The boy had no magic except what other people hung on him.
January 2, 2016 7:48 AM   Subscribe

What would have happened if Harry Potter had been a squib? How might the story of the books gone differently? Well. Perhaps Arabella Figg noticed something first.
posted by sciatrix (79 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
 
I totally knew this was going to be an ink-splotch / dirgewithoutmusic fic without even clicking on the link. I also highly, hightly recommend the following:

In defense of Pansy Parkinson (series)

boy with a scar series:
What if Petunia had loved Harry like a son (!!!)
What if Harry had been raised by Hogwarts
What if Harry and Neville had both been killed by Voldemort
posted by Phire at 8:04 AM on January 2, 2016 [17 favorites]


(warning: everything they write will make you cry.)
posted by Phire at 8:05 AM on January 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


Dare I ask, what's a "squib"?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:22 AM on January 2, 2016


It's a short, low, line drive kickoff that bounces around on the ground a lot so that it's hard to pick up and return.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:24 AM on January 2, 2016 [25 favorites]


You can see how that would have altered the story considerably.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:25 AM on January 2, 2016 [44 favorites]


Chocolate Pickle: "Dare I ask, what's a "squib"?"

Someone who is born to a wizarding family but don't have the innate ability for magic.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 8:38 AM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


That was pretty cool. Basically of the family of What If stories where you try as hard as possible to make everything exactly the same, which results in increasingly bigger handwaves as the series goes on, but it's got a nice pay-off.

Was kind of expecting Potter to straight up shiv Voldemort at the end, but I'm kind of bloodthirsty like that.
posted by Artw at 8:52 AM on January 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


This was fabulous! I especially enjoyed Leah Cohen-Goldstein.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:53 AM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I always have a weird experience reading, or trying to read, things like this because I read the Potter books in another language, and the translation (while quite good) altered a lot of names, some in obvious ways or for obvious reasons, others somewhat more obscurely. Anyway reading an article with the original English names in it can feel like working out a cryptogram sometimes.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:57 AM on January 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


Another fun variation on the story is Rainbow Rowell's Carry On Carry On began as a fanfiction written by a character in her previous novel Fangirl, based on a series that was clearly the Harry Potter of the Fangirl universe. I can't tell you what I liked best about Carry On without spoiling the heck out of it, but it is both a fun read and a fun commentary on the Harry Potter books.

Goodness, I said "fun" a lot, didn't I? Well, it is fun. So there.
posted by not that girl at 9:08 AM on January 2, 2016 [8 favorites]


"We have to get out of here, Hermione!" Harry bioluminesced.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:14 AM on January 2, 2016 [12 favorites]


"Yer' a FIGHTER, 'Arry. But you can still use MAGICAL ITEMS and have a number of magical BUFFS and FEATS."
"but isn't that making things too much like Warcraft? What will the Alignment Hat say?"
"Shurrup."
posted by Artw at 9:16 AM on January 2, 2016 [33 favorites]


(Also in 4th edition Hogwarts the alignment hat only does SLYTHERIN, GRFYNDOR and NEUTRAL)
posted by Artw at 9:17 AM on January 2, 2016 [18 favorites]


Star Wars would be pretty much the same if Luke never got midichlorians, except he'd splat into the side of the Death Star trench at the end.

I dunno, maybe if he knew he wasn't special and trained to shoot womp rats extra hard...
posted by Artw at 9:36 AM on January 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Great shot, kid. One in about a dozen or so!"
posted by Artw at 9:40 AM on January 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


Rowling makes Harry pretty much a squib herself.

He's not comparable to his father or his father's crowd when they were at school, or Snape, never comes anywhere near any of his professors except the one who had no competence at all, and Voldemort, Grindelwald and Dumbledore are like another order of being.

In fact all of Harry's generation except Hermione seem to me to stall out in book five -- where they are revealed to be far out of their depth in the world of adult magic -- and never get much more powerful thereafter, and even as they triumph at the end come across as very childlike to me in terms of their powers (and in other ways).

The many examples of well-drawn powerful adult magicians suggest it didn't have to be that way, and I'm not sure why Rowling made the choices she did.
posted by jamjam at 9:46 AM on January 2, 2016 [8 favorites]


I love this story, like I love all of hers, but I was surprised to see how little magic Harry had done in the books, and how easily it was all dropped without changing much.
posted by jeather at 9:54 AM on January 2, 2016


It gets to at least book three before I'm thinking "that's a bit of a stretch", and book four before I'm thinking "no, he's probably be dead now."
posted by Artw at 9:55 AM on January 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think a lot of it is that "Harry does a spell" is a pretty boring way of resolving a situation. It can help him get into trouble, and it can help him with whatever way he gets out of trouble, but it's always fundamentally a solution to do with something else.

As for most Wizards topping out around their A-Levels and not going on to become the Wizard equivalent of theoretical physicists, that sounds about right TBH.
posted by Artw at 10:05 AM on January 2, 2016 [12 favorites]


YOU'RE A TIMELORD, HARRY.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:07 AM on January 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think a lot of it is that "Harry does a spell" is a pretty boring way of resolving a situation.

If you can't figure out how to make "Harry does a spell" interesting, maybe you might want to consider writing in a different genre?
posted by straight at 10:11 AM on January 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


And what we are seeing here is largely the structure of making "Harry Casts a Spell" interesting with the spells removed.
posted by Artw at 10:17 AM on January 2, 2016


The spell that's most missed here, of course, and the one that really he should probably perish from the lack of, is the Patronis, and that thing is deeply hooked into emotional state and storytelling affairs and generally more complex than waving a wand and saying words real good.

(well, also sneaking Hermoine's pre-cast twig spell into the dragon challenge seems like it wouldn't work, so he probably needs Accio there. )
posted by Artw at 10:25 AM on January 2, 2016


I always hoped Harry Potter would end with Voldemort defeated via purely Muggle means, perhaps in a non-magical venue, especially given that Harry and Hermione had plenty of experience in that world. I had high hopes at the beginning of Deathly Hallows when Hermione spirited them off to ordinary London to hide escape Death Eaters, but alas . . .
posted by thivaia at 10:36 AM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hermione and the Look Just Use a Gun.
posted by Artw at 10:38 AM on January 2, 2016 [41 favorites]


Great post, thanks!!
posted by chapps at 10:47 AM on January 2, 2016


In fact all of Harry's generation except Hermione seem to me to stall out in book five -- where they are revealed to be far out of their depth in the world of adult magic -- and never get much more powerful thereafter [...] The many examples of well-drawn powerful adult magicians suggest it didn't have to be that way, and I'm not sure why Rowling made the choices she did.

I never noticed this before, but a few thoughts on why it might be this way:

- A comment on how the war interrupted their schooling and left them a bit of a lost generation, maybe. First the school came under the control of an authoritarian bureaucrat, then they lost their headmaster, and then there was a civil war - it makes sense that this would interfere with their education.

- They're still very young when the series ends - basically high school kids. The adults we've seen all have a lot more experience in the real world, not to mention specialized training in their areas of expertise.

- Many of the adults we see practicing magic are the best of the best: the Order of the Phoenix members, aurors, professors at Hogwarts. It's reasonable to think that only a few of any given class at Hogwarts would reach this level.

- From a storytelling point of view, I think it makes sense, because the story of Harry Potter is basically one of a group of plucky kids bringing down evil. So it works better to have them still seem like kids (and relatable to the kids that are the target audience) even at the end.
posted by lunasol at 10:47 AM on January 2, 2016 [12 favorites]


"Siri, Google 'Nicolas Flamel' for me."
posted by that's how you get ants at 11:47 AM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Two takes on a developmentally disabled Harry: Almost a Squib, which is a lighter, funnier approach to the concept; and A Different Fate, where he's not just a squib but brain-damaged from Voldemort's curse.

I keep typing "squid" instead of "squib"...

In fact all of Harry's generation except Hermione seem to me to stall out in book five...

I would love to read an account of Albus Dumbledore's seven years at Hogwarts. He was publishing new discoveries in transfiguration even as a student, and I'm sure he did his share of magic comparable to feats like the Marauder's Map or Tom Riddle's terrible-but-great deeds. It would also be a chance to explore the more theoretical side of magic, finding some uniting principles to the mélange of different cultures' magic words and rituals.
posted by Rangi at 11:49 AM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I always hoped Harry Potter would end with Voldemort defeated via purely Muggle means

Voldemort and the Bear Jew
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:56 AM on January 2, 2016 [15 favorites]



Hermione and the Look Just Use a Gun


For discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of using muggle artifacts in a magical context, there is no substitute for the gargantuan Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:04 PM on January 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


If you can't figure out how to make "Harry does a spell" interesting, maybe you might want to consider writing in a different genre?

Yes, if Rowling had only taken your advice, her little series might have really gone somewhere.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 12:08 PM on January 2, 2016 [10 favorites]


Harry Potter and the Backpack of C4.
Harry Potter and the Hired Zeta Drug Cartel Death Squads.
Harry Potter and the Stolen Tactical Nukes.
posted by Chrischris at 12:16 PM on January 2, 2016 [9 favorites]


Hermione and the the Usually I Don't Approve of This Sort of Thing but I Know a Guy
posted by Artw at 12:17 PM on January 2, 2016 [23 favorites]


Hermione and The Way to Make it Look Like an Accident
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:20 PM on January 2, 2016 [26 favorites]


Hermoine and the Okay He Can Come Back from the Dead but Here's a Thing: Concrete
posted by Artw at 12:21 PM on January 2, 2016 [29 favorites]


Hermione and Jesus Christ Do You Know How Fucking Big Space Is?
posted by Chrischris at 12:27 PM on January 2, 2016 [15 favorites]


Hermione and the I Just Magiced NASA into Thinking they Need to fire Something Into the Sun.
posted by Artw at 12:35 PM on January 2, 2016 [12 favorites]


Hermione and the C'mon, Horcruxes Won't Save You From Being Launched Into the Fucking Sun.
posted by vernondalhart at 12:38 PM on January 2, 2016 [14 favorites]


Hermione and the Go On, Haunt Space, See If I Fucking Care
posted by Artw at 12:39 PM on January 2, 2016 [33 favorites]


Artw: "Hermione and the Look Just Use a Gun."

"Scarface to KnowItAll, come in KnowItAll..."
"KnowItAll here. In position and I am sighted in. Just get him anywhere in the target zone and I'll pop his head like a grape. Expelliarmus a .50, snakefucker."
posted by Samizdata at 1:05 PM on January 2, 2016 [11 favorites]


(I loved the "In Defense Of" series you linked to, Phire - especially Andromeda Tonks and Parvati Patil)
posted by ChuraChura at 1:07 PM on January 2, 2016


If Harry Potter had been written by an American I'd say the odds would have been 50/50 that the final battle against Voldemort would have gone down sort of like Buffy facing down the Judge. That might have been anticlimactic for some but oh for the fun of imagining the look on Voldemort's face when the targeting laser locked on him.
posted by Ber at 1:17 PM on January 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Being not-American, and being her, I think Hermione would have some pretty strong reservations about going all John Wayne with firearms. On the other hand she's very practical.
posted by Artw at 1:28 PM on January 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hermione: I know what you're thinking. Did she fire six shots or only five?
Voldemort: Shots?
Hermione: Well, to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself.
Voldemort: I fail to see how this...
Hermione: But being this is a .44 Magnum...
Voldemort: Magnum?
Hermione: ... the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you've gotta ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?"
Voldemort: Does anyone know what this mudblood is talking about?
Hermione: Well? Do ya', punk?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:33 PM on January 2, 2016 [11 favorites]


Being not-American, and being her, I think Hermione would have some pretty strong reservations about going all John Wayne with firearms.

Hermione and the Pint Glass
Hermione and the Sock Full of Pennies
Hermione and the Sawed-Off Pool Cue
Hermione and the Meet Some of the Lads from My Patch
Hermione and the Cavalry Sabre from the Antiques Shop
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:42 PM on January 2, 2016 [27 favorites]


Hermione and The Pint at the Winchester
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:49 PM on January 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hermione and The Chelsea Headhunters Hooligan Firm
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:50 PM on January 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's well-established the best way to take down a wizard is a large-caliber sniper round without warning and from a great distance.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:57 PM on January 2, 2016 [12 favorites]


That way there's no chance of getting his or her death curse.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:58 PM on January 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Of course when slaying dark wizards/magical beasts there' s always room for a bullet/magic combo.
posted by Artw at 2:26 PM on January 2, 2016


(Art there by John Ridgeway, from Summer Magic, which like all Alan McKenzie stories wasn't very good, but that scene really stuck. Also Luke Kirby was a very Potter like character before Potter was conceived.)
posted by Artw at 2:32 PM on January 2, 2016


Right Draco, you bastard! I'm the daddy now, next time, I'll fackin' kill ya!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:27 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


This was lovely. Though I really was anticipating it was heading towards Harry asking Leah to marry him, and her and the Cohen-Goldsteins losing their shit because he isn't Jewish, and him making the "don't you realize none of the rules apply to me" argument...
posted by Mchelly at 3:28 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I thought this was really interesting and good. First for demonstrating how Harry could be nonmagical and his story would still work quite well, which isn't deconstructing or undermining Rowling (as some people here seem to think?) so much as underling what story Rowling is actually trying to tell.

("Lupin just talked to Harry about laughter in the face of fear-- you can laugh a boggart into oblivion without a spell to make it ridiculous. It's just a little harder. You have to carry that certainty inside yourself, because you can't write it into the world outside of you the way you can with a wand.")

Second for the points it's making about disability. Hey, how come squibs are basically locked out of the wizarding world, anyway? Like at best they seem to be treated as kinda useful, sometimes pitiable people who are good for doing basic tasks. That doesn't actually make any sense. How come I've read the whole series and never thought to question this before?
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:28 PM on January 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


Hermione and the Lads from the Artist's Rifles
Hermione and the Predator Drones
Hermione and the Soil Samples from Gruinard Island
Hermione and the odorless gas main leak
Hermione and the Come and Have a Go If You Think You're Hard Enough
Hermione and the Science of Chemistry as Applied to Transmutation and Hydrogen Flouride

The Death Eaters should be thankful that, owing to their bigotry, they never touched the elder Grangers. Hermione's true anger, coupled with her intellect, would leave wastelands.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 4:18 PM on January 2, 2016 [12 favorites]


This is an awesome thread, and I think I've favorited about half of it so far.
posted by JHarris at 4:45 PM on January 2, 2016


Hermione Granger and the Permanent Revolution.
Hermione Granger and the Questions about Kronstadt.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:53 PM on January 2, 2016 [9 favorites]


Seconding Carry On as a recommendation for those who love Harry Potter but also love thinking about the things Harry Potter doesn't really make sense on.

Rowell and Carry On also handle the whole question of inborn magical talent differently from the Harry Potter series -- in HP it's very binary, you're a wizard/witch OR you're a Squib. There's some variation in your overall talent levels, but if you're a wizard/witch, that's it, you're in.

In Carry On there are definitely edge cases, people who have some magic but maybe not much, and the question of how those people get educated (or if they do) is one of the drivers of the plot overall.
posted by pie ninja at 5:16 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


oh man is there where I get to pitch the HP fanfic I'm never going to bother to write?

So the big question is why wizards are afraid of muggles in the first place? Like, if Voldemort can kill anyone, why piss around with Potter and not just take over England?

So here's the twist - just as there are squibs there are muggles who aren't just non-magical but who are in fact immune to magic. Like, no mind control, no invisibility, no death curses, etc. They just walk right up to these gormless wizards and punch them in the throat.

Anyway, all it needs is an actual plot, characters and a setting.

But yes, as a disability metaphor this worked surprisingly well.
posted by GuyZero at 5:20 PM on January 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


Artw: "Of course when slaying dark wizards/magical beasts there' s always room for a bullet/magic combo."

Fprget that, man... Read some Gravel...
posted by Samizdata at 5:59 PM on January 2, 2016


GuyZero: "oh man is there where I get to pitch the HP fanfic I'm never going to bother to write?

So the big question is why wizards are afraid of muggles in the first place? Like, if Voldemort can kill anyone, why piss around with Potter and not just take over England?

So here's the twist - just as there are squibs there are muggles who aren't just non-magical but who are in fact immune to magic. Like, no mind control, no invisibility, no death curses, etc. They just walk right up to these gormless wizards and punch them in the throat.

Anyway, all it needs is an actual plot, characters and a setting.

But yes, as a disability metaphor this worked surprisingly well.
"

Because, as I understand it, muggles outnumber wizards to the point magic couldn't make up for it. So, if push comes to shove and war's a-brewin', the Muggles would win. (Plus we have tanks. Try expelliarmus on an Abrams...)
posted by Samizdata at 6:02 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hermione Granger and the Questions about Kronstadt

It does seem the Hermione Granger and Emma Goldman could make a My Dinner with Andre sort of move I could spend the rest of my life just watching over and over.
posted by chapps at 6:22 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would love to read an account of Albus Dumbledore's seven years at Hogwarts. He was publishing new discoveries in transfiguration even as a student...

Is there a wizard grad school?
posted by chapps at 6:24 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


you can tell the grad school wizards working on their dissertations by how they just sort of hang around doing no magic whatsoever. and whenever they do actually do magic, the bulk of it has nothing to do with their dissertations.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:57 PM on January 2, 2016 [12 favorites]


> Because, as I understand it, muggles outnumber wizards to the point magic couldn't make up for it. So, if push comes to shove and war's a-brewin', the Muggles would win. (Plus we have tanks. Try expelliarmus on an Abrams...)

Physical powers makes you strong, mental powers make you godlike. why would you need Expelliarmus on an Abrams when you can just Imperius the crew?

(If Imperius is too rough for you, you could just make like Hermione and just Jedi-mind-trick the entire enemy army into forgetting who they are and then moving to Australia...)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:37 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Or more to the point you get yourself elected prime minister or something. Between Imperius and blackmail via mindreading it would be relatively easy.

Until it doesn't work one time out of ten and you get stuck with a shiv or burned at the stake.
posted by GuyZero at 9:25 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd vote for Hermione. Hey, wait a second...
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:28 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Being not-American, and being her, I think Hermione would have some pretty strong reservations about going all John Wayne with firearms.

Hermione Granger and the Millwall Brick
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:46 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


According to Pottermore magic-muggle relations didn't become strained until after the Witch Burnings, where the magic world decided to enact a large-scale Statute of Secrecy to protect themselves. There is a subset of fandom (like myself) that headcanons that this Statute is a colonial construct, and that the magical world outside the UK don't separate themselves that much from their muggle counterparts.

Basically of the family of What If stories where you try as hard as possible to make everything exactly the same, which results in increasingly bigger handwaves as the series goes on, but it's got a nice pay-off.

That was the only bad part for me about reading this entire series at once: the fixed points in time get repetitive after a while. There are no major changes, nothing gets seriously upended as a result of changing the fundamental settings. I'd like to see how everything shifts butterfly-style as a result of changing one detail or another.

AUs I'd like to see:

1. Voldemort never hears of the prophecy, continues reign of terror
2. Voldemort knows of the prophecy, chooses to ignore it, continues reign of terror

Would the Potters and Longbottoms survive anyway because they are no longer targets? Is the Chosen One cycle still in effect even without anyone actively choosing to make it so? Are either Harry or Neville (or both) destined to take on Voldemort, just later, maybe once they're out of Hogwarts? Does the prophecy require belief to be true? How would Hogwarts be like if the terror was not targeted at a specific student, if there was no need to make Harry a Triwizard Cup contender, if Rat!Peter didn't feel the need to snitch?
posted by divabat at 12:10 AM on January 3, 2016


My favorite anti-wizard weapon is the Warlock's Wheel from Niven's books. The idea is, magical power is a natural resource of the Earth, not of the wizard. The Wheel is a simple device that depletes the magic in an area by using it all to spin really fast in place. Deploying it against enemy wizards robs them of their power to cast spells and leaves them vulnerable.
posted by foobaz at 1:29 AM on January 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


Carry On...

Ooh, Matronus!

Dumbledore - Sid James
Voldemort - Kenneth Williams
Harry - Charles Hawtrey
McGonagal - Hattie Jaques
Hagrid - Bernard Bresslaw
Hermione - Barbara Windsor
Ron - Jim Dale
Mrs Weasley - Joan Sims
Snape - Lesley Phillips
posted by Segundus at 1:32 AM on January 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


Hermione Granger and the Millwall Brick
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:46 PM on January 2 [1 favorite +] [!]


Wherein Hermione Granger has a frank exchange of views with Rita Skeeter, ending in Granger finding the best possible use for Skeeter's publication.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:31 AM on January 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


You Can't Tip A Buick, now I want to /write/ that Krondstadt fic.
posted by corb at 11:57 AM on January 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Do it, Corb.
posted by chapps at 12:06 PM on January 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


But please, ensure that after the Krondstadt rebellion is suppressed by the "New People's Magical Ministry", Hermione turns to her fellow rebels and whispers (so the work camp guard can hear), "How are you feeling?"
posted by chapps at 12:10 PM on January 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


see now I'm over here trying to figure out how to carefully coax metafilter into producing large amounts of crossover fanfic featuring characters from popular YA series and events and prominent figures from the Russian Revolution, because uh I would be 100% down for reading a lot of that.

something I discovered earlier this year is that reading the Harry Potter series and Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution back-to-back results in an experience almost exactly like reading one very, very long China Miéville novel.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:21 PM on January 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


also if anyone out there would like to start a riot grrl band named "Hermione Granger and the Permanent Revolution" I would not object one bit.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:51 PM on January 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


I would love to read an account of Albus Dumbledore's seven years at Hogwarts. ... It would also be a chance to explore the more theoretical side of magic, finding some uniting principles to the mélange of different cultures' magic words and rituals.
posted by Rangi


The problem is Rowling wrote so many things into the story that work fine as bits from a children's series but would have world-shattering implications if thought about more deeply. Time travel for starters. Can you achieve immortality by constantly using polyjuice from a younger person? What does the presence of ghosts/horcruxes/all the times we see Harry's spectral parents imply about the afterlife (and does it explain why wizards seem pretty atheistic as a group)? Why don't wizards leviosa stuff into orbit? Or at least shoot all the toxic waste into the sun? Why don't dark wizards just use house elves to assassinate all their enemies (they can't all be too bigoted to see the utility)?

Some of my favorite Potterfics are those that interrogate the worldbuilding like this. The infamous Methods of Rationality fic promised to do so but mostly failed to deliver imho, but other people have tried and come up with some interesting ideas. Still, trying to nail down the "laws of magic" seems inherently to break the worldbuilding of the Potterverse. At the same time, because Potter is supposed to be taking place behind the scenes in a realistic contemporary setting it is tough to let the magic just be a numinous hand-wavy thing like in Tolkien. Contrast this with, for example, Diane Duane's Young Wizards magic system where magic has a purpose (countering entropy) and a cost and rules and there's a somewhat more sensible explanation for why it remains hidden on Earth.

GuyZero you might enjoy this little one-shot riff on what might have been if someone looked at the muggle system of government with clear eyes.

YCTAB - I can't remember the fic now and it had problems anyway I do remember a great little bit from a story I once read about someone saying that they were on a trip to Russia and how this crazy old guy kept acting ridiculous and clowning around and everyone treated him like a crazy old uncle ("imagine, talks to muggles!") and the visitor slowly realizing it was Rasputin.
posted by Wretch729 at 7:06 AM on January 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


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