Latest Update: 21 November 2017
I have compiled the following key to the various references, in-jokes and obscure comments in Drunkard's Walk VIII. As with the other Steps, I can't promise that it's comprehensive; it's all too easy to miss things. If you think you've spotted something that was left out or needs explanation, feel free to email me about it!
As usual, I have not included entries for most of the songs that Doug that employs in this story. Once again, this is because most of the appropriate citations are already included at the end of each chapter.
The format for this listing is simple. Entries are grouped by the chapter they appear in, in order of their appearance in the story. Each entry will start with the appropriate text from the story in italics, followed by a gloss, explanation, or, in some cases, a chatty little commentary. Where applicable, web links are provided for those interested in more information.
Of course, as future chapters are written, additional entries will be appended to this document.
A Note About Dates: This story takes place during the period that in canon is covered by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — that is, July 1995 to June 1996. However...
J.K. Rowling is infamous for wild inconsistencies in the handling of the calendar for the Harry Potter books. A very good example crops early up in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which directly affects chapter one of this Step: according to the text, Harry's hearing for underaged magic is held on Thursday 12 August 1995. However, August 12 was a Saturday in 1995. And to make things worse, neither day of the week would make it possible for his first day of classes, 2 September, to be on a Monday — but it is, anyway.
Although I am usually quite punctilious about dates and the days of the week they fall on (and phases of the moon, and the actual weather when writing material set in the past), I find that trying to cram Rowling's calendric irregularities into a genuine 1995-1996 school year is more work than the resultant payoff (i.e., almost none) is worth. I have therefore chosen to use the excellent calendar generated from the book by the good people at the Harry Potter Lexicon, and simply will deliberately overlook any strange gaps that appear in the progression of weekdays. If it amuses me, though, Doug may notice...
Table of Contents
Harry Potter and the Man from Otherearth
I suppose I should note at the outset that, except when and where Doug influences things, I am hewing as closely as possible to canon — which means Dumbledore is neither malevolent nor senile, despite Rowling's early-2014 regrets no alternative couples will be 'shipped, and regardless of how much of an asshole he is, Snape is ultimately a hero motivated by love and guilt (not that it will ever matter much in this story).
Forbidden Magic and Primal Fear
The chapter titling convention for this Step is free-form, with no particular theme.
"<Eastern Wind, blow clear, blow clean>," she sang out, strong
and firm, and Ginny sang along.
"<Cleanse my body of its pain.
Cleanse my mind of what I've seen.
Cleanse my honor of its stain.
Maid whose love has never ceased,
Bring me healing from the East.>"
This is the first verse of "Wind's Four Quarters", lyrics by Mercedes Lackey, music by Leslie Fish. It is an invocation to the Star-Eyed Goddess of the Shin'a'in, a people of plains and horses from Lackey's Velgarth/Valdemar novels, similar in some ways to the Plains Indians of North America. The Star-Eyed is a composite goddess whose four aspects — Maiden, Warrior, Mother and Crone — are (as you will know if you've read Drunkard's Walk V) avatars of the Beings Doug knows better as Skuld, Marller, Belldandy and Urd.
The language Ginny and Hermione are singing in is Shin'a'in. So how did an invocation in Shin'a'in end up in the Harry Potter world? That would be telling, and I won't be telling until much later in the story.
CHAOS COMES, SERVING ORDER
Trelawney has no memories of her true prophecies, and no one was in the classroom with her when she made this one. So no one at all knows that it was made, and it will have absolutely no effect on the course of the plot. This is, of course, a deliberate parody of the oh-so-portentous (and pretentious) Trelawney prophecies that show up in so many other Potter fics for the sole purpose of making the other characters look upon the Prophesied One(s) in awe and wonder.
my fist ...
impacted the scaly skin between those two eyes with a full-power
strike. ... the eyes crossed momentarily then rolled upwards, the pupils
disappearing under a pair of eyelids the size of pizza pans. ...
and slowly, eeeeeeever so slowly, the dragon that had been
standing over me fell first to its knees, and then over onto its
This is not as excessive or over-the-top as it may seem at first. In many places throughout the Walk, I have attempted to deliver in text as much of a sense as I can of the original Villains and Vigilantes campaign which spawned Doug. This is such an instance.
There is a rule in V&V2.1 that I became very fond of when playing Doug. It was very simple: make a targeted head-shot on an opponent, and if you hit, you have a percentage chance equal to four times the damage you inflict to knock that opponent out cold. Since Doug has an outrageous bonus to hit in hand-to-hand combat, and as a matter of course does 20-25 (1d6+19) points of damage with a punch, this became a favorite tactic. He almost always made the targeted hit, and always had a minimum knockout chance of 80%.
"But a dragon?" you ask.
Oh, yes. The thing I especially loved about that rule was that there were no size modifiers of any kind on either roll. And going strictly by the wording of the rule, the target didn't even need to keep its brains in its head, either, but we required that they did, just to hold on to a few dangling shreds of realism. Anyway, Doug routinely knocked out anything whose head he could reach, assuming we didn't want or need it dead. This dragon isn't even close to the largest thing he ever took out that way.
Doing it by accident, though... well, that's just for comedic value.
in Yosemite Sam's voice I said
out loud, "Dragons is *soooo* stupid."
Yosemite Sam said this — several times, in fact — in Knighty Knight Bugs, from 1958.
"Deathflight"? Or maybe "Flight of Death", if you had a thing
for overblown drama.
These are two of the most literal meaning(s) for "Voldemort" when translated from French. "Flight from death" is also a perfectly valid translation, but honestly, I don't believe that Voldemort's ego and/or megalomania would allow him to name himself for his greatest fear.
Rowling, on the other hand... <grin>
"Vol" can also be an idiom for "theft", so depending on Rowling's intentions, there may be more than one "real" interpretation.
Oh, just as a side note -- the proper pronunciation of "Voldemort", which Rowling uses in the BBC biography of her, is in the French style, with the final "T" silent. It should really sound like "Voldemore".
And, hell, my
freshman year roommate at Princeton had had one of the German
words for "terror" as his last name.
Which German word was that? "Schroeck".
AKA "Lord Chess". The millennia-old vampire who led a vampire invasion of Warriors' World in 1991. More information about him will eventually be found in Drunkard's Walk XIII.
"What news do you have for me from the Department of Mysteries,
The Death Eater in this scene was originally Augustus Rookwood, but I rediscovered literally minutes before I was to post chapter two that Rookwood was a known Death Eater in Azkaban in July of 1995. Avery — who has no known canonical first name — is a convenient replacement: still free and under cover during late 1995, with vague connections to the Department of Mysteries. As of the release of chapter two, he's taking over all Rookwood's duties in this story.
Monday, August 2, 1995
Exactly when Harry started having the dreams about the corridor and locked door is never explicitly said in Order of the Phoenix. But there's a brief mention of "ten days" during the events of the 12th.
Exactly when Voldemort realized the connection between them existed, and the dreams went from an unconscious transmission of his preoccupation with the prophecy to a deliberate attempt to lure Harry to the Department of Mysteries is... unclear. Strictly speaking, it almost certainly wasn't this early. For a while, too, Harry alternated between nightmares of the Third Task and corridor dreams instead of the latter suddenly and completely supplanting the former. If you like, consider these differences a very low-order consequence of Doug's changes to the timeline, prompted by the sudden, intense Ministry interest in the Prophecy.
It was hot, almost uncomfortably so.
The British Isles were undergoing a severe heat wave in July of 1995.
*Vrajitor lui alee*
"Enchanter's Alley" in Romanian. At least according to Google Translate.
At least one
part seemed to be *upside-down* and reachable only by an exterior
door and a crawlway past a working chimney.
This is a shout-out to the Harry Potter/Buffy The Vampire Slayer crossover fic The Eighth Weasley by Fyre, in which such a room does indeed exist at the Burrow. (Warning: monstrously huge story, on the order of two-plus megabytes. It's pretty good, though.)
wood-fed Rayburn stove
"Rayburn" is a uniquely British brand of range, first manufactured in 1946, with a distinctly retro appearance and approach to heating — the earliest models were exclusively wood-burners despite being of middle-20th-century manufacture. And although over the years oil, gas, and multi-fuel models have been added to the product line, the vast majority of Rayburns manufactured continue to be wood-burners. You can read more about them here.
My bubbe's house
"Bubbe" is Yiddish for "grandma". As noted elsewhere in the Walk, Doug's maternal grandmother is/was a German Jewish immigrant to the United States. Doug distinguishes between his paternal and maternal grandparents by referring to the latter by the Yiddish terms "bubbe" and "zayde" (even though that grandfather is not Jewish).
I had a sudden Bugs
Bunny flashback and wondered if I could turn him into a plowhorse
by spritzing him with a pinch of it.
As seen in Knight-mare Hare (1951).
the barmaid -- who bore a striking
resemblance to Julie Christie,
Okay, okay, an obvious reference to the movies, where Rosmerta was played by Christie.
the temperature couldn't have been more than 10 or 15 degrees.
Compared to Devonshire's heat, it was positively frosty.
Celsius. For my readers who use Imperial, that's a range between about 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It's a typical July temperature for the north of Scotland, which was (as best as I can tell from old, low-resolution weather maps) mostly spared the brunt of the heat wave which was punishing the lower parts of the British Isles that July.
And may I just note, if this tiny burg was the only all-wizard
settlement in the UK, how did wizards manage to be so freaking
*ignorant* of the non-magical world?
Okay, this partakes of a bit more fanfic mutation than perhaps I should have indulged in. Fic authors have painted the vast majority of Wizarding Britain, especially the purebloods, as being utterly uninformed or even misinformed about the state of the Muggle World. But this is clearly not the case, starting from the first book — recall, for example, eleven-year-old Draco Malfoy boasting during his first flying class of a close encounter with a helicopter. He knew what a helicopter was, how it flew (compared to something like a jet, which wouldn't be low or slow enough to buzz with a broom) and even if he was just boasting, he knew enough to spin a good story. Even more so, he expected the other purebloods to know what he was talking about and be impressed by it. This is hard to reconcile with the fanfic purebloods, who usually think Muggles still live by gaslight and ride horses. I've been trying to adhere as closely as I could to the milieu described by Rowling, instead of recycling the misapprehensions of years of fic writers, but this is one place where I ignored that to encourage Doug's tendency to disdain the ignorant and the parochial. Fortunately it doesn't affect the plot either way.
someone had discarded all thoughts of defensibility and roofed
over the castle bailey, or at least parts of it.
The bailey of a castle is the open ground between its curtain wall and its keep. Disney and post-medieval palaces aside, this is a standard feature of castles, part of their defenses. Hogwarts actually has more in common with Disney-style fairy tale castles than real medieval fortresses, but was canonically built during a period well before the fairy-tale aesthetic was even a glimmer in some deranged architect's eye. The only explanation is that it had been a typical, albeit unusually large, castle of the period, but when it was converted into a school, all pretense to a standard military defense was abandoned in favor of maximizing available interior space.
Update, 21 November 2017: The British Library has, as of this date, recently opened a massive exhibition on Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling, and among the papers on display is Rowling's own original hand-drawn map of Hogwarts and its environs. For such a small and simple sketch it's got a lot of interesting detail; relevant to the current gloss is that she depicts Hogwarts as a more or less rectangular structure with three large towers in the center of the building, evenly spaced along its length (with more towers/turrets at each of its several corners). The drawing makes it very clear that there is absolutely no open ground within the walls of the castle. So if it ever had a bailey, it was roofed over entirely.
a cross between Professor Pangloss and King Log
Professor Pangloss is a character from the novel Candide by Voltaire. He eternally espouses the philosophy that we live in the best of all possible worlds, no matter what horrible fate is befalling him and his companions at the time.
King Log comes from one of Aesop's fables, in which a group of frogs demands that Jupiter give them a king. Jupiter throws them a log (which does nothing but float in the water) as their first king. The frogs are not satisfied and ask for a new king. The entirely inactive King Log is then contrasted with its successor, King Stork, who is a bit more ... "energetic" than the frogs care for.
The ones who weren't in robes ran the gamut from Renaissance to
almost the middle of the twentieth century.
I'm taking my cue here from the movies; in particular, Rita Skeeter looks very 1940s, as do many other witches and wizards. The books, on the other hand, don't demonstrate nearly as much variety, although it's clear from a number of clues — not the least of which are the Weasley jumpers and the fact that students have to don their robes before disembarking from the Hogwarts Express — that no small number of witches and wizards dress something like modern Muggles do. (At least Harry never seems to think anyone's clothes, such as the Weasleys', look particularly old-fashioned. Robes do seem to be de rigeur for older witches and wizards, but appear to be more like semi-formal wear and/or uniforms for younger ones.)
it had the
usual wand shape, but it looked more *grown* than carved like the
wands I'd already encountered.
This is, of course, the Elder Wand as it appears in the films.
Kind of like a butterscotch egg cream, if you catch
An egg cream, for those unfamiliar with this most New York Jewish of New York Jewish beverages, is chocolate syrup and milk in seltzer water — in other words, a chocolate milk soda. Despite the name, there are no eggs or cream in it. Properly made, a fresh egg cream generates a head similar to that on a beer.
Now, imagine an egg cream made with butterscotch syrup instead of the chocolate, a tiny splash of vodka, plus a little something to thicken it up a hair — that's how I envision butterbeer: as fizzy drinkable butterscotch pudding with a 1% or so alcohol content.
Now, I know that they serve butterbeer at the Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, but I know nothing about its ingredients or what it tastes like. I'd be curious to see how it compares to my interpretation.
Update, 15 February 2016: Last week I finally had the opportunity to visit Universal Orlando and try the butterbeer. Imagine, if you will, a vanilla cream soda with a very thick and persistent butterscotch-flavored foam or mousse floating on top of it. I only tried the basic version, and did not taste either the warm or frozen versions. It was... okay. I actually liked the foam better than the soda beneath it, and would gladly have dug into an entire mug of it.
I still think my butterscotch egg cream idea would work a bit better, and when I get around to buying both the syrup and the seltzer I'll give it a try. I'm also looking at a couple recipes for homebrewing butterscotch-flavored beer or ale, which I may well give a try as well.
Oh, and if you find yourself at any of the Universal Harry Potter parks, be it in Orlando or elsewhere, be aware — the pumpkin juice you can buy in bottles from vendors is much better for some reason than the pumpkin juice in the restaurants. I don't know why, but it's true. And don't miss out on the cauldron cakes.
Update, 21 November 2017: Skip the cauldron cakes. We returned to the park in September 2017, and in the 19 months between our visits, the original cauldron cakes, which were exquisite confections hand-made from seven different kinds of chocolate, have been replaced with what amount to large chocolate cupcakes baked in a silicone cauldron and topped with dry, stiff flame-colored and -shaped icing. At over $10 a pop they're nowhere near worth the money.
"Your basic soul anchor, AKA the
partial soul jar, plus a homunculus body."
I.e., the horcrux method as depicted in canon.
"The lich ritual and transformation."
The lich is such a widespread concept now in fantasy literature that few people remember it was invented by the Dungeons and Dragons game and thus has no body of real folklore behind it. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, a lich is a powerful wizard who has thwarted death by becoming an intelligent free-willed undead creature, without losing any of his mystic power. The exact method was never officially defined, but one unofficial description I read in the early 1980s outlined a process whereby the mage would actually remove his soul from his body before the moment of death, and then possess and re-animate his own corpse after it had been properly preserved and prepared. (With a few even less savory steps in between.) I liked the sound of that — properly macabre — so I used it here.
"A directed reincarnation event triggered by a 'deadman switch'
This would be something the wizard would set up for himself as a contingency.
"An externally-applied directed reincarnation."
The mage has arranged for some trustworthy (or well-paid) person to perform the reincarnation for him instead. This is essentially what happened (involuntarily) to Princess Serenity and her Senshi in the backstory of Sailor Moon.
"Or, finally, a demonic contract."
As seen in either Faust or Ah! My Goddess. Of course, payment for services rendered by Hell in this case will start at one's soul, and will almost always include wreaking as much havoc on earth as possible after one's return.
There's also the Koschei-style soul jar
The original source of the concept of the horcrux (and possibly of the lich from Dungeons and Dragons), the story of Koschei the Deathless (sometimes called "Koschei the Undying" or "Koschei the Immortal") is a classic Slavic folk tale. In it, the antagonist Koschei had completely removed his soul from his body and placed it in a matrushka-like set of nested protections and defenses, rendering himself physically unkillable.
As a humorous side note, I just wanted to mention that the spellchecker I use obviously doesn't know Slavic folklore, and suggested that this ought to be a "Kosher-style soul jar." I suppose that in this variant, the soul is pickled in a dill and garlic brine before being locked away behind other protections.
standard starting salary of 6,343 galleons
This is not a figure plucked out of thin air. The average salary for a teacher in Scotland in 1995 was somewhere around £410 a week, according to the Scottish government's own statistics. I added two hundred pounds per week to that figure to reflect teaching at one of the premiere schools for magic in Europe as well as the slightly more inflated Wizarding economy, and came out with £610 per week, which is £31,720 — 6,344 galleons at Rowling's stated 5-to-1 exchange rate — per year. (For my American readers, that's roughly $63,000 — a fortune for most teachers at the time, even at private schools.)
As it so happens, 6,343 is a prime number. And since wizards apparently like their money with primes — witness the ratios between Knuts, Sickles and Galleons — it seemed like the logical thing to discard the unnecessary extra Galleon.
Mrs. Scower's Magical Mess Remover
A canon Wizarding household product. Note one of Rowling's many puns here, by the way — "Scower"="scour".
"Hello, Charlie's family," ... "Hullo, Doug!"
This is not a typo, but a difference between American and British spelling and pronunciation.
Perceptive re-readers of this chapter will note that in November 2015 this scene and the following one were both revised, this one heavily. It had been pointed out to me quite a while before that I had made a severe continuity error in claiming Charlie hadn't visited his family for some years in 1995. In fact, he was part of the Weasley family trip to the World Cup of Quidditch in late Summer 1994, at which time Harry and Hermione first met him. It's taken me a while to get around to fixing this, but it's finally in alignment with canon.
the six teens retreated to Ron
and Harry's bedroom on the second floor.
For those who don't realize, Europeans and Americans count the floors in buildings differently.
Americans (generally — I have seen exceptions) consider the ground floor the first floor, the one up from that as the second, and so on, such that the top floor is numbered the same as the total number of (aboveground) floors. (I.e., the top floor of a ten-story building is the tenth floor.)
Europeans — including the British — count the ground floor separately (kind of like a "floor 0"), with the floor above it being the "first floor", and so on. The top floor of a building is counted as one less than the total number of floors (the top floor of a ten-story building is the ninth floor).
To put it in computer terms, Americans use 1-based floor numbering, while Europeans use 0-based.
I mention this because despite having lived in England for more than a decade, Doug will count floors in the American fashion, while any narration involving Wizarding characters will employ the British usage. Thus, as far as Doug is personally concerned, Ron and Harry's shared bedroom is on the third floor. He knows to translate from Yank to Brit when talking with people, though, so sadly there won't be any amusing confusions from this.
Similarly, Doug's narration uses "story" while the Brits and the third-person narrator all use "storey" when referring to the floors of buildings, another American/British distinction.
down a short
staircase and into a large basement kitchen.
The books' version of 12 Grimmauld Place is a much larger and more spacious home than the movie version. In particular, the movie kitchen is a cramped, narrow room that looks almost like a ship's galley. The books' kitchen is cavernous, big enough to fit a dozen or so people without crowding — which it frequently does, since it serves as the meeting room for the Order of the Phoenix.
In general, the films' designer embraced the "row house" conceit wholeheartedly, resulting in a long, narrow set. Rowling, though, describes what amounts to a full-sized mansion crammed into the middle of a line of row houses.
There was the slightest tension in the air, as though
there were something not said, that would not be said in front of
That would be the estrangement of Percy from the rest of the family.
I wanted to drop her into Kitchen Stadium
From Iron Chef and Iron Chef America.
the Red-Headed League
A reference, possibly deliberate on Sirius' part, to the Sherlock Holmes story "The Red-Headed League".
It had been a hot, dry day, easily in the high 20s, almost
Celsius. For my American readers, this is a temperature hovering around 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Oh, and this is indeed what conditions really were like in London on 12 August 1995. That heat wave from July I mentioned above? It kept right on going into August; in fact, by that point England was suffering a drought. This is actually depicted accurately in the Privet Drive chapters of Order of the Phoenix, particularly in the mention of a ban on using hosepipes (garden hoses/sprinklers, in American).
"Twinspeak, eh? Nice trick," I added offhandedly
as I ran my hands along the lid of the crate. "You do that a
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Thing One shrug. "Not as much as some people believe."
This passage is a poke at some Harry Potter fanon. Fanfic authors frequently overdo the twinspeak with Fred and George. In truth, the twins only did it a couple times in the books; it's not the only way they talk, nor does it require some psychic or magical connection, as I have them explain.
It is, however, seductively easy (and fun!) to write, as I have come to realize.
...Thing One...Thing Two...
A reference, of course, to the twin troublemakers in Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat.
"I *like* them, they're silly."
A slight paraphrase of a classic Looney Tunes line, usually uttered when a completely discombobulated enemy blurts out a non sequitur in a daze. It was actually first used by one of Bugs Bunny's antagonists about Bugs himself — the Gremlin in 1943's Falling Hare.
"I wasn't built for comfort, I was built for speed"
A repeated line from the song "Bad for Good" by Jim Steinman.
motorcycle, all two and a half shiny black-and-chrome meters of
For those readers who are discovering the Walk with this story, let me assure you that this is not a typo. Doug's motorcycle is indeed almost a meter longer than the average bike you'll see on the road today. It is a heavily-customized 2015 Mitsubishi Nightblade from the world of the anime Bubblegum Crisis, which liked its motorcycles long, sleek, turbine-powered and looking like missiles on wheels. And about seven and a half years after he built it, it was rebuilt from the ground up by Skuld Ravenhair, Norn of the Future and the Norse goddess of Technology, and her prime Servitor, Megumi Morisato. It's far from a normal motorcycle, as is apparent a few paragraphs later.
that funny little spin-in-place-and-pop thing that
wizards do when they "apparate"
A detail which is frequently forgotten in Potter fan fiction, and almost entirely ignored in the movies in favor of their "turn-to-smoke-and-zip-about" effect (named "fumation" by another fanfic author, I forget whom) — apparition requires a kind of half-turn in place as part of the process. Why is never explained, but given the phenomenon of splinching, I theorize that they're not turning in place so much as briefly rotating out of one of the normal spatial dimensions and through another in a kind of naked hyperspace jump — and if you mess it up, whatever momentary hole you're slipping through closes too early and part of you gets cut off.
I suppressed an urge to start singing the "Dennis Moore" song
"Dennis Moore" was a hybrid Robin Hood/Scarlet Pimpernel parody from the Monty Python's Flying Circus episode of the same name (#37, which aired 4 January 1973). The titular highwayman is obsessed with stealing a kind of flower called a "lupin" from the rich people whom he accosts. (At least at first.)
There are several verses of the song in question sung during the course of the episode. Doug is no doubt thinking of the first:
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Galloping through the sward
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
And his horse Concorde
He steals from the rich
And gives to the poor
Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore
"Clip joint" is a somewhat antique term for a business that overcharges or otherwise cheats its customers.
he led me into a sitting room.
Okay, okay, there's no (known) sitting room on the ground floor of 12 Grimmauld. But the obvious alternative — the drawing room on the next floor up — is not yet usable. In the original timeline, it would be at least another three or four days before Mad-Eye Moody and Remus Lupin arrive, Moody identifies the contents of the writing desk as a boggart, and Remus gets rid of the creature. And while a lower-order consequence of Doug's presence in this world results in Remus' arrival at 12 Grimmauld Place several days earlier than in canon, Molly still won't do anything about the writing desk until Moody shows up, and will not allow the room to be used until it's been dealt with.
Also, frankly, the front hall and the dining room aren't really enough to fill up all the square footage that the descriptions of the upper floors imply has to be there. There must be more rooms there than the two we know of. A sitting room on that level is a perfectly reasonable assumption.
Then I proceeded to noogie him
For those readers who may be unfamiliar with the verb "to noogie", the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as "the act of rubbing one's knuckles on a person's head so as to produce a mildly painful sensation." It's the kind of thing teenagers might do to each other in playful social dominance games, which gives you a bit of insight into both Doug and Charlie's emotional maturity.
Mutt and Jeff
A reference to a comic strip of the same name which ran from 1907 to 1982. The title characters were a tall, lanky fellow (Mutt) and short stocky guy (Jeff).
Pink Floyd joke
I won't assume that all of my readers know Doug is referencing "Another Brick in the Wall" and "Another Brick in the Wall, Part Two" from The Wall here.
Aren't Vila some kind of Slavic nymph?
Why yes, yes they are. Which explains why the Bulgarian team's cheerleaders at the World Cup in Goblet of Fire were Veela. (The French Veela must have emigrated at some point, as they don't have any counterparts in Gallic folklore that I know of.)
Oh, and until someone actually shows him how it's spelled in Wizarding Britain, Doug will use "vila" instead of "veela" to reflect that his information sources are academic/anthropological instead of J.K. Rowling. <grin>
And no, Doug will not be making any "Bob Veela" jokes and suggesting that Fleur rebuild This Old House.
"Eet is very strange zat you were not affected, m'sieu Doug."
This time it was not just his field which was protecting him, but another V&V2.1 mechanic as well — having an intelligence greater than your attacker's when they're using mind or emotion control on you is a major defense against the attack. I believe it's supposed to represent a greater willpower, even though there's already a power called "Willpower" in the system. (Either that or you're smart enough to detect discrepancies between what you know you'd really be thinking/feeling and what the attacker wants you to.) Anyway, while Fleur is obviously very bright, she's not in Doug's league; hell, with his ~300 IQ, there are few people Doug isn't smarter than. (Wiser, of course, is a very different story.)
For my American readers, this is yet another British spelling. In fact, "carburetor" has three equally acceptable spellings in the UK: "carburator", "carburettor", and "carburetter".
"Not even the trace magic that we'd expect it to have from simply
being in the possession of a wizard," Fred added slyly. "Not
even *background* magic."
Skuld being Skuld, it never occurred to her that the bike giving off insufficient magic could be as much of an attention-getter as giving off too much magic.
It never occurred to Doug, either.
This is an Anglicized form of "agilli mullim", which (allowing for the removal or alteration of a couple letters not in the standard Roman character set) is an Azerbaijani phrase meaning "Clever Teacher". Google Translate is a wonderful thing.
Metien la Unuabato
This may look vaguely Italian, but it's actually "meti en la unua bato", which is Esperanto for "Get in the first blow". Did I mention that Google Translate is a wonderful thing?
"Defensive Magical Theory" by someone with the
amusing name of Wilbert Slinkhard
This is the textbook that Dolores Umbridge required as Defense professor in canon, at least for the fifth-year class, and if anything Doug is mild in his description of its contents. Having an entire stock of them remaindered before school even starts is one of my little revenges upon Umbridge.
Benjamin Hoddypeak's "Practical Defensive
Magic and Its Use Against the Dark Arts"
The title of this book is canon — Harry receives a copy of it as a Christmas present from Sirius and Remus in Order of the Phoenix. Given Sirius' all-but-imprisonment in 12 Grimmauld Place, it's pretty obvious that Remus is the one who actually went out and purchased it. Being a bit more scholarly than Sirius, Remus probably picked it out as well, so it makes sense that he would also recommend it to Doug.
Rowling doesn't give an author for it, so I've provided one of my own creation. "Hoddypeak" is an old, forgotten word for a fool or simpleton; this is really a disservice to the author given that Remus clearly thinks well of the book, but I liked the sound of the word too much.
Just as a thought, it's entirely possible that, depending on how quickly F&B's stock turns over, Doug may have bought the very copy that Harry would have otherwise received as a gift four months later...
From there we proceeded more or less at random,
All the shops described in this passage are canonical. The pushcart vendors, less so. (And I valiantly resisted the urge to have one say his prices were "cuttin' me own throat".)
Maple, with a hair from the tail of an Abraxan.
Yes, I'm aware that Rowling has stated that Ollivander only uses phoenix feathers, dragon heart strings, and unicorn tail hairs in crafting wands. However, this entire sequence is a deliberate parody of the bog-standard wand-purchase scene found in just about every Harry Potter self-insert and alternate-Harry story, right down to Ollivander muttering about crafting a unique wand to suit the customer who can't find a good match among his existing stock. Such scenes usually include a wide variety of wands already made from woods and cores that the canon Ollivander does not use.
I took it from him and immediately felt a strong dislike. Not
mine, from the *wand*.
As far as I know, there's never before been an HP fic where wands — all wands — hated the wizard in question...
"Good *day*, sir!"
Think Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka at the end of the scene where he tells Charlie that he gets nothing.
And not just when they're pissed?
Another example of the difference between American and British English. "Pissed" in the USA means "angry". In England, it means "drunk".
there were mages and archmages who looked down on
me as having the magical equivalent of Tourette Syndrome.
If you don't know what Tourette Syndrome is, check out this article at Wikipedia.
(Usually the same ones who got mil-spec migraines around me.)
As mentioned a decade or more ago, waaaaaay back when I wrote Drunkard's Walk II.
"It's the latest model of the gag wands we're making for the
joke shop we'll be opening after we get out of Hogwarts,"
Fake wands that turn into rubber chickens can be seen as one of the products sold at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, although other versions appear as early as Goblet of Fire.
"Balsa wood," one said, imitating Ollivander's monotone almost
exactly. "Eleven inches, brittle..."
"...with an ear-hair from a house-elf for the core," concluded the other.
And this is the back end of the "SI with the unique wand" parody. Instead of an outrageously rare wood and a core from some mythological beast even wizards don't believe in, Doug gets an el-cheapo joke wand made from flimsy wood and Kreacher's ear-hair. And it just barely functions for him — no phenomenal cosmic power with a simple wave here. When he leaves this timeline, it's going to be nothing more than a souvenir, because his usual way of tapping his magic is still more effective.
At least the Wizarding World had comic books
We know of at least one canon Wizarding comic book — The Adventures of Martin Miggs, The Mad Muggle, which Ron was a fan of at least up through his first year.
Oh, and in one of those oddball references that Rowling threw into the series — like cockroach clusters from Monty Python — "Martin Miggs" is a shout-out to Martin Riggs of the Lethal Weapon movies, played by Mel Gibson.
caught a glimpse of a badly-dubbed Japanese movie that Dudley had
watched one Sunday afternoon. An Oriental man in strange black
armor had used a sword just like the one in the Professor's hands
to cut down dozens of enemies in seconds.
No, I didn't have any specific film in mind, although the kind of scene described here can frequently be found in the various Zatoichi movies — among many others.
a classic fry-up -- toast, scrambled eggs, sausage,
bacon, grilled tomato slices, mushrooms and potato cakes.
Although meals like this are now usually limited to weekends due to the time needed to prepare everything, this is a fairly typical example of what used to be the ISO Standard British Breakfast. About the only thing not present here is "bubble and squeak", a fried mix of leftover vegetables from the previous dinner. Between magic to make things easier and the Wizarding world being at least a century behind the the Muggle world, it's reasonable to assume it's still the usual breakfast for wizards.
Oh, and "fry-up" is one of the most common names for this style of breakfast, as most everything served is fried. Like the potato cakes, which are patties of leftover mashed potatoes cooked golden brown — sort of like potato pancakes, but with a finer texture.
From the odd hue of the paper in the kitchen's low light
I thought it might be the "Financial Times",
The Financial Times is a London-based business newspaper which is distributed internationally. It is rather unusual in that it has been printed on salmon-pink paper since 1893; in the right light, it can look like the yellowish paper (parchment?) on which the Prophet is printed in the movies.
I know this because I worked for a division of the Financial Times as one of my first jobs out of college, and saw more issues of the paper under more lighting conditions than I care to recall at this time.
(I'd need to look into this Beedle and see if there
were more of his works about)
Beedle the Bard, of course, whose one slim volume of collected tales is so important in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The only thing I did buy was a wand holster that strapped to my
Wand holsters are everywhere to be seen in HP fanfic, but I cannot honestly say I remember seeing anyone using them in canon. Still, it's the kind of thing Doug would have custom made if they didn't already exist, and it does make sense that they would exist. Certainly some of Moody's exhortations to Harry make a bit more sense if wand holsters are available.
At least I'm not getting bogged down in describing all the charms and stuff that could be on the damned thing, like protection from summoning, disillusionment to hide it, and so on, that appear in so many other fics. It's just a narrow tube of stiff leather, on a pair of straps with buckles. Nothing more.
Frick and Frack
I originally used this expression here because, well, my mother used to use it to refer to any pair of people with whom she was not all that impressed. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Frick and Frack had been real people — a pair of comedic ice skaters who had been so popular and well-known during the middle of the 20th Century that their stage names became part of American slang.
still lurking about
Daffy Duck used this phrase in at least two different Warner Brothers cartoons, but the one I was specifically thinking of when I wrote this was Rabbit Seasoning, from 1952 — one of the famous "Hunter Trilogy". Bugs and Daffy are fleeing Elmer and dive into a hole. When Bugs suggests that Daffy take a look to see if Elmer is around, Daffy pokes his head up, takes a shotgun blast off-screen, then sinks back into frame, smoking and somewhat messed up, to drunkenly assure Bugs that Elmer is "still lurking about".
Mary Poppins, Phoebe Figalilly, and Nanny McPhee
I'm sure everyone knows who Mary Poppins is. Phoebe Figalilly is the titular Nanny from the early-1970s American TV show Nanny and the Professor (played by Juliet Mills), and while she wasn't as given to random acts of telekinesis as Mary Poppins, was no less magical. Or maybe psychic. That was part of the charm of the show, you couldn't be sure. Nanny McPhee is the title character of several films starring Emma Thompson, and there's no doubt that she's magical, and possibly an agent of the British government, to boot.
Without perky songs written by the Sherman Brothers.
From 1958 to the late 1980s, Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman wrote virtually every song ever performed in a Disney movie, TV show or theme park ride, including everything in Mary Poppins, plus a whole lot more. Naturally, there's a Wikipedia article on them if you're interested.
A uniquely British variety of scavenger, who make their living by picking through other people's trash for bits of stuff they can sell to various merchants — rags to paper-makers, bones to any of a variety of outlets, metal to foundries, discarded appliances and the like to second-hand shops, and so on. They were a very prominent part of 19th- and early 20th-Century London. They had all but vanished by 1980, but have started to reappear in recent years, to take advantage of the recycling market.
The 1960s British television show Steptoe and Son (Americanized a few years later into Sanford and Son) depicted an almost folklorically definitive rag-and-bone man and his business.
one over-achieving genius, one slacker, one borderline
underachiever, one normal student, and the twins
On the off chance that someone actually might need a key to that list, they are, in order: Hermione, Ron, Harry, Ginny, and the twins (of course).
being roughly at 57ºN and 5.5ºW, Hogwarts was only about 700
kilometers from London as the crow flies
These coordinates are actually a tip of the hat to fanfic author Calum "Doghead Thirteen" Wallace, who is the creator of some truly entertaining Harry Potter stories, most of which are doomed to remain annoyingly unfinished. In his fic Enter The Dragon, he positions Hogwarts (and thus Hogsmeade) ten or fifteen miles inland from the coastal Scottish town of Mallaig, in the far, far north of Scotland. The coordinates Doug gives here denote a point near the easternmost end of Loch Nevis, about a dozen miles (19km) from Mallaig.
700 kilometers is about 435 miles, for my readers who use Imperial. This figure comes from a website which uses the Google Maps API to calculate straight-line distances between any two arbitrary points. Google Maps' Directions feature, which I tried first, gave me the much higher distance of 885km (550 miles) as the shortest possible driving route between London and Mallaig. However, the route as displayed was very far from a straight line. Switching to Google Maps' Public Transportation option produced a train route that was somewhat closer to a straight line, but not by very much. And besides, both sets of figures were off by at least another 16km/10 miles because they were, after all, to Mallaig, and not to the inland end of Loch Nevis.
By the way, if you want a laugh, choose the walking route between London and Mallaig and see what Google recommends.
Oh, and before I forget — definitely go and read Calum's stories. It's very much worth your time, and most of them will make you laugh out loud. In particular, I recommend Enter the Dragon and The Book of Dobby Reboot, but they're all good.
Update, 9 October 2012: I've just discovered there is a very good reason for Calum to have chosen Mallaig. According to Wikipedia, its railway was used as a shooting location for the Harry Potter movies, and the Hogwarts Express was a common sight during the summers when the films were in production. I'm sure this was intended as subtle little joke on Calum's part.
"Weeeeelllll, good-bye!" I announced, wishing I'd had the
foresight to set up "California, Here I Come" to play in the
A reference to a moment in the 1946 cartoon Hair-Raising Hare during which Bugs is attempting to leave the castle of a mad scientist while the background music launches into "California, Here I Come". The rest of the quotation — "And don't think it hasn't been a little slice of heaven — because it hasn't!" — is clearly inappropriate here, so Doug doesn't use it.
Even if Harry had never heard
anything like that one piece with the drums, the chimes and the
string quartet in *either* world.
Well, that's because Harry's not into music from the soundtracks of anime made in the early 21st Century. The piece in question is "Yamiyo no Prologue" by Yuki Kajiura, from the Mai-HiME soundtrack. Even though it's a nice piece of music, it might well sound rather alien to someone from 1995 who has had no exposure to Japanese culture.
As to how Doug got his hands on this piece, well, ask me no questions and I'll tell you no hastily-fabricated justifications for things I did just for the hell of it.
kept finding himself wondering how Professor Sangnoir compared to
Dumbledore and Voldemort -- both of whom still relied on the
wands they'd had since they were first-years.
Remember that this is well before Harry ever learns of even the myth of the Elder Wand, let alone that Dumbledore possesses and uses it.
"Woolfell's First Principle of Universal Magic"
"The level of magic in the environment is a constant across the entire planet." In terms of the magiphysics that I've used throughout the Walk, this means the Harry Potter world is like Warriors' World in that it runs only on ambient mana, rather than the ambient/line/node system. However, it's got a higher level of background magic than Warriors' World does.
Not having access to other versions of Earth, or even other planets, the researchers of the Wizarding World somewhat reasonably assume (in the absence of evidence to the contrary) that the level of magic is a universal constant, where in fact it is a local condition. "Local" meaning, in this case, their particular Earth. In a case of surprising modesty for a British Wizard, this was not stated as an absolute natural law, but as a "principle", which allows for some wiggle room if it turns out that Woolfell was wrong about a detail or two.
I originally created this principle for Hermione to cite in an abandoned scene where we got to see the discussion that Harry's recalling here. It was — and will still be, just in a different place — one of the first clues the Potter gang will have about Doug's origins, once Hermione manages to shatter a pre-conception or two...
A few moments later I heard claws on stone, and a cat appeared
from the far end of the hall
Yes, I know that cats have retractable claws and wouldn't normally make any noise. But as cats age, sometimes the retractability of their claws lessens, either because they grow too thick or because of neurological damage. So it's not uncommon for older cats to click when they walk on hard surfaces. And Mrs. Norris is no spring kneazle.
This isn't Professor McGonagall, you damned fool. This is
I suppose since most Harry Potter fics focus on people familiar with Hogwarts and not complete strangers there's rarely an opportunity to write about something like this, but still, I may well be the first fan author to have a character confuse Mrs. Norris for McGonagall's animagus form.
"'What an eccentric performance'," I quoted to myself
A line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail; King Arthur says it about the growly, over-the-top Tim the Enchanter when they first meet.
I suppressed the urge to
give him a Benny Hill-style salute
The late, great British comedian Benny Hill is probably better known to some Americans as the Toymaker in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but his TV show from the 1960s through the 1980s has had enough airplay in the United States that I trust many more actually know him for his straight comedy, which was often of a raunchy-yet-innocent music-hall style.
The "salute" Doug mentions here was a trademark of one of his characters, Fred Scuttle, a rather dim-witted bellboy. The Wikipedia page for Hill has very good photo of Hill in character doing the salute.
Madame Tussaud's wax museum in New York City has a great sculpture of Hill as Scuttle doing the salute, which I couldn't help but think of as I wrote that scene.
"Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Red. Beautiful plumage!"
The Norwegian Blue — a parrot allegedly native to the tropical reaches of Scandinavia — is the titular subject of Monty Python's infamous Dead Parrot Sketch, also known as the "Pet Shop Sketch".
The phoenix wasn't named "Fox", but "Fawkes". As in "Guy
You know, this is one of Rowling's jokes that I wonder if many Americans even realize is a joke. The reference is to the historical figure Guy Fawkes, who is burned in effigy in England every November 5th.
lead on, MacDuff
Yes, yes, the proper quote is "Lay on, MacDuff". But as I've noted elsewhere, the misquote has become a quote in its own right over the years.
Colloquial Yiddish for "nothing". Although that's probably obvious from the context for those who've never heard or seen the word before.
of Maggie and myself kissing against the skyline of MegaTokyo
that Lisa took
In Drunkard's Walk II.
the autographed shot of
Sana in concert, completely pimped out in her idol-wear
Sana Kurata, from Drunkard's Walk III.
the group picture of me with Buckaroo and the Cavaliers in
front of their tour bus
The Hong Kong Cavaliers in Drunkard's Walk IV.
the photo I'd taken of the entire gang from the temple at
the dinner table, complete with Skuld giving me a giggly red-eye
Drunkard's Walk V.
the picture Misato had taken of me leading Rei, Asuka and Shinji
through a kata in the dojo
Drunkard's Walk VI. Are you seeing a pattern yet?
Utena and Anthy's wedding portrait
Drunkard's Walk VII.
And then there was the photograph I *didn't* recognize.
These are (most of) the Sailor Senshi from Sailor Moon, and from Drunkard's Walk S: Heart of Steel.
And yes, this means the "unspecified point between Steps VI and X" is between DW7 and DW8.
a very pretty Eurasian-looking girl
A few fan authors I've read have speculated that Makoto is part American, to account for her height and figure. I actually haven't made a decision one way or the other for the purposes of DW-S, but until then consider this a bit of a shout-out. And if I choose not to make it the case, well, I've seen fully-Japanese girls whose facial features were almost anglo for whatever genetic reason; Makoto could simply be like them.
The obvious conclusion was that someone had messed with my
One Usagi Tsukino, which is no spoiler if you know anything about the end of the first season of Sailor Moon.
that finish would have
earned me a 10.0 from anyone but the Russian judge.
A reference to the Olympics and other international sporting events during the Cold War era. The legendary bias of the judges from the Iron Curtain nations was such a running gag that it's still seen today, devoid of its original context, in any comic situation where four judges give 10.0s and a fifth gives something like a 4.4.
McCosh Hall back at Princeton
This century-old building at Princeton University is home to several large lecture halls and numerous faculty offices. It's been the home of the English Department for decades, and back before the advent of the VCR one of its lecture halls, McCosh 10, was the home of more-or-less constant weekend movie screenings. Which is probably how Doug was familiar with it, as he certainly had nothing to do with the department after placing out of Freshman English.
"Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank," she
said brightly and briskly.
In the 1.0 version of this chapter, I had placed Hagrid here. I had forgotten that at this point in Order of the Phoenix Hagrid was actually somewhere in Europe with Madame Maxime of Beauxbatons, attempting diplomacy with the giants. Somehow not only I but all my pre-readers missed this continuity gaffe before I released the chapter. One caught it afterward, though, and I have corrected accordingly. Fortunately, I hadn't written so far ahead at this point that I needed to make more drastic cuts, and the material I removed has been relocated to chapter six, wherein Doug will now first meet Hagrid when he returns from his mission.
"Bathsheda Babbling," Dumbledore said.
Yes, "Bathsheda" with a "d", not "Bathsheba" as in the Biblical reference. That's the way Rowling spells it in the one place this professor's name appears, a secondary document called "More idle jottings (Page 1)". (The linked image was once hidden on her official site, only visible as an easter egg after you went through a series of complicated steps.)
Babbling's physical appearance here reflects a movie still on the page for her at one of the various Potter fan wikis. I never did confirm that the character depicted in the photo is really supposed to be her, but I went with her look anyway.
"Arithmancy," she said in precise, cultured tones. "I see to it
that those students with the interest and aptitude have a proper
grounding in the mathematical foundation of all modern magic."
This is, admittedly, fanon. Rowling never explained just what Arithmancy was all about. The "-mancy" suffix normally denotes a system or style of divination — like cartomancy (Tarot-reading), oneiromancy (dream interpretation), and the original meaning of necromancy (which was the practice of interrogating the spirits of the dead for information not available to the living). "Arithmancy" would thus seem to be just a synonym for "numerology". However, if Arithmancy were merely a form of divination, it presumably would be taught under the auspices of Sybill Trelawney. The fact that it isn't, has its own professor and "department", and is apparently a hellishly difficult course if Vector's reputation for vast amounts of homework is to be trusted, suggests something quite a bit more rigorous and intellectually challenging than Divination (which is clearly what we called a "gut" course back in college — one that takes nearly no effort to pass). This doesn't even take into consideration the fact that Hermione dedicates a great deal of effort to mastering the subject and does not dismiss it as worthless the way she does Divination. The common fanon supposition that Arithmancy is Wizarding higher math and applies to magic the way regular higher math applies to mundane physics does seem to make a substantial amount of sense.
Having to do with the city of Manchester, in northwest England. Sinistra is one of those characters in the Potter books who is so thoroughly in the background that even the fact that she's black was unknown for many years. She certainly doesn't get any dialogue from which to determine an accent and an origin — my assignment of Manchester as her home here is simply because I wanted a relatively distinct urban accent for her that was at least middle class if not higher.
Naturally, Wikipedia has an article on the Mancunian accent, if you're interested.
The term my serious neo-Pagan friends use for people who are not into the religion so much as they are into its trappings — the kind of people who keep the average occult store in business in between the real practitioners. They ignore or are totally oblivious to any religious or anthropological background to modern neo-Paganism, and are the natural prey of every shyster with a line about the "psychic vibrations" of crystals or "healing magnetic properties" of copper bracelets. Also known as "woo-woo witches".
"Death knows you of old, and holds you lovingly in her
I have seen it claimed at several different sites on the Web that regardless of the common perception of her as a fraud, virtually every "prediction" Trelawney makes — in a prophetic trance or not — actually comes true, although not always in a way that is obvious at first. In reviewing the books mentally, I can't say I can think of a real counterexample. In the spirit of these assertions, I offer this observation by Trelawney, which sounds like just so much random BS of the type so favored by fortune-tellers and con artists — but which is, in its own way, quite literally true.
the Great Stone Face
Among other references, this phrase is the nickname for the great star of silent comedy films, Buster Keaton. Keaton was known for his perfectly deadpan expression throughout everything that happened to him. Its application to Snape is deliberate irony on Doug's part.
I swear he said that word with such a pronounced Capital Letter
that I half-expected to hear the people of Anatevka sing it along
A reference to the opening number of Fiddler on the Roof, entitled "Tradition", which is sung by lead character/narrator Tevye and the villagers of Anatevka.
member at Hogwarts must have at least a nominal House
To be honest, there's no suggestion anywhere in Rowling that this is actually the case. There's not even any proof that the Heads of the Houses needed to have been originally sorted into the Houses that they oversee. However, what's a Potter fic without a good Sorting or two? <grin>
I came across the idea that the staff members need a house affiliation in the long-abandoned fic Hellblazer Hogwarts by "Camwyn"; in that story, the new Defense professor needing Sorting is a dimensionally-displaced John Constantine. Although nowhere near finished, it's still a fun read and definitely worth a look.
The apocryphal Fifth House at Hogwarts, reserved for Mary Sues and over-the-top author avatars, first seen in this fan comic. House Sparklypoo has become something of a tongue-in-cheek meme among a large segment of Harry Potter fandom, as a Google search on the phrase will attest.
I just couldn't resist assigning Doug to Sparklypoo, even if it was for just a moment. <grin>
Oh, and the Sorting Hat "just kidding" about a House assignment is a bit of business that's popped up a couple of times in other Potter fics as of early 2012. I'm certainly not the first to use it.
Doug's assignment to Hufflepuff was made on the basis of a vote I held in my forums a couple years before this chapter ever started taking shape. I presented the scene with the Hat all the way up to the point where in the final version it shouts "Sparklypoo!", and asked the forum readers to decide where Doug went.
After public discussion and debate, Hufflepuff won by a rather large margin. I adjusted certain details of my plot accordingly.
Quarterly, different tinctures,
an animal in each, one of which could have been a badger.
This is a fragment of a heraldic blazon for the crest of Hogwarts, nowhere near complete. "Quarterly" means the shield is divided into four quarters with vertical/horizontal divisions. A "tincture" is one of the basic heraldic colors (although Doug is playing loose with the term here, as two of the quarters on the shield are actually a different kind of heraldic color called a "metal").
As to why Doug knows some Heraldic language, well, it was something he read as a teenager and never completely forgot.
He had returned to his seat behind the desk and looked positively
regal -- the aging King Arthur on his throne, almost.
This is a tip of the hat to the late Richard Harris, who played Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter movies. One of Harris' most famous roles was that of King Arthur in Camelot.
The system is something called a magical tradition. (Or a school
of magic, or a style, or any of a dozen similar terms.)
Although "dozen" was supposed to be slight hyperbole on Doug's part, I was challenged by a prereader to come up with all fifteen terms. Let's see if I can actually do it:
System. Tradition. School. Style. Art. Path. Way. College. Order. Circle.
While this is only ten terms, that's just in English, which strictly speaking I didn't limit myself to. If we want to add Japanese, there would be Jutsu ("Art") and Do ("Way"). Chinese could provide us with Dao/Tao (also "Way"); yes, this is the name of an entire philosophical system (Taoism), but it is also the basis for a couple varieties of Chinese magic.
I'll stop there with those thirteen, which technically fulfills the challenge. It'd be too easy to just find translations for "school" and "way" alone in every language I could think of. I did want to include jutsu regardless, mainly for the Naruto fans who'd (correctly) cite its ninja hand seals as a distinct style of magic.
Which turned out to be the missing chunk of the Grand Unified
Theory that made the whole thing work
As a certain high-energy physicist from MegaTokyo noted in a message she left behind when she left that universe, back at the end of Drunkard's Walk II.
after I told him not to call me "Shirley",
Once more this Airplane! reference shows up in a Step.
'The Emergency Powers Act of 1939'?" he asked.
I can't remember the title or author, but a fic I read recently (which means "early 2012" as I write this) suggested that Umbridge's "High Inquisitor" position was a relic of a World War II-era special powers act, an office established to find enemy agents among the population, which was twisted into what we saw in Order of the Phoenix to serve Fudge and Umbridge's political ends. I liked the concept as it made Umbridge's apparently effortless takeover of Hogwarts seem a bit more more plausible, but I didn't like how it had been implemented in that story (at least in part because it was brought up at the very end with no earlier hints or lead-up). Anyway, this is the beginning of my take on the idea.
School Days, School Days, Dear Old Golden Rule Days
You know, I bet I have to footnote these lyrics. When I was a kid, lo these many decades ago, this song — or at least the first four lines of its chorus — was still in the pop culture reference pool, if only because of its presence as background music in the occasional Warner Brothers cartoon. But you know, I don't even hear it on "back to school" commercials any more. I'm betting it's been completely forgotten.
appropriate greetings I made another overture of alliance to him.
Many of Draco's early encounters with Harry and the others on the inbound Express can be viewed as rather strange, twisted attempts to establish a friendship with him, attempts that could only be seen as even possibly appropriate by someone without a shred of empathy who was used to getting what he wanted simply by demanding it. It's pretty obvious that Draco's entire school career as Harry's nemesis came about simply because Harry rejected Draco's rather bigoted and arrogant demand for friendship in Philosopher's Stone.
Now whether Draco realizes this about himself is an interesting question. Just as good a question is whether, in this passage, Draco is lying to his father or to himself (or both) about what happened on the Express.
For those readers who aren't also anime fans, "kohai" and "sempai" can, in this context, be roughly translated as "underclassman" and "upperclassman", but have strong overtones of "mentored" and "mentor"; another translation for "sempai" would be "senior". (And at least a couple anime use "junior" as the English for "kohai".) The theoretical ideal sempai (at least in a school situation; the terms also cover work and other relationships) takes his kohai under his wing, acting as both friend and tutor and helping the kohai find where he fits into the school both socially and academically.
(with each group being a fire team and each year
being a squad)
And the mentors being the corporals and sergeants. In case you're not into military organization and didn't bother to check Wikipedia, depending on the military a fire team is usually 3 men (plus a corporal), with 3 to 5 fire teams in a squad.
His Millinery Majesty, the Sorting Hat
"Millinery" is a word you don't see much any more, except in deliberately retro settings. It means "the designing and manufacture of hats".
two score or so eleven-year-olds
A "score", in case you're unfamiliar with the term as used here, is 20. It's very much an antiquated expression — it was old-fashioned when Abraham Lincoln started the Gettysburg Address with "Four score and seven years ago". Which he did for the Biblical resonances; the King James Version of the Bible is filled with many, many usages of the term, of which perhaps the most well known is found in Psalm 90:10:
The days of our years [are] threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength [they be] fourscore years, yet [is] their strength labour and sorrow ...
So why does Doug use it? Damned if I know. That's how what he said came out when I wrote it, and I don't argue about such things with my creative impulse.
Quite a contrast to the Minerva I'd gotten to know
in the weeks before school started
We don't ever really see McGonagall "off duty" in the books, because we almost always see her dealing with students, through the eyes of students. (And the few times we don't, it's usually at a distance.) I like to think that when she doesn't have to wear her "teacher face", she's a lot like the few Scots I've had the pleasure to meet in my life. Which is to say, in general terms, rather fun.
Oh, know the perils, read the signs,
In case you didn't rush right off to your copy of Order of the Phoenix to check, this snippet is the actual ending of that year's Sorting song as written by Rowling, with just a few lines of my own inserted.
"Tunes of Madness"
After all, "Looney Tunes" does literally mean "insane music"...
By the way, Kyoki no Kyoku is, if I recall correctly, the name/translation the real-world Japanese use for the Warner cartoons.
The other being that Hexe didn't want her
brand-new loose cannon that far out of her sight.
And to be absolutely honest, the only reason Doug was allowed into the Warriors in the first place was to keep him off the street and put him somewhere they could watch him 24/7. That he actually turned out to be a valuable member afterward was an unexpected bonus.
the Martinez triplets
Only two of the incoming first-year students are actually named in Order of the Phoenix: Euan Abercrombie and Rose Zeller, who get mentions during the Sorting solely because they are the first and last to get called. Anyone else from the Class of 2002 is going to be my invention. Like the Martinez triplets, Marcia Talbot and Peter Walther. That is, unless I can find more canon names for 1996's firsties.
"Give me their minds when they are young..."
I know this is a quotation or a paraphrase from something, but the only thing that comes up on a Google search is a single Marine Corps-themed website. <sigh>.
Update, 17 February 2014: The brilliant minds in my forums idly informed me within minutes of publication of the source I could not find. It's an old Jesuit motto commonly attributed to St. Francis Xavier or St. Ignatius Loyola, quoted variously as "Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man" and "Give us the child until the age of seven and we will answer for the man."
a priggish swot
"Swot" is the British slang term for a nerd or a grind, a person who lives to study and does nothing else.
To quote Arte Johnson, "Veeeery eeeenteresting."
Specifically, his "German soldier" character from Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.
the Stephen Wright joke
"Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died." (And variations thereon.)
His body got vaped
Vaporized, in case it wasn't obvious.
Jesus, Spartacus and Shockwave
Shockwave is a former Warrior, the single most powerful player character in the nearly three-decade history of the campaign. Although he was never explicitly intended as an analogue, it would not be too far off the mark to call him Warriors' World's equivalent to Superman.
"Riiiiiiight. What's a cubit?"
Once again, from Bill Cosby's brilliant "Noah" routine. In this stand-up dialogue, Cosby portrays Noah as just a little skeptical about this deep voice coming out of nowhere and telling him to do all kinds of strange things. Like build an ark.
the "wonderful, awful idea" sequence from "How The Grinch Stole Christmas"
his godfather's favorite joke
You've not been reading enough Potter fanfiction if you don't know that fanon Sirius Black gets a lot of mileage out of "Sirius/serious" puns. (Canon considerably less so.)
Had either of them known any spells for ensuring that they
would not be overheard, they would have been cast.
Despite the abundance of "privacy charms" in fanfic, the only such spell to be found in canon is the Muffliato, which Harry discovers in the Half-Blood Prince's potions text, and which Hermione refuses to use for months afterward — and that's more than a year in the future from this point. The Silencio spell — learned in fifth year — is occasionally misused in fanfic as a "privacy" spell, but really all it does is keep its target from making any noise. I suppose it could be used as a privacy spell — by making it impossible for the participants in a conversation to talk!
Natalie McDonald, second-year Gryffindor
Natalie McDonald was a terminally-ill Canadian girl who wrote J.K. Rowling in 1999 to ask what was going to happen to the main characters of the books, because she knew she wasn't going to live long enough even to read Goblet of Fire. She died the day before Rowling's reply (revealing all) reached her, and Rowling wrote her into Goblet of Fire as a tribute: in chapter twelve, Nearly-Headless Nick applauds her Sorting into Gryffindor. I discovered this while researching something else entirely for the chapter, and decided (when I needed a generic younger student in this scene) that I would continue the tribute in my own way. As I write this gloss, I have no further specific plans for her, but if for some reason I need a random young Gryffindor at any future point, it'll probably be her.
balustrade ... balusters
A "balustrade" is the entire railing structure that runs along the edge of a staircase or platform. A "baluster" is one of the spindles or posts that support the rail proper. "Banister", for those who are curious, is a synonym for "baluster", but is commonly misused to mean the rail (as in "sliding down the banister").
my classroom ... was half miniature cathedral, half
The description I give here is a blend of features from both the movies and the books, supplemented by details taken from photos of the Defense classroom at the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" theme park at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The wyvern skeleton is a movie/theme park detail, for instance, while the iron chandelier prominently appears in the books (most famously during the Lockhart pixie incident in Chamber of Secrets).
Come to think of it, I don't think the skeleton is ever explicitly identified as belonging to a wyvern, but since dragons are six-limbed and significantly larger, it seems a likely choice for its origin. Plus Doug isn't necessarily guaranteed to be correct.
I suspected it had come falling down,
Referencing the fall of the Paris Opera's chandelier in many versions of The Phantom of the Opera, of course. And yes, it has, during the aforementioned "Pixie Incident" among other times.
a metric crapload of books
written by a bozo named Lockhart. ... I swear, there seemed to be
a couple of them in every nook and cranny in the room.
If the photos of the theme park's Defense classroom are any indication, it would seem that no one has ever cleared away the excess copies of Lockhart's oeuvre.
Update, 15 February 2016: Not only haven't they cleared them out of the Defense Classroom (which is actually part of the line for "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey", the ride inside Hogwarts), there's an entire window of them still for sale at Flourish and Blott's in Diagon Alley.
like every other Warrior, I had taught the occasional
class at Warriors Academy.
Warriors Academy has a good-sized entry on the Drunkard's Walk FAQ page, but basically, think Xavier's School in miniature.
none of the Hogwarts
students would call me "Uncle Doug" like Nina, Ruth and Gracie
Kat and Dwimanor's daughter and nieces, respectively, all of whom possess early-manifesting metatalents.
Old Marble Head
Which has nothing at all to do with Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Hogwarts had a very simple schedule
Well, in this story it does. The day-to-day class schedule is as subject to uncertainty and contradiction as anything else related to time in the Harry Potter books; some years it seems like there are four class periods per day, and others six. Thanks to a comment in chapter 12 of Order of the Phoenix, we know that single period classes — at least those during Harry's fifth year — are 45 minutes long, with 15 minutes in between them to get from one class to another. Double classes are thus most likely an hour and forty-five minutes long, although some folks trying to map this all out suggest they're actually an hour and a half. However, there already appear to be some classes that run for one-and-a-half periods in Harry's personal schedule in fifth year, so that's unlikely.
Frankly, it's a mess. And it doesn't help that for Harry's fifth year we don't even know his whole schedule for the week.
Anyway, I've gone for an arrangement that maximizes the number of classes Doug can actually teach over the course of the week. And which incidentally maps reasonably well to what we know of the way classes are laid out in the fifth book.
Even then, we have problems. Four Houses times seven years = 28 class periods. Five days times six periods = 30 possible slots for those classes. But at least one of Harry's Defense classes every week is a double-length session, and it seems unlikely that fifth-year Gryffindors are the only ones who have a double Defense. So in order to fit everyone into the schedule I have to have at least some Defense classes shared, like Potions, Flying and Herbology have all canonically been — even though there's no evidence in Order of the Phoenix that this is the case, and in fact there's some evidence against it.
That it also serves some dramatic/plot purposes to do so — not to mention giving Doug some free time during the day — is merely icing on the cake.
and some of his friends fought a woman who could change into a
Ah, the battle against Dragonne — possibly the worst fight the Warriors ever got into before the Vampire Invasion; certainly she was the most formidable single opponent we ever encountered. The fight was so bad that our Superman-equivalent Shockwave exited the combat with less than a dozen hit points left — he'd started with several hundred, and it was rare for him to lose more than twenty or thirty HP in a normal fight.
Obviously it wasn't an inverted Bubble-Head charm which took her out. Actually, Doug used "Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2" by Pink Floyd, which (as has been seen in chapter four of Drunkard's Walk II) produces an impermeable force field with the appearance of white stone blocks; he englobed her head with the field, provided no interior hollow, and waited for her to pass out from lack of oxygen.
By that point in the fight, Doug wasn't too concerned if she suffocated or suffered brain damage from hypoxia, as long as she went down and stayed down.
I wanted to start us off with a little humour
Although Doug is the speaker here, I'm using the British spelling for "humor" because the point-of-view character is British and "hears" it that way. The same also applies to "favour" when Doug upbraids Malfoy later in the scene.
As a wise man once said, 'We come into
this world naked, covered in our own blood, and screaming in
terror -- and it doesn't have to stop there if you know how to
This wise man was comedian Dana Gould.
just as the
brown-haired girl had always been just "Hermione"
She did introduce herself with her full name when Doug and Charlie arrived at 12 Grimmauld Place in Chapter 1, but Doug was distracted and missed it.
I know a hatchet job in the press when I see one. And
the "Prophet" might as well have been handing its stories about
Harry to little Georgie Washington and pointing him at a cherry
Do they even still teach kids the myth about George Washington and the cherry tree in American schools these days? If not, I suppose I'm dating myself (and Doug) with the reference. For those who don't know about it, basically Parson Weems, an early biographer of the first American president, manufactured a story about the young George Washington to show how morally and ethically suited he was to being the "father of his country". As it went, young George received a hatchet as a gift, which he promptly used to cut down a cherry sapling in a fit of boyish enthusiasm for his new toy. When interrogated about the vandalism later, he was supposed to have said, "I cannot tell a lie, I cut down the cherry tree." Which was apparently intended to show the superior qualities which made him suitable to be the first President of the United States. (Truthfulness, not the urge to vandalize fruit trees.) The story was received as Truth and passed down to each new generation as part of the national folklore for a century or more. It was debunked decades ago, but for all I know it's still getting trotted out every February in American schools.
Update, 3 October 2015: To my utter astonishment, I stumbled across an article on a historian's website which lays out evidence that the story of Washington and the cherry tree may well not be a myth but true. Among other things, he demonstrates that there is a plausible connection that would permit Parson Weems to learn what amounted to a Washington family anecdote, and points out that the anecdote as originally recounted by Weems is far more plausible than the myth that grew out of it.
Unfortunately, between the time I first found it and the day I wrote this entry up, the site put the article behind a membership wall. However, membership appears to be free, so if you want to check it out, you can go direct to it here.
"What we're going to cover this term starts with these
points -- you might want to note them down, as they're key
Much of the passage starting here and ending with "Only the irredeemably evil are ever absolutely sure of their actions" comes from some of the first material I ever wrote for this Step, dating back to at least 2004 and maybe earlier. At that time we were still a few books short of the entire series, and I had set the action in what was then Harry's as-yet-unseen fifth year. (That I stayed with fifth year for the final plot after Rowling finished the series was not inertia but a deliberate choice of the best point for Doug to
do the most
damage make the biggest change to the storyline.)
It might interest the reader to learn that Doug was originally very open about his origins in this passage, identifying himself as being from another universe and even going so far to claim that part of his value as an instructor was in his ability to provide training, insights and information that were literally unavailable anywhere else in their timeline. As the plot evolved he got a little more circumspect, although he's still not actively hiding.
'if confronted by a blue-tailed eyebiter, then throw salt
An example inspired by a scene in Mercedes Lackey's novel Oathbreakers, in which a golem-like sorcerous construct is defeated by throwing salt into its eyes to break the spells animating it.
Evil can be banal and routine
A direct reference to the central thesis of Hannah Arendt's famous work about the Holocaust, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.
No, I'm not so old that I remember these because I used them to put my shoes on when I was a kid. But my grandparents were, and I guess for that reason there were always one or two in the junk drawers and toolboxes around the house when I was growing up. For those of you who don't even have that much exposure, just think of a small, blunt hook on the end of a short stick.
Update, 17 February 2014: And one of the folks in my forums points out that buttonhooks are still manufactured in this day and age, as an aid for those with arthritis or other disabilities. They're even surprisingly high-tech in design now.
Ultimate Truth of Magic
It's purely coincidental that this phrase has the same initials as "Unified Theory of Magic". Purely.
the spell designer's equivalent of "Hello World"
For those readers who are not software developers, the code needed to display the phrase "Hello World" on the screen of a computer is the canonical first program used to introduce a novice to a programming language.
with the incantation "lux" instead of the usual "lumos"
"Lux" being the most commonly known Latin noun for "light" — as in the Latin Vulgate's "Fiat lux!" ("Let there be light!").
Somewhat mangled Latin for "eyebiter", in case it wasn't obvious.
To the best of my knowledge, eyebiters (of any tail color) do not exist in the Harry Potter world — or anywhere else, for that matter; it was just a name Doug made up for his example.
Not that that would stop Luna, of course. <grin>
the *Prophet*'s morgue
For those who are unfamiliar with this usage, a newspaper's "morgue" is their archive of back issues, which in long-ago days were collected and bound into massive books. What with the shift to digital, and microfiche and microfilm before that, only the oldest issues of a newspaper these days can still be found in this format. In the Wizarding world, on the other hand...
a rasher of bacon
"Rasher" isn't really a specifically British term, but I'll admit I didn't grow up using it, and until recently I only ever encountered it in British contexts. For those who aren't familiar with it, the British usage means a single piece of bacon (and British bacon can be made from any of several different cuts of pork, unlike American bacon — AKA "streaky bacon" — which is always made from a fatty belly cut). In the United States, if "rasher" is used at all it refers to an entire serving of bacon, i.e., several pieces. Here, Doug is noshing on a single piece, not a whole plate at once.
the Black Widow ... Antonia Zabini
Although the brief mention of her in Half Blood Prince paints Mrs. Zabini as a "black widow" — a serial murderess of her own husbands, for anyone unfamiliar with the term — the truth of this accusation is uncertain. (I've seen claims on the web that Rowling has confirmed it, but have not actually seen that confirmation for myself.) Regardless, it does seem to be the general belief about her in Wizarding society, especially given that each of her late husbands enriched her greatly. Her given name appears nowhere in canon, so as many other fic writers have done before me, I've assigned her one.
"Tiny Sicilian-looking girl, all porcelain skin and
Filius gave me a strange look. "No, the tall brown-skinned boy."
This is my ever-so-brief tribute to all the female Blaises Zabini who appeared in Harry Potter fanfiction prior to the revelation of his true gender and ethnicity in Half Blood Prince. The classic Fem!Blaise is perhaps best exemplified in Draco664's Apprentice Potter and its sequels (which despite their obsolescence in the face of the later books are all still quite good reads, making Master Potter's continued incomplete state all that more annoying).
about as appealing as an Aryan Brotherhood meeting or a
The Aryan Brotherhood is a real-world White Supremacist group. THAMF is an organization that first appeared in my book GURPS International Super Teams; the name is an acronym for "True Humans Against Mutants and Freaks".
persecuting *die magische Juden*
German for "the magical Jews". A not entirely subtle indicator of what Doug thinks of the Pureblood ideology.
Of course I could parse the word's Greek roots
Which are Helios (the Titan of the Sun in Greek mythology) and pathos (suffering, feeling, emotion; from which we get the "path" part of English words like "sympathy", "empathy", "telepathy" and so on).
the voice of Terry Jones floated
through my mind: "And that, my liege, is how we know the earth
to be banana-shaped."
As Sir Bedevere in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Graham Chapman's follow-up
As King Arthur in the same film.
it also sounded
like the name of a horrible cover band that only performed songs
by A Flock of Seagulls and The Cure.
This line courtesy of a post by Ebony the Black Dragon in my forums on 25 February 2014.
the "Weekly World News"
For those of my readers from outside the United States who might not be familiar with this publication, the Weekly World News is a now-defunct tabloid newspaper that was sold mainly at supermarket checkout lines. Its content was ... how do I describe it? UFO sightings, Bigfoot encounters, stories of meetings between the American President and aliens, warnings about escaped human-bat hybrids, stuff like that, all wildly over the top and frequently written with a very obvious tongue in cheek. It really should have been marketed as a weekly weird fiction/satire anthology instead of a newspaper. Its reader base was composed of a) people who read it for its humor value and b) people who believed every word. It is a sad, sad commentary on the state of American intelligence that group B was larger — probably much larger — than group A.
Frankly, comparing The Quibbler to the Weekly World News is an insult to The Quibbler.
It also explained the "Stubby Boardman" comment.
Just in case you're not familiar with the minutiae of Harry Potter, Stubby Boardman is the retired leader of a Wizarding band called "The Hobgoblins". In 1995, The Quibbler claimed that he was, in fact, Sirius Black in disguise.
It was still a few hours until sunset
Sunset on 3 September 1995 in the area in which I've placed Hogwarts being several minutes after 8:00 PM.
Oh, yes, there
was definitely much more to Luna Lovegood than met the eye.
No, she's not a Transformer. <grin>
he (she? it? I *still* didn't know)
Just for the record, Twonky is a female house-elf. But I don't think Doug will ever figure that out.
Hexe, in case it wasn't completely obvious. <grin> Actually, this is one of the more precisely descriptive epithets for Hexe that've appeared in the Walk so far.
Merlin's baggy Y-fronts!
Before anyone gets on my case for the use of non-canon oaths sworn in Merlin's (or his accoutrements') name, this one comes direct from Deathly Hallows (where it's actually "Merlin's most baggy Y-fronts"). Oh, and for those unfamiliar with the terminology, "Y-fronts" is a British term for men's briefs-style underwear.
"Long Distance" only lasted five minutes and 23
seconds, but that was more than enough time for me to bring
Sirius up to date
Especially given that speech is a free action in V&V2.1 — you can talk all you want and never use up any time doing so. <grin>
becoming "several with the universe"
A play on the concept of "becoming one with the universe" — a phrase commonly used around those characters like Marvel's original Captain Marvel who possessed what V&V calls "Cosmic Awareness". If I'm not mistaken, this joke was actually coined by Marvel itself in a 1980s-vintage story involving the Vision.
Susan Fawcett, fourth-year Ravenclaw
A girl with the last name "Fawcett" is a known Ravenclaw who was first seen as part of the "Dueling Club" organized by Gilderoy Lockhart in ''Chamber of Secrets'' and who got zapped by the age line around the Goblet of Fire two years later. Her given name doesn't appear in the books, as best as I can determine, but the Harry Potter Lexicon shows "S" as the initial. (Where they got it is anyone's guess.)
After getting myself out of Dutch with about half a million
In case you can't glark it from context, "get out of Dutch" is an old slang term for "get out of trouble". It's not yet obsolete — you can still find it in use here and there; search Google Books for "out of Dutch" to see a good selection of modern examples.
Canon Hufflepuff first seen when he was Sorted in chapter 12 of Goblet of Fire.
This one's made up — Cullen Keinan is an original character, a third-year Hufflepuff (and Owen's mentor in the sempai-kohai system Doug observed in chapter 3).
and it is an advanced principle which few wizards fully
If you look at "real world" magical systems, Contagion really is considered a basic concept — something you should at least know about from the start, and used in any number of "beginning" magical effects. In Wizarding magic as Rowling has written it, however, the first time we ever see anything that looks like Contagion (or Sympathy, for that matter) is when Hermione breaks out the Protean charm in OoTP, and that's supposed to be a difficult, high-end magic. I have to agree with Doug — Wizarding magic is weird.
Update, 20 November 2015: Forum member DHBirr points out that Polyjuice Potion also clearly works by means of Contagion, and we see that all the way back in Chamber of Secrets. Very good point, but I think my claim is still valid — Polyjuice is supposed to be an incredibly advanced potion, not a beginner recipe. While I'm wrong on the earliest appearance of Contagion in the books, it still remains an advanced principle instead of a fundamental basic.
Venena Gardens, Hulland Ward
To save the more compulsive of you the trip to Google Maps, Hulland Ward is a genuine village/parish in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England. Venena Gardens, though, is not a real address there. (Oh, and "venena" means "poisonous, venomous, toxic, virulent"; it's also Spanish gang slang for a girl allied with a gang who leads guys from other gangs into traps. Good neighborhood for a likely Death Eater, eh?)
places like Blitz and Shogun International and UK Fitness
Which are all real sports supply outfits in London that stock martial arts training equipment. Well, at least as of Summer 2015; I can't vouch that they all existed in 1995.
Russian cap and fascia
This is not the furry hat which is seen in so many photos of Russian men, but a cap made of felt, as seen in the image below. A fascia is a kind of sash worn by certain types of priests.
And who is/was he, really? Rasputin. I'm serious. I have no idea why he adopted the pseudo-French pseudonym and went from a zealot to an asshole. But that's how John played him.
London ... Woolwich ... Duke of Wellington Avenue, in the
Royal Arsenal area
Doug's requested arrival point is intended to put him at most a short walk from Blitz Sport Corp., mentioned above.
the Red Lion
The primary pub in the small town nearest to Warriors Mansion. As mentioned elsewhere, the Warriors are regulars there.
"Soplyak" is the closest you can get with Roman characters to сопляк, which roughly translates to "kid" or "punk".
this is Battersea!
Although it's nowhere near the furthest Doug could get from his destination and still be in London, it's still annoyingly far.
As John has noted on more than one occasion, Skitz's personalities are a bit frustrated at being (over)used as a taxi service by the other Warriors. L'Reaux, at least, will take their collective revenge where and when he can. As John said to me in an email exchange about this scene:
"L'Reaux thinks he could take Looney if he had to, but wouldn't risk getting hurt in the process. But he's definitely the type to hit a guy when he can't hit back. At the same time, he does have loyalty to the team and while he wouldn't have hesitated to dump a few tons of mud and fishes on Looney, he knows that Looney would survive it."
Accuracy International L96A1
The standard sniper rifle of the British Army. If you really need specs, see here.
he dropped by with take-away
"Take-away" being the term used in the UK for what we Americans call "take-out".
"...says he's an ancient immortal responsible for the fall of
Atlantis who's walking the earth and working to redeem himself
Oh, hi there, Mr. Black.
"...he's a chicken, I tell you! A giant chicken!"
Oh, hi there, Chicken Boo.
"As often as the weather permits, that is," he added wryly.
As it so happened, Scotland got a lot of rain during September 1995. And October wasn't much better.
grey or even black PsyOps
"PsyOps" is military abbreviation-speak for "psychological operations" — basically information warfare methods intended to change the opinions and motivations of a target audience. "Grey" and "Black" (along with "White") don't refer to any moral/ethical judgment on their contents, but to how obscured the origin of the disseminated information is:
- "White" PsyOps are official statements by a government or military body. A classic example would be propaganda pamphlets dropped on enemy forces during a war.
- "Grey" PsyOps have their origins obscured, so that they appear to come from a source outside of the government or military. This is done when the impact is judged to be greater if the opinions expressed do not appear to be affiliated with an "official" source. The campaign against Dumbledore and Harry in the Daily Prophet over the course of Order of the Phoenix would be a classic example of grey PsyOps.
- "Black" PsyOps are designed and deployed in such a way as to appear to come from within an enemy or hostile group, and serve to directly lower morale or sow doubt among the foe, among other purposes.
At the very least, whatever Doug comes up with will be "grey", as he's not affiliated with any official body except insofar as he's a Hogwarts employee. A "black" campaign, if he can manage it, would probably be more effective.
"Memoirs of the Late War Against Grindelwald" by Arminius Esterhazy
... "Twenty Years as a Muggle" by Jürgen Eckert ...
"What the Great War of the Muggles Means to You" by Roland Knockbuckle
These book titles (but not any contents I might ascribe to them) come from the story Harry and Luna Against the High Inquisitor by Arpad Hrunta, in case you were curious.
Fudgie the Whale
The origin of this insult for the Minister is a whale-shaped ice cream cake one can buy from the Carvel ice cream store chain in the United States. If you follow that link, you'll find a photo of one.
the piste in fencing
Also called "the strip", this is the long, narrow "field" on which fencers dart forward and back when dueling. The word is French and literally means "trail" or "track". The regulation size for a piste is 14 meters long and between 1.5 and 2 meters wide; the elevated dueling platform seen in the film version of Chamber of Secrets appears to be about the same size.
For my American readers, this is the popular British candy which was turned into "lemon drops" when the Potter books were re-edited for the American audience. This was done because there is no similar product available in the American candy market, and the editors at Scholastic didn't want to confuse the poor children reading. And, yes, "sherbet" (and not "sherbert") is correct. As Wikipedia will gladly inform you, sherbet is a powdered candy that fizzes when it gets wet, whose name ultimately derives from an Arabic word meaning "to drink" and is a cognate to "syrup". Sherbet can be eaten straight to fizz on the tongue, or it can be mixed into water to make a kind of instant soda. A sherbet lemon is a hard candy with fizzy sherbet powder at its center — imagine a citrus-flavored jawbreaker filled with lemon Pop Rocks.
Douglas had a mindscape.
When I posted this passage to my forums as a teaser in March 2014, one reader called me out on the "non-canon" element of a mindscape. As I expect someone in the wider readership of the final version to make the same objection, let me reproduce the gist of my reply to him here:
Canon neither supports nor precludes mindscapes. And it should be clear that Dumbledore does not assume Doug's mindscape is an automatic result or manifestation of Occlumency, in which he already knows that Doug is not trained. Doug's mental defenses are non-magical and have been shaped by the philosophy of his teammate Psyche, who approaches the subject in much the same way as the old Soviet Union approached the border between East and West Berlin.
As for why Doug has a mindscape at all, well, any number of real-world non-magical mental disciplines — some of which have indeed shown up in Potter fanfics as part of Occlumentic practices — involve creating mindscapes to navigate. The one I'm most familiar with is the recall technique called the "Memory Palace", aka "method of loci", which dates back to the ancient Greeks. Doug has dabbled in many of these techniques — they're as much responsible for his "semi-eidetic" memory as his neurological mutations are.
Latin for "point me". <grin>
its mountains and maria
"Maria" as used here is the plural for the Latin word mare ("sea"), the term for the smooth, dark regions of the moon's surface. For more info, see Wikipedia's article Lunar mare. (Which, before anyone asks, has nothing to do with My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Although I wouldn't rule out an intentional pun on the part of the show's staff.)
I am Serenity II, once princess of the Moon Kingdom, and
future queen of Crystal Earth.
AKA Tsukino Usagi, better known (to us at least, if not to Dumbledore) as Sailor Moon.
And what's this "Crystal Earth", you ask? Ah, that would be telling. You'll have to wait until I finish Drunkard's Walk S: Heart of Steel.
Dick's Sporting Goods
A real chain of sporting goods stores, almost 500 strong as of 2015, mostly located in the Eastern United States.
In the words of the immortal Charles de Mar, "I'm no
Charles de Mar is a character from the classic 1985 dark teen comedy film Better Off Dead, written and directed by Savage Steve Holland and starring John Cusack. The line to which Doug is referring is:
"I've been going to this high school for seven and a half years. I'm no dummy."
Loony ... Looney
Important distinction: without an "e" it's Luna, with an "e" it's Doug.
Shirl my girl
A deliberate echo of Bugs Bunny's "Merl ol' Girl" from Knight-mare Hare (mentioned and linked in a gloss for Chapter One above).
a pretty Asian girl
with long hair and a spray of freckles across her nose
Yes, it's Cho Chang, in case you were wondering. The blond boy is an as-yet unnamed original character. As far as I can determine, Rowling never identified the Ravenclaw prefects during Harry's fifth year, so I appointed my own.
if it were even created in this universe it would still be
seven years before it got international recognition
"Talk Like A Pirate Day" originally was a private celebration held annually by a small group of friends starting around 1995; it wasn't until one of them wrote to humorist Dave Barry about it in 2002 that it became the international phenomenon it is today.
mangled faux-Yorkshire dialect by way of Hollywood
Well, that is what the classic movie "pirate" accent is, thanks to Robert Louis Stevenson, whose pirates in Treasure Island mostly originated in Yorkshire before they ended up in the Caribbean.
She seemed personally offended, for some reason.
Well, that's because International Talk Like A Pirate Day, September 19, is also Hermione Granger's canonical birthday, a fact delightfully (and bawdily) celebrated in Tom Smith's song "Hey, It's Can(n)on", AKA "Hermione Granger, The Pirate Queen".
the Ravenclaw massacree (with full orchestration
and five-part harmony)
No, that's not a misspelling of "massacre". It's a reference to Arlo Guthrie's immortal musical monologue "Alice's Restaurant Massacree", better known simply as "Alice's Restaurant". The relevant part of the piece goes:
And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Alice's Restaurant Massacree, with full orchestration and five-part harmony and stuff like that...
Snakes and Ladders
Or as it's known in the United States, "Chutes and Ladders". If you're not familiar with it, it's a very simple board game. The goal is to follow a twisting path from one end of the board to another. Players roll dice for the number of spaces to move. At various intervals there are spaces with ladders or slides (snakes in the UK), which when the player lands on them allow them to advance or force them backwards, respectively. Naturally, Wikipedia has a page on it.
To the best of my recollection, there was no Professor Thackeray in the Math department at Princeton between 1980 and 1984. At least not in the "real" world. He is, instead, a shout-out to a literary/film character from about half a century ago.
"Hip! Hip!" ...
"Rah, rah, rah!
Badger, badger, badger!
Siss, siss, siss!
Boom, boom, boom! Ah!
Hufflepuff! Hufflepuff! Hufflepuff!"
This is, slightly modified for the circumstances, what is known at Princeton University as the Locomotive Cheer. At Princeton, "tiger" takes the place of "badger", and the final line is variable, allowing the cheer to be used for, well, just about anything. It's most commonly encountered during the P-rade at Reunions, where is used to cheer the individual class years. (I.e., "Eighty-four! Eighty-four! Eighty-four!") It is, in fact, one of the oldest sports cheers in existence, being a direct evolution of the very first sports cheer, Princeton's "rocket call", used during the first-ever intercollegiate football game, between Princeton and Rutgers University in 1869. It's only appropriate that Doug introduce formalized cheering to Hogwarts with it.
"Badger! Badger! Badger! Badger!" ... "Mushroom!
If you have no idea what this is, well, just go watch it.
And regardless of whether or not you've seen that before, watch this. (The website that I originally got that flash animation from back in 2005, www.thefifthdistrict.com, appears to be defunct now, so I can't provide acknowledgment to its creators. But if you know or are the person(s) who made it, please let me know and I'll give you proper credit.
The call-and-response part, with half the House doing "badger" and the other half "mushroom", is based on something I found myself in the middle of, many years ago. It the was the late 1980s, and I had gone back to Princeton for the free Triangle Club show at the end of Freshman Week in September. While we were waiting for show to begin, the audience spontaneously broke out into a shouted back-and-forth exchange of "Tastes great!" and "Less filling!" that lasted for several minutes. I never did find out why.
Deep One ... Innsmouth Look
References to the Cthulhu Mythos. The Deep Ones were a race of humanoid amphibians who could crossbreed with humans. In the novella "The Shadow over Innsmouth" it is told how the residents of the New England town of Innsmouth had an odd fish- or frog-like look to them, eventually revealed to be because they are all very close cousins to nearby Deep Ones, and eventually would mutate into Deep Ones themselves.
The Peter Principle
"In an organizational hierarchy, every employee will rise or get promoted to his or her level of incompetence." If you want to know more, Wikipedia is your friend.
Like Nike, I just did it.
Nike's "Just Do It" campaign started in 1988 and ran for ten years, giving Hermione more than enough exposure to recognize a reference to it.
Daphne Greengrass ... had been almost a nonentity in
class, a timid shadow
Fanon has built up Daphne Greengrass with a reputation as an ice queen and an elegant (and sometimes slightly snobbish) socialite. I'm making a deliberate effort here to portray a different Daphne entirely, with an eye toward explaining why we hardly see her in canon.
Pansy Parkinson ...
seemed to be a good kid (at least when she wasn't absorbing and
re-radiating attitude from Mister Malfoy), but she was a little...
well, I suspected that she might have some kind of learning
Pansy Parkinson is canonically described as "thick" — British vernacular for "stupid" if you're unfamiliar with the idiom. (An amusing anecdote about that: the translators for one of the foreign editions — I can't remember which — didn't know the idiom, and as a result described her as "fat" instead.) Anyway, along the same lines as my intentions for Daphne Greengrass, I'm trying to portray a Pansy who differs from the fanfic-standard evil ultrabitch (or the secret heroine like we see in stories like Jeconais' White Knight, Grey Queen) without changing her canonical history up to this point. I've taken the few details we get about Pansy herself as an individual (as opposed to being arm-candy for Draco Malfoy) to come up with a slightly-impaired girl who's latched onto Malfoy as a source of clues and cues for how to deal with a world that's just a bit more complicated than she can handle by herself.
So that left only one possible candidate.
Note that Doug has not yet met — indeed, does not yet even know of the existence of — Hagrid; Hagrid is still "on assignment" in Europe for Dumbledore at this point, and won't return for another month.
Eric Cartman ... respect her authoritah
Eric Cartman, for those who are not embedded in the American cultural matrix, is an infamously fat and obnoxious young boy from the American animated television series South Park. Cartman is an unrepentant bully and more than a little evil (his "Spock-with-a-beard" counterpart from a mirror universe was an incredibly nice guy); one of his catchphrases is "Respect my authoritah!", deriving from an episode where he for some reason was emulating a corrupt Southern sheriff.
Infamously squeaky-voiced comedienne/actress best known for her 1980s stint on Saturday Night Live and her role as Weird Al Yankovic's girlfriend in the film UHF.
a well-trained crup
Crups are the magical subspecies of dog, the canine equivalent of the kneazle. They are canon, but are almost forgotten since they get almost no "screen time".
It was time to get
started on what I'd come to the Mansion for in the first place:
Sometimes it wasn't just Doug who got stress relief out of a Danger Room session. I recall a game night circa 1986 or 1987 when I came home from work and told Kat — then the GM — words to the effect of "I had a bad day today; I hope we get to kill a lot of things in the game tonight." Kat scrapped her intended plans for that evening and instead gave us a Danger Room scenario where I did indeed get to kill lots of things. And work off my stress.
The interruption here is a bit of an in-joke. As noted in the concordance for Drunkard's Walk II there was a Gamma campaign set in Warriors' World during the late 1980s, but other than a few scrawled notes and one character sheet in the campaign binder that testify to its existence, no one left in the group remembers anything about it.
"The Million-Mook March"
As it happens, there is a trope by this name documented on the various trope wikis, but I was unaware of it before writing this passage. The usages don't exactly overlap, either.
Classic operant conditioning with negative
Behavioral psychology in action — reward a desired behavior and punish deviations from it (the negative reinformcement), and whether they consciously intend it or not, the subject will change their behavior to maximize the rewards and minimize the punishment.
"Go down the rabbit hole and out the other side
You can't go home in the middle of the magic carpet ride
You gotta greet the sun before his lovely daughter moon
You can't forsake the journey for the safety of your room
Until you learn your lesson well..."
Lines from the middle of the song "Cheshire Kitten (We're all mad here)" by SJ Tucker. Ever since I first heard it sometime in the summer of 2013, I've thought of it as Luna's theme.
And if you're wondering why (and how) Luna is singing a Muggle song that won't be written for almost twenty years yet in her timeline (if it's written at all)... well, that would be telling.
Coming soon: Chapter Five!