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Entry #4

Discussion in 'Q1 2021' started by Xiph0, Mar 14, 2021.

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  1. Xiph0

    Xiph0 Yoda Admin

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    Cornish Pasties

    I never expected to speak at Harry’s funeral, yet here I am, waiting my turn as the Minister speaks and Harry’s grandchildren hold back tears beside me. Harry always felt larger than life. Part of me never expected to outlive him. Gran said that Albus Dumbledore was the same, as much image as man, but it’s precious few who still remember him and fewer still outside of Britain.

    I’m still not sure what to say. I’m numb but I won’t show that. Harry would have my head. One of the first things he taught me, picking me up from Gran’s for a visit, was that you had to show people what you wanted them to see if they insisted on watching you. A form of power he said, handling your image.

    Then he dropped his hand on my head and next thing I knew we were having Cornish pasties in Land’s End, looking nothing like ourselves.

    My memories of that day are some of my best. All the wonder of an eight year old seeing Belerion for the first time coupled with Harry going on about how much he loved Cornish pasties, and how it was a pity they never served them at Hogwarts. The thrill of being incognito with Harry Potter, the Master of Death, imagining all the adventures they could have with Teddy as his sidekick. The warm glow nestled in his chest when he rode double on his godfather’s broom above the battered cliffs.

    I could open with a story about the day I got my Hogwarts letter, asking Harry for tips on how to be just like him. He waffled for a bit, rambling about choices and doing what’s right versus what’s easy, but after a minute he huffed and closed his eyes.

    “Look, Teddy,” he said. I corrected him that it was ‘Ted’ now, as I was too old for nicknames now that I had my letter, and he grinned. “Ted, then. I think you should strive to be yourself, not to be me, but…” He paused. “I never wanted to be famous, you know.”

    I objected, citing his international fame as a curse breaker, his public appearances closing the Veils that kept popping up all over the world, his position with the ICW as an advisor to all countries as the undisputed Master of Death and the only wizard alive who could go toe to toe with the worst horrors of the other side.

    He ruffled my hair. “I was seventeen when the Veil tore and I became the Master of Death. I wanted to do my part and then fade into the background, but, well, things happened and I realized that it’s people like Albus who make real change, because people looked to them to do so.” Harry’s demeanor changed then, and he stared into the distance at a point over my shoulder. To me it seemed as if he aged fifty years in an instant. “And Ted, people look to me. I can ignore it or I can take the reins and guide it, because if I didn’t someone else would.”

    Luna interrupted us then, beaming, and swooped down to envelop me in a hug before launching herself at Harry. He caught her in a kiss and laughed, the years falling off his frame, and she told us she was pregnant with twins. His grin lit up the room as he pulled me into the hug.

    Harry wasn’t around much while I was a kid. Too busy flitting around the world fighting eldritch monsters in tombs or traveling through veils seeking ways to stop them opening. Once the twins – Marigold and Lorcan – were born, he was around more. Every holiday we’d go for a pasty at Belerion and he’d teach me spells and strategy and anything else I ever asked him. I wanted to be an Auror, because that’s how he started out.

    I didn’t know why he winced when I said that until years later, when I left my badge on my desk and walked out to join Harry as his apprentice. I was twenty-two years old and he’d just seen the twins off to Hogwarts.

    I could talk about any number of stories from the last fifty years, about the drunk undead Auguries or the invisible streakers. Granted most of those stories are both embellished for comedic effect and well known. They do nothing to encapsulate Harry’s legacy.

    I could talk about last week, when Harry emerged from a veil sporting a gigantic grin and cradling his arm. The bone stuck out of the skin and it was grey instead of white, but Harry waved off my concerns and healed it once I’d finished off the handful of demons that made it past him. The town we saved interviewed us afterwards, and we listened to ourselves on the wireless as we ate curry in a muggle hotel that night. Veils always messed with magical transport, and after closing one we usually waited a day before travel.

    He got his album out that night and spent a few hours staring at pictures, every so often chuckling to himself and telling me stories about his childhood friends, Ron and Hermione. He shared with me once what happened to them, as a cautionary measure once I began helping with the Veils, and I promised never to share it further.

    In hindsight I wonder if he met them in that final Veil.

    The next morning his arm was mottled in purples and greys. I called him on it, demanding he schedule a visit to St. Mungo’s or the Wizard’s Clinic in Cleveland. He agreed but wanted to prove to me that his arm was fine, and insisted on a friendly duel first. It was out of character for him, but I humored him. Dueling was a favorite past time of ours, after all.

    I disarmed him with a simple expelliarmus and stared at him in shock. He met my eyes, smiled, and accepted his wand back. “Guess I’m worse off than I thought,” he said. Then he apparated to the clinic and floo called Luna.

    I pat the mokeskin pouch under my robes. Harry said it had been his as a child, and a few days after he died an owl dropped it onto my lap. It only held two things – his wand and a note. Veils wouldn’t open around the world anymore. He’d done it, somehow, and the Master of Death was no longer needed.

    I couldn’t tell that story either though, it was too personal. Gave too much away, given the nature of things. Or perhaps I should tell the world that he finished his job, knowing it meant his own end?

    Should I talk about my first heartbreak, and how he advised me that even if one girl didn’t love me someone would? How he guided me through my own divorce by sharing details of his disastrous relationship with Ginny Weasley? I don’t think I should; that would do nothing but tarnish his image.

    Maybe I could talk about the hundreds of duels and hours of advice, of guidance, of pushing me to my limits and forcing me to become who I had always wanted to be. The story of a child’s admiration that grew through a mentorship into a brotherly love of mutual respect.

    I clenched my fist as the Minister wound down his speech. Should I admit that I can never fill Harry’s shoes? That no one can? That I am doomed to forever be in his shadow, a reflection of his image without the substance?

    The podium is smooth beneath my calloused hands. I look out at a sea of wizards and muggles as the minister introduces me as the Homeland Hero, former Apprentice to the Master of Death. I’m used to public speaking. I haven’t had stage fright in decades. But here I freeze up momentarily, and desperately seek out Luna in the audience.

    My eyes meet hers and suddenly I’m somewhere else, sitting at her kitchen table with the grands playing at her feet while she listens to the Wireless.

    The world blazes with the war against the undead, a maelstrom of panic and confusion. Around the world wizards and witches like yourself are listening as the horrors unfold. We all know that the violence has escalated, that more magicals disappear with every passing day, that the statue of secrecy is all but dead.

    But it is still hard to accept that today a Veil opened in the heart of the ICW despite all the protections that the magical world can offer. An attack against the center of society, our last true stronghold. How could this happen?

    If they can attack there, is anywhere safe?

    Dignitaries huddled en masse with their young children, brought to the ICW for protection, but it is the children who end up comforting their parents and grandparents.

    Don’t worry, they say. Harry and Ted will be here soon.

    I snap back to myself, still at the podium and struggling to breathe. The minister is still heading towards the stairs, so I haven’t been out of it for more than a second. I look for Luna again and she gives me a brief, sad smile. I never put much stock into the hero worship, to the way that children would sometimes say our names as if we could do anything and save anyone. I knew too well that we couldn’t.

    But as I stand here and look out at the sea of faces, I start to see kids with hair dyed turquoise to match mine. I see adults wearing wand holsters like the one strapped to my arm, an accessory that Harry never wore.

    I see them all looking to me.

    Take the reins, Harry whispers in my ear.

    So I do.

    The wind ruffles my hair and for a second I can feel the sun of Belerion and the taste of a pasty burning my tongue.
     
  2. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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  3. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Hrmm, Harry is dead, eh?

    I’m not sure whose POV we’re in and I find that frustrating. I know you hint at it a few paragraphs in with the comment about Harry being his godfather (implying this is Teddy Lupin’s POV) but it takes too long to get there and still isn’t perfectly clear.

    Also you seem to be switching back and forth between present tense and past tense. I get what you’re going for – present tense in the actual present at the funeral and past tense for these memories/flashbacks – but it doesn’t flow in places.

    I love the imagery of flying around the cliff’s of Land’s End though – guessing Belerion is the Wizarding area there? Google implies that it’s an old name for Land’s End.

    Also I fucking adore cornish pasties, so there’s that. Fucking delicious.

    Clearly this isn’t canon, given that Veils appear to be opening around the world and spewing demons out? But it feels a bit … shoehorned in, like you’re just ‘telling us’ all of this for no purpose except to make Harry more badass than he was in canon. Feels a bit too much or out of place.

    Marigold b/c it’s a flower name and Lorcan b/c it was one of Luna’s canon kids? At least it’s not Albus Severus.

    So Harry set Teddy up to be the next master of the Elder Wand? And didn’t tell him that but sent it to him with the mokeskin pouch and a note? If so you need to make that a bit more clear. I know you emphasized that this Harry is the Master of Death so it’s implied but I think it’s too subtle and I’m still not sure you were going for ‘passing the Elder Wand on’ here, nor is it clear whether or not Teddy realizes the significance.

    Did Luna do Legilimency or ? Bit unclear what happened with that particular flashback, but hey, it’s Luna.

    Decent callback for the ending.

    Decent little story that – I think – tries to bite off a bit more than it can chew. This apocalyptic world that’s hinted at is both too much and not enough at the same time and it really feels like you're reaching. Try it out in WbA after making edits from the comp!
     
  4. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

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    An eulogy for Harry is a really good concept for a story. My question is - why are the AU bits there? Harry's famous enough already for killing Voldemort, greatest Dark Wizard in a century. Possibly the GOAT. Do we really need to add the Veil thing?

    I don't really know what the point of the Veils was. Demons come pouring out of it like this was some sort of JRPG, but is it really relevant to an eulogy being told? I suppose they're the cause of Harry's death but people die from a million things.

    We don't really get the eulogy itself, either. We get Teddy (?) deciding what to say at the eulogy and, in rather more detail, what not to say. The eulogy itself is skipped. I suppose that you could skip it, but then I feel as if the lack of an eulogy should be a plot element in and of itself somehow, if that makes sense.

    I'm not really convinced by Harry telling Teddy to take the reins, to be honest. He survived his fight with Voldemort by letting whatever happened happen and it all just kinda worked out. It's a bit of a switch to have him then talk about grabbing the bull by the horns.

    Technical writing wise it's competent and more than readable. A few questionable decisions aside this is IMO the best piece of the four entries. 3/5.
     
  5. haphnepls

    haphnepls DA Member

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    I had to Google the title to find out what are those :oops:

    I think this would be a better opening on its own, a single sentence paragraph, for extra effect.

    Right, so the idea is clear and decent, and we follow what appears to be Teddy's flow of thoughts. While I have nothing against that, I think characters' depth, and the most interesting part of the fic (everything in the world going to hell) is sold short because we see it only through the eyes of a somewhat unreliable narrator, so I'd be much happier if there were some dialogues to flesh out characters (Harry, Luna), and to serve as a plot device to do a bit more exposition about the world of today. The whole changing past/present does not make it any easier. I really really really advise against it

    On the other hand, if that wasn't to be, then I'd expect actual mentorship to merit at least one scene, again, with some dialogue, to make a train of thoughts a bit more manageable since it gets a bit too much nearing the end.

    As it is, it hints left and right, gets my attention to both, but at the end delivers neither, and I'm not sure whether I'm happy or sad because of it.

    The little bits of worldbuilding, however, I liked, and the name is quite appropriate once I've read this.

    PS. The greatness of men like Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter cannot be caught in 2k words, and the picture you have in our mind as an author is clearly not the same one I've got after reading this little story.

    Not bad though.
     
  6. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    Interesting. There's some solid ideas here, and the concept of recapping their relationship as (build up to) a eulogy is a good one. It doesn't quite land for me though, largely due to the fact that ultimately, all we get is little hints at everything that happened. That's effective in short bursts, but as the basis for an entire story, it's maybe not the best approach. I'll take Ched's word on this being about 1680 words, and in that time we've got: what are the Veils? Why are they appearing? Why did Harry leave the Aurors, and indeed, why did Teddy? What exactly happened in Harry's last stand? What happened with Ginny (and, again, with Teddy's own failed relationship)? There's also the question of what Belerion is, but that's been answered elsewhere (assuming they're correct) - I thought at first it was a reference to David Eddings Belgariad, somehow.

    In fairness, some of those are reasonable to leave unanswered, but it does stand out in such a short piece.

    Otherwise, it's decent enough. I was floundering for a bit POV wise at the start; from the first paragraph, I kind of thought it was Neville, before settling on some random person reflecting on Harry and Teddy, before finally realising it was Teddy himself. After that, it gets smoother to read, although an extended internal reflection isn't necessarily the most exciting thing to read.

    Basically, I think, not bad at all, but it could do with some serious expansion to reach full potential. Hopefully you feel inspired to carry on! 3/5
     
  7. Red

    Red Professor DLP Supporter

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    I really like this as a entry. I'm a huge sucker for a Harry done justice after Hogwarts. Miss me with those struggling parent/average auror Harry stories. You've given us a Dumbledore-level Harry and I love that. The only thing I have qualms with are the veil-eldritch horror level threats. I think you could have sold a Harry that fills the role as the world's Dumbledore with more mundane or Potter-ish world feeling threats. As Ched mentions, apocalyptic serves its purpose but it's too much, it doesn't feel HP to me.

    I feel like the theme of mentorship and passing the torch came through. I like the end bit of some of the crowd having turquoise hair as Teddy steps up to fill his mentors role.

    I think your piece would have benefited from the inclusion of a longer present-tense mentorship scene between Ted and Harry. You've told us a lot, but shown very little in narrative. Don't get me wrong – I buy the story you've told, but a showing scene would have strengthened the narrative imo. No grammar/readability issues popped up for me. I think this is a 3.5/5 for me.
     
  8. Shouldabeenadog

    Shouldabeenadog Order Member

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    I like that you took a while for us to get that it was Ted. Nice touch, but we need a solid confirmation later. Ditto with the passing of the elder wand, give the observant readers a paragraph or two to say "oh i get it" followed by a more solid clarification for the less smart readers like myself.
    I didn't realize how heavy you went down the Welsh thing between Land's End, Belerion and Cornish pasties, but props for maintaining the theme all the way through. (i had to do a lot of googling)
    I think your story wants to be about 4 times longer, with each aside or memory blossoming off into its own short story. It would be great to see more of the veils and the demons beyond them.
    My biggest problem is the theme. For all that its clear that Harry and Ted are master and apprentice, there are very few words showing that, and only a few more telling it. I don't vilify telling instead of showing, but this is an area where we need more.
    Flow is good. Readability is good. No obvious mistakes. Editing seems good overall. 3.5/5
     
  9. happyg

    happyg First Year

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    Very nice fragment. Its a neat/tidy way to execute the short length plot.

    I would certainly like to have more, it definitely leaves an impression of interest and intrigue.

    Technically it is fine, the passive voice and consistent past tense fit the plot flow, but it doesn't do you any favors. It might create more immersion if the story flitted between the then and now temporally rather than by telling solely. In fact I think that makes the short stage vignette at the end more poinnent.

    Overall, wham bam and thank you kindly good sir or madam. I quite liked it.

    Thanks.
     
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