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‘Beyond the annual seablite’s range’ - Part 3 of 3 - 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 3 of 3

INT. LAW ARCHIVES, NATIONAL WIZARDING ARCHIVES, ORMSKIRK – DAY.

 

A great, towering, echoing room, with high clerestory windows and late afternoon light pouring in, and shelf upon shelf of parchment rolls and huge books bound in law calf.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Here’s law.  A graveyard for sheep and cows.  The institutional memory of British Wizardkind, aye – and seest tha those bays half-empty?  That was when we’d law without order and order without law.

 

DEAN THOMAS

(wryly)

 

I don’t do allegorical paintings, Nev.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Happen tha dost, lad: every painting, every poem, every history, aye, every stage-play in Dreary Lane theatres but has its moral and its lesson and its metaphor.

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

Oh, don’t be didactic, Professor-my-Neville.  You and I have been at the sharp end in our time….  Even so, what sometimes frightens me is how to preserve the balanced tension between law and liberty.  I look at some of our friends and colleagues: Hermione with her crusades, Laura Madley with her iron principles – I’m in favour of the English principle of compromise where possible, myself – Harry with his warrior ethos….  The seasons may recur and we pass through them like time’s arrow, and yet….

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Nay, lad, people do change, aye, and grow.  The cocksure lad becomes an older and wiser man.  Take Malfoy, say.  He gives the lie to idea that we are what we’re shaped to be, and to idea we can’t change ourselves.  You’re like man in the Chesterton story, the Yank who told Father Brown, what was it, aye, this, ‘You don’t do justice to the climbing and aspiring power of our more remarkable citizens. You see a good-looking grey-haired man in evening-dress with a sort of authority about him, you know he is a pillar of the State, and you fancy he had a father. You are in error. You do not realize that a comparatively few years ago he may have been in a tenement or (quite likely) in a jail. You don’t allow for our national buoyancy and uplift. Many of our most influential citizens have not only risen recently, but risen comparatively late in life’ – and Muggle or Wizard we’re not so hidebound as that, for all the French and the Americans think.

 

DEAN THOMAS

 

And it was an American said, ‘There are no second acts in American lives’, wasn’t it.  Yet it was that sound Scot, John Buchan, who had an American character say the same:

 

CUT TO:

 

The painting State Opening of the Moot, by Dean Thomas

 

DEAN THOMAS (V.O.) (cont’d)

(quoting)

 

‘As a profound admirer of British institutions, I have sometimes thought that they needed a little shaking up and loosening.  In America our classes are fluid.  The rich man of to-day began life in a shack, and the next generation may return to it.  It is the same with our professions.  The man who starts in the law may pass to railway management, and end as the proprietor of a department store.  Our belief is that it doesn’t matter how often you change your trade before you’re fifty.  But an Englishman, once he settles in a profession, is fixed in it till the Day of Judgment….  The respectability of your politicians is so awful that, when one of them backslides, every man of you combines to hush it up.  There would be a revolution if the people got to suspect.  Can you imagine a Cabinet Minister in the police court on a common vulgar charge?  … I don’t want it to happen, but I’d like to think it could happen.  The permanent possibility of it would supple the minds of your legislators.  It would do this old country a power of good if now and then a Cabinet Minister took to brawling and went to jail.’

 

INT. LAW ARCHIVES, NATIONAL WIZARDING ARCHIVES, ORMSKIRK – DAY.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Aye, lad, but that were character speaking, not t’ author.  And it’s not true.  I’m not lad I were at Hogwarts, nor in the last Battle, nor as an Auror, nor as Hannah’s husband: the seasons recur, but I move through the years.  There’s nobbut traces of t’ lad you were as a firstie, for all that t’ essentials were there from the start.  If even Malfoy could change, time and time again and for better, why not Harry, or the world he and we made?

 

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

 

A small, clearly Wizarding farmstead, and in the middle distance the edge of a village and the Friends meeting-house, as late afternoon begins to give way to the fall of evening.  Doves in dovecot coo sleepily.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM (cont’d)

 

We’re a part of the places we indwell, but we change and grow faster than they do.  We’ve an end, and we’re all progressing to it at the same rate, sixty seconds in every minute, sixty minutes in every hour.  Nowt’s timeless but what we capture and preserve.

 

DEAN THOMAS

(distracted)

 

Cor.  Mind a moment, Nev, will you?

 

DEAN THOMAS Disapparates and re-Apparates with a crack; he has returned with easel, canvas, paints, and all.

 

DEAN THOMAS (cont’d)

 

I want to get this down while there’s light.

 

DEAN THOMAS begins setting up to paint, oblivious of NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM and of everything but the scene before him.

 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM

 

Aye.  You in your paintings, me in my poems; archives, Harry, Moot, and all our world.  That’s all we can do, lad, before night.  It’s enough.

 

FADE OUT:

to END CREDITS.

 

____________________________________

 

END

____________________________________

Notes:

____________________________________

 

Lee Jordan: The right Hon. the Lord Jordan of Leagrave, CB, OM (3d), PC, MW, late Director-General of the WWN, and largely responsible for its re-founding after the Rebellion.

 

Neville Longbottom: Professor the right Hon. Neville Longbottom, BC, GGC, late Captain, the Royal Corps of Aurors, OM (1st), PC, MW, DMag (Domd), DPhil (Oxon), Fellow of Paracelsus, President of Albertus Magnus College in the University of Domdaniel, governor of Hogwarts School, late Headmaster of Hogwarts School; late Bard Laureate; late Director of the National Wizarding Archives; member of Cabinet in several ministries and numerous offices; numerous learned fellowships.

 

Dean Thomas: The right Hon. the Lord Thomas of Pluckley Chart, KCMG, OM (2d), PC, MW, Senior Advisor to the Tally, Deputy Governor of Gringotts, and Chief Unspeakable in succession to Sir Seamus Finnigan; late Limner in Ordinary to the Queen; President of the Royal Wizarding Academy; numerous learned fellowships and artistic accomplishments.

 

Tony Goldstein: The right Hon. the Lord Goldstein of Thurrock, KBE, OM (3d), PC, MW; member of Cabinet in several ministries and numerous offices; numerous learned fellowships.

 

Terry Boot: The right Hon. the Lord Boot of Leen and Basford, CMG, OM (3d), PC, MW.

 

Stanley Glebe-Reeve: A noted Wizarding composer of the early 20th C.

 

Colonel Austen HH Clitheroe: A 19th C. Wizard who served in the Muggle Army.

 

Hannah Longbottom (née Abbott): The first wife of Neville Longbottom, killed in the terror attacks.

 

Luna Longbottom (née Lovegood, formerly Mrs Scamander): Widow of Rolf Scamander; second wife of Neville Longbottom; press ‘baroness’; noted naturalist; numerous learned fellowships.

 

Lorcan and Lysander Scamander: Twin stepsons of Neville Longbottom.

 

Seamus Finnigan: Sir Seamus Finnigan, OM (3d), KP, KCMG, PC, MW, Chief Unspeakable, several times Chief Secretary for Ireland.

 

(the) Thagi Daftar: The ‘Thug Office’, Sleeman’s old imperial command for the suppression of banditry, since Auror HQ India.

 

Laurence MacNunckliss: A minor poet and critic of Neville Longbottom’s generation, who conducted a lengthy literary feud, rather one-sidedly, with him.  Neville Longbottom famously dismissed him, in what he later admitted was one of his few disobliging moments, as ‘that fucking little Domdaniel æsthete who thinks it smart and tasteful to live near Glasgow’.  It is generally conceded that MacNunckliss’ feud with Neville Longbottom was motivated in part by political partisanship rather than literary.

 

Cormac MacLaggen: A rather undistinguished Member of the Wizengamot who opposed the party to which Neville Longbottom and Dean Thomas adhered.

 

Ginny Potter (née Weasley): Ginevra, Lady Potter (who died before her husband’s advancement to the peerage), Quidditch international and journalist.

 

Romilda Vane: A Ministry employee killed, as a bystander, in the terror attacks.

 

Edmund Blunden MC: A Muggle war poet of the 20th C.

 

Sir John Betjeman: A Squib poet of the 20th C.

 

Philip Larkin CH, CBE, FRSL: A Muggle poet of the 20th C.

 

Barnabas Cuffe: Disgraced former owner of the Prophet News Group.

 

Draco Malfoy: The right Hon. Mr Draco Malfoy Queen’s Serjeant (Wizarding), PC, MW, governor of Hogwarts School, at various times QS, a Ministry employee in the Department of Public Denunciations, a banker (as a second career after the death of his wife), and later a landowner with and partner to Harry Potter, q.v.

 

Ormr: A Viking, fl. late 10th – early 11th C., founded Ormskirk, Lancs.

 

Hermione Weasley (née Granger): The right Hon. Hermione, Lady Weasley, OM (1st), PC, MW, DMag (Domd), Mistress of Paracelsus, Rector of Merlin College in the University of Domdaniel, governor of Hogwarts School, late Headmistress of Hogwarts School; sometime Chief Witch, Leader of the Moot, and Lady President of the Council.

 

Harry Potter: Field-Auror Marshal the right Hon. the Marquess of Evelake, BC and bar, GCB, OM (1st), KCVO, DSSO, PC, &c; commonly known simply as Harry Potter.  In full, Field-Auror Marshal the Right Honourable HJ Potter, Marquess of Evelake, Earl Avelyn, Viscount Aveline, Baron Potter of Godric’s Hollow, Baron Peverell, Boudicca Cross and bar, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, Order of Merlin (1st Class), KCVO, Distinguished Sorcerous Service Order, Mentioned in Despatches, Privy Councillor, Grand Sorcerer, late Chief of the Magical General Staff, Chancellor of the University of Domdaniel, Governor of Azkaban and Constable of the Black Tower, Ranger of Savernake Forest, Warden of the Sept Ports, Lord Warden of the Alchemical Stannaries, Magical Lord Lieutenant of Devon (and Muggle Deputy Lieutenant thereof). 

 

(the) Patils: A noted Wizarding family, long resident in Britain, including Padma, her sister Parvati, both awarded the OM (3d) for actions at Hogwarts, and their younger third-cousin RSM Ajit KK Patel (note spelling), late of Harry Potter’s staff.

 

‘Rider on (/ of) a grey horse’: A reference to the Rajput war-cry.

 

‘The best pub in Shropshire’: The Cross Wands, Hook-a-Gate, Salop.

 

‘Potterwatch’: A clandestine wireless programme maintained by loyal forces during the Rebellion.

 

Antonin Dolohov: A foreign-born adherent of Tom Marvolo Riddle (such adherents were known as ‘Death-Eaters).

 

Tom Marvolo Riddle: Thos Marvolo Riddle, who called himself ‘Lord Voldemort’, a rebel and traitor who was defeated at the head of an insurrection. 

 

‘You and I have been at the sharp end in our time’: This was deliberately and inevitably disingenuous, in that Lord Thomas had been the Chief Unspeakable until a few months before.

 

Laura Madley: Laura Madley Queen’s Serjeant (Wizarding), late Director of Public Denunciations and subsequently Madam Justice Madley.

 

‘You don’t do justice to the climbing and aspiring power of our more remarkable citizens’: The quotation is from ‘The Mistake of the Machine’, a Father Brown story by the Wizarding writer who lived amongst the Muggles, GK Chesterton.

 

‘There are no second acts in American lives’: The quotation is from the 20th C American Muggle author, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

 

‘As a profound admirer of British institutions’: The quotation is from John Macnab, by the Squib author John Buchan (Lord Tweedsmuir), and in full reads,

 

‘As a profound admirer of British institutions,’ [Mr Bandicott] said, ‘I have sometimes thought that they needed a little shaking up and loosening.  In America our classes are fluid.  The rich man of to-day began life in a shack, and the next generation may return to it.  It is the same with our professions.  The man who starts in the law may pass to railway management, and end as the proprietor of a department store.  Our belief is that it doesn’t matter how often you change your trade before you’re fifty.  But an Englishman, once he settles in a profession, is fixed in it till the Day of Judgment, and in a few years he gets the mark of it so deep that he’d be a fish out of water in anything else.  You can’t imagine one of your big barristers doing anything else.  No fresh fields and pastures new for them.  It would be a crime against Magna Charta to break loose and try company-promoting or cornering the meat trade for a little change.’

 

Professor Babwater observed that in England they sometimes – in his view to the country’s detriment – became politicians.

 

‘That’s the narrowest groove of all.’ said Mr Bandicott with conviction.  ‘In this country, once you start in on politics you’re fixed in a class and members of a hierarchy, and you’ve got to go on, however unfitted you may be for the job, because it’s sort of high treason to weaken.  In America a man tries politics as he tries other things, and if he finds the air of Washington uncongenial he quits, or tries newspapers, or Wall Street, or oil.’

 

‘Or the penitentiary,’ said Junius.

 

‘And why not?’ asked his father.  ‘I deplore criminal tendencies in any public man, but the possibility of such a downfall keeps the life human.  It is very different in England.  The respectability of your politicians is so awful that, when one of them backslides, every man of you combines to hush it up.  There would be a revolution if the people got to suspect.  Can you imagine a Cabinet Minister in the police court on a common vulgar charge?’

 

Professor Babwater said he could well imagine it – it was where most of them should be; but Colonel Raden agreed that the decencies had somehow to be preserved, even at the cost of a certain amount of humbug.  ‘But, excuse me,’ he added, ‘if I fail to see what good an occasional sentence of six months hard would do to public life.’

 

‘I don’t want it to happen,’ said his host, who was inspired by his own Johannisberg, ‘but I’d like to think it could happen.  The permanent possibility of it would supple the minds of your legislators.  It would do this old country a power of good if now and then a Cabinet Minister took to brawling and went to jail.’

____________________________________

 



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18 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
noeon From: noeon Date: May 31st, 2010 04:26 am (UTC) (Link)
'The permanent possibility of it would supple the minds of your legislators.’ Oh but this is bracing here, if not revitalising.

Shining in detail, both words and word-imagined images, not to mention the tissue of human lives. Good to the last jot--the footnote on MacNunckliss is glorious.

Edited at 2010-05-31 04:26 am (UTC)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: May 31st, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you. Obviously...

... I'd Betjeman-and-Larkin in mind. It was fun, wasn't it.
femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: May 31st, 2010 01:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've read this three times so far…once late last night when my poor brain was far from coherent and twice this morning, savoring it.

(And I have to say, is there anything you can't do, dearest? <3s the poetry. And the screenplay format.)

I love Dean-the-painter and Neville-the-academic. I love the dachshund and the basset at the Archives. I love their discussions about the others (particularly Draco--oh, woobie--and the bit about Harry living on bread and cheese and Draco's kisses just made me flail a bit at that little romantic brushstroke.)

Also, Chesterton! <3! (Also love that you make him a Wizard in the footnotes. :D) And Larkin! And Fitzgerald! And the Buchan quote and Neville's response nearly teared me up a bit, recent things considered. (Oh, Yanks. *g*)

A small, clearly Wizarding farmstead, and in the middle distance the edge of a village and the Friends meeting-house, as late afternoon begins to give way to the fall of evening.  Doves in dovecot coo sleepily.

I just love how you draw the scenes so beautifully.

And this: Aye.  You in your paintings, me in my poems; archives, Harry, Moot, and all our world.  That’s all we can do, lad, before night.  It’s enough.

Perfect. Just a perfect, lovely close. It's enough, yes.

Thank you for writing this, dear. You were right: it is exactly what was needed.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: May 31st, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

Given the number of things I can't do, I'm greatly obliged when someone of taste approves something I have done.

As for the rest, well, it just rather pours out. As has been noted, at the end of the day, England Is My Fandom.
femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: June 3rd, 2010 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you.

The fact that you think I have even a modicum of taste is a huge honour, dear. Particularly after I've subjected you to Britney. (Just be grateful I didn't actually sing. That's terrifying in and of itself.)

I quite enjoy your fandom. You've been my best tutor of All Things English that I've ever had, and have made me fall in love with England even more than I already had. I owe you a great debt for that, you know. I'd quite like to learn more from you, I must admit.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 5th, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

And so you shall.

I've certainly learnt enough from you to want to repay the kindness.
femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: June 6th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm always glad of your tutelage, dear.

And it pleases me no end to be thought edifying, even if I can't begin to imagine I've taught you many new tricks.

I must say, though, I'm quite grateful for our mutual exchanges.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 19th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do you even try to keep them in character?

wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 19th, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Actually, yes.

What with the War and all behind them. I regret you found them displeasing. (I refrain by main force from asking you the question that constituted Hermione's first words to Ron on the Express.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 20th, 2010 08:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Actually, yes.

LOL, you.

Just call them Winshaw or something and be done with it.

I get that you have this darling fantasy and good luck to you with that, but it doesn't bear a lick of resemblance to Rowling's canon.

Knowing you, though, you'll probably take it as a compliment.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 20th, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Actually, no.

You do not, whoever you are, at all 'get' anything.

You do not 'get' that I've 'this darling fantasy', nor do you specify what you mean by that.

You don't 'get' anywhere near the question of canon as it may evolve rather more than twenty years on from the Epilogue.

And you assuredly do not 'get' honestly to begin a sentence, 'knowing you': you don't, and you appear concerned to remain unknown yourself.

I don't forbid anonymous comments or even track 'em: never have, never shall. And all comment and criticism is permitted, whether 'constructive' or merely captious. On the other hand, I cannot be forever arguing the pitch with all comers, ut veniant omnes, least of all those who will state neither the ground of their objection nor their name (and judging by the timestamp on yr last, you ought to have been at church rather than online, really): that I permit all sorts of comment regardless of source or anonymity is not to say that I am obliged to respond to every, or indeed any, comment. Here, it is only courteous that I respond, this time, as above, before baldly saying that, under the circumstances, I am not obliged to and may well not further reply to anonymous generalisms, favourable or unfavourable, by you or by any other correspondent who may decide to comment.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 20th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Actually, no.

Okay, "knowing your sort", then, or "knowing you on the basis of your LJ". Thanks for the permission!

You don't 'get' anywhere near the question of canon as it may evolve rather more than twenty years on from the Epilogue.

So, your canon =/= Rowling's canon. You can't expect me to appreciate your canon as true to JKR's canon just because you use the same names. See, I get that you're writing an AU; nothing wrong with that. But you should at least have the decency to mark your fic as such. Otherwise, what you're doing is plain old plagiarism. Since you're not even being true to canon (this is covered by the fact that you're engaging in an AU, but it doesn't save your characterisation), you might want to give prospective readers a heads-up.

But if you can't take honest criticism, you're just making it worse for yourself.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 20th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

'Decency'? 'Plagiarism'? 'Honest criticism' from an unidentified commenter?

Oh, do stop being an ass.

Fiction set after the close of canon is not, of course, an AU in any recognised meaning of the term. You do say that the characterisation is uncanonical, yet you still will not engage specifics. This is hardly 'honest criticism', you know. And I cannot think that a prospective reader who sees that the damned thing's set in 2037 shan't anticipate that the characters have matured since 1990 or 2009, unless of course the prospective reader - no, that wd be uncharitable.

If you've specific instances to adduce, do so. If not, we'll set this down as being a difference in taste. What will not be done is let pass the levelling of charges of 'plain old [as opposed, I suppose, to tupenny-coloured] plagiarism' and a lack of common decency to the reader on my part.

Edited at 2010-06-20 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 21st, 2010 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: 'Decency'? 'Plagiarism'? 'Honest criticism' from an unidentified commenter?

Your version of a matured Harry Potter & co. Okay! Here's my beef with your universe: there are absolutely no grounds for these characters to speak or act the way they do, no matter their age. To insist they do is to fail at canon. These are middle-class kids who will grow up to be middle-class adults. Not portly old boys frequenting C of E and singing the praises of a closed-off existence.

In the books, there are a few examples of the type of nepotist degenerate you describe. Horace Slughorn is one. Fudge is another. I suppose I should include DEs, as well, as a more intensely power grabbing instance of such. The idea of Harry, Ron, Seamus growing up the hidebound twits they are in your writing is redonk. They are not Herberts, Winstons, Evelyns retiring to their country estates in a post-war England. With the possible exception of Draco, I don't see any of the main cast caring for that sort of existence to begin with.

I'm not arguing against your love of the past, and as far as I'm concerned my personal tastes are irrelevant (but you can be as uncharitable as you want; I've been mean enough). Your thesis that Rowling paints the British wizarding world as some closed-off 1930s-40s version of the UK is sound enough on its own, but it doesn't support your characterisation, and the canon does not support your thesis in any point that matters. You're writing an AU. You can call it future fic if you want, but your characterisation is not good enough for that claim to hold water.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 21st, 2010 09:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Right, then.

Well, you have at least and at last come to specifics. Leaving aside the class snarl inherent in such emotive phrases as 'nepotist degenerate' and 'hidebound twits', it does come in the end to yr personal tastes. You can bang on abt characterisation and persist in misapplying the term 'AU' if you like. Most of my readers do seem to have grasped that perfectly middle-class military officers or senior policemen (reading this throughout to include their magical equivalents) crown canonically successful careers with at least a gong; that canonical dons wax donnish as they age; and so on after their kind. What's more, the usual penalty of success is preferment, often accompanied by a salary rise.

Further still, as I've been at pains in this particular sub-'verse, as it were, to paint Dean as Chapel, Seamus as RC, Neville as Quaker, and so forth, it's simply captious in you to drivel on about everybody's maturing into C of E Blimps. Let's be serious for a moment: I've made Harry a senior officer whose successes in the field have lumbered him with Honours as well as honour, and who inherited landed property from his father's family. Well, canonically, James wasn't a bread-line boy and left Harry rather well provided for, and canonically (to the extent interviews are canon), Harry becomes the youngest head of Aurors in history. Canon tells us that Ron and Neville were Aurors at first and then co-managed WWW and became an academic, respectively: here they are doing just that. In the story on which you chose to begin commenting, Dean refers to removing his family from the East End to Kent with the first money he got: hardly the pattern of an uncanonical 'Establishment rah'. Neville is a donnish person; nowhere is it indicated that he is anything but a member of the upper-middle classes, as most dons are. And to read the Seamus of 2037 as I've written him as a hidebound twit aping or assimilating to the upper classes is so perverse a misreading of a clear enough text as to be not merely barking, but Dagenham.

I don't complain of your being 'mean' (I take it you meant 'cruel' or 'nasty', not miserly); I object rather to yr being captious, impertinent, and gratuitously ad hominem. And if I have a fundamental objection to yr statements, it is that you say 'your characterisation is poor' when what you clearly mean is 'I don't agree with your characterisation' - and that your disagreement proceeds from a wilful misreading of the text in a fashion no one else seems to have misread it in.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 21st, 2010 11:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Right, then.

Your characterisation is both poor (uncanonical) and disagreeable. You're not wrong about Neville's background, but in speech he is as OOC as everyone else in your fic.

The highest British attention to the wrong detail. Nothing like it.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 21st, 2010 11:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Well, we seem to have reached an impasse, then.

'Disagreeable' is a matter of taste, and cannot be argued.

'Poor (uncanonical)' is susceptible of argument, but I cannot see that we have any chance of resolving that argument, although I may try again later.

Later, and certainly not just now, as I am going to turn my attention to a proper luncheon.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 21st, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Back to Neville, heigh-ho.

I’ve had my luncheon, I’ve had my tea, and I am still at loss.

You say you want a middle-class revolution, a world without toffs in which everyone’s middle-class at best. You also say Neville’s made to say things he’d never say, or to say them in ways he’d never say them.

Is he too posh? Not posh enough? What is it? Do make up your mind.

Is it that he puts on the regional turn when the cameras are on him? Find me a celebrity academic or author who’s not immune to the temptation, from Joad and Priestly onwards. God help us, we live in a world in which public school politicians such as Blair and Balls fake a demotic idiolect to seem more, yes, middle-class.

Is it that he’s one of his generation’s war-poets? I’ve addressed that elsewhere, as I have the fate in store for the great and good in the toils of the Honours System (and if you except senior hereditaries and life-peers who were County by birth, a peerage these days, let alone a gong, is wholly classless): is it implausible that Neville should become a poet by the age of 57 years or so? Do you think him too stupid to become so? Is that what drives your Prescottian class-chippiness?

Or is it that you think he wants to yet remain, in middle age, the Billy Bunter figure interested in tuck or the secondary and reluctant hero of seventeen years? People do change, you know, and the way in which he and Dean have changed and grown, and why, is one of the points they discuss in the text.

People do change; yet they also change in accordance with their circumstances. I am reminded of a comment by a non-British reader, but one long resident in England and having been up at two English universities, who objected that Kingsley, who is Black British, sounded too public-school. Well, Hogwarts is a public school of sorts, and it is unlikely to turn out Old Boys (and Old Girls) who speak privately in a sort of Bristolian dub-out-West fashion; yet equally, celebrity writers and dons will play up their regionalism if it suits their purpose. You may think I haven’t got the balance right to your taste: that is one thing. But to declare that the characters are objectively poorly drawn and out-of-character is a conclusion you cannot draw from those premises, not when everything about them can be reasonably deduced from canon with the intervening forty years accounted for. To say, That’s not my view, is not to say, That is objectively wrongly done. Clearly, you dislike the work; you are not obliged to read it, and you are obliged not to be deliberately displeasing about it. Feel free to write your own version, ‘remix’ it (dreadful word) to suit your class obsessions, post it as comment-fic here if you’re too ashamed to reveal your identity even now. But do leave off being a pest and a poon, won’t you? You’re turning into Gordon Brown, here, all generalities and personalities and off-point tractor statistics and class warfare, and not a halfpennyworth of sense to this intolerable deal of sack.
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