The Last Battle has been fought, and Harry Potter has won. The price, however, has been high. Nearly every person Harry cared for is dead, maimed, or otherwise injured. The magical culture of Bri...
Chapter XXIX Sunday, November 7, 1993
Professors Moody, McGonagall, Snape, Flitwick, Black, and Lupin sat attentatively in the Headmaster's office, at the Headmaster's request. Dumbledore frowned, since they all looked innocent, and he knew that no matter what brilliant qualities this group had, none of this group were innocent. He considered reprimanding them, or trying to find out whatever the joke was, but decided that that could wait. He held out a stack of parchment. "Since Mister Potter is going to be fighting for his life, probably next summer, it behooves us to make certain that his training increases to meet that expectation."
Before he could draw breath for another sentence, the group started silently passing Knuts around. After a few moments, they stopped, and Dumbledore demanded, "What buffoonery is this?"
"Well, Albus, it's like this. . . ." Moody started.
"We all agreed what you were calling us here for, so we laid bets on how many sentences it would take before you said something stupid, and which stupid possibility it would be," Sirius broke in.
"I would have come out ahead if you had at least said 'hello' first," McGonagall complained.
"This is no time for levity!" Dumbledore protested.
"Of course it is," Moody stated. "Being constantly vigilant doesn't mean being a gloomy arse all the time."
"We all know how crucial, how critical, the situation is," Remus said. "And, as aware as we are, as aware as you think you are, Harry is even more so. He has known what he is doing for longer than you have known him."
"You really should have told us about this entire situation before last year," McGonagall said, not for the first time.
"Ignoring that, and going back to the original question," Flitwick interrupted, "normally you would of course be correct. Letting two people stand in a magically protected circle and blast away at each other is a stupid way to decide anything, let alone a nominally thirteen year old student against a crazed-but-talented psychopath like Bellatrix Lestrange, never mind Tom Riddle. Riddle has obviously got something crooked up his sleeve . . . probably some new plan to extend his worthless life. Harry is ready to end it. You can either stand in the way and be run over, or help."
"But. . . ."
"But you want to know what Riddle is planning before Harry gets into this duel business too deeply," Moody said. "Aye, so do we. But we'll never know. And, unless he can subvert the magic of the dueling circle, it doesn't matter, because Harry will destroy them both."
"But. . . ."
"But as powerful as Harry is, he is not that much more powerful than Riddle, or yourself for that matter," McGonagall agreed.
"He is much faster, however," Sirius pointed out.
That no one could argue with. Still, "When Harry finishes his final major magical growth spurt at seventeen, he will be powerful enough to deal with Tom with less chance of being killed," Dumbledore argued.
"Actually, I suspect that as powerful as we know Harry to be, he might just be holding back," Remus mused.
"In any event, Harry will have driven himself to distraction with over-training by that point," Moody argued, and the others, especially Sirius and Remus, agreed loudly.
The group sat silently for a few moments.
"I loathe the fact that you are most likely correct," Dumbledore acknowledged.
Saturday, November 27, 1993
It was the third of four Hogsmeade weekends for the autumnal term. The nine Third year Gryffindors and one Ravenclaw were gathered at one long table, some as formal couples, some informal (Harry and Hermione, Neville and Susan, Ron and Lavender, Dean and Padma, Seamus and Parvati). The girls had gone as a group to the ladies' room, while Dean and Seamus were standing in line to buy warm butterbeers for the table.
"Alright, Harry," Neville said, "We know something is up. what is it?"
"What do you mean?" Harry asked.
Ron and Neville rolled their eyes. "We're doing about half as much dueling as we used to, and we're doing more of those 'team-building' exercises of Professor Lupin's."
"You're still trying to turn us into a cadre," Neville said, "but instead of fighters, you're trying to get us used to working together as a team, and getting input from each team member. You're making us into something, but I'm not sure what."
"Harry's making us into a kernel of a political movement," Dean said, sitting. "When we got started, you thought we were going to be fighting the Death Eaters when we finished Hogwarts, maybe even before. Now you want us to learn to work across House and Blood lines in general."
"Why?" Seamus asked.
"Not 'why do you want us to work across House and Blood lines," Neville amplified, "but why less emphasis on fighting?"
"Voldemort is down to himself and one crazed follower, as best they can tell," Harry answered simply.
"You don't think he's going to still come after you?" Ron asked. No one (except for Neville and of course Hermione) knew why Voldemort was after Harry in particular, but they all knew he was.
"No, he's still after me," Harry said. "In the end, it will come down to him or me, sometime. The difference is, we won't have to fight through his Death Eaters for that to happen."
"And?" Ron prompted.
"Every one to three generations, some loony has come along and tried to make himself the new Dark Lord or Dark Wizard or Dark Pooh-bah or some such nonsense. We need to work to turn wizarding Britain, and influence wizarding Europe, to move towards a more integrated community. Merlin knows that the Wizarding Confederations outside of Europe are far from perfect. Their politics are just as dirty and they are probably almost as corrupt. What they do have are systems of checks and balances that we just don't have." Harry made a gesture. "No one person can get so much power to start some Dark movement."
Harry grinned. "And we're too economically primitive to create the huge multi-national corporations that undermine Muggle governments. If the Muggles ever learned that we collectively own about three percent of the Muggle economy and that it's mostly that money that generates our entire economy, they would be controlling us economically even more than they do their own governments."
"We're getting away from the point," Neville said.
"No, we really aren't," Harry said.
Ron Weasley was an excellent chess player, although intellectually lazy in many other ways. Every once in a while, his ability to see many moves ahead jumped from the chess board to the real world.
This was one such time. His eye brows went high and he whispered, "We need to talk about this somewhere more privately."
Harry froze, and then nodded. He dug into Hermione's purchases from earlier that morning, taking a sheet of parchment and one of his own self-inking quills. He was still writing when the girls arrived.
He ignored their whispers. "Have these people at the base of the main stairs at Three. Hermione, bring them to the Room of Requirement. Ron, have Fred and George bring the Map."
"What map?" Ron asked.
"They'll know," was all Harry would say.
Harry looked at his cadre of Third years, all gathered in the Room of Requirement, plus Fred and George. "It's time to tell you things about the magical world that you haven't learned, from Binns or even from Professor Black," Harry said. "Hermione did a lot of the digging, with a fair amount of help from Professor Lupin and some others." Harry sat and gestured to Hermione.
"Does anyone know the current ratio of magical to Muggle?" Hermione asked.
Most of the students shrugged, as this was something Sirius covered. "About 2000 to 1," Neville finally said, willing to state the obvious.
"That's roughly the ration in Europe," Hermione agreed. "There are some sixty-two million Muggles in Britain and Ireland, and just over thirty thousand of us. For the North American Confederation, or the United States and Canada, there are somewhere just over two hundred and ninety million Muggles. At the European ratio, that would give them roughly a magical population of a hundred and forty-six thousand. Instead, they have about the lowest Muggle to magical ration and have about two hundred and forty thousand magical people. Or if you prefer the index, we have an index of .048 while they have one of .083."
"I don't think that makes things any clearer," Ron said.
"The point is, the natural index, that is how many magical people there would be if we didn't come together and have children would be .02, or one magical for every five thousand Muggles. In societies where there were no organized magical life, where populations were small and magical gifts often unrecognized and left untrained or merely supplemented other priestly or healer training, we had no impact. Take a group of hunter-gatherers, operating for much of the year in extended family groups of twenty-to-fifty. Only with the entire group met would there be any chance of more than a few people with magical abilities to discover each other and trade learning."
"All that changed with the coming of agriculture and settlements, A cultural group might live in, say, thirty villages of one to two hundred people with at least one town of a thousand people. Now when a Muggle-born came along, there might be a family nearby as well with a magical tradition of some sort. When they saw the Muggle-born, they would either see as it as a chance to bring more magic into their family, or a threat which must be destroyed."
"Time frame?" Padma asked.
"To start off with, say ten thousand years ago in some place like the Middle East, a few thousand years later in Egypt and India, and by six thousand years ago everyplace from northern China down to south-east Asia, across India to the Middle East. From the Middle East, down to Egypt and across north Africa and down the entire east coast of Africa, and also into most of southern and western Europe. Some places stayed in that mode for another three thousand years -- villages and small towns -- like western Europe. Other places quickly built the first large civilizations, as in parts of China, northwestern India, the Middle East, Egypt, and the east African coast, while others were somewhere in between."
"As these cultures matured over a few centuries, magical cultures developed, all combining magic with elements of the local religion. Their magics, especially the Chinese, Indian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and the Druidic, form the basis of magical cultures today, with more local traditions as well in some areas. Here at Hogwarts, it's Druidic, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian magics that form the underlying basis, with several thousand years of addition developments from them."
"Meanwhile, out of the development of the magical cultures came what we would now call the Dark Lord or Dark Sorcerer or Dark Wizard, someone who wanted to use magic to control others, Muggle or magical or more commonly, both."
"So having two Dark Lords in a century in any general area isn't uncommon?" Lavender asked.
"No," Hermione said. "Usually what happens is that a Dark Lord arises because there are always people unhappy with the way things are in their lives. Having magic doesn't take away our problems. Just like tyrants in Muggle societies, they twist the problems around and fool people into believing that if they give up their freedom, if they give up their free will, to a leader or to a movement, that will solve their problems. Where the movement is based on controlling the thoughts, even the lives, of others, it can't really work for long. Of course by the time someone might realize that, it's difficult, even impossible, to back out without risking death."
"When a Dark Lord is defeated, people's problems, other than that particular Dark Lord, remain pretty much as they were. The conditions are still there. They then either have to band together and work hard to maintain their freedoms and take responsibility for their problems, individually or as a group, or give away their freedoms to the next person who comes along and offers the trade."
"Now, whenever the holders of magical power could work with the holders of Muggle civil power, the societies were usually fairly stable over time, although somewhat to fairly oppressive by our standards. By the standards of their own times, they weren't all that bad, although not all that great, either. Some examples would be the Old Kingdom of Egypt, about half of classical Chinese history, and the two cultures that dominated Europe from about 4000 bc to the turnover towards the Roman culture two thousand years ago."
"Some were able to use their magical people as a subordinate, usually hidden part of their state, like the Etruscans, the Roman Republic and Early Empire, and many of the states of classical India, the Middle East, and east Africa. However, in every case we know of where a Dark Sorcerer tried to control an entire population, Muggle and magical, everyone one of them came down hard."
Hermione took a deep breath. "Sometimes, they were brought down by their own greedy or fearful subordinates, sometimes by Light Sorcerers, sometimes even by Muggles or some combination. Quite often, there was a prophecy about the end of the Dark Wizard. These almost never said that a Dark Sorcerer would fail, but how it could happen or who could do it. When a prophesied champion or event failed to dislodge the Dark Lord, after a time a new one would emerge, and sooner or later, one would be fulfilled."
"And Harry is the one currently under a prophecy," Ron stated.
"I am," Harry agreed. He pushed up his bangs, showing the scar. "When he tried to murder me as a child, because he had found out I was one of the two possible toddlers predicted to be able to kill him, his curse rebounded off me, marking me as the Chosen One of the prophecy. Did it happen because I needed to be Marked or because the magic of my mother's sacrifice protected me? Or did her sacrifice work because that would protect me long enough to be Marked?" He shrugged. "That doesn't matter. As far as it goes, my first real chance to kill him -- and that is what must happen at some point, I kill him or he kills me -- will be this summer. I'll grow in knowledge and magic after that, but having this hanging over my head is, well, it's driving me crazy."
In the silence that followed the remark, each student at least dimly realized the pressures Harry was under, and was glad (especially Neville) that it wasn't they who were under such a burden.
"So, there are four possible outcomes when Voldemort and I face each other down. One is, neither of us wins, and we have to fight some other time. Two, we both die. Three, he wins. I think I can at least make certain that he will be weak enough not to be a major threat for a while, giving the wizarding world another break from him and hopefully time for a new Chosen One to emerge, if necessary."
Everyone nodded silently.
"But what happens if I win?"
That was also met with silence, this time a puzzled one.
"How much power must I have to take down Voldemort?" Harry asked.
"We've seen how much power you have," Ernie said.
"And how much influence would I have? Especially here in Britain?"
"Quite a bit," several students agreed.
"So, if I were to say that I think Draco would make a fine Minister of Magic, that Ron would make a Fine Head of the Department of Magical Sport, that. . . ." Harry went on and named one or two positions for every student there, and a number of other students (including Percy). When he concluded, Harry said, "Now, I do believe each of you would do a great job in any of those positions, and they're all positions you'd like, right?"
"Right!" they all chorused, even Fred and George, should they not start their joke shop.
"So, since word of this will leak out, what has just happened to all of your chances of someday being at least in line for those positions if I beat Voldemort?"
"They've all risen dramatically," Draco said with a satisfied air.
"They wouldn't happen automatically," Ernie said, "but if we have any ability, if we all back each other, and with Harry's backing, we've all got good shots."
"Right," Harry said. "Now, what if I instead went to the Wizengamot and said, 'if you don't put these people into these positions, you're on your own when the next dark lord comes around'? Or, 'you owe me, here's what I want as a pay-off'?"
"They might tell you to bugger off, but if there's any fear that a new dark lord was arising, they'd give in," Blaise said.
"And that would be wrong," Neville said firmly. "For you to do that, I mean. You might even be moving towards being the next Dark Sorcerer."
That caused a minor uproar, but Harry soon settled them down. "Neville's right," he then went on. "That's why Dumbledore has always worked behind the scenes after defeating Grindelwald. A benevolent dictator is still a dictator. Is that what you'd want me to be?"
"I want to be the Minister of Magic," Draco said. "I would want to work with you if I was. I would know I can't command you, but I wouldn't want the job if it meant being your stooge, either."
"So, if you don't want me to risk being a grey, if not dark, wizard, should I become Dumbledore, playing wizarding chess with peoples' lives?"
"Harry," Ron spoke up, "I've played chess with you. Please, don't even try to play with peoples lives."
"I agree with both of you," Harry said. "Where does that leave me if I win?"
Silence, but one person was turning red. "Yes, Ron?"
Ron sighed. "You already know."
"He might, but we don't," Parvati almost snarled.
"You'll be leaving after you beat him," Ron said. "Oh, you'll be seen from time to time, and if things get rough you'll show up to help, but you won't be influencing things to the degree that Dumbledore has."
I didn't realize I couldn't be here until a few weeks ago," Harry said. "I'm sorry."
"You don't have to be," Daphne spoke up. "Remaking wizarding Britain is not your job. It's our job to lead wizarding Britain from the inside after we leave Hogwarts, to change the attitudes of those who still have the attitudes we all had before we met Harry. No more Pure-Blood pride, no more 'Muggles-might-not-have-Magic-but-they-are-so-wonderful' attitudes from people who know about electricity and computers and automobiles. It's our job to catch up wizarding Britain to the levels of the Americas and India and Africa and Australia."
"And Korea and Japan," Su Li added.
"Exactly," Padma said. "Just as we want Voldemort to be the last really Dark Sorcerer, we need for Harry to be the last Light Wizard."
"And for that to happen, as Percy Weasley would say, the government has to safe-guard the rights of all the wizarding world, and the magical peoples have to make certain their government gets the right job done," Harry said.
"Percy would never have put things that simply," Ron said, drawing a small group of laughs. Everyone knew the Head Boy, after all.
"What I'm asking you all to work hard for isn't glamorous," Harry said soberly. "Unless Draco or some other one of you becomes Minister, you probably won't ever be more than a footnote in the history books. But I while might be able to save the wizarding world from Voldemort, I can't save it from itself. That will take all of you working together, and the ripple effect of your working together, to make it happen."
"Then you kick Tom Riddle's arse," Draco said. "You open up the chance, and when the Ministry and The Prophet and all those old farts get complacent, you come back and remind them you have followers, people already working in the Ministry and at Hogwarts and St. Mungo's and Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley and the Wireless and in Ireland. And we'll take care of the rest."