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‘Beyond the annual seablite’s range’ - Part 1 - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
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‘Beyond the annual seablite’s range’ - Part 1

‘Beyond the annual seablite’s range’: NWA Ormskirk Pensieve 87923987/askjy7823hu/65/jkh3k23r543

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GMW Wemyss

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In 2037, the WWN programme ‘Cardinal Points’ had its first season.  Its popularity was assured with its first episode, through which the Wizarding public, perhaps improbably, were introduced on a larger scale to history, painting, herbology, and poetry.  Lee Jordan, then the Director-General of the WWN, and ‘onlie begetter’ of the series, had had the inspired idea of simply handing the episode over to Dean Thomas and Neville Longbottom, who, with the later participation of Tony Goldstein and Terry Boot, became its most recurring presenters.

 

The first episode of ‘Cardinal Points’ was Pensieved at the National Wizarding Archives, Ormskirk, and Floocast on Sunday, 16 August, 2037, at tea-time, before Evensong.  At that time, Neville Longbottom, the Bard Laureate, was serving as Director of the Archives, and Dean Thomas, who had been appointed Limner in Ordinary to the Queen as early as 2010, was acting as Artist in Residence at the Archives.

 

A transcription of the production, which is held in the Archives where it was first Pensieved, follows.  It is remarkable to see and hear, or to read in transcription, the markedly casual conversation of these figures of the War years and the Restoration, who, like their great contemporaries, have become rather legendary and remote even in their lifetimes, and to attend to their intimate observations of those contemporaries as legendary as themselves, whom they knew so well.

 

Where possible, in the preparation of this transcript, reference has been made to the script – the Flooplay – that had been prepared for the episode; but of course, the whole success of the episode, and of all the episodes that have followed in this long-running favourite, was and remains founded upon simply taking two, or three, or four wise and cultivated Witches or Wizards and giving them their heads to talk improvingly and tramp through pleasant scenes and reminisce and chaff one another.

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(The programme begins with the title card that has never changed and is now instantly recognisable, with the cardinal rose outlined in sparkling fire.  From the beginning, the introductory theme music has been, as it remains, ‘Merlyn his galliard’, as arranged for string orchestra by Stanley Glebe-Reeve. – Ed.)

 

EXT. THE WEST LANCASHIRE COAST AND PLAIN WEST OF ORMSKIRK – DAY.

 

A clear, blowy day, with winds from the West and some cloud.

 

AERIAL – BROOM HEIGHT – TRACKING WEST TO EAST AND DESCENDING.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM (V.O.)

(reciting)

 

Inland from the strand and tide

Beyond the annual seablite’s range

On the Western Plain of Lancashire

There flowers something rare and strange….

 

EXT. ORMSKIRK TOWN CENTRE – DAY.

 

A Muggle scene, with people going about their business.

 

EXT. ORMSKIRK SIDE STREET – DAY.

 

A small courtyard and archway in an industrial district.  A locked gate to a derelict factory, with a sign that changes to ‘WAY IN: SKALD MOSS GARTH: WIZARDING QUARTER’.

 

TRACK THROUGH DISSOLVING GATE.

 

EXT. ORMSKIRK WIZARDING QUARTER – DAY.

 

A broad square, bathed in light, at its centre the National Wizarding Archives, a slightly mad reimagining of the Parthenon by way of the British Library, with attendant statuary dogs of various breeds as caryatids on the exterior.  At the bottom of the steps to the main entrance are a stone dachshund and a stone basset, posed in leonine fashion.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM (O.S.)

 

And last week, it were a Clumber and a Dandy Dinmont.  Archives building, sithee, were donated by owld Colonel Clitheroe, and t’ man’s family be dog Animagi time out of mind.

 

TRACK NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM TO FOOT OF STEPS.

 

DEAN THOMAS Apparates in, rather paint-spattered.

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

Hullo, Nev!  Will your guard-dogs let me past so long as I keep to such respectable company, then?

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Owdonabit, lad, I may be Archivist, but there’s many’ll say I’m no more respectable than jobbing painter.

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

They did kick up a fuss about my being made Artist in Residence, didn’t they.  Bless.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Aye.  Committees.  They’ll coom to their cake and milk yet.  Mind tha give belly-rub to dachshund as we pass, he’ll roll o’er for anybody.

 

CUT TO:

 

The painting Downholland Storm, All Hallows, Night, by Dean Thomas

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM (V.O.)

(reciting)

 

Babington’s Orache the Muggles know

And on its leaves have fed,

Have grounds its seeds into their meal

For baking of their bread;

Yet Babington’s Oracle, Wizards grow,

Whose visions haunt the head,

And from his leaves in potions steal

The warnings from the dead.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. ARCHIVIST’S OFFICE, NATIONAL WIZARDING ARCHIVES, ORMSKIRK – DAY.

 

A pleasant, cluttered, scholar’s bolthole, wholly academic and devoid of any indication of NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM’s martial past.  In silver frames on his desk are snaps of his first wife, the late HANNAH ABBOTT, his current wife LUNA LOVEGOOD (SCAMANDER LONGBOTTOM), and his twin stepsons LORCAN SCAMANDER and LYSANDER SCAMANDER.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Sit ’ee down, Dean Thomas m’ lord, and have your tea.  And how’s Seamus?

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

Flourishing like the green bay tree.  And your lot?

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Capital, lad, capital.  Tha’s been here month, off and on, sloshing paint about: what think ’ee of the country?

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

Ah, there’s a Lanky lad all over.  And it’s not really your country, is it, this broad coastal plain threatened by Liverpool to the one hand and Manky to the other.  But here you are, doing your turn as Archivist – cushy job, innit? – on sabbatical from Hogwarts and Domdaniel, and playing the Lancashire lad to the hilt –

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

(interrupting)

 

– Awreet, awreet, stop thi mankin’ about –

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

And all the while you’re thinking, ‘This isn’t my Lancs, I’m from the Pennine dales’ – or however you call ’em – ‘but damned if I’ll let on to this soft Londoner turned Kentishman’ – aren’t you.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

(plummily, in academic English)

 

My dear Thomas, I should be greatly distressed to think I had caused you to repine of your appointment by my adapting my idiolect to my surroundings – or I should be thus distressed did I not know that you quite notoriously do the same, artist, East End lad, Wizard passing as Muggle, Londoner gone to ground in Kent – and Ireland, you and Finnigan both – scholar, larrikin, bohemian painter and Special Advisor to the Tally.  I resist by main force the appropriate Classical tag.  You’ve a way of getting into country not your own, to paint it – I suppose, of getting into another character, really –

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

Yes, yes, of course: one must, to paint.  And to be a poet, you cunning Longbottom, and you damned well know it.  You’ve gotten into many a skin not your own, all poets do.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

And my generation of Aurors.  In the first years after t’ War, we were yet acting as plods and Int Corps quite as much as an army.  I remember when I was first sent out to India, it was something of a shock to realise that HQ for our Wizarding possessions, Wizarding and Princely States India that hadn’t chosen to follow the Muggles out of the Empire, was – as it yet is – the old Thagi Daftar.

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

But it wasn’t India, was it, made you a poet – remarkably, I suppose, as it certainly would me.  Or even this part of your own county, although it’s lovely to paint and I’d think it would inspire anyone to commit verse.  I don’t say you can’t and don’t turn your hand to whatever strikes your eye, or that you’re a regional poet, but it was your own home ground, wasn’t it, that first moved you in this direction.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Oh, that’s the sort of thing critics come out with.  I came to it late, you’re right enough, and there’re folk enough who’ll say I’m not a poet yet –

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

Yes, I remember what Laurence MacNunckliss said.  Ass.  Well, he is Cormac MacLaggen’s cousin, so….

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Aye, well, it were nowt to what I said of MacNunckliss.  I write about land and the flora, aye, and folk in and on the land, because happen they catch my eye.  But it were Hannah first encouraged me to think of poetry.  I was … ever making verses, doggerel – and folk there be who’ll say I am yet – mnemonics for herbology.

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

Yes, and they weren’t doggerel even then, I’ve never painted a garden yet without hearing you murmuring the plant names – somehow, ‘Alcea rosea, belovèd of bees’ has always stuck with me, I think for the rhythm and the sonority as much as the alliteration.  Of course, alliterative lines are very Old English, aren’t they, and Viking as well: in this country of yours, in Lancashire, it’s very evident even now, even in common speech down the butcher’s or the greengrocer’s.  I mean, the Wizarding quarter runs off a lane named for the old scops and skalds.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Yes.  Yes, I think it is, very.  And perhaps that’s why I didn’t think of it in terms of poetry, or even versification.

(beat)

But – after Hannah was killed.  I know there are those who think what I write is … bloodless.  Cosy.  Blunden and Betjeman, no Larkin let alone anything grand and tragic or intellectual like Eliot.  Modern, sham Augustan.

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

Yes, there are a lot of fools about.  We’ve been through it, though, haven’t we: the Rebellion, the hard graft of the Restoration, the terror attacks that killed Hannah and Scamander and Ginny and poor little Vane and so many others.  I suppose some people – to use Seamus’ formulation, the usual fecking eejits – expect my pictures and your poetry to show the blood and scars explicitly.

 

CUT TO:

 

The painting Pluckley Chart Churchyard, by Dean Thomas

 

DEAN THOMAS (V.O.) (cont’d)

(quoting)

 

The seagull-crowded sea-gales sweep the Plain

And plane it smooth.  Is this our life, then, here?

A swift descent from keen air on the heights,

Through wood and dale to moss and mere and sea

And all the slow unwinding: sluggish, cross,

Vexed and refusing, like a river, grim

With furious refusal to debouch

Into the sea and lose itself at last?

Reluctant dissolution, angry, mad

With vehemence to rage against the end,

And, with it all, compelled at last to yield:

The mist and spindrift and the wracking storm

Beat inward; tides refute the river’s flow

And overcome its unsought end – until

The tide turns in its turn and speeds it on

And our last current dwindles at the sands.

 

CUT TO:

 

The painting Storm over Aughton, by Dean Thomas

 

DEAN THOMAS (V.O.) (cont’d)

(quoting)

 

And yet: the gales that sweep in from the sea,

The clouds that scud across a blazing sky,

All these bring back to the most secret spring

Of rivers, waters that were late thought lost,

Dissolved forever in the bitter waves.

This resurrection of immensities

Gives hope for our half-hoped eternities.



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Comments
noeon From: noeon Date: May 31st, 2010 02:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I would watch 'Cardinal Points' in a heartbeat. What could be more fun than simply taking two, or three, or four wise and cultivated Witches or Wizards and giving them their heads to talk improvingly and tramp through pleasant scenes and reminisce and chaff one another!

Mind tha give belly-rub to dachshund as we pass, he’ll roll o’er for anybody.

Badgers and dachshunds did ever have a special affinity.

Neville's admirable mutation of idiolect was enjoyable, as was Seamus's feckin' eejuts in Dean's mouth.

Neville's Bard Laureate work is lovely as well. The things not worn on the surface make the superficial harmonies and cadences all the more meaningful.

wemyss From: wemyss Date: May 31st, 2010 06:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm greatly obliged.

We do like the same things, don't we.
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