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Chapter Twenty-Two: By A Thread: The Ravenclaws, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Chapter Twenty-Two: By A Thread: The Ravenclaws, pt. 2
And, Franklin and Geoff.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far


Volume 7, Issue 2318 March 2016


By A Thread


Franklin Driscoll: Flying High
Part 12 of 16

Special to the Hogwarts Charmer
from Honoria Higgs

alt


"Look familiar?" Franklin Driscoll asks, pointing at the Muggle aeroplanes flying above, with red and blue smoke trailing into the cloudy sky. He smiles, obviously glad to have a wizarding visitor during his Christmas holidays, and even more glad to brag about his mother, who is flying one the planes. "That's the formation the Ravenclaw team used for our victory lap after we won the Cup last year. I taught it to Mum, and she taught it them." He points again.

Once pointed out, the resemblance is obvious, and Franklin has a right to be proud. His mother, Bianca Driscoll, a former pilot in the Royal Air Force, is now a member of a successful show flight team. His father Liam--also beaming with pride at the show--is her chief mechanic (this is a profession involved in the maintenance of Muggle machinery). "Pretty, innit?" he asks, sparing only a brief glance over his shoulder before turning his face up to watch again.

It is, indeed, an impressive show, but a loud one, and further conversation isn't possible until the return to Hogwarts.

"Sorry," Franklin says. "I didn't mean to drag you out there, but I never had much chance to bring anyone from, you know, Hogwarts. Reckoned you might think it was interesting. And besides, you did tell me first year that you didn't understand what I was talking about and ought to expline." He winks. The ancient grudge thus assuaged, he settles comfortably into a study nook he's created for himself in the library, in the midst of the (largely unused) history stacks. "I've got to show off my mum now and then, don't I?"

Since his first year, when he arrived as an undersized boy with an accent he hid by barely speaking until the day he picked up a broomstick for the first time and flew beautifully, Franklin has grown in confidence, and is even considered cocky by sixth year Ravenclaw Quidditch captain Jemima Sutcliffe. "So he can catch a Snitch," she sniffs. "He ought to be able to, given that he relaxes for hours while the rest of us actually play the game."

The prickly rivalry between the two has been exacerbated by Driscoll's group of loyal Ravenclaw fans, including alumni who routinely return to Hogwarts for his games, and Quidditch professionals who have been courting him since fifth year. When Sutcliffe was named captain after Rowena Corner left school two years ago, many of these influential fans were incensed. (Newlin Brice, captain of the Caerphilly Catapults, infamously wrote an editorial accusing Professor Flitwick of "clear senility," which Ginevra Potter called an example of "Quidditch psychosis," advising Brice in her monthly column to "get [his] head on straight before it blows away in a strong wind.") Franklin himself considers it a good choice. "I was angry at first," he said, "but
the more I thought about it, the more I think Professor Flitwick made the right call. I like to do my bit, and play with the audience. I don't reckon I'd like setting up strategies and scheduling the pitch for practices and so on. Jemmy can have it."

As to his increasing confidence, he doesn't credit it to Quidditch. "Are you kidding? Quidditch is where I can just relax. I've spent the last six and a half years living in a dormitory between Donzo McCormack and Geoff Phillips... it was either grow a backbone or give up and disappear!"

Franklin refers to the well-known--and uncomfortable--dislike between his two dormitory mates, because he has often been caught between them. "They're both my friends, if you want the truth," he says. "Not my best mates, but my friends, anyway. So I'm always the one that gets, 'Get him to shut his trap,' and 'Tell him to cut that out.' It's worse than my little twin sisters sometimes, and they're nine. Quidditch drama's a holiday."

So, why play along?

"Peace in the house," Franklin says, with a shrug. "I don't care a fig about politics, but I have to go home to both of them. It's just logic to keep the place running without any major duels." He thinks. "Would you call it major when the wardrobes started throwing hangers at one another?"

As politics have come up, the subject of reform, so prominent this year, naturally arises. Franklin wrinkles his nose. "Do we have to?" He sighs. "All right. Yeah, I know what the lot of them mean. Reckon anyone who's been called a chav and had websites up making fun of everyone who wears a Burberry cap [note: Apparently, a Muggle fashion associated with a particular social class-HH] and comes from the wrong town doesn't have the least problem understanding when people talk about class conflicts. But I got better things to do with my time. Games. Homework. Detentions. Dental work. Cleaning the sewer with my bare hands and no magic. Why would I want to get mixed up with that mess if I'm not forced into it? That's why I dropped History of Magic. I actually like history, and Binns isn't as bad as people say. But I decided to drop it as soon as I had a choice, even though I had an O on my O.W.L. I can read if I want to know more. I don't have to listen to that rot in every class."

If Quidditch falls through--always a possibility in an injury-plagued sport--what are Franklin's plans?

"I've Defense and Potions and Charms, and connections with sports. They still need people in the Ministry in that Division; I hope I could land there, if I fell."



Volume 7, Issue 2425 March 2016


By A Thread


Geoffrey Phillips: The Fundamental Problem
Part 13 of 16

Special to the Hogwarts Charmer
from Honoria Higgs

alt


Geoffrey Phillips sits down in the empty classroom, his posture wary, his eyes narrowed, his arms crossed protectively over his thin chest (until fifth year, he was rather stocky, and often seems uncomfortable in his new, smaller body). He straightens his back and says, "I suppose you want to talk about the shirt."

"The shirt"--the popular red "Revolution" tee shirt which Geoffrey has been selling all year, which depicts a cockroach impaled by a needle, invoking the Needle's Eye murders--is the first thing one notices about him. He wears it frequently, though he's received detention for it several times. Today, he is wearing a new copy, bright red with crisp printing. It has caused a good deal of consternation among both students and teachers since he brought it in September. Is he actually offering support for a serial murderer?

Geoffrey emphatically denies this. "Cresswell is mad, and an idiot, and what he's done has been, at the very best interpretation, counter-productive."

Evil?

He scoffs at this notion. "Good and evil are absolute ideas that don't exist in the real world. I'd agree to 'wrong.' And cruel." He looks out the window at a rainy March day. "I might even agree to 'offensive.' And before you ask, of course the shirt is offensive. It's meant to be offensive. There are times you need to do something that shocks people out of their complacency. I created the shirt because wandering about waxing philosophical about how we have never solved the problems that were the root causes of the war isn't effective. This is. People are talking--mad and cruel psychopaths aren't the only ones who feel that justice has never really been done. It's a problem, and we need to talk about it. We can't afford to back away from it, or Sam Cresswell won't be the last to snap and take matters into his own hands."

He stops, apparently waiting to be cut off. When he is not, he stands up and goes to the window.

"The fundamental problem," he says, "is that we've cleaned up enough cosmetically that a lot of people think we're done. But without a real re-aligning of the government, a true revolution, we'll wind up where we were. The problem we had during the recent war wasn't Tom Riddle, any more than our current problem is Sam Cresswell. Both of these men are monsters we created for ourselves, through an inept and antiquated system of government that let them slip through the cracks, let their rage fester because they were taught to cover it up. As long as we live in a world with the kind of rigid secrecy that we promote, we're going to be divided into classes of people who were aware of their power early, and those who enter late, as outsiders. The latter are expected to simply assimilate. I refuse to do so. This culture we live in--the same culture that allowed itself to be overtaken by fascists only eighteen years ago--isn't something I choose to celebrate. It inculcates the notion of superiority over Muggles simply by denying them
knowledge of its existence, leaving them blind to parts of nature, and even, on occasion, forcibly blinding them to those parts."

This philosophy has its seed in the various world-wide movements against the Statute of Secrecy, which have flared up in many places since the middle of the past century. Geoffrey dismisses the common argument against this, that Muggles are freer to conduct their own business without knowing certain problems could be solved with magic, by pointing out that wizards do in fact share the world. "Why shouldn't we solve environmental problems with magic? Simply because we've made a high-handed decision that Muggles caused a problem, and therefore it belongs to them and we shouldn't offer our assistance?"

But Geoffrey insists that he has no plans to violate the Statute at the moment. "I have other priorities. The culture on the inside has to change before we can be of any use on the outside. At the moment, the Muggles could help us more than we could help them. And that's saying quite a bit, as that world's a huge mess itself."

Does he plan a career in the Ministry, trying to implement the changes he desires?

"Trying to change things from the inside is a ridiculous idea. The place will change the person more than the person will change the place. Look at Hermione Granger--a brilliant Muggle-born girl who has settled for working within the Ministry, and is reduced to introducing piecemeal legislation to accomplish tiny goals. I have no interest in that. The Ministry won't change until the people rise up as one and say, 'We have had enough.' So I plan to take my case to the people. They're already angry. It just needs to be focused."

Taking it to the people is a skill Geoffrey has been honing here at the Charmer, in his frequent editorials. He plans to expand his experience at Hogwarts into a book of collected columns and new thoughts. "I think I'll call it Get Out of My Mud-bloody Way," he says with a smirk. "Should tweak all the right noses, anyway. And like I said... shock value. It'll get people talking."

Geoffrey says that he got his thirst for justice from his parents, both professors of economics at University College London. "They met at protests," he said. "As I understand it, the first time they met was when Mum was hit by a policeman, and Dad cleaned her up. He was a medic." He shrugs. "They always had friends over, and we'd talk about the great ideas over dinner with them. If I made an argument, I had to have footnotes, and they had to be from a good source. It was fun." He gives a rare, genuine smile. "Though that may be something only my House would find amusing." He shakes his head. "I can't believe I've fallen into that tripe, but I have--I do enjoy Ravenclaw culture, middling popular music aside. If the world were the Ravenclaw Common Room, I might well be too distracted by its pleasures to worry about anything else."
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Comments
From: kobegrace Date: October 8th, 2010 08:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Brilliant job at humanizing Geoffrey, Fern. Because it's all too easy to forget he's human, after all, and to simply assume he was just born a douchebag.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2010 02:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, he is a douchebag, but he wouldn't exactly command a lot of followers and respect if all there was to him is what Teddy sees!
From: tree_and_leaf Date: October 8th, 2010 08:55 am (UTC) (Link)
You actually make Geoff sound vaguely likeable here, despite the childish stunt with the T-shirt. Which is a feat!

Britpick note: something about Dental work. sounds a bit off (it sounds more as if Frankie's doing the dentistry). A Brit would say "going to the dentist" (or possibly "root canal").
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Ach! I knew I'd miss something. ;p

I wanted to show something of Geoff that people who aren't Teddy or Donzo might see.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 8th, 2010 11:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I abosultely love these - the girls too. You would think a one page sumary of each character would be a boring assignment, but these are wonderful. Really captivating and delightful. And I like Honoria too, how she seems to have developed a style and become a good writer. I like the explanation of muggle objects & professions. ~Karen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2010 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Despite the small size of Teddy's year, I was feeling like I'd seen only a fraction of them, since they didn't interact with his plots much, so I wanted to at least briefly visit with them.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: October 8th, 2010 01:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I actually agree with about 98% of what you have Geoffrey say, here. Too bad he's such an unpleasant jackass into the deal.
littletwitchy From: littletwitchy Date: October 8th, 2010 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I couldn't agree more! I'm so glad to learn more about Geoffrey.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I think a lot of really bizarre ideas are mostly okay until you really start to think about them. Voldemort probably sounded like a fairly rational human being, preserving a dying culture etc, etc, until you blink and say, "Wait... what? You're talking about murder and eugenics? ARE YOU FREAKING CRAZY?" You don't end up with half the wizarding world in your corner by leading with the evil.

Edited at 2010-10-09 02:28 am (UTC)
willowbough From: willowbough Date: October 8th, 2010 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
A striking contrast between the almost apolitical Franklin and the rabble-rouser Geoffrey. (Interesting that Franklin may be the only person in Teddy's year who can stand Geoffrey.) Still, you do a good job presenting Geoffrey in a more human light. His reasons for feeling as he does are well-articulated and not without validity--it's harder to defend his methods, which seem calculated to cause distress and ill-feeling even to innocent bystanders.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Part of the problem with Geoff is that his methods are actually part of his priority. They are</> calculated to cause distress and ill feeling. He really means to do that--to create anger where none exists and to "focus" it where it does. He considers wrath a social virtue (unless directed at him, of course).
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 8th, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
(Argh! My computer ate my post. Grr.)

Busy, busy, busy week - which means only today did I take the time to check for updates, and was thus delighted to discover two whole new chapters! In a way I'm glad I didn't have to wait between chapterlets or I would have been chewing my fingernails off in anxiety for Teddy and Donzo.
Interesting insight into Ravenclaw Tower. I thought I would be displeased with the feature on Geoffrey (not with your writing of course, but with the character's displayed opinions) but you surprised me into liking him. A very human portrayal - great job!
Eagerly waiting for the next installment...
-Sylvia

PS- Almost forgot to mention how I giggled like mad when I read Connie's take on vampire-lore viewed by Muggles! :D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2010 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I wanted to show Geoff as he sees himself, and as his admirer's see him.

As to Connie, well... I always thought that would be fun for wizarding kids in Muggle studies--to see how Muggle kids imagine magic!
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: October 8th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. Great job with Geoff. What he says makes sense, and then his personality gets in the way again. He disses Hermione's efforts as being to little, too piecemeal, and I think to his way of thinking that's right. Revolution is so much faster, if much more messy. Poor Franklin, stuck between Geoff and Donzo and feeling the need to play peacemaker. No wonder he's not interested in politics. Of course, that's probably why he's able to be friends with both.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't envy Franklin. He just wants to go along and get along, and here he is, in a situation that is essentially, "So, what if Snape and James had shared a dormitory long before Snape reformed?" I'm sure Franklin's heard a little more from Geoff about the military-industrial complex than the son of an RAF pilot would care to hear, but he's most likely heard it all before.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: October 8th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, Geoffrey sounded rather rational for a moment there- up until he started going on about revolution. There's a huge difference between reforms and revolution. Violence only breeds more violence, and that's what he seems to not get. Or maybe he just doesn't have any problems with it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2010 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)
He doesn't have a problem, which is the problem with him. He expects violence and wants a glorious overthrow of everything, or thinks he does.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 8th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
great differentition between the various characters - its a strength of yours
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2010 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. This has actually been a fun little side project!
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: October 9th, 2010 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)
This was fascinating. I am rather terrified by how rational Geoff sounded, but all psychopaths who have a following tend to. Dear gosh I love your stories :).
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