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'Beyond the annual seablite's range': Part 2 - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
'Beyond the annual seablite's range': Part 2

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

 

DEAN THOMAS (cont’d)

 

Anyone who thinks that’s cosy has no business setting up as a critic, even for the Prophet back when Cuffe ran the damned thing.  When you’ve been at the sharp end, you value the peace – and know the cost.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Well, you’ve had your share, haven’t you.  ‘Chocolate box’, I think, has been said once or twice.  Which is rubbish.  Comes of not looking long enough at painting – and with Wizarding painting, that’s rash in the extreme.  Your painting of Ormskirk Church … very different by night to what it is by day, when you watch it through.

 

CUT TO:

 

The painting Ormskirk Church from the Wizarding Quarter, by Dean Thomas

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM (V.O.) (cont’d)

(reciting)

 

Danish the scurvygrass, Danish the land!

Banish the Saxon on either hand;

Banish the Cymry, banish the Scot:

This be the land the Viking got,

These be the sons of Viking getting

On the shore of the West, and sun’s swift setting.

There be the kirk of Ormr’s founding,

Tower and spire alike, deep-sounding,

Plumbing the depth of Lancashire sky,

Chained to the Plain by perennial rye.

 

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

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM (cont’d)

 

The whole history plays out, and – well, it’s not cosy.  You couldn’t expect it to be: Ormr may have settled down and turned Christian and built a church in his old age, but he were a Viking and his name means ‘serpent’ or ‘dragon’ after all.

 

DEAN THOMAS

(laughing)

 

‘Draco’, in fact.  No doubt Ormr had cousins who settled in Normandy….

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Happen he did at that. But that’s the thing, isn’t it.  Poems, paintings, and people: they don’t show their meaning all at once, and they’re not static.  Look at Malfoy, if you like.  An utter insect at school.  A better man far as an adult, husband and father; went into the law and distinguished himself – on the right side of law, which was a turn-up for a Malfoy.  Then his wife was killed also in the attacks, and he drifted; threw over law, tried banking, and was put in the frame for a crime – and what did everyone do just as soon as he was but drag up all the old assumptions and – justly enough, often – the remembered criticisms?  Folk do change, though, and he had, and he won clear and is where he wants to be, now.

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

He’s an interesting subject to paint.  I don’t know he’d make much of a poem.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Ah, there you’re wrong, lad.  Everyone’s a poem, sithee – well, almost everyone: I doubt Lucretius could make a poem of Hermione, she’s pure, dry prose –

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

Oi, what about Harry?  Every time I’m approached to paint him, I can’t see him in anything but uniform robes, covered with ribbons and stars and gongs of all sorts, for all he’s retired now and making cider and living on bread and cheese and kisses with Malfoy.  Oh, I know, I know, you’ll tell me his life, the events, were epic, but Harry – Harry’s been all his life a warrior, poor sod, and a conscript from birth at that, and he couldn’t have – and hasn’t – escaped that: a dry old stick, a retired Very Senior Officer.  A warrior, plain, not two-Sickle coloured –

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

(animated)

 

– A warrior, aye!  And what were Beowulf, or Arthur, or Alfred, lad?  And the poems of Beowulf and the lays of Arthur, sithee, and Alfred and ‘ballad of t’ White Horse’, are poems of plain warriors, and what else be Æneid but a poem of a dry old stick of a retired commander?  And now he’s retired, to land of old and just renown, there’re eclogues and georgics in him to be envoi to the epics – and mock heroic couplets for Malfoy, I imagine.  Aye, there’s matter for poetry everywhere there’s matter for painting.

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

And that’s everywhere.  I yield.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Save that for Seamus, lad, I’m a happily married man.

 

DEAN THOMAS

(laughs)

 

And you deserve it.  Everything in its season, innit.

 

CUT TO:

 

The mural in the National Wizarding Archives, Safely Gathered In, by Dean Thomas

 

DEAN THOMAS (V.O.) (cont’d)

(quoting)

 

Fumitories, alder, ash, bay willow, gorse, and sedge,

Old service-trees and centauries, stitchwort, heather, hedge:

The horehound, pimpernel, and spurge, upon the old field edge.

For half of all you see is sky and all you see is Plain,

Until, far Eastwards, England mounts to Pennine heights again.

 

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

 

A field of arable on a clear late-Summer day, with NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM and DEAN THOMAS ambling tweedily along a path through it, and birds singing from adjoining hedges and a copse.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Aye, everything in its season.  And the seasons return, and yet we move through them towards an end, each year.  Your paintings show that well.  And when you paint….  That’s other thing about us all, Wizards and Witches I mean, even more than Muggles.  We’re closer to natural order, sithee, and feel it the more.  Nobbut three villages in country be all-Wizarding, aye: and where do rest of us live?  Amongst our Muggle and Squib cousins.  Now, when tha paints village, what is it you see?

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

The land.  The shape of it, and how it’s shaped a place and the people of the place.  Oh, yes: you’re quite right, of course: we’ve a sense of place.  And a place for us means land and all that’s in it, tree and field and farm and hedgerow.  And of course parish church and local public house, and the birds in the wood and the sheep grazing: all that.  I do know where you’re going with this, you know.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

You’re over clever for your good, lad.

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

No, but you’re right.  We – more than Muggles at their best – get into a place, and the other way ’round, too, it gets into us.  Until it can’t, and we can’t.  My mum and my step-dad, and my sisters, and my gran.  In my gran’s day … well.  Tower Hamlets was a place for us.  Markets catering to the Empire Windrush generation, like Kingston transplanted; chapel on Sundays; following the Windies in the Test against England.  And then it changed.  Not grew: changed.  Mosques and halal butchers are all well enough, I don’t say a word against ’em, but they weren’t our place.  The first significant money I made, I converted to Muggle pounds, and set them up in Kent, and they’re happy there.  There’s a pitch for the village XI, there’s a pub, there’s a chapel as well as a church.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Aye.  Happen the Muggles will manage, some day, to assimilate everyone, but it’s not easy when the old ways of assimilation are church or chapel and the local, not when you want to assimilate folk whose religion prohibits participating in church, chapel, and pub.  Cricket and footie don’t suffice.  We Wizards are luckier: we’ve the one thing drawing us together, and it be the fundamental thing: our magic.  I remember India….  Even in the Wizarding community, caste yet mattered.  But here – no.  Take Patils.  Most of them Hindu, at least culturally, one branch went early to Goa and converted to being RC, and when the Portuguese pulled out, they held in with the British, for we didn’t leave them to the local Muggles.  And of those who left India, they came here, mostly, to Britain, and now half of them are RC and other half have gone C of E when they’ve not passed through C of E to Methodism or given over religion altogether.  None of them Friends yet, but you never know.  And as for caste – well.  Look at Harry’s old RSM.

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

‘Rider on a grey horse’, yes.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Aye.  Here, we’re all Wizards together, and his mam’s family and his da’s never thought twice about a marriage.  And now he’s landlord of best pub in Shropshire on his pension, and Harry calls him friend and proud to do.

 

DEAN THOMAS

(slyly)

 

And Harry a marquess, at that.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

(laughs)

 

Ah, but, a man cannot save the State that often and avoid the Honours List forever – kicking and screaming though he were, I grant thi … my Lord Thomas.

 

DEAN THOMAS

(in mock outrage)

 

Oi, Longbottom, I was conscripted!  And you managed to duck it.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

I were backroom boy.  It weren’t ‘Potterwatch’ did for Lee, lad, it were the WWN; nor were it duelling Dolohov did for thi, lad, it were all that Society painting.  There, now, you had to paint.  It’s in you.

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

It is.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

And the balance, sithee.  The same balance in good poem or good canvas, that’s balance Harry held, and that’s why they dragged him to Upper Chamber at t’ last.  Balance of law and order.

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

That’s a tension as much as it’s a balance.  Yes, I know: it’s the same thing, in different guises, when it’s live at all.  You can compose a balance in a painting – and a poem, I’m sure – and without tension –

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Aye, it’s nowt but lifeless thing, it’s the tension gives the balance life, everything else is dead and academic.  Take the ordering of the State, law and order, the defence of t’ Realm.  Law’s mistletoe Druid finds in oak.  But oak’s order, and it must be there to support mistletoe.

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

Yet the mistletoe itself is – no, that’s the Muggle view, we know it’s not only an ornamental parasite, any more than law is.  Old Snape no doubt had nine and ninety uses for it in potions, eh?  I see you, shuddering at the name.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Oh, he were more terrible than snake or Riddle.

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

Oh, that’s right, you were a backroom boy, o hero of the Resistance and slayer of Nagini.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

(equably)

 

Tha wants a clog sandwich to thi tea.

 

DEAN THOMAS throws up his hands in mock surrender.



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Comments
noeon From: noeon Date: May 31st, 2010 03:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Give 'm the clog sandwich, Neville! It didn't stay with twee-dily ambling for long :D Lovely scene setting and lovelier content.

Danish the scurvygrass, Danish the land!
Banish the Saxon on either hand;
Banish the Cymry, banish the Scot:
This be the land the Viking got,
These be the sons of Viking getting
On the shore of the West, and sun’s swift setting.


Neville's really quite good.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: May 31st, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Ta, duchess.

I make quite certain Nev is duly thankful for yr very obliging words.
femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: June 3rd, 2010 05:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Ta, duchess.

Oh, Lord. She's already got airs. Don't give her any more.

(And the vapours. Oh, God, the vapours.)

I actually find it hysterical that you just called her duchess because I call her that ALL THE TIME.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 5th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

All the time?

Yorks or Lancs in your family, then?
femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: June 6th, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: All the time?

LOL. More like Norfolk/Suffolk, Devon and Wilts, I'm afraid. :D

And, trust me, Her Grace's nickname is quite understandable the moment you see her in action. Delightfully, hysterically Americanly blueblood with a good dose of hippie. (Let's put it this way: she quite believes Luna could be a Malfoy cousin and she's really quite convincing.)
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