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Chapter Twenty-Two: By A Thread: The Ravenclaws, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Chapter Twenty-Two: By A Thread: The Ravenclaws, pt. 1
I know I usually do these in one post, but I'm tired, and I wanted to put something up tonight. Franklin and Geoff tomorrow!

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Volume 7, Issue 224 March 2016

By A Thread

Connie Deverill: The Keeper's Save
Part 10 of 16

Special to the Hogwarts Charmer
from Honoria Higgs
A note from the editor: This series returns after a February hiatus, necessitated by the need for editorial space regarding less pleasant matters. We now return to the business of introducing your to the Smallest Year. In our second piece, you met Donzo McCormack. The remaining four Ravenclaws will be introduced in the coming weeks.


"My name is Constance Olivia," Connie Deverill says. "Constance is for my aunt, who died fighting off Death Eaters so my mother could get away. Olivia is for Oliver Wood, and if you want my opinion, I oughtn't be the only Olivia running about just now. They really ought to be as thick on the ground as Harriets. Wait, I don't know any Harriets, either. We're really quite uncreative, when you think about it."

A cheerfully pretty girl whose many braids are usually finished off with multicolored beads, the murderous days of Voldemort are the last thing one is likely to think of upon meeting her, but Connie, like year-mate Brendan Lynch, is a veteran of Quidditch star Oliver Wood's "Quidditch network"--a loosely affiliated rescue group made up of Wood's international contacts in the game. Over the course of the war's final, horrible year, the network rescued at least a dozen Muggle-borns, half-bloods, and so called "blood traitors" from the Death Eaters, as often as not under the nose of Voldemort and his puppet government.

"Oliver's an intense Quidditch player," Connie said, "but he always made friends. He's a good bloke. My dad was his team manager at the time, and they were friends. Dad said Oliver was usually there before the pitch opened, just waiting to go up in the air. So Dad started coming early to let him in, and they got to doing practice shots--Dad playing at being a Chaser while Oliver played Keeper--and, by the time the Ministry fell, they were quite close."

Connie's father, Philbert Deverell, was the manager of the Puddlemere United Team, where Wood was first recruited for the reserves. He was also a Muggle-born, and, as such, too successful in a magical field for the Death Eaters to tolerate for any length of time. His wife, Temperance Tinkham, had, at the time, been part of a successful comedy show on the Wizarding Wireless called Raw Magic that tweaked the noses of--among others--Lucius Malfoy, Walden Macnair, and Severus Snape (then posing convincingly, one must recall, as a Death Eater). Most unfortunately for the Deverill family, Temperance herself had been the member of the troupe tasked with playing the part of Bellatrix Lestrange, whom she portrayed as a simpering, hypersexed fool. As might be imagined, this was not well received by the new government, which had little taste for any of the arts, and no tolerance for mockery of its own leaders. Temperance went into hiding at the home of Constance Tinkham, her older sister, when the Ministry fell, but all three knew that it was impermanent.

Meanwhile, Oliver Wood insisted that the team continue to play, and, inexplicably, that Philbert Deverill remain with them. While he took criticism for this, even being accused of playing Nero's role by some members of the opposition, in fact, it gave him the cover he needed. The more dangerous members of the government saw him as a harmless sports fanatic, and never suspected that he was using the Quidditch matches--so carefully engineered to show a normal face to the international community--to work his large network, and start creating escape hatches. Philbert Deverill's was one of the first. Simon Bar-Ilan, owner of the Israeli national team and a friendly rival of Wood's, abruptly started making offers to Deverill, claiming he was desperately needed in Tel Aviv, offering
to bring over his whole family, and several of their friends, if that was what it took to get him there. The government couldn't publicly fight this offer, and plans were made for Deverill, Temperance, and Constance to leave together. Alas, Belletrix Lestrange, less concerned with the international image of the Ministry, attacked the Tinkham household the night before they were to leave, and Temperance Tinkham barely escaped. Constance was killed as she fought for every inch, finally forcing her sister out through the Floo network, into the Department of Sports and Games. From there, the Israelis escorted Connie Deverill's parents out of the country, and it was in Tel Aviv that she was born ten months later. Oliver Wood was named her godfather.

"And he just kept doing it," Connie says. "Israel, Bulgaria, Hong Kong, India, the States"--she laughs--"though he still jokes that the Los Angeles Freeways didn't know they were in on a rescue mission--they were just so bad at the time that they really did risk an international incident to get a competent player." She shakes her head fondly. "He kept going until Dawlish finally twigged to the game and shut down the matches, and then anyone who'd been caught helping had to go into hiding. He's a real hero, not just a Quidditch star."

Wood himself dismisses this. "I know real heroes," he says. "I had one playing Seeker on my team at Hogwarts for three years. I'm just a Keeper who kept the other team from scoring while the real heroes won the war. I'm happy to be a Quidditch star. And come to think of it, now that I'm managing the Tornadoes, I could use a good Seeker, and I know just which one I want..."

Connie herself is, in her own words, "complete rubbish" on the Quidditch pitch. "I tried out second year," she says, "but I think I might have been sitting backward on the broom, and I mistook a Bludger for a Quaffle. It wasn't pretty."

She seems, instead, to have inherited her mother's comic skills, and is known in the Ravenclaw Common Room for her gently chiding impersonations of classmates and teachers. Even Professor Flitwick is amused by her interpretation of his teaching style, and on one April Fool's Day, arranged to have her sit at the Head Table playing the part, and refusing to acknowledge teachers who questioned it.

"My mum doesn't joke much anymore," Connie says, "so I have to do it for both of us, really. And I like making people laugh. Maybe I'll see about putting the old troupe together. I can't see much else to do with my highly useful N.E.W.T.s in Ancient Runes and Muggle Studies." She is, in point of fact, taking four N.E.W.T.s, including a highly useful Defense N.E.W.T., but she prefers to stress what she calls her Quirky Quotient. "In our year, we're all Defense experts. I'm much less interested in how vampires are actually handled than how Muggle novels and television shows think they are. As far as I can tell, it involves kissing, stakes, garlic, and quite a lot of bad poetry. Much more interesting than our version. That's actually my final paper--perceptions of magic in the Muggle arts. Basically, it means I get to spend my holidays at my grandparents' watching old television programmes for hours." She winks. "So I'm smarter than I seem, eh?"

Volume 7, Issue 2311 March 2016

By A Thread

Lizzie Richardson: Fitting Justice
Part 11 of 16

Special to the Hogwarts Charmer
from Honoria Higgs


It would, perhaps, be forgivable for an observer to think that the race for top marks in the smallest year was a two-way affair, between Donzo McCormack and Teddy Lupin. After all, the person in the class whose marks really are at the top of the year--and have been since the beginning--simply rolls her eyes at the entire affair.

"Of course my marks are higher," Lizzie Richardson says. "From time to time, I actually do the assignments that are actually assigned, instead of making them up so they mean what I want them to mean. And I had three extra credit projects, rather than a plan to cure a plague or start a world-wide dance craze. It may not make the Prophet, but I won." She grins. A thin girl with straight, pale red hair, Lizzie isn't a stand-out in the room. She jokes that she can be in a place for a month before anyone happens to see her there. "It's all right, though. I see people with more exciting lives, and it seems a little stressful." Despite her joking, Richardson is on good terms with both boys she "won" over. "We understand each other well enough, as long as we aren't trying to go out with one another"--she shudders--"and I guarantee I'd have been less attentive without them pushing me to work harder."

With her marks, Lizzie could follow nearly any career path, but she chose early on to pursue a life at the Ministry's department of Magical Law Enforcement. "Not as an Auror," she explains, "but acting as an advocate for the accused. One of the most important things Hermione Weasley has done has been creating a fairer system of trials, and I've wanted to be a part of that for as long as I can remember. The accused always need an advocate."

Even the guilty?

"The guilty most of all," she says. "It may not be popular, but even the guilty deserve a defense. There's nearly always some reason behind it all." Perhaps thinking of Sam Cresswell, currently a fugitive from justice after several brutal murders, she amends, "Not that I think they oughtn't pay for their crimes, of course. But if there's no defense for the guilty, then there's no real defense for the innocent. I want to bring our laws in line with the laws of the Muggle world, which surpassed us a long time ago on things like this."

Is Lizzie Richardson part of the growing movement of students who feel the wizarding world is in need of a revolution? She insists that she is not. "Revolution is a very total matter," she says. "I favor some reforms, maybe even some of the same ones that other members of my House favor"--here, she refers to Geoffrey Phillips, the often combative would-be reformer--"but I know that things like that take time, and you can't force them on people, not if they're going to stick." She wrinkles her nose. "Besides, we just had one total war. I was too young to really see it, but my parents remember it, and I don't want another."
Lizzie's mother, Sylvia (Twilfit) Richardson, was the chief robemaker at Twilfit and Tattings (London) before the war started bleeding away business. Her father, half-blood businessman Steven Richardson, closed the shop when Voldemort's government demanded that they provide high level officials with clothing at less than the value of the materials, let alone the labor. "There were threats," Lizzie says, "that Daddy's blood status was going to be called into question if he didn't agree to it. So he closed the shop and we moved in with Mum's brother in New York. Mum was quite pregnant at the time. I was born in the sample room in New Jersey, because Mum just kept sewing, since she thought she was paying our keep. Uncle Jack says I spoiled an entire pile of remnants, but it was all right."

Like many in the smallest year, Lizzie had no idea before reaching Hogwarts just how deeply the war had touched her. "We stayed in America when I was small. I had friends. Other witches to play on toy broomsticks with, little wizards to pretend to brew love potions for. Mum knew that other people had need to run, but we never made anything of being the only war refugees who happened on New York. We just assumed that everyone else thought the ties between London and New York were too strong, and went elsewhere. Daddy thought it might be a little smaller than usual, but I don't think he imagined fewer than thirty, let alone fewer than twenty. When we were standing there by the lake--you remember. Those little boats, just four of them, waiting for us, and the whole lake in front of us. For a few seconds, I could barely breathe."

But being part of the small, forcibly close-knit group that crossed the water that night has affected her, she says. "Of course it has! It's not just the individual people in it--though, like I said, the fact that there are two frighteningly bright boys has really pushed me--but that idea that we were all there was, that we were alone to sink or swim together... I don't think any of us know yet how much that's mattered. We know it has. There's no other year that goes back and forth among Houses and years more freely than we have. But what will it mean in the long run, when we're out in the world? I know a lot of adults reading this at home will say, 'Oh, how sweet, they think their school shape will last forever; they'll learn soon enough that it's just not as important as they imagine.' But I think that they're the ones who'll be surprised. It's not just having particular friends. It's about..." She sighs. "It's about how we imagine the world. I've spent enough time wandering down to Slytherin, or chatting with people in different years, that I can't see ever hesitating to cross the hall and work with another department, or worrying about the seniority of anyone I happen to talk to in the course of my life. It may get me into trouble, but I really never developed the habit of thinking of such things, and that's because our year is what it is."

18 comments or Leave a comment
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: October 7th, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I LOVE Lizzie's analysis of the way she and the others in her year imagine the world because of it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks--I think that patronizing adults tend to genuinely underestimate how school experience has shaped them, let alone will shape their children!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: October 7th, 2010 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hooray! I enjoy these profiles and was looking forward to the next batch of Ravenclaws. I like Connie's irreverence and Lizzie's thoughtfulness, and their backstories are intriguing as well, especially Connie's. Sports really do transcend national borders--but then we already know that from the Olympics.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I discovered Connie as I wrote that. Now, I wish we'd gotten to know her better!
sidealong From: sidealong Date: October 7th, 2010 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
When we were standing there by the lake--you remember. Those little boats, just four of them, waiting for us, and the whole lake in front of us. For a few seconds, I could barely breathe."

I have actual tears reading that. (I'll blame pregnancy hormones.) But that really hit it home for me.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks--that image is one of the central ones in the Teddy stories, to me.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: October 7th, 2010 02:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, I'm in love with Connie. She's awesome! And that Wireless show must have been the single most hilarious thing going on.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm sort of basing it on our mid-90s In Living Color, an irreverent, often course but generally funny sketch comedy show.

Edited at 2010-10-07 07:33 pm (UTC)
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: October 7th, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree that I adore Lizzie's analysis, I'm kind of confused though that Honoria didn't mention how she's also been taking muggle A levels? That seems like something wrong mentioning, heh.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: October 7th, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Or was that not her? I could have sworn it was o_0
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: October 7th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was Honoria's housemate, Jane Hunter. :)
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: October 7th, 2010 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
..... I need to get my Fern straight. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
So do I. I completely mixed up Lizzie and Connie the first time, and probably assigned Jane that role because I forgot that Lizzie was cleaning Teddy's clock first year!
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: October 7th, 2010 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah ok. So it's NOT just me. Cus I was thinking, "Not that there can't be more than one smart person, just, I thought that was Lizzie since she's the smartest." Lol
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: October 7th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Both of these were terrific! Honoria (and you, Fern) should pat herself on the back. I love how different each of these is, and how insightful and even wise most of these kids is. I can't wait for Geoff -- I'm eager to see how he comes off.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm actually looking forward to writing Geoff.
From: kobegrace Date: October 7th, 2010 07:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fern, what of Honoria's piece? Will she end up writing about herself, or will someone else do it (ie/ Corky, or *shudder* Geoff)?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
She's going to finish up with herself. Corky and Maurice were both in the first batch, when "she" was trying to go by social groups rather than Houses (it really turned out to be "The Gryffindor and his buddies"), and the last batch will be the other three Slytherins.
18 comments or Leave a comment