Waiting for Pottermore: The Fanfiction

This afternoon, @Lord_Voldemort7 proclaimed on Twitter:

#dcquake. Yes, it’s true, I did just rock your world.

I’m tempted, of course, to make some joke about Lord Voldemort being unhappy over not getting his Pottermore email. But I won’t go there because I’ve got something much more important to talk about.

I’m in the earthquake zone, and I felt the house shake and heard books fall off the shelves, and then I searched the basement for my skittish cats and found myself taking phone calls from my sister on the West Coast and my husband in DC – just making sure that everything was okay.

When I finally settled down to eat my lunch, I saw that there was an email in my Inbox.

No… not THAT email. It was an email from the CoS forum letting me know that someone had just replied to a thread that I subscribe to. The thread had lain dormant since last November, and when it first went silent I checked it compulsively to see if there was an update – much like we’re doing currently with a certain Pottermore email.

Today, the update came. And it wasn’t just from someone. It was from Inkwolf.

My working hypothesis is that it was Inkwolf’s update (published about 30 minutes before the quake) – not Voldemort’s displeasure – that caused the earth to tremble.

So, “Who is this Inkwolf?” you ask. “Who is this person who can cause the earth to shake and buildings to evacuate up and down the East Coast?” Amirite?

Oh, Inkwolf is just the author who improbably put Severus Snape on a yacht and sorted Albus Severus Potter into Slytherin. In short, she’s one of the funniest, most inventive HP fanfiction authors out there. And after nearly 10 months since the last installment, she has finally published a new chapter in her The Prince of Hogwarts novella.

“But I don’t read fanfiction!” you say.

Yeah, neither did I… until a CoS forum contest made me write a story. Later, someone pointed me toward Inkwolf’s uproarious Hogwarts Staff Meeting, and I was hooked… at least on Inkwolf. :)

The objections to fanfic are, essentially, that it copies someone else’s characters and world and is therefore stealing. The problem with that argument is that it perfectly describes William Shakespeare – who took all of his main plots and many of his characters from other sources. It’s what he did with them that made them his own creative work. Another problem with the argument – at least as it relates to J.K. Rowling’s characters and world – is that she actively endorses most Harry Potter fanfiction.

In her Pottermore announcement, JKR said that it was the fans’ astounding creativity that inspired her to create Pottermore. I know she reads HP fanfiction because she has spoken about some of her favorites. It’s possible, then, that the fanfiction itself played a role in bringing us Rowling’s newest addition to her world.

So with that out of the way, let me just say that I think reading a bit of Inkwolf would be quite an entertaining diversion while waiting for the Pottermore Welcome email to arrive!

Here is a list of Inkwolf’s work:

  • Hogwarts Staff Meeting: alternate universe, laugh-out-loud funny
  • The ASP at Hogwarts: next generation adventures of Albus Severus Potter, Scorpius Malfoy, and a new cast of characters. Often funny, and often serious.
  • The Prince of Hogwarts: Prequel to The ASP, focusing on the first year of her most popular ASP character: Albert Severus Prince. Reading The ASP first is highly recommended!

Anyway, I think I’m going to take my own advice and go read that new Inkwolf chapter. If you choose to read some Inkwolf too, have fun! And let us know what you think on the Comments thread.

The Silver Doe

“The Silver Doe” is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Harry Potter series. Here is a short tribute piece that I wrote as part of the Gryffindor entry for the Chamber of Secrets Forum Holiday Calendar:

The Silver Doe
December 26, 1997

“Expecto Patronum” the man whispered, and a bright light burst forth from the tip of his wand, taking the form of a doe.

He had never before seen her illuminate a darkness so profound, and the brilliance of the Patronus recalled to his mind those near-forgotten words from early youth: Et lux in tenebris lucet. The light shines in the darkness.

He gazed on her longingly, wishing he could cling to her light. But this was no time for sentimentality. He had a job to do. And if he failed to do it, an even deeper darkness would descend.

He, a Slytherin, had been entrusted with carrying the Sword of Gryffindor to those who could rightly wield it – the Sword which now lay secure at the bottom of the frozen pool as the Patronus stood before him, awaiting his guidance.

He had a plan, he’d told the portrait, but would the boy follow? Only two days before, word came to him that the great snake had forcefully sunk her fangs into Potter’s arm. Apparently, though, the boy had recovered sufficiently to apparate into these woods – evidence, no doubt, that Miss Granger’s resourcefulness had, as always, served Potter well.

But what of Weasley? Dumbledore – for reasons he had yet fully to apprehend – had faith that Weasley and Granger both were the proper companions to help Potter accomplish whatever task he had been assigned. Perhaps he was correct. Even Longbottom had recently shown the valor for which his House was known, leading an admirable, if ill-fated, raid to steal Gryffindor’s Sword from inside the Headmaster’s office.

He scrutinized the doe’s soft, luminous eyes as moisture filled the rims of his own, and he released her to wander in search of the boy.


In happier times – not that any of his times had ever been especially happy – but in times less dire perhaps, he had often spent the night after Christmas lounging in a plush staffroom chair, playing Wizard Chess with Minerva before the fire.

She hated him now. All his old colleagues did. And best that it be so. It would not do for any of them to hesitate in thinking him a murderer, a traitor, a coward. It was their best protection… and his.

And so he stood under a Disillusionment Charm behind the treeline on the night after Christmas – watching and waiting for the boy in the frigid dark.

Master of Death? (gasp!)

Well, it’s official. After completing four challenges, I won the “Quest for the Hallows” contest on the CoS Forum! And that, according to Professor Dumbledore, makes me “Master of Death”… whether I like it or not.

So here’s how it all breaks down:

Task #1: The Elder Wand: For the Elder Wand task, we had to write a story (or submit a graphic) about one person who was canonically Master of the Elder Wand.

I found the whole idea of writing a fictional story terrifying because I have always rather emphatically not specialized in fiction. But I entered the contest to help my House (Gryffindor) get enough entries into the contest to rack up some House points. I honestly never expected to win anything myself. But I got an idea, and people really liked it.

My entry took “2nd Place” and “Best Overall” (thanks to split votes between “Best Story” and “Best Overall”). Here’s my entry. And here are my banners:

Task #2: The Resurrection Stone: Having done well in a task, I was excited going in to the next one. For the Resurrection Stone task, we could create a HP-related story (or image) or a Personal story (or image) showing how we would use the Stone.

The most popular HP-related scenario was to bring Fred back so that George could say goodbye. But I did something entirely different. I was a bit confused by the task. When the instructions said you, I thought they literally meant me (not a narrator). Since I did not want to use the Stone, I came up with an elaborate workaround on how I could use the Stone without actually intending to use the Stone.

The entry took 4th place for HP-related story and 5th place overall. No banners this time, but I did get extra points. Here’s my entry.

Task #3: The Invisibility Cloak: After placing in the first two tasks, I was one of the contest leaders. But this was the task that I thought was going to destroy me. We had to cover something that we never wanted to see again with a Cloak of Invisibility unlimited by size. But I just didn’t see any logic in merely covering something if the thing was still actually there.

So I thought and thought and thought… and ultimately overthought it! Eventually, the only logical thing I could think of to cover was my garage. I didn’t want to remove the garage. I just didn’t want to see it. I knew I had no chance of winning the task the minute I saw the winning entry (Entry 17). But at least I placed 4th again! (oh, and here’s my entry!).

Task #4: Master of Death: Having placed in all three tasks, I was now in 2nd place in the contest overall, thanks to cumulative points. In the final task, we had to tell why we would or would not unite the Hallows and become the Master of Death.

Within a day, I got an idea. How about a narrator from the distant future, looking back on the past – sort of like the Babylon 5 episode “The Deconstruction of Falling Stars”? Eventually, this idea morphed into a post-apocalyptic Wizarding future in which goblins rule.

I knew the idea was potentially catastrophic for my contest chances. But being a Gryffindor, I reasoned that now was the time for a bold move, not a time to play it safe. I decided that if I was going to go down, I was going to go down in flames. Here’s my entry. Thankfully, enough people liked it that it again got into the final round of voting… and this time I tied for 3rd place (and I won a whole new banner!):

Tallying it all up: At this point, I was the only participant in the competition who had placed in all four tasks, and this gave me the highest cumulative score, which gave me First Place in the Contest. But there was an additional surprise. Because I also scored the highest number of House Points in the contest, I was the 1st Place House Champion (Go Gryffindor!). So here are  those cool banners:

Finally, what all this means is that I get the title “Master of Death.” And even though I don’t really want to be MoD, I do like the banner:

I put all of my banners into that nifty little animated GIF that opened this post. It is now my sig pic on the CoS Forum.

ETA: Oh! I forgot the best part! My big prize was the User Title of my choice! Custom User Titles are highly coveted on CoS (they appear right under the username). I chose, of course, my favorite HP quote: “Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!”

Okay… snarking is open now on the Comments thread! Have fun!