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The fourth Plinth - 3a - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
The fourth Plinth - 3a


Sociomantic Cultural Studies was, Hermione considered, entirely the fault of that ass, Smith – although one did one’s best not to speak ill of the dead. The Celebrated Coward of the Battle of Hogwarts had gone to ground after the War amongst the Muggles, as not a few Wizards and Witches whose pasts did not bear much examination had done; and, like not a few of those who’d exiled themselves, had found in Muggle culture a strange new fascination.

Of that, in itself, Hermione, naturally, had no complaint. In Smith’s case, however, the result was one that she had not at all cared for, and yet did not. The man had redeemed himself and purged himself of his cowardice in battle what time he had saved a Certain Hogwarts Student – at the cost of his own life – from being injured or killed in the terror attacks that had killed so many, Ginny Potter not least. Yet Hermione even now could not forgive the man from bringing into the Wizarding world the Muggle phenomenon of boy-bands.

It wasn’t so much a matter of taste (although her musicologically-inclined son, Darling Hugo, was positively sulphurous on the subject), nor, of course, was she at all disturbed, as her more hidebound colleagues and contemporaries were (Harry not least: the man was a complete Blimp these days), by the increasing pace of change (in one generation the Wizarding world had gone from Celestina Warbeck, to the Weird Sisters, the Hippogriffs of Fire, and No Æon, to, now, b*Speld – ridiculous name; absurd orthography – and the Diagonals and That Lot (not a collective term, but the actual name of a group)).

No, what Hermione could not forgive was that the phenomenon, which Rose, mercifully, had had no taste for (Lily, naturally, had been another story, which was the beginning of the problem, really), had spawned ... fanfiction.

Hermione prided herself on her open-mindedness, the more so as her courses were lain all too often amongst a largely military and police acquaintance and family. (Blimps, the lot of them. Honestly.) It had perturbed her mightily to discover that there was fanfiction – fanfiction that she blushed, positively blushed, to read (although she kept reading it, rather obsessively, if truth were told) – that made it impossible ever again to look at a Martin Miggs comic paper, or to get through Beedle or Fairy Tails or La Bloxam’s works without feeling tainted. She had been simply appalled to find that schoolwitches – and worse, yet, otherwise respectable Witches of her own age – were reading (and, scandalously, writing and passing ’round) positively rude stories about Harry and Malfoy ... and Ron. It made her feel quite unsettled. (Fortunately, she had never yet confronted the stories that were written ’round Teddy. Or Freddikins. Or Hugo. Or Albie and Scorp. And she had no idea that there were Sapphic stories involving her various nieces, her friends, and her daughter. She had combusted, had she known.)

But the greatest blame, she considered, fell to Smith’s innovations. The boy-bands had not only spawned – an apt word, she felt – a cottage industry of naughty stories (Scorpius, having heard one of her rants, had whispered to Al, ‘Cottaging industry?’), but had caused a resurgence of interest in the writing and reading of smutty stories attributing terrible, horrid behaviours to the Weird Sisters. (Admittedly, their stage presence and costumes made them, Hermione conceded, easily thus characterised; and she could not work up any indignation at all on behalf of that utter shit, Lockhart.)

In any event, this was, Hermione confided, the soil – the muck, in fact – from which the unhealthy flower of Sociomantic Cultural Studies had sprung; and it had been a very great misfortune that Lily, with a proper intellectual curiosity, had been drawn into its toils, and thence into low and louche company that had left her wounded.

Hermione, had she known, had been horrified beyond comprehension that it was not a laudable intellectual curiosity alone that had drawn Lily towards Sociomantic Cultural Studies, and that, in fact, Lily had long been a writer of fanfiction and a quite avid consumer of it. That Al and Scorp also read it with considerable interest should have left her prostrate. Harry, who of course Knew All, had gone to great lengths to keep anyone from enlightening his formidable sister-in-law as to these salacious facts.


Domdaniel and Hogwarts Worthies have long been a source of anecdote that has merged into legend. The story, for example, of how Minerva McGonagall, on the first day of term in the reopened Hogwarts after the Victory and its rebuilding, walked into her classroom and began her lecture as she had meant to deliver it on 5 May 1998, had she not ‘been unavoidably interrupted’, is still retailed with glee.

Yet these legends and school and university Worthies are, at the end of the day, flesh and blood Witches and Wizards. And because of the awe, not unmixed with affectionate familiarity and consequent underestimation of their powers, that they inspire, they hear things and see things that might otherwise be more guardedly advanced, and know things that are not commonly known, and have access that is not commonly granted; and all this in addition to the fact that they are legendary Worthies because they are formidably learned and extremely well-versed in the arts magical.


When Lily arrived, in no very easy mood, at the old Plinth, then, it was to find that Xeno and Uncle Nev had been joined by a tart and purse-mouthed Aunt Minnie, who was rather pointedly noting, by way of proem, that her competency was in Transfiguration and not in History of Magic, but that she would assist so far as she might.

‘Aye, Min,’ said Neville, who was one of the few who could get by with that, ‘happen you’re not on strength in the Faculty of History, but you are Scots, and it’s among Scots, sithee, that need-fire was latest used.’

‘Mphm. That’s as may be, lad. But ye ken that it’s no’ a Scots tradition alone. Whit time the Romans hadna yet come tae the Islands o’ Britain, aye tribe in the land raised need-fire, teine-éiginn, at the quarter days, and Beltane the chiefest o’ them. Aye, it could well be that this was a place for it, a site.

‘Whit ye want to ask is, Why? Why here? And for that, ye maun look tae the country ’round. Aneath the modren landscape are the auld forms o’ the land, ye ken. And a’ the Thames tae aither bank is a cursus. Ye maun determine wi’ preceeesion why it micht ha’ happened jist here. Ye ken that, in whit was a sacred landscape lang syne, the choice o’ ane place o’er anither is significant; and whit ane tribe or clan or group found in it tae choose, anither may the like, efter.

‘Is that no’ the way o’ it, Lily-lass?’

Lily, who had not wished to interrupt (or indeed to be there, or indeed, fond hope, to be noticed and remarked), squared her shoulders.

‘Yes, Professor. And we are North of the Thames.’

‘Aye? And ha’ ye news, then?’

‘Yes, Professor. We have found a Mjöllnir pendant – Ninth Century work – in Septimus Rankshaw-Pyke’s rooms. Or, rather, the second set of rooms he was using as a bolt-hole and safe-house. It’s been made a Portkey.’

Harry grimaced. He well knew that no power on earth, including a direct order from him, could keep or could have kept – as they’d surely have wasted no time – Teddy, Millie, and quite likely Den and his section, from using the damned thing.


‘Oh, really,’ said Freddie as he, Teddy, Uncle Den, and a section of Midlands Aurors arrived in a graveyard, via Portkey. ‘This is not on. Must people obsess over every detail of Uncle Harry’s career?’


‘Message for you, sir.’

Harry nodded, and held out his hand for the Yondale Mk IV portable Floo – based on a Muggle cigarette lighter.

‘Avelyn. Ah. Hullo, Viktor. Is he? Thank you.’ There was a pause. ‘No need to shout, Dudley, I can hear you. Yes? Yes, quite. Oh, are they? Right. I don’t know that Greg is musical, but you might, when you see him, mention Sibelius to him. The Swan of Tuonela. Right. Do let me know how you get on.’

Hugo’s mother, who prided herself on a cultivation that she knew her brother-in-law not to possess, was looking at Harry with raised brows.

‘We’re evidently dealing with a ragtag band of idiots obsessed with Nordic myth. And you do recall Cho’s Patronus, I trust?’

Hermione’s eyes widened.

‘It really had been much simpler,’ said Harry, as he had said far too often before, ‘were these damned comms devices capable of letting you lot earwig in as I converse. I blame Brampton.’ Harry’s relations with the division of 3W, located in Church Brampton, Northants, and known as Brampton Labs, which George had spun off expressly to make defence technology, were always fraught.


Before Freddie had finished dramatising – a tendency in him that had just now earnt him yet another rocket from Colonel Creevey, as it had in the past, and, as Freddie was literally incorrigible, should doubtless do in future – the Aurors had secured the area and assessed it for threats, which were in fact nonexistent.

It was, Teddy was noting with precision and his well-known eidetic memory, a Viking burial site on the order of Lindholm Høje, with mixed pagan, Christian, and wager-hedging burials apparent.

And although there was no threat present, there was a very nervous Wizard, quite a young man, with his wand held out in a rather shaky hand.

‘Hm,’ said Den Creevey. ‘Rankshaw-Pyke, Septimus, I gather?’

The Wizard nodded, still very much on the qui vive.

‘Be at ease, lad. The Auroralty’s here. M’ name’s Creevey – y’ may have heard it before.’



To be continued…


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8 comments or Leave a comment
noeon From: noeon Date: June 8th, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

I am b*Speld and b*Sotted


It gets better and better.

And why shouldn't Harry BLAMEBRAMPTON, eh?

So many silly moments, but I think Hermione and her growing love/hate/other of fanfic is the centerpiece in this for me. I would imagine her children would be horrified to find out what Mother ships.

Oh, and Minerva. Of course.

wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 8th, 2011 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)


I'm greatly obliged.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: June 8th, 2011 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yay! We're Back!

Boy bands. Fan fiction. Hermione.

wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 8th, 2011 08:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well, perhaps not priceless.

absynthedrinker From: absynthedrinker Date: June 9th, 2011 03:56 am (UTC) (Link)
To make that which is loathsome,lovable is a rare talent indeed. Finely done!

wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 9th, 2011 11:56 am (UTC) (Link)


You're very kind.
germankitty From: germankitty Date: September 17th, 2011 09:53 am (UTC) (Link)

Ooh, want more!

'Nuff said. :) *still giggling about Hermione's rather horrified fascination with fanfic*
wemyss From: wemyss Date: September 17th, 2011 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

In good time.

Thanks, love.
8 comments or Leave a comment