The Scar: A Harry Potter Alternate Universe

Harry Potter has been part of my life for 17 years. Interesting how numbers can be important. A witch or wizard comes of age at 17.

 

And after 17 years of Harry Potter, yesterday I realized that my son is exactly the age Harry was when Lily and James died.

 

This got me thinking, once more, about all the things that scare me about parenthood, primarily, What would happen to my baby if something happened to me and Nic?  

 

I envisioned the scene at Godric’s Hollow. Voldemort walking through the broken Fidelius Charm and into the Potter’s home. I saw Lily pick up toddler Harry and race up the stairs as James tried to hold Voldemort off without his wand.

I grabbed my light-up holly and phoenix feather wand and carried it with me all day, even inside my oversized handbag while out shopping at the grocery store with C, even knowing it’s a kid’s toy, containing two aaa batteries, instead of being made of willow, or being good for charm work. Not exactly a match for a dark wizard’s unforgivable curses. It was a psychological security measure.

 

I thought about what would happen . . . like, even if a dark wizard didn’t show up, what if . . .

 

What if there really had been a car crash like Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had always told Harry that Lily and James had died in?

 

I thought about my sister, and how, thankfully, she’s about as unDursleyish as I am. Though she’s got two kids of her own, I know that she would do her best to take good care of my baby, raise him like her own, give him everything she could and make sure he knows he is deeply loved by his whole family.

 

So, what if that had been the case with Harry? What if his aunt and uncle had cared more?

 

What if Harry ‘s cool aunt & uncle had raised him on elaborate tales of magical heritage and a narrow escape from an evil dark wizard after his parents died . . . in a car crash.

 

The perfect opposite of what happened in the series. Harry as an ordinary boy whose loving aunt and uncle told him bedtime stories about a wizarding world to cheer him up as he grew up parentless?

 

I discussed this with my sister all afternoon.

 

If anything happens to me and Nic, Bettie and Oslowe know what to do.

 

And now, without further ado, my rewrite of an excerpt from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

 

Chapter One. The Boy Who Lived.

Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number 4 Privet Drive, were perfectly normal, if normal were a thing that actually existed. They were above average people who might be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they were fascinated by that sort of thing.

. . . Mrs. Potter was Mrs. Dursley’s sister, but they hadn’t met for several years, because the country was just too big and neither of them had the budget for regular visits.

. . . When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the bright, cloudless Tuesday our story starts, there was nothing about the blue sky outside to suggest that a profoundly personal tragedy would soon be gripping news readers all over the country.

. . .

Chapter Two.

Nearly ten years had passed since the Dursleys had been woken by the police bringing their nephew up the front step, but Privet Drive had hardly changed at all.

. . . Only the photographs on the mantlepiece really showed how much time had passed. Ten years ago, there had been lots of pictures of what looked like a large pink beach ball wearing different-coloured bobble hats – but Dudley Dursley was no longer a baby, and now the photographs showed a large, blond boy riding his first bicycle, beside his dark haired cousin, both grinning with matching ripped trouser knees from where they’d fallen one after another around the same corner as they learned how to ride. There was no sign that the second boy hadn’t always lived there.

Harry Potter was asleep at the moment, but not for long. His Aunt Petunia was awake and it was her voice which made the first sound of the day.

“Up, boys! Get up!”

Harry woke with a start. His aunt knocked on the door again.

“Come on, get up!”

Harry heard her walking down the stairs and towards the kitchen, and then the sound of the frying pan being put on the cooker. He rolled on to his back and tried to remember the dream he had been having. It had been a good one. There had been a huge fire engine in it. He had a funny feeling he’d had the same dream before.

 

. . . Harry had always been small and skinny for his age. . . He had a thin face, knobbly knees, black hair and bright-green eyes. He wore round glasses. The only thing Harry liked about his own appearance was a very thin scar on his forehead which was shaped like a bolt of lightning. He had had it as long as he could remember and the first question he could ever remember asking his Aunt Petunia was how he had got it.

“In the attack by the dark wizard Voldemort when your parents were killed,” she had said. “I’m sure you’ll have lots of questions.” And she hugged him.

 

 

 

 

Rewritten from:
Rowling, J.K.. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. 1997. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

 

 

 

I’ve made mousse au chocolat, so if you’re feeling at all the way I am, come over and have some. Professor R.J. Lupin had it right, you know.

A Letter

Dear Baby,

 

I’ve been thinking about the future and in a non-morbid more-of-a-practical way I’ve been thinking about things like my immanent demise. Not like, (good gods I hope not), tomorrow or anything, but as I’ve learned ever so deeply this year, things don’t always happen how or when we think they will.

 

You haven’t even been conceived yet, but I’m thinking a lot about you. You see, your father and I want to meet you desperately. It took a long time after our great disappointment this past year to get excited about trying to meet you. It is scary and hard to trust that we might or might not get the chance.

 

You see, your older brother was supposed to be born next week.

 

I say brother because I am certain that is what he would have been. Of course, we will never know for certain. And I say supposed to because if everything had gone as planned, he would have been.

 

But as I’ve said, things don’t always go according to plan, or expectation, or hope.

 

But we’re finally managing to stay positive that you might someday arrive, and hopefully, that day will be soon.

 

As I said, I’ve been thinking about the other side of things a bit this week. Like, your daddy and I should each write a Last Will and Testament. I’ve never thought about needing one. But now that I have a husband, it seems so much more important. And if you come to stay with us it will be more important still. And then I started thinking just now, what if something happened to me after you arrived and you never really got to know me personally. You would have stories from your dad, and your grandparents, and your aunts and uncles. You would have stories from our friends. And hopefully you would feel like you had known me even just a little.

 

So I decided to write you this letter, baby girl. This letter is so that you know a few more things about me that you’d probably hear from your dad and some other important people, but I want you to hear it from me, too.

 

Because I assumed you would be reading this after I was gone, I had at first written it in past tenses, though perhaps it would be more comforting, though potentially more confusing, in the present tense. It might be a little muddled, but I hope it is ok.

 

Dear Baby,

Mommy was a dancer. She loved modern dance and ballet. Sometimes she even did belly dancing and ballroom dancing (which she learned with Daddy before they got married). She loved her pointe shoes, but they hurt her feet a lot. Hopefully some of them will survive so that you can see them. But don’t put them on your feet, because you might get injured if you do so before your teacher says you are ready. If you ask Nana, that is why Mommy’s ankles always hurt her so much. When she went to college, Mommy danced an awful lot and got very good at it. She even taught other kids to dance after she graduated. She doesn’t think she did a very good job at this, but she loved helping those kids enjoy dance as much as she did. There are a few photographs of Mommy dancing, and if you can find a VHS player you can even watch a video of her. Movement was very important as a mode of expression, as an art form, and as her voice, when words would not suffice. Mum hopes you will find that joy as well, whether in dance, or another artform.

 

Mommy loved to make costumes. She loved to sew and to knit. She loved playing make-believe and she loved fairy stories. But really she liked to be practical too. Sometimes these things worked very well together.

 

Mommy hoped that you would love Harry Potter like she did and that you will always be brave even when you are really very scared. Mommy hopes you will read To Kill a Mockingbird so you can understand about courage from the words of Harper Lee and Atticus Finch.

 

Mom liked to cook and to bake. Well, she Loved it, really. But it took her a long time to find the confidence to do it. She was often afraid she was messing everything up but was particularly giddy when something turned out just right, because that made it seem like it was really beyond perfect.

 

And Mommy loved you more than all of it.

 

So, now, little baby that hasn’t even been conceived, I hope you know a couple important things about your mother now. I hope you will never have to read these things to know them. I hope you will know them from me personally. Because I want you to help me to sew pretty clothes for you. And I want you to help me measure the flour for biscuits. And I want you to dance with me and your daddy, and laugh, and read fairy tales, and be brave warriors. I want us to do all these things together. But in case we can’t, now you have this little letter, from me to you.

 

Love, Mum.

Throwback Heartbreak

17 July 2009

I got the message after leaving the bank.
‘Call me back, even if you think I’m in class.’
‘Is everything OK?’
‘. . . I’ve got some bad news.’
I knew it was her. I just knew.
‘Courtney’ or maybe he said ‘Arielle,’ ‘died this morning.’
Silence. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t. We knew it was coming. Didn’t mean it wasn’t shocking, nor did it mean it was an easy thing either to hear, or to know that it is true. The fair and beautiful Duchess Arielle the Golden had passed away.
He might have said ‘passed away.’
At that point the tunnel of oceanic sound fills ones ears and all other thoughts, sounds, feelings drop away and are banished beyond comprehension until we start breathing again.
But then, if you hold your breath, that is a little longer until you have to face the reality of life without her in it.
Going back to work was like walking in a fog. Waking up periodically, realizing what I had left out, what I had forgotten to do.
Trying to breathe.
Trying not to make any sound.
Trying not to cry while I was working on each person. On each stranger.
Go back to work.
Don’t give in to the pain. Don’t give up. Others need you. Don’t let despair take over. Don’t be Selfish.
Arielle wouldn’t have been selfish if someone needed her and she was capable of helping them. She’d find a way.
You need to go back to work. You could save a life today. You could prevent another death. You could help someone else to live a fully and happy healthy life.
Do it for Arielle. Do it for all of them. They need you.
Don’t give up.

 

 

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The Ebony & Ivory Ladies’ Breakfast. Morning of the Woods Battle, Pennsic XXXIV, Camp Ebonwoulfe. My favourite photograph of her.

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