liked.

So, most music (from his parents' POV) is trivial. A rock band like the Weird Sisters, for example, attracts money and attention that could/should be spent on The Cause. So, it's evil.

That's not even counting the evil points it gets as "an opiate of the masses," making people happy when the underlying injustices of society haven't been fixed.

And let's not even talk about the great composers who were directly on staff to the rich and powerful. What else could that stuff be but propaganda for the status quo?

So, like I said, for Geoffrey, about the only safe emotional expression from his early days would have been hate and anger.

Third, getting back to the stuff he wasn't allowed, Geoffrey wasn't allowed much in the way of imaginative play or stories as a kid. One of the things about playing as a child is that you learn to imagine different situations and how you might act in them. Geoffrey's never been allowed to think in terms of making different choices.

Fouth, Geoffrey shows sociopathic tendencies. Specifically, he has little or no ability to feel empathy for others. He doesn't really understand what other people feel and he doesn't care how they feel.

Again, getting back to the anger thing, he could express anger or hatred towards most things - and most people - and that was OK. So, his parents might have been upset at HIM if he came home from kindergarten and said, "I wish I had some friends."

But they would have been OK with it if he came home and said something about forcing the other kindergarteners to give up their shallow, culturally prejudiced, already brainwashed-by-society attitudes that made them unable to appreciate Geoffrey's attempts to enlighten tham.

Simple version: Geoffrey was taught to act like a jerk from an early age. He was also taught that not being a jerk is not a good thing. So, he acts like a jerk and treats anyone half-decent as being worse than a jerk.

malinbe From: malinbe Date: June 14th, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Okay, this may be a stupid question...

I'm starting to get a bit uncomfortable at this demonization of leftist people lately (not you particularly, but the general atmosphere). It's been a long time since the sixties, and it's really hard to find people so unwilling to compromise to the modern world these days. Most socialists and even many Marxists reject the once loved Cuban model and agree that the authoritative approach doesn't work anymore. The model you are giving to Geoffrey's parents is outdated and I have trouble relating it to young parents with a son born in the late nineties.
Geoffrey is a misguided individual who we all hate to see become a murderous genocidal monster. I do think he has an issue with taking after ideals he was taught at home, but I think he's taking them to the next level. For all we know, Geoffrey's parents are white and priviledged- being "revolutionaires" (they are the type to talk and not get involved) is kinda easy. I think that they started lashing out against the wizarding world the moment they found out their son would be entering a world where he might be a second class citizen. That brings out the rightish side of people, which they are covering up with leftists ideals.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 14th, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Okay, this may be a stupid question...

Most socialists and even many Marxists reject the once loved Cuban model and agree that the authoritative approach doesn't work anymore.

Could they please go and have a long, meaningful conversation with Michael Moore and Sean Penn? ;p

I wouldn't worry too much about Geoff--I do want to set up the next big conflict as a pendulum swing (from a rightist to a leftist Dark Lord and followers, just so that it's different), but Geoff is to leftist politics as Voldemort was to rightist ones--knows the tropes, but in the end, his interest is in himself. His followers may be a different question, but at the moment, they're nothing but spoiled kids. It's what he's latched onto because it's what's available, but he's no more representative of the left than, say, Mrs. Black is of genealogists.

Edited at 2010-06-14 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 14th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Okay, this may be a stupid question...

My politics lean right but I don't mean to demonize Geoffrey's parents (or not in that respect) - but, if I've overstepped the bounds, I apologize.

First, I don't think they're typical of the left, either its "normal" members or those I might consider "extreme."

Second, I think it wasn't so much the cause with them as it was their pursuit of it. My impression (from the bits and pieces we've had) is that they would have much the same problems regardless of what they're cause was. To me, they seem to have the mindset that being right justifies anything done in pursuit of their goal - and that anything that distracts from it is just as wrong. Salem witch trials, Inquisition, Stalin's purges, the French Revolution, left or right, I think they would have been perfectly happy with any of these causes in their time (although they could have also been just as easily swept up into causes opposing them).

Third, since Geoffrey may be sociopathic, it's possible that the bits and pieces we've had through him about his family aren't accurate. When anorexia nervosa first really got into the news, therapists thought the girls most likely to come down with it all came from these really controlling, demanding families because that was how the girls frequently described their home environments. When they began working with the families as well as the girls, they began to realize that many of the girls were projecting their own perfectionist demands onto everyone else. They were just as sure that they would be rejected for being imperfect as they were sure that they looked like a fat whale at 57 pounds. Neither perception was necessarily accurate.

So, my perception of Geoffrey, shaped largely by my impressions of him and his impressions of his parents, might be just as flawed.

malinbe From: malinbe Date: June 14th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Okay, this may be a stupid question...

No need to apologize, it's fine :)

The comparison to the anorexia suffering girls is very interesting. I do think that Geoffrey's parents can't be that bad, solely because they are not people who actually live in an environment where this sort of view is in any way practical, so I see them as generic Marxists who do like to rant and criticise but are not that severe in any way. Geoffrey's invitation to a school and a society where he will be viewed as part of a minority that has just survived a genocide might have been the sort of golden opportunity to place themselves in the more genuinely oppressed side of the social espectrum where Geoffrey can actually defend his status as minority. The fact that this is not the early 20th century has mysteriously been lost to him. But yes, I do think that he might be extrapolating his parents views.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 14th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Okay, this may be a stupid question...

Geoffrey has two problems. The first is his overt problem--he's been raised to be a "revolutionary" and thinks its his responsibility to tear down everything he sees and destroy the morale of the "ruling class." His parents are unreformed Marxists, and he's been raised on this pabulum (kind of like Draco having been raised on the Death Eater business). The second is that he's a sadist--in his own way, as much a psychopath as the murderer--who enjoys this particular job. He enjoys the feeling of superiority he gets by telling people the things they value are worthless and maybe evil.

He hasn't formed his ultimate goals yet--he's still in that annoying but manageable adolescent phase where he just enjoys being a provocateur--but as he gets older, it will eventually form into a notion that he has to remove the ancien regime and all of its works, and replace it with something more "modern."
willowbough From: willowbough Date: June 14th, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
An intriguing batch of stories so far--it will be interesting to see how much more Honoria unearths in her research. Of course, Geoffrey sees no value in any of this. What a pity others don't see through him as clearly as his yearmates.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 14th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's still the matter of the murders to take up page time, but I thought it was about time I actually went back to the genesis of Teddy's itty-bitty year!
malinbe From: malinbe Date: June 14th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
All the stories were nice, and it is somewhat sad that some are embarrassed by the lack of action of their parents. I suppose it is all part of growing up, right?

I don't know why anyone assumes that the muggleborns don't have any interesting story. For all we know, McG might have showed up on their door step to tell them to hide two days after the birth because, hidden scroll or not, DEs might have another way to track them down.

I think Geoffrey is resentful at being a muggleborn, really, and feels left out of a world he really likes, deeply inside. So he needs to shape it according to how he thinks he wouldn't be feeling like betraying his ideals. Too bad he's isolated himself so well.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 14th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know why anyone assumes that the muggleborns don't have any interesting story. For all we know, McG might have showed up on their door step to tell them to hide two days after the birth because, hidden scroll or not, DEs might have another way to track them down.

I thought about that, but I just didn't want them to keep prattling all chapter, is more or less the sum of that. I might have Teddy discover something of that sort later in the story, as he's friends with McGonagall.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: June 14th, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
There were plenty of under-eleven muggleborns who might have been in need of saving :D It doesn't have to be a member of Teddy's year, either.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 19th, 2010 06:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do we know what a normal age is for a muggleborn to begin showing signs of magic? Some of Teddy's yearmates were nearly 6 months old at the end of the war, weren't they?
ascot_gavotte From: ascot_gavotte Date: June 14th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Jane rolled her eyes extravagantly and said, "Pity, really, that he's so shy and unassuming. However are we meant to guess how he feels?"

I feel like Geoff is going to play a significant role in the murder mystery (not that I think he's the actual murderer).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 14th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Could be.
From: amethystbeloved Date: June 15th, 2010 06:09 am (UTC) (Link)
It's funny that even though Geoffrey is easily the most disliked character in your Teddy-verse stories, he's the most popular one in terms of who the readers keep commenting on.

I for one would like to make a note on Laura. She's always been observed as pretty (after all, she did catch Teddy's eye!) so it's interesting to see that her beauty comes from her mother's genes. And if her mom wasn't a model and got on the Death Eaters' bad side, she wouldn't have made her escape... and could have lost her daughter. How fascinating!

Anyway, once Honoria gets the permissions, we can get some more meat on these skeletons of stories!
19 comments or Leave a comment