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Chapter Sixteen: By A Thread: The Hufflepuffs - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Chapter Sixteen: By A Thread: The Hufflepuffs
Aha! That's what it was. It's time for a palate cleanser, courtesy of Honoria.

How 'bout some 'Puffs?

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Volume 7, Issue 1515 January 2016

By A Thread

Tinny Gudgeon: Urban Planner

Part 6 of 16

Special to the Hogwarts Charmer
from Honoria Higgs
A note from the Editor: In the original vision for this piece, I planned to look at the various social circles within the smallest year, but as I continued to plan, I realized that our friendships are universal enough that it didn't make sense. The remaining pieces will follow the three Houses, beginning with the next four entries, from Hufflepuff House.


"Do you have to take my picture?" Ernestine Gudgeon asks. "My hair always looks I glued it to my head in in pictures. And my teeth..." She wrinkles her nose. "Really, do you have to?"

Once resigned to having her photograph taken in her favorite chair in the Hufflepuff Common Room, Tinny gets up to find decent seating for her guests. Once everyone is seated, Cecil Morgan, a younger Hufflepuff, offers to get snacks from the nearby kitchen. Tinny tells him to let Winky--the lead kitchen elf--tend to lunch instead.

"Welcome to Hufflepuff," she says, somewhat self-consciously. "You'll never starve here."

In point of fact, with or without help from the kitchens, she has seen to it that a small table is filled with food--sweets, nuts, bread, and fruit--and Summons a pitcher of pumpkin juice to share. She does this without paying attention to it. It is partly, perhaps, because her parents own the popular Diagon Alley restaurant, The Willow, where she works during summer holidays, but she considers this causation "perfectly backward--my parents opened a restaurant because we love to feed people. This is just who I am. And I have a lot of practice feeding guests after six and a half years of Muggles and Minions." She grins.

The game, for those unfamiliar with it, is a role-playing scenario, in which players take on various Muggle roles, and roll dice to pull themselves through tricky situations without using magic. Tinny's character, a police detective called Anna Lutz, has been retired for two years, though, as she has taken over the role of "Urban Planner"--the director of the game--from her long-time boyfriend, Francis Apcarne, who left the post when he began studying for his N.E.W.T.s. In speaking of the long-standing game, Tinny becomes more animated. "Nine years, now. Frankie started it when he came, and it'll go on after I leave--Cecil's keeping it here at Hufflepuff. Not a bad life span for a club!"
What is the draw of the somewhat unusual, complicated game for Tinny and her tight-knit circle, which includes year-mates Teddy Lupin and Donzo McCormack?

"It's different for everyone. For me, it's that I really get to know people, and the way they play. So I can sit down and start putting a game together, and I'll think, 'Oh, this one's going to make Story think for once!' or 'Cecil's going to love it if I put them there.' For the others? I don't know. It's just a fun way to spend an evening. Something to do while you're sitting around and eating. Definitely more fun than gossiping. And I've learned a lot about Muggles, too. I don't think I'd have ever got exposed to a lot of it without the game."

The daughter of David and Susannah
(Dawlish) Gudgeon, Tinny is one of only two wizard-born students in the smallest year who was born in England (the other being Teddy Lupin). At the time of her birth, her mother worked in the office of Dolores Umbridge, and her father had a concession stand in the Ministry lobby. "Trust me, Mum did not agree with anything in the office," Tinny says. "I'd love to tell you a great story about how she sabotaged things, but she told me I couldn't--she was pregnant, and that's not a time a woman takes risks with her life. Dad wasn't taking any risks, either. They both wish they had." She sighs. "But the fact was, they had no gold than what their jobs brought in. They needed them. Mum's brother worked in the Auror division, and he got her the Ministry post, and Dad had put everything into his booth. They felt they needed to make things work, so they did. The only thing they could do was try to put some kindness into the place that year, in whatever small ways they could. After the war, Mum presented evidence at Umbridge's trial..." She trails off, then sighs again. "I don't know what I would have done."

Since arriving at school, Tinny's major activity has been the Muggles and Minions club, and she has kept a low profile otherwise.

"Not deliberately!" she says with a laugh. "I can't imagine what I'd have a high profile about, really. My marks are average. I don't look like anything special. I stay out of trouble."

Except for first year, of course, when, along with Apcarne and Lupin, she was trapped in a fire in the Forbidden Forest, after being beaten by Red Caps.

"I was unconscious through most of that," she says. "Really, I got hit a lot, and then I was coughing. I dreamed about the Whomping Willow and a big black dog--not the stuff great stories are made of. Then Professor Longbottom carried me back to the castle."

With three N.E.W.T.s--Potions, Care of Magical Creatures, and Ancient Runes--Tinny is unsure of her future profession. "There's not a lot," she said. "I don't mean to have one of those jobs that define me. I want to be Tinny, and do whatever there is that needs to be done. Copywork, waiting tables, working in shops... it doesn't matter. At the moment, I have, well, we'll say something of an offer to be of help in a new publishing house, but I'm waiting for that offer to firm up before I make a committment to it. And I'll probably keep helping my parents with the restaurant in any case. I just find that it doesn't matter to me at all what I end up doing for a living... though I hope it's not taken over by a Dark wizard whilst I'm doing it."

Volume 7, Issue 1622 January 2016

By A Thread

Joe Palmer: The Fluke

Part 7 of 16

Special to the Hogwarts Charmer
from Honoria Higgs


When Joe Palmer took his first flying lesson at Hogwarts, no one in his class thought he would be one to hold a Quidditch record. "That was all Frank Driscoll," he says. "I remember watching him fly that first day--the first time he ever got on a broom--and thinking that I'd never figure it out. And he was just doing it naturally!"

Nevertheless, despite the indisputable flying skills of Ravenclaw Seeker Driscoll, it is Palmer, not he, whose name has reached the trophy room. Last year, in a game against Slytherin, Palmer shattered the record for goals scored in a single Hogwarts game, previously held by Ginevra Weasley (Potter), who scored one hundred eighty points in her own seventh year championship game. At two hundred thirty points--twenty-three goals--it seems unlikely that Palmer's new record will be challenged in the near future.

"It was a fluke," he says. "No one who has that good a game actually deserves to have had it. The wind was on my side, and your Keeper had the sun in his eyes, and I just had a lucky day in the air. And what wasn't luck was mostly from other people. The Hufflepuff Beaters kept everyone off of me, and my fellow Chasers--Ellie Smith and Lila Bones, last year--flew great support. It was bad luck for them that their goals didn't go in when I was on support."

Any chance of a career in professional Quidditch?

Joe shrugs. "I'm not ruling it out. I've had a few talks with recruiters. My parents want me to make sure I have other options, though. They really don't have any idea how big Quidditch is, being non-magical. I tried to explain that it's a bit like football, but I'm not sure they believe me. Or maybe they do, and just don't think I ought to stake my future on becoming Beckham" (apparently, a once well-known player of the Muggle game of football).

William and Nan Palmer may not entirely understand Quidditch, but they did understand early on that their younger son had talents his siblings didn't share. "We were ready for it, actually," Nan, a homemaker, says. "Not long after Joe was born, we had a visit from Miss Chang, who was working that year to protect Muggles and Muggle-borns. She said his name was on a list. Now, we thought she was a bit mad, but it seemed less trouble to let her go about waving a stick at the walls than to have her taken away. She said she'd be right
out of the house, and she was--never heard of her again until she took the Potions post. But before she was even gone, our little baby started crying, and, wouldn't you know it, his bottle had got red hot in his hand. Miss Chang just laughed and said, 'I see he thought it was too cold.' So we know. Of course we knew. I know some of the other Muggle-borns weren't found right off and didn't get protection--all of the Muggle parents keep in touch this year, so we don't feel quite as alone as we might--but we did. I'm thankful for it. I didn't know at the time what she meant to protect us from, and now that I do know, I'm glad I didn't. I'd have been scared out of my wits."

Construction worker William Palmer is less impressed. "I'd always rather know what I'm dealing with, and I've never much cared for the secrecy. We had a right to know who might be after us, even if it never came to anything. And they really ought to have talked to all the parents of babies showed up on that list. And they ought to do that every year, not just when there's a war. Be up front about it."

"Dad's not wild for secrets," Joe says mildly when this is relayed to him. "He thinks they cause more problems than they're worth. I haven't decided what I think, except I agree about telling the parents of Muggle-borns early on. And offering some help in getting ready! I spent the whole first year feeling a step behind. At least we're in our year, though. Everyone--well, almost everyone--has made a real effort to get along with everyone else. And my dormitory-mate, Roger, is Muggle-born as well, so we were in it together."

Does Palmer think that the experience of Muggle-borns in our year is different from that of other years?

"I think every experience in our year is different," he says, looking surprised that the question would be asked. "Being Muggle-born is different, sure--no one in my family was lost in the war, which none of the wizard-born can say. I don't have any bone-deep memories of it. In the Muggle world, the last eighteen years have been consumed by other things, so I don't have the sort of personal sense of loss that the wizard-born have. Or are you talking about the mad Muggle-born agitation coming from some quarters?" He rolls his eyes. "I have better things to do, like clipping my toenails and watching mushrooms grow."

Volume 7, Issue 1729 January 2016

By A Thread

Laura Chapman: All the Pretty Girls

Part 8 of 16

Special to the Hogwarts Charmer
from Honoria Higgs


In the Muggle world, Laura Chapman's mother was once known as Felice, and her name raised the interest of industry moguls and world-renowned fashion artists alike. When our war began, her star was on the rise in another world.

But she was of our world. At Hogwarts, she was known as Felicity Moore. She refers to herself as a "below average" student, but her teachers remember her as one who worked hard and did her best. Leaving school after O.W.L.s, she went to the Muggle world for work, discovered modeling--a much more important profession among Muggles, who use photography of various sorts for all of their advertisements--and was building a very successful career. Older readers may have seen her familiar face on signs by the road, on posters in windows, or, at the end of her career, on the cover of the Muggle fashion magazine called Vogue. At the same time, she had fallen in love with and married successful photographer Elliot Chapman, who became her champion and manager, as well as her primary photographer.

"I'd never met anyone like Felicity," he says. "I wasn't particularly surprised when, after our wedding, she told me she was a witch--I felt like she'd cast a spell over me quite efficiently!"

These days, Felicity (Moore) Chapman is no longer seen gracing high profile magazines or advertisements. Indeed, she rarely sits for family pictures, and would not agree to a picture for this article.

While still basking in the success of her magazine cover, the Chapmans had a visit from the Death Eaters. "We'd had a party," Felicity says. "Some industry friends. One of them had left her handbag, and I assumed, when there was a knock at the door, that she was just coming back for it. I had it in my hand. I'd actually said, 'I wondered when you'd notice it was missing' before I turned my head. The man standing there was hooded and masked, and I still don't know who he was. He called me a blood traitor, then raised his wand. The next thing I knew..."

She pulls back her long red hair and fully reveals the ruins of her lovely face. Although she would not permit a picture, she gave leave to describe the spell damage--her cheeks were strafed with scar tissue, her mouth drawn down into a mime's frown. Her nose was flayed. It has since been repaired, but the scarring remains in a butterfly pattern. But the Death Eater who attacked her particularly destroyed her striking eyes, both of which have been replaced with magical substitutes.

"I didn't want the fancy sort," Felicity says. "I can't see through walls and I don't want to. But at least I can see, for whatever its worth."

After the attack, Elliott Chapman used a private flight, previously scheduled for a photo shoot, to remove his wife from the country. They settled in Milan, which was where what repairs could be made, were... and where she discovered that she was going to have a child.

It was there, in Italy's largest city, that Laura was born.

"I don't remember much about it," she says. "We came back when I was five. But Daddy took pictures at some of the great shows, and I remember all the beautiful girls in beautiful dresses. I wanted to be one of them, but Mum and Daddy... well, you can imagine that they didn't like the thought of me doing what got Mum hurt." She smiles. "I remember my first bit of accidental magic, though. I turned my little dress into one like the girl walking around was in, and her designer about exploded thinking that someone had stolen his design to make a child's dress before it was even sold. That's when Mum and Daddy decided it might be best to keep me in the wizarding world after all, especially since the war was over and the Death Eaters were gone."

From the start of the smallest year, Laura has been seen as "the pretty girl"--identified by her china blue eyes and thick, wavy blond hair more than by her interests in Divination and Charms. She describes this circumstance as her own "fault," as she was never interested in making a name for herself. She never achieved heights of popularity, but has certainly never lacked company. Her two best friends are her roommate, Tinny Gudgeon, and Lizzie Richardson, of Ravenclaw--the latter becoming a friend after a public spat over a boy turned into a point of common ground. "Why not?" Laura asks. "We were fourteen, and he turned out not to be especially interested in either of us. So why not be friends? And because we're generous human beings, we're friends with him as well." She winks.

Unlike the rest of the year, Laura considered leaving school after O.W.L.s. "I like Charms," she said, "but I'm not especially good at it, and I'm not likely to go on in the field. As far as Divination goes, I might well set up a shop to tell fortunes, much to Professor Firenze's distress, but you don't need N.E.W.T. for that. I just think it would be fun." She bites her lip. "But when it came to it, I couldn't leave. I needed to go through with my year, see it to the end. And I didn't want to leave poor Tinny living alone. We've got quite used to one another."

What of next year?

Laura feigns fear with an exaggerated shiver. "What of next year? It seems to be coming up quite fast, doesn't it?" She runs a hand through her hair, pushing it up over one ear. "I know the world I know," she says. "My father has taught me photography, and I actually would like to go on with that. I've no interest in the sort of photojournalism that the Prophet uses, but I think it's time to bring beauty back into the world. I should like to be an artist." She brightens at this. "You know, that's the first time I've said that. I should like to be an artistic photographer. I think there are a lot of interesting things that can be done with wizarding photography, and we settle for snapshots."

A pretty girl like Laura Chapman behind the camera?

She laughs. "But you don't understand--I think we're all the pretty girls. And I think I intend to prove it."

Volume 7, Issue 185 February 2016

By A Thread

Roger Young: A World With Hippogriffs

Part 9 of 16

Special to the Hogwarts Charmer
from Honoria Higgs


Working in the hippogriff barn is apparently hot work, as Roger Young has shed his tee shirt to work only in his blue jeans on an afternoon in early February. "The animals are all in here when it's cold outside," he explains, pouring grain into a trough for a unicorn foal. "That makes it pretty toasty when you're carrying around barrels of feed and bales of hay. A lot of them are spooked by Levitation, so it has to be done by hand. Easy work if you're Professor Hagrid--not so easy when you're me." He grins, and makes a show of flexing a muscle in one skinny arm, then turns in response to a nicker from the unicorn. He holds out a lump of sugar, and the unicorn takes it. Patting its neck, he says, "She won't put up with me much longer--unicorns are quite sexist--but for now, she's fine with anyone who gives her sweets."

Roger, a short, thin boy with shoulder-length, straight blond hair cut square around his face, has unofficially begun his apprenticeship. The official training can't start until after N.E.W.T.s, but Professor Hagrid--who is looking forward to retirement in three years time--has already set him to the sorts of tasks he'll be doing for the next two years, as he trains to take over the post as Keeper of the Keys and groundskeeper at Hogwarts. "I might take on the teaching as well," Roger says. "But that's up to the Headmistress, and of course I'd need to learn how to do that. The two jobs weren't always tied together, you know. It's only been since Professor Hagrid took over twenty years ago."

Although Muggle-born, Roger took immediately to the world of Magical Creatures, successfully lobbying the Ministry of Magic at the end of his fourth year to allow him to keep magical pets in his Muggle environments over the summer. "My grandfather has land in Yorkshire," he explains. "It used to be a farm--he couldn't afford to keep it running--and it's in the middle of nowhere. Who was going to see? There were wizard-born folk in the middle of London keeping fancy hippogriffs. I couldn't see where keeping an Augery in Yorkshire was going to violate the Statute of Secrecy any more, and--thanks to Hermione Weasley--the Wizengamot agreed. Of course, they live here with Hagrid during the year--none of them are approved school pets." He leads the way to the back of the barn, where two birdcages stand in front of three stalls. "This is the Augery," he says. "She was my first pet, and she always warns me when it's going to rain. So her name is Stormy. And this one"--he goes to the second cage--"This one's an Ouzelum, all the way from Australia. It was the first one I wanted, but I didn't win that time. She flies backwards. Beautiful isn't she?" In the
stalls, there's a sleeping Crup ("I call him Satan, for the tail"), a Clabbert called Green Boy who was born here at Hogwarts and has been in Roger's special care ("Stay back; you don't want him throwing things at you"), and an unusally tame Porlock whose name, for reasons Roger no longer remembers, is Eugene. "He guards the other animals. I was glad to find him."

Caring for animals wasn't new to Roger when he came to Hogwarts. He'd adopted stray cats and dogs for most of his childhood, and his parents' home in the Kentish countryside allowed him to learn horseback riding, as well as exposing him to the wild animals of the world. "I still haven't seen a zoo leopard, though. It makes a handy excuse when one of our creatures gets out, because there are always stories about roaming leopards, but really, Muggle zoos are guarded a bit better than that. My mum's best friend is a zookeepr, and I used to go when it was closed to watch her feeding them. There's no way any of them are roaming about the countryside."

How has his family responded to the magical world?

He shrugs, and starts back to the main part of the barn, where the hippogriffs are demanding their supper. "They don't know what to make of it. They knew I could do odd things, of course, and it wasn't a surprise, but it's not like Joe's family. No one came to warn us during the war. All my parents knew about what was going on was that there were strange, awful accidents happening. Dad said he thought there were political attacks that no one was telling us about--the Irish again, or maybe the Welsh nationalists. The idea that there were Dark wizards murdering people didn't quite occur to him." He fishes for some dead rats, and begins to throw them to the hungry hippogriffs. "I don't know if I think they should have told everyone what was going on, or if I'm glad they didn't. I mean, what would Muggles have done about it? They couldn't have set up defenses. On the other hand, no one likes to be kept in the dark. It's a bit insulting when you think about it." He considers this. "On another hand altogether, I don't fancy spending the rest of my life having teenage girls come up and ask if I can make the boys they like fall madly in love with them, either, and you know that would happen if everyone knew."

He finishes feeding the hippogriffs, and goes to the stable of the older one, Buckbeak, to pat his beak. "It's not a bad world, you know," he says thoughtfully. He grins over his shoulder. "How bad can it be when there are hippogriffs?"

8 comments or Leave a comment
malinbe From: malinbe Date: August 21st, 2010 10:21 am (UTC) (Link)
These were all lovely pieces! I'm particularly interested Laura's- wizarding artistic photography sounds amazing.

It's good that you do Friday nights, I need something to wake up with at 6am on Saturday morning before Greek class!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: August 21st, 2010 01:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're right--checking in with Honoria's ongoing feature is refreshing, though naturally I'm looking forward to the resumption of the main story. A little worried about Tinny's parents, though, given her description of their wartime years. After killing the Burkes, Sam strikes me as warped enough to consider the Gudgeons fair game too.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: August 21st, 2010 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really love these articles and finding out more about some of these people, especially the different experiences the muggle-borns' families had. Laura's description of her friendship with Lizzie had me laughing.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: August 21st, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm enjoying these more than I had expected. I know so little about these characters that I feel like I'm getting to know them for the first time -- probably what Honoria and you had hoped. I really feel for Laura and her family, especially, of course, her mother. They seem to have recovered well, although obviously the trauma lingers.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: August 21st, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

these are lovely!

didn't knew that about Tiny! that's awesome.
*although like someone mentioned I now really hope Cresswell doesn't go after her Family!*

the description of the Hufflepuff tower was absolutely lovely! it sounds so cozy.
*pity Rowling put that rule that people can't visit each other houses! I imagine Luna would have felt very comfortable visiting hufflepuffs*

and finally! i learn what muggles and minions was! that sounds like a fantastic game pureblood wizards should play!

.... on Joe Palmer's article.... how is it possible for ONE person to score that many goals?? i mean if the game lasts three days i can understand.. but most hogwarts' games lasted half a day or less,
how can someone score a hundred goals?
*laughs at the Beckham reference, oh you think of Everything!*

poor Laura's mom. did they ever found out which DE did that to her?

and.... when you say "magical eyes" you don't mean ones like Mad Eye Moody? those hugely disproportionate one, right? i hope not.

i like Laura's plan for a profession.

Roger's was very sweet and interesting. it's nice to know they are wizards who are interesting in magical creatures, and who are happy and willing to have harry as a teacher! (other than the trio)
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: August 23rd, 2010 08:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: these are lovely!

*I meant Hagrid, not harry. typo.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 22nd, 2010 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, despite Honoria downplaying how her new eyes look compared to the old ones, I couldn't help thinking that her mom probably got them in Italy and, then, about the great glass makers and artists from that area. Also, I think Italian culture puts a stronger value on cultivating beauty. Assuming both these things are part of its wizarding world, it has me picturing an Italin wizard appalled that someone would deliberately destroy a woman's face like that and the story of him making her new eyes . . . .

Sorry, bit of a tangent, but your stories get my mind going in these directions.

On the issue of telling or not telling families of Muggleborns under 11.

My take on the Hogwarts list is that it's historically been kept separate from anything the Ministry has or does, and that the Ministry sets the rules on Muggleborns not being contacted till they're old enough to go to Hogwarts. This was a good thing during the war but, as you pointed out, not a good thing overall for the families trying to deal with these strange things happening.

I can see why the people opposing Voldemort didn't tell the Muggle world in general during the war. Besides a deeply ingrained attitude that you just don't do that, they were up against two major difficulties. First, you would have to convince Muggles that all these things were real. Second, having convinced them, you have to deal with the consequences.

Muggles have very limited defenses against wizards (I can theorize that, if they hadn't spent three or four centuries in the dark and laughing at anyone who seriously thought they needed a defense against magical attacks, that they might have developed some adequate responses, but that's another story). So, there's a question about what they could actually do.

On top of that, suddenly made aware of a danger you didn't believe was possible, don't understand, and don't have defenses against, people tend to panic. So, you've got added chaos.

Add in the fact that this panic is going to be focused on a fear of wizards with a limited recognition of what side a given UK wizard is on, and it could be just as big a problem for wizards fighting Voldemort as ones on his side.

Plus, some of the anti-Voldemort side or the lukewarm sorts who weren't doing anything to support him, might decide the Muggles were the bigger danger after all (maybe legitimately, given this scenario), weakening and dividing opposition.

Oh, and while the DEs had been attacking Muggles (possibly even targeting the PM, depending on why that one guy wound up under the Imperius Curse), it seemed generally random and disorganized - malicious but lacking an overall stratigic intent. It also was secondary to securing power and going after people within the wizarding community. This could have changed radically if the Muggle world became a real threat.

On top of all this, you've probably alienated the world wide wizarding community who would also be dealing with the fallout.

So, not a good idea during the war.

However, a coordinated effort with certain Muggle authorities probably wouldn't have been a bad thing. It was probably everything people like Cho could do to get in to a few families and cast a few protective spells - and I would guess these were strict, in and out missions to minimize the chance of DEs tracking them - and that sort of thing doesn't lend itself to the kind of contact you need with the family to convince them there's this magical world they've never known coexisted with their mundane world and it's targeting them ("Your whole, worldview's wrong; here's the completely different worldview; here's why that world is trying to kill you; here's why you should trust me immediately no matter how hard this is to take in" in five minutes or less).

So, maybe the families should have been told and convinced, but I can see why it didn't happen.

amamama From: amamama Date: August 22nd, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Woot! What a perfect ending to a wonderful weekend. Love getting to know the puffs - and I do wonder who the boy Laura and Tinny had a spat over is. Or maybe not. It could be our fave metamorphmagus...
Really, I love all their stories, and also how you've woven their parents' stories in as well. I agree with the other reviewers - I hope Mr. Arse is not going for Tinny's parents next! Or maybe they'll just do a "Whistle Stop Café" (Fried Green Tomatoes) and claim that the secret's in the sauce? Hmmm - no, not really. And there are enough people looking for him, he doesn't need to disappear like that.

Thanks for the palate cleaner, I'm looking forward to the next part of the meal. Another main course, perhaps? I don't think we're on to the desserts yet, are we?
8 comments or Leave a comment