224: Harry Potter Meets the BabySitters Club – Chapter ThreePosted: April 24, 2012
Title: Harry Potter Meets the BabySitters Club
Media: Book / Movie
Topic: Harry Potter / The Baby-Sitter’s Club
Genre: Family / Friendship
URL: Harry Potter Meets the BabySitters Club – Chapter Three
Critiqued by Addicted Reader
Hello, dear readers! We’re back with chapter three of “Harry Potter Meets the BabySitters Club.” In case you’ve forgotten (and I don’t blame you), in chapter one Mrs. Figg babynapped Harry Potter from the Dursleys’ doorstep and took him to Gringotts Bank. There, she and the head goblin decided that she would adopt him and Neville Longbottom, Harry’s cousin through their mothers and also newly orphaned. In chapter two, Mrs. Figg visited her vault and then we all fell asleep as Mrs. Figg and the goblins discussed finances, estimating how much she would need to move to the U.S. with the boys.
As with last week, we start with an author’s note:
A/N: I have had a few questions about the finances and the Lordships of both the Longbottom and Potter families (waves at Mikee. “Hi Mikee!”). Simply put, they both retain the Lordships and family vaults, but Neville also inherits the Figg line, which is a Muggle Lordship. He will retain the hereditary seat for Parliament, and all such rot. (Remember, Figg is Arabella’s married name. She retained the right to pass on the Figg hereditary seat to her children, but since her oldest child passed on without children, and her youngest is going to be offed in a later chapter, behind the scenes, Neville gets the seat.) And sorry about all the confusion with the formatting on the budget table. I am trying to get used to Wordpad, when I used to have a computer with Word on it.
On a side note, in case anyone was wondering, Harry is in a nursery down the hall, being cooed over by a Goblin nanny, while the adults talk money and rituals. He will be making an apperance this chapter, along with Neville and Dumb-Old-Dork.
Hoo boy, there’s a lot going on here. Let’s start with the easy stuff and work backwards:
- The author seems to really dislike Dumbledore. Is that common?
- The answer to “where is Harry” could – and should – easily be worked into the story. Putting it in an A/N is just lazy.
- Don’t apologize for your bad formatting, go fix it!
- Finally: Lordships?!? Parliament?!?!? Where does all this “rot” come from? The author is American, and clearly has no idea of what Britain is actually like. Not everyone there is related to the Royal Family. ::headdesk::
After eating the lunch provided by the goblin cooks, Ragnok and Arabella got back down to business.
I guess that’s better than throwing it at each other.
“All right. Now that we have the finances figured out for the time being, we have a few other items to discuss. While you were down in the vaults, I have been reviewing the Longbottom and Potter wills. Essentially, both boys will be eligible to assume Lordship at eight years old. They will need to have proxies for the Wizengamot and Hogwarts Board of Governors until they obtain their majorities, but everything else will be accessible to them at eight. Their schooling will be paid for out of the trust funds set aside for them regardless of the school they go to. Lastly, Young Master Potter is not only the Potter Lord, but he is Lord Gryffindor. He is THE richest person in the Wizarding world. Most likely the Muggle world as well, but with all the pitfalls of Muggle accounting, I cannot be certain.”
Oh boy. More of this “Lordship” tripe. While not much is said in canon about appointment to the Wizengamot, nowhere is it stated or hinted that it is hereditary, and the few hints seem to indicate otherwise. The Hogwarts Board of Governors is mentioned in a bit more detail, especially in the second book. Seeing as that happens after Harry and Neville turn eight, I think it would have come up there if they had seats, even if they had proxies acting on their behalves. I’m pretty sure Harry wouldn’t have let the board suspend Dumbledore if he’d had any say at all.
As for the rest of it – I’m worried about my pillow giving out from knocking my head against the desk if I think about it any more, so I’m going to move on. Suffice it to say that this is all utter nonsense in my opinion.
“And with us moving abroad, how will that affect the Lordships?”
“They will still retain them, but the status will be inactive until such time that they move back to the UK. However, the Lordships are a non-issue at this moment, because they are locked in until the boys are eight. I have taken the liberty, Madam, to request Mme Longbottom bring Young Master Longbottom here at quarter of one, and she should be here momentarily. As such, we will move ahead with the legal adoption of Young Master Potter while we wait. We can also work on the paperwork for the Longbottom adoption as well.”
Still not going back to the “Lordships” garbage. Instead, I’ll ask whether the “legal adoption” here is the same as the “blood adoption” mentioned elsewhere. Not that I expect an answer…
“I’ll do whatever necessary for my boys.”
They’re not hers yet, so that’s kind of a creepy statement.
“All right then. I have just a few questions for you. Do you want the boys to both take the name Figg, or would you prefer them to retain their birth surnames?” asked Ragnok.
Now I’m back to wondering when Gringotts became wizarding family court. Wouldn’t this sort of thing be the Ministry’s domain?
“I would like to hypenate them for the legal paperwork, but they will be casually known as Figgs,” Arabella replied.
I’d rather be known as a Plumm.
“Very well. That is common with adoption these days, especially with the blood adoptions, where the children have the genetic traits of the birth parents and the adoptive parents,” Ragnok remarked as he made notations on both sets of paperwork. “Second question: since you have dual citizenship, once you adopt the boys, how do you choose to declare their citizenships?”
I still don’t understand this “blood adoption” business. And the use of the word “genetic” makes me want to turn to science to explain, but I know that’s futile. This is fanfiction, it is incompatible with the logic of science.
“I would like them to have American citizenship, as we will be living there. That wouldn’t affect their family lordships or anything, will it?” Arabella asked fearfully.
“No, Madam. The citizenship declaration is merely for Muggle paperwork. In the wizarding world, we allow immigration freely between countries without requiring a change in citizenship status. It is treated as a union much like America, where there are many states that make up one whole. Where do you think the bloody americans stole the phrase e. pluribus unum from?”
Ragnok is a goblin, not a wizard, why is he using “we”? Goblins and wizards only barely get along in the best of circumstances, I don’t think a goblin would be so keen on being included in the wizarding world in quite that way. Also, the author mentioned a “Muggle Lordship” above. That would be affected by citizenship.
“Alright, I will declare them American.” A sharp knock sounded on the door.
I know a lot of people who wish it were that easy to become an American citizen.
“Majesty, the Longbottoms are here,” Griphook announced.
“Let them in. We were just finishing up the paperwork here.”
Yay, Neville’s grandmother is coming! I’ve always liked her. The fact that she’s willing to give up her grandson, however, makes me think I might like this author’s version of her less.
Nora Longbottom shuffled into the room holding baby Neville in her arms akwardly as she did so. “Majesty, it is an honour to meet you. Good afternoon, Arabella.”
“Good afternoon, Nora. I hope you are feeling better. And I am sorry for your loss.”
Who’s Nora? Neville’s grandmother is Augusta. I don’t see getting Nora as a nickname for Augusta. CANON FAIL.
“About the same as usual. Old, cranky, and ornery. I will miss Frank and Alice, but I find a great deal of comfort knowing that they died war heroes. Arabella, I love my grandbaby with all of my heart, but I know I am not long for this world. This old body can’t handle it. I thank you for choosing to adopt Neville, and to raise him as your own. I would ask though, please educate him in the old pureblood rituals and customs. Harry too. They, being children of fate, need to know them the most.”
She’s awfully chipper-sounding for someone whose son and daughter-in-law were murdered within the last day or two (the author is a bit unclear on the timeline in chapter one). Yes, them dying as war heroes might be comforting later, but when the graves are that fresh – if they’ve even had time to bury them yet – I don’t think it’s really a consideration. This whole speech sounds so false to me given the circumstances.
Also, what rituals and customs? Magic isn’t a religion, it’s just a fact of life for wizards. And if Mrs. Figg is a Squib, that might make it hard for her to teach those rituals and customs that involve magic.
“That will be one of the first things I will teach them when they are old enough to understand. I will also find them tutors for Occlumency and other mind magicks that they show propensity for as they grow up. Given who they are, Occlumency is a necessity.”
Who are they? I really don’t understand what’s supposed to be so special about them if Voldemort is gone. We know he’s not, but at the time, Dumbledore was the only one worrying about him coming back, and they all seem to think Dumbledore’s opinion is worth less than that of one of Mrs. Figg’s cats. “Children of fate” my foot, none of this makes any sense.
“Yes, it is, and the Glorious Goblin Nation will provide all the necessary tutors for the magical side of things, provided you choose not to enrol them in a wizarding day school or side-by-side them in both Muggle and Wizarding primary schools. The American authorities have a way of finding out when a child is starting to show signs of accidental magic, which is usually around the time of their first year of primary school (5-6 years old), and will pay your home a visit to work out what you will do then. For now, though, we need to move on to the adoption rituals, if Mme Longbottom is finished with her paperwork?” King Ragnok finished up.
Why would goblins tutor wizards? They have very different kinds of magic. Also, which “American authorities” is this, Muggle or wizard? If he means the American equivalent of the British Ministry of Magic, that’s not so strange, the MoM detects early signs of magic as well, that’s how Muggle-born wizards get their Hogwarts letters, though I don’t think they do home visits to wizard-born children. If he means Muggle authorities detecting magic, that makes even less sense.
“I have,” Nora stated.
“Let’s move on to the ritual room then, shall we? Griphook! Please get Young Master Potter from the nursery, and meet us in the ritual room.”
Why does a bank have a ritual room and a nursery? Again, the author seems to think that a bank is also a courthouse and a community center.
“Yes, Majesty. As you wish, so mote it be,” Griphook said. “As if I would object to being little more than a gruntgoblin for the King, no matter how belittled I am treated,” he muttered as he walked out of the room bowing.
Is it just me, or did that whole little speech come out of nowhere?
“Forgive us that little outburst, madams. Griphook has been suffering moodswings since the loss of his mate a few weeks ago. She was killed, in fact, by the same Death Eaters that led the attack on your son and his wife last evening, Mme Longbottom.”
Umm… That’s random…
“Oh, my,” Nora and Arabella gasped at the same time.
“Time draws short, madams, as we need to finish this before Dumbledore comes by to poke his long crooked nose into matters that are none of his business. If you would be so kind to please follow me, we will go down the hall to the ritual room.”
It might not be any of Dumbledore’s business, but I still fail to see how it’s Ragnok’s business either. A bank would be concerned only with monetary aspects of the will, not custody issues. But I believe I’ve made that point before…
Arabella rose and followed Ragnok out of his office. Nora followed them, carrying a wide-eyed Neville in her arms. They walked a short distance down the hall and entered a room that had a solid gold door with ruby lettering on it that read “Rituals”. When they entered, they found that Griphook was already there with Harry, and had started to set up the materials needed for the ritual.
Ruby lettering? Any way I try to picture it, it sounds tacky. Like something in a rapper’s mansion.
“Ah, good. Thank you, Griphook, for your assistance. Now, there are three parts to this ritual. The first is that we bathe the adoptees in pure water to cleanse them of all dirt and grime. The second is that we spell a potion into their stomachs. The potion will contain a drop of blood from Mme Figg and a drop of blood from each of the boys, so they look both like you, Mme Figg, as well as looking more like fraternal twins. So far as the muggles will know by looking, you just had a couple of late-born children. The third part will be a spell that activates the potion. They will not feel any pain from the transformation, as they have not taken on many familial traits as of yet. Griphook will take care of bathing the boys, I am sure, while I will prep the potion.”
If the point of bathing is just so that they’re clean, why does it need to be part of the ritual? Most children are bathed daily anyway, and I’m pretty sure that dirty water is rarely used.
Why can’t they just drink the potion? Why the extra use of magic? I could understand using magic to get it into their bloodstreams, to spare them the needles, but stomachs? That’s just showing off.
Fraternal twins look as much alike as siblings – there’s a lot of variation. If the boys are already cousins, why worry about family resemblance? I’m pretty sure it’s common knowledge that sometimes siblings look a lot alike and sometimes they look very different.
And this “familial traits” thing has been mentioned before but not explained. Is that just looking like Mrs. Figg, or is there more to it? Poorly done, author. After all that time spent on Galleons and dollars, you can’t explain this important idea of “blood adoption” and “familial traits”?
Griphook had quickly bathed the boys and wrapped in warm blankets by the time Ragnok had finished his (long-winded) explanation of the ritual.
What’s with the parenthetical? Is that the author inserting an opinion? Is it there in case the reader missed the fact that Ragnok gave a rather long speech above? There are times that parentheticals work in writing, even formal writing, but this isn’t one of them.
“Ah, very good. Thank you, Griphook. If you could lay the boys down here on the alter” (a long, stone table in the centre of the room, not the kind in a church or a pagan sacrifice) “and Mme Figg, could you step here next to me so we can get your donation?”
“Alter” is a verb. It’s going to hurt when the boys fall after being put down on an abstract concept. From the parenthetical definition (see my thoughts on parentheticals above), I assume the author means altar, in which case the definition would be entirely redundant. Wiktionary has the following definition of “altar”: “A table or similar flat-topped structure used for religious rites.” So other than the fact that wizardry isn’t a religion, altar is exactly the word the author is looking for there without needing the clarification.
Arabella stepped up to the alter and held out her arm. Ragnok drew a small knife out of his clothing and e’er so carefully stuck the point of it into the tip of Arabella’s index finger. He let a single drop of it fall into each of the vials that he had before waving his hand over the wound and healing it. Then, he drew a single drop of blood from each of the boys.
“e’er”? Really?? It’s bad enough that the American author is trying to use British spelling, now we get poetic spelling too?
Flip-flopping the potions, he waved his hand and the potions disappeared, magicked straight into the children’s stomachs.
What does “flip-flopping” mean? Turning them upside down to mix? Changing their opinions? Wearing them on his feet?
“It is now time for the final step in the ritual. This is your last chance to back out before the adoption becomes magically binding. Do either of you wish to change your minds?” Ragnok asked.
“No, sir,” Arabella and Nora choroused.
Aside from the fact that “choroused” isn’t a word, it makes them sound like children answering a parent or a teacher.
“Alright then. Le Seigneur a donné, et le Seigneur a emporté ; peuvent par la puissance de l’amour, ces enfants peuvent devenir les enfants de la femme dont le sang réside dans des leurs estomacs ; comme est dit, ainsi grain il soit.“
Google translate tells me that this is French. Wizarding spells are usually Latin-based, so why French here? For those too lazy to do it themselves, here’s what Google gave me:
“The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; may by the power of love, these children may become the children of the woman whose blood is in their stomachs, as is said, and grain it is.”
Not sure about the grain there. Maybe Ragnok’s still hungry. I guess he should have eaten more at lunch.
As soon as Ragnok finished chanting, a bright golden light flashed and enveloped both boys and phoenix song sounded throughout the room. When the older occupents’ eyesight cleared, they saw the boys laying on the table, looking like copies of the other, and there were five scrolls laying on the table.
Copies of the other what? Other table? Only one was mentioned. I hope that’s not the case, I’d hate to go around looking like a table.
Upon reading the scrolls, it was discovered that Neville was the Heir of Gryffindor, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, while Harry was the Heir of Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. The fifth scroll revealed that Merlin was a common ancester of all four founders, making Harry and Neville joint Heirs of Merlin.
In case it wasn’t clear, these boys are going to be Gary Stus of the highest order. I’m also a little fuzzy on the scroll math here. Is that one scroll for each founder plus one for Merlin? And where did these scrolls come from? And how was their lineage not already known? And what does being adopted by Mrs. Figg have to do with that? If the boys are different, that’s clearly the part not being made to be related to her.
This is giving me such a headache.
Oh, also, Merlin attended Hogwarts. He must have been a pretty old student to be the ancestor of the school’s founders.
“Well, that is shocking, to say the least. Yet another reason I am so glad that you be raising them in America, Arabella. Over there, they could care less about the Hogwarts founders. Yes, the boys are important, as is their histories, but at least you won’t have people fawning over them because of their ‘famous’ ancestors,” Nora said.
If this wasn’t already common knowledge, couldn’t they just not tell in order to prevent fawning? Not to mention, pureblood wizards are rather inbred, so being descended from the founders probably isn’t that uncommon.
“Yes. There will be several changes, however, made to the boys’ ancestral vaults, but all that will be explained at a later time. For now, I have a portkey set up in my office for your transport to America, Arabella. It is a voice-activated portkey, passcode ‘Take me home’. I took the liberty of having some of our worker goblins pack and move your personal belongings to your new home, as well as Young Master Longbottom’s. They also set up a nursery for you, and everything will be waiting for you when you get there. Let’s head back to my office,” Ragnok suggested.
Now that’s efficiency. Can I hire Ragnok and his goblins the next time I have to move?
As they stepped into the hall, they were met with a frantic looking Albus Dumbledore. “Ragnok, I have been looking for you. We need to put a freeze on the Potter will, as the legal guardian of Harry is a criminal and we need to stop it before it falls into the wrong hands!”
That sounds nothing like canon Dumbledore, but given the author’s clear dislike of him, I doubt there will be much about Dumbledore in this fic that will be recognizable.
“M Dumbledore, step into my office with me and the kind Mmes Longbottom and Figg. Let’s have a little chat, shall we?”
So I was a little unsure about Ragnok’s use of “Mme” for “Madam” in an English-speaking country, but I let it go, since “Madam” is used is at least some contexts. “M” stands for “Monsieur,” however, and I’m pretty sure that that’s an uncommon address in Britain. Not to mention that there is no evidence of it at all in the Harry Potter books. I think the author is trying to be fancy, but it just looks silly to me.
The group of 3 adults, a goblin, and a pair of toddlers went into the Goblin King’s office, where, with a wave of Ragnok’s hand, four chairs, two highchairs, and a table popped into existance.
Does the author’s computer not have spellcheck? Seriously, most of the writing is technically sound, but then there are these obvious misspellings scattered throughout. It’s a bit jarring.
“M Dumbledore, the Potter will has already been executed. Arabella Figg, in accordance to the deceased’s wishes, has adopted both Harry Potter as well as Neville Longbottom. It is done and over with,” Ragnok said, glancing over at Arabella, who casually picked up the boys to hold them.
Highchairs are complex contraptions. I’m not so sure about “casually” picking up one child from a highchair, let alone two.
“NO! Harry will not be safe unless he is with the Dursleys! There were blood wards erected for his safety!”
“There were no blood wards erected! Lily Potter had been adopted! She was in no way blood related to that giraffe-necked banshee Petunia Dursley! Now get off of your high horse and accept the fact that you will not be controlling either of my children and that is final!” Arabella screeched.
Whoa, no buried animosity there! Also, I find it extremely hard to believe that Dumbledore wouldn’t know that Lily was adopted. He was very close to the Potters before they were killed.
“Now see here! I am the Chief Warlock, and what I say goes!” Dumbledore starts to rant, before being cut off by Ragnok, who called out, “Mme Figg, catch!”
See what I mean about un-Dumbledore-like behavior? Also, be careful of that tense change there!
He tossed an American-style football towards Arabella, who caught it, called out “Take me home” and was whisked away to her family’s new home in Stoneybrook, Connecticut.
Portkey in the nick of time FTW! I have to ask, though, if she’s already holding two 16-month-old boys, how is Mrs. Figg able to catch a football?
Yay! We’re done.
A/N2: Next chapter will be a three-year jump to 1984, where we will see Harry and Neville playing in their yard and meeting the neighbour children, Karen and Andrew Brewer.
I ask again: why should be bother to read the story if you’re going to put it all in author’s notes?
Join me next week as we reach the lukewarm conclusion of this ridiculous fic.