A proposed series detailing the view of other than lead characters of the war, starting with Harry's first year
As fitting this first anniversary of the final fall of Voldemort, the Quibbler takes great pride in presenting a series of articles by those who were there. So many were lost in the battle the prefaced the final confrontation between Voldemort and Harry Potter, it seems fitting to give those who did survive the chance to tell their stories while it is still fresh in their minds.
Only one person remains who knows what actually happened at that final confrontation, until that person tells his story we can learn how others view those pivotal years and situations.
With this issue the Quibbler goes to a weekly publication schedule, for the next year survivors of the rise, fall, return and final fall of Voldemort will tell their stories, starting with the father of one of our heroes, Mr. Philip Granger. Mr. Granger is a Muggle and has some very strong opinions about what happened. The article that follows and it’s six follow on articles are the opinions of Philip Granger and not necessarily those of the Quibbler, it’s publisher nor its editorial staff, though if they were honest with themselves they would all agree with him.
Philip Granger and the Rage of a Father
Let me preface this by saying I hate you.
Yes, I am talking to you, British Wizarding Society. I hate you all. You are smug condescending ignorant bigoted bastards, all of you. You create monsters, and then hide behind children to save you from your own creations.
One of those children you hid behind was my Daughter. You called her a Mudblood, but her name was Hermione Granger. Not one of you was fit to clean her shoes, but she left her family for you. She bled for you. She hurt for you.
September 19th 1979 I was present when the second most perfect woman on the planet was born. It was simultaneously the single most frightening thing and the single most enrapturing thing I have ever seen. They took this tiny red bundle of life, still covered in what ever that horrible mess that covers a new born, wrapped her (!) in a towel and handed her to me.
It had taken me five months to fall in love with my wife. It took my daughter wrapping her tiny hand around my finger for me to fall in love with her. Call it a second and a half. At this point the Nurse decided that was enough father/daughter bonding time and stole her away to be cleaned, weighed, measured, and what ever other indignities hospitals subject newborn goddesses to.
I returned to the side of the first love of my life. For some reason she had chosen to have the “Natural Childbirth Experience”. Her six hours of labor had been gut wrenching for me, and I was just a spectator. Women are braver than men. There is no way in hell a man would volunteer for that level of pain.
I was holding my wife, Beth’s hand, wiping the sweat from her lovely face, and assuring her that our daughter was in fact perfect, and from the way she had looked at me, obviously a genius, when the doctor said “oh my”. What followed was my being rushed from the room and told nothing for four hours. When they finally decided to talk to me, I was told that Beth was alright, our daughter was perfectly healthy, but there had been problems following the delivery and Beth could not have anymore children.
As soon as I was allowed on the ward, I sat holding my wife while she cried. Beth had always dreamed of a large family. Personally I was deliriously happy. My wife was ok, my daughter was healthy, and all was right in the world.
Hermione grew and prospered as perfect children do, visits from my parents and Beth’s allowed me to introduce them to the most important little girl in the universe (Andy Wilson finally acknowledged me as a human being and not just the ‘bastard who raped my little girl’ (an exact quote from our wedding).)
It’s funny what becoming a grand father will do to a man.
A spare examination room at our Dental surgery was made into first a nursery and later a play room, and Hermione accompanied Beth and my self to work, much to the delight of our staff, at least one of whom was always in that room with my princess. Hermione grew, as children do, much too quickly. As she got older we discovered something most unusual about our daughter. She wanted to do things her self. Her first sentence?
She fell in love with books early. She loved her picture books and her stories at bed time. She was reading them herself by the time she was four, she discovered ‘sounding out’ words without prompting. She cared deeply about things a child her age shouldn’t be thinking of. She would sit on my lap while I watched the Evening news. I recall not long after her 4th birthday, the news was full of the negotiations between Britain and China over Hong Kong. My princess spent the rest of the night asking me questions about that far away city, and why everyone in the world wasn’t British. I couldn’t help but beam with pride.
My little girl wanted to understand the world. Was there ever a luckier father?
Then she broke my heart.
She went to school.
She was so excited that it was hard to believe. There weren’t any children her age in our neighborhood; I was worried about how she would fit in. She took to her lessons like a champion. But she never learned to socialize. My wonderful daughter had a flaw, it turned out that others didn’t see her as I did. She did well in school, but never really made friends. She preferred her books and the company of adults to that of other children.
It was about this time odd things started happening around Hermione.
Things would change color.
Something she wanted on a high shelf would fly to her hand. Electronic devices would suddenly stop working for no reason. We couldn’t understand it. We told no one, not wanting Hermione to be treated as an oddity.
The answer to what was happening with Hermione arrived at our front door at 7pm on the 20th of September 1990 in the form of Minerva McGonagall, the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts School for Wizardry and Witchcraft.
It was my turn to do the dishes after dinner, so my wife answered the door. A few words from the Scot had my wife pulling me into the sitting room to hear her stories. She told us of a world where magic not only exists but is used for the most mundane of chores. She told us that the odd things that were happening to our Hermione were due to her being a Witch.
Hermione of course was intrigued by the idea of magic and her using it. The more the woman spoke of this ‘Hogwarts’ the more Hermione wanted to attend. Which was of course the plan.
Minerva told of the wonders of your world, but she didn’t tell us of the horrors. Your endless wars between the Light and the Dark. Your Dark Lords. Your hopelessly corrupt Government. She made no mention of your Pure bloods and their general disdain for Mudbloods and utter hatred of we ‘filthy Muggles’. She certainly never told us of her colleagues at Hogwarts who would hate our Hermione simply because of who her parents were. Not once did she mention that our daughter would end up in danger of losing her life ever damned year she attended your ‘Finest School in Europe’.
I don’t blame Minerva McGonagall really. She was doing her job. The fact that doing her job required lying by omission isn’t really her fault, it’s yours. She needed to fill the seats with Mudbloods so that the so called purebloods could afford to send their children to school. At the end of her second year Hermione calculated that without the Muggle Born and Muggle Raised at your precious school, the tuition would triple.
A week later we met Minerva at Diagon Alley for a ‘tour’. Hermione was hooked. We opened an account at your “Wizarding Bank” with fee rates that border on the criminal, and we paid her tuition, now all Hermione had to do was wait a year for the school year to start. We bought her books, so very many books, poorly written books. The vast majority of your books have no logical structure, no indexes, not even a table of contents. She absorbed your culture through your books, and still not one of those books honestly addressed what craven cowardly bigots you are. In that summer she learned far more about you than most of you learn about her culture in your entire lives. It was from those books she learned the name of the Wizard I would learn to hate.
It was five minutes after she first read the fairy tale that made Potter famous (I mean seriously, the boy was the only survivor of the encounter between his parents, himself and your creation Voldemort, where does the absurd story that a toddler defeated a Dark Lord come from?) that my Hermione calculated that he would be in her year at Hogwarts. That excited her, a chance to know the hero, the savior of the Wizarding world. She prepared herself for her first year, determined to impress Harry Potter.
She was studied so intensively the year flew by as all three of us were amazed at all she would be learning. She practiced her ‘wand movements’ with sticks from the local park, she practiced her pronunciation of the incantations until we were sick to death of hearing them. And she talked about Harry Potter.
Then came the day we took her to Kings Cross station, with her little trunk, and her ticket to a train that was at a platform I had never seen despite having been to the station countless times before.
Minerva McGonagall had told her how to get onto the platform, but we had never thought to ask if her mother and I could manage to make it through the hidden gateway, so we said our goodbyes on the outside of the platform. We watched our little girl vanish into a brick wall.
I made it to our car before I started to cry.
Her first letter came home tied to the claw of an owl two days later. Beth had some bacon set aside for the bird and hurriedly tied a letter she had ready for Hermione for the return trip. Hermione’s letter told of the trip on the train, a search for a wayward frog, and of meeting her hero. Young Mr. Potter was evidently something of a disappointment, defensive and not welcoming of young girls. In short a relatively normal eleven year old boy. Hermione spoke of the rags he was dressed in, his hair, and the fact that it seemed he knew nothing of being a wizard. Her letter included a vivid description of her arrival at the castle and the Sorting Ceremony that put her in the house she had wanted.
My little girl was a Gryffindor. Evidently an ancient hat decided she was brave. How a hat would know that, I don’t know, but Hermione was well pleased with her placement. How much of her pleasure was owed to the fact that HE was also sorted in to Gryffindor?
Evidently they had classes together as well. She described Harry Potter as being quiet, soft spoken, and apparently completely unaware of the legend built around his parent’s death. She described the classes she took, the meals served, the magic she was learning, and the girls who shared her dormitory. And Harry Potter.
It was amazing how much I was learning to hate that boy. The fact that I have never met Harry Potter didn’t bother me in the slightest.
It was after Halloween we got the first letter that actually sounded like Hermione. She told the story of being hurt by the cruel words of a class mate, then finding herself attacked by a Troll. A pair of class mates, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter fought with the troll until they knocked it out. From that day on, every letter mentioned Harry Potter. Somehow a 4 meter tall troll got inside the school, this purported ‘safest place in Britain’. My daughter might have been killed. Did her mother and I get notified of this encounter? Of course not, we are only her parents. Why should the great and powerful staff of Hogwarts bother to inform a pair of simple ‘Muggles’ of the danger our only daughter found her self in? From Hermione the constant barrage of Harry Potter news continued until Hermione came home for Christmas.”
The family reunion at the train station was emotional and loving.
Our girl was home and all was right with the world. That evening we had a long discussion about confronting trolls. She got out one of her books to show us a moving illustration of a troll, complete with sound and smell. Three children faced one of those monsters? I brought up the idea of perhaps not returning to such a dangerous environment. She informed me that she simply must return, because if she didn’t Harry and Ron would fail due to never doing their homework.
My little girl had friends. For the first time, she had friends.
Something about this Harry Potter and this Ron Weasley had broken through the barriers my princess had erected around herself. She talked me into taking her to Diagon Alley to do a little Christmas shopping for her new friends. She puzzled for most of an hour in the Wizarding Bookstore trying to find just the right books for her friends.
Finally she gave up and turned to her ancient father for advice on gift buying for young boys.
Thinking back to my own childhood, I suggested that perhaps most young boys didn’t love books quite as much as Hermione did. As I recalled candy was a favorite at that age.
My Hermione nodded wisely, and led me to another store, where she invested her savings in three boxes of some type of Wizarding Chocolates called ‘Chocolate Frogs’. We then made our way to the Wizarding Post office and mailed off two of the boxes. I asked her about the third box, and mentally prepared my parental/dentist riff. She dimpled and told me they were for someone special.
Christmas morning Beth and I set out to spoil our princess to within an inch of her life. And we succeeded until she opened a small package that had come by owl two days before she returned from Scotland. Inside was a book, an ancient leather bound tome, that Hermione opened, gasped, and started to cry. She excused herself to wash her face.
Beth picked up the book and gasped herself. “Philip, this is a first edition Emily Bronte. Wuthering Heights.”
“Who sent her that?”
“Harry Potter. There’s a note with it.”
I took the book and opened it to find a note on a slip of paper.
“Hermione: Thank you for everything this year. Without you I’d be lost.”
Hermione returned to school with the new year. Her letters continued to speak of Harry Potter and the classes they shared. She told of the magic she had learned and the things she could do. January became February which became March. Her letters began to speak of the prejudices of your world.
The hatred you taught your children came to the fore in the form of one Draco Malfoy. Your society taught an eleven year old to hate others based upon who their parents were.
If a mere ‘mudblood’ were to surpass you in school, then she must be a cheat. This attitude was perpetuated by at least one of your teachers, one Severus Snape, an abusive ass who delighted in the abuse of children. This man, entrusted with my child and yours, was a convicted Death Eater, complete with the Mark of your Dark Lord. From what I understand from your media in order to ‘earn’ that mark, the man had to commit murder in cold blood, yet he was a teacher. I await for a reasonable explanation for that.
Reading those letters, finding my little girl’s pain was even harder than reading of her adventures with Harry Potter.
It turns out that there was something ‘hidden’ at the school that year. Precisely why something that would bring a murdering Dark Lord to try to steal it would be hidden in a school is beyond me, but that’s just my Muggle ignorance talking. But the defenses around it were something to behold.
A gigantic vicious three headed dog, who could be easily put to sleep with music, something that his keeper told anyone who asked.
Deadly vines that the defense against was routinely taught to first year students
Flying keys, only one of which would fit the lock, and brooms to reach said keys readily available.
A chess game that played a rather bad game.
A logic problem easily solved by a child.
Defenses so impenetrable that it took a trio of untrained first years most of an hour to defeat.
The ease that they defeated these defenses leaves only two possibilities. Either Albus Dumbledore was an idiot, -or- He intended Harry Potter to encounter the returned Voldemort from the beginning.
Hermione’s letters told us that somehow Harry Potter managed to defeat not only Voldemort but also the fully trained Adult wizard tasked with the teaching of Defense Against the Dark Arts, being badly injured in doing so.
Hermione spent every waking moment at his side in the hospital. He recovered and the term ended.
That summer I heard more than I cared to about Harry Potter.
Little did I know the next year would be worse.