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Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Chapter Seventeen: A Sluggish Memory
summary:
this chapter has a lot of people getting pissed and getting pissy. you decide which and when.

the holidays are over, and it's time to head back to school! Mrs. Weasley is in a right state 'cause PoncyPercy is, well, a poncy git. back on Christmas Eve he got pissy and stormed out after someone hit him with some mashed parsnip (many are proud to claim responsibility). the Weasley kids +1 calm her as best they can, promise to be good (haha), and floo back to Hogwarts.

the Fat Lady tells them they have the wrong password though. she got pissed over the holidays, and she's being pissy now to the students. it's RavenclawHermione to the rescue though, with the new password. she also hands GryffindorHarry a scroll from Dumbledore (lesson tomorrow night!), and wants to know what his big news is. HufflepuffRon tries to say something, but she gets pissy and completely ignores him. he doesn't have long to sulk over it though, 'cause Lavender appears as they enter the common room. she makes the sacrifice of throwing herself on his face. ("Won Won!") way to take one for the team, Lavender! I know a few others who would have fought you for the job.

anyway, with HufflepuffRon out of the way, SlytherinHermione will speak freely with GryffindorHarry. he asks her if she can – but her answer is no. gee, wonder what he was going to ask. and after several failed attempts at this he gives up just goes on with his news. he tells her about Draco and Snape at Slughorn's Christmas party, and about Lupin with the werewolves. but of course SlytherinHermione has the exact same reaction as everyone else to his Draco and Snape news. couldn't Snape have been lying to find out what Draco was up to. yes, yes, it's not like he hasn't heard that umpteen times already. but he does at least get her to admit that he was right about Draco being up to something. then RavenclawHermione reminds him of where they know the name Greyback from (Draco threatened Borgin with him), and RavenclawHarry uses this as proof that Draco is a Death Eater. SlytherinHermione still isn't sure. he then tells her about his "row" with Scrimgeour. SlytherinHarry is such a rebel.

time to learn apparition! if you’re 17 or will 17 by August 31st, you can go to lessons. you can't take the test until you're 17 though. so the Trio can all take the lessons, and GryffindorHermione could take her test now, but GryffindorRon won't be able to take the test until March, and GryffindorHarry won't be able to until July. GryffindorHarry becomes an instant celebrity (like he wasn't before?), 'cause he's been on a side-along apparition before. and everyone wants to question him on what it feels like. this lasts all day, and SlytherinHarry finally has to LIE so he can leave and get to his lesson with Dumbledore.

off to Dumbledore's office, where SlytherinHarry makes an old man cry by telling him he's "Dumbledore’s man through and through". he then tells him about Draco and Snape, and gets the usual "I trust Snape, now STFU" in response. SlytherinHarry gets pissy, but what else is new? but it's time for the lessons now, and Dumbledore has a couple memories this time.

we get a little history about TVG at Hogwarts. how he charmed all the teachers. how he didn't have any real friends, but he did have a crowd who followed him, wanting power, protection, and a way to be cruel – the original Death Eaters. how he was obsessed with his parentage, and after not finding a single record of his father at Hogwarts, he had to admit that his mother was the magical one. and then much searching later, he finds the name 'Marvolo' and discovers he's descended from Salazar Slytherin. he goes in search of his mother's family the summer after his 6th year.

the 1st memory is from Morfin Gaunt. he's pissed, but when TVG barges into the Gaunt house one night, he gets pissy. they hiss at each other in parseltongue for a while. Morfin rants on about TVG's history without knowing who he is, and TVG finds out that his father lives in the big house over the way. TVG stuns his uncle, Morfin, steals Marvolo's ring, takes Morfin's wand, goes to the big house, and kills his dad and his grandparents. then he comes back and makes Morfin think he did the killing. the MoM comes and takes Morfin away after he confesses, and he dies in Azakaban. meanwhile TVG is long gone.

the 2nd memory doesn't seem to want to leave the bottle. it's from Professor Slughorn, from back when he taught TVG. unfortunately Slughorn has tampered with the memory, so it's not accurate. TVG asks him about Horcruxes, but the memory has been tampered with so they don't know what Slughorn actually told him. Dumbledore says that Slughorn changed the memory to make himself sound better, and that it's a good thing that it was so badly done 'cause that means that the real memory is still there.

Dumbledore gives GryffindorHarry homework. get the real memory from Slughorn. no problem, right? hahahaha!

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No. Friggin’. Way. Snape totally did not do that to Professor Dumbledore. No!

Snape grabs Malfoy by the scruff of the neck and drags him down the stairs of the Astronomy Tower. The other Death Eaters follow and Harry finds he can move again. He Petrificus Totalus’s the last Death Eater and makes chase. Down the stairs, he finds a battle being fought. Snape and Malfoy escape, but Greyback comes back and attacks Harry. He freezes the werewolf and continues to chase. He sees several of the Order fighting Death Eaters along the way and helps Ginny fight another. Eventually, he sees that the Death Eaters are heading towards the main doors.

Outside, Harry sees Snape, Malfoy, and a blonde Death Eater racing across the grounds. Hagrid emerges from his cabin and tries to stop them. Harry gets hit from behind and the brother and sister Death Eaters are behind him. He jinxes them and continues the chase. Hagrid fights the blonde Death Eater. Harry tries to Stupefy Snape. Snape tells Draco to run before stopping to wait for Harry. Hagrid’s house catches fire thanks to Blondie. Harry tries to Crucio Snape, but Snape stops him. Again and again and again after every jinx Harry tries to spit out, because he hasn’t mastered Occlumency and Snape can read his mind. Harry gets hit by something and is in pain, but Snape stops it, saying Harry belongs to the Dark Lord. Harry struggles to go after Snape again, a man he hates just as much as VoldeTom. Whoa! He’s about to Sectumsempra and Levicorpus, but Snape stops him yet again.

“No, Potter!” Snape yells. Harry soars backwards. He dares to use Snape’s own spells against him… For Snape is the Half-Blood Prince! Harry tells Snape to kill him… and then calls Snape a coward. Snape goes mental and capslock. “DON’T CALL ME A COWARD!” His face is demented and inhuman, as if he’s in a lot of pain. Harry gets ‘whipped’ on the cheek and thrown back. Buckbeak chases Snape, but once he’s off grounds, he Disapparates.

Harry turns his attention to Hagrid, who carries Fang out of his burning house. Harry and Hagrid put the fire out. Nothing Dumbledore won’t be able to set right, according to Hagrid. Harry tells him that Snape killed Dumbledore, but Hagrid doesn’t believe it. He still thinks Snape is keeping his cover as a double agent. But Hagrid finds out soon enough. As he takes Harry back to the castle, they see a group congregating at the foot of the Astronomy Tower. Hagrid goes to check it out with Harry in tow. It’s Dumbledore. Dead. The locket that he and Harry had taken from the cave fell out of his pocket. Harry picks it up. It’s not the same locket as in the Pensieve. Harry takes a piece of parchment from inside it. There is a note to the Dark Lord. “I know you will be dead long before you read this but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret. I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. I face death in the hope that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once more. R.A.B.” Which means this locket isn’t a Horcrux. Dumbledore weakened himself with the potion for nothing. Harry cries. Fang howls. Dumbledore is gone.

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Poor underage wizards Ron and Harry. As Harry tells Ron about Snape offering to help Malfoy because of the Unbreakable Vow he made with Narcissa, they have to peel sprouts by hand for Christmas dinner at The Burrow. Ron remembers the time when saucy tricksters, Fred and George, tried to get him to make an Unbreakable Vow and Mr. Weasley went mental. Fred’s left buttock had never been the same since. Ahem.

At this point, the saucy tricksters themselves enter the kitchen, noting that Ron and Harry have to use knives instead of peeling sprouts by magic. They both sit and bother Won-Won, making him cut his thumb and grilling him about Lavender Brown and how she got brain damage. Oh, those saucy tricksters! But Ron doesn’t think as much… he throws a sprout knife at Fred who changes the knife into a paper aeroplane with the flick of a wand. He’s snazzy! Mrs. Weasley spies the William Tell exhibition and yells at Ron. She explains the rooming situation to them, with Ginny having to share with Fleur(eep!), that Uncle Remus will be there, and that Percy isn’t expected home for Christmas. He’s the world’s biggest prat! Fred and George decide to take off. Ron asks them to help with the sprouts so he and Harry don’t have to work anymore, but the older brothers decide to teach the younger one a lesson about throwing knives. They take off to the village to meet me at the paper shop so they can dazzle me with their card tricks. Those saucy tricksters!

Ron is p.o.ed at them, but Harry isn’t really fussed since Dumbledore told him not to go wandering around. Besides, Harry is still stuck on the Malfoy plan and he’s going to tell Dumbledore about it. Ron thinks that no one will believe him, because they’ll say Snape isn’t really trying to help Malfoy… he’s just trying to figure out what Malfoy is up to.

Christmas Eve night. Ginny decorates the living room with paper chains. Fred, George, Ron, and Harry are the only ones who know that the angel on the tree is really a garden gnome: Stupefied, painted gold, and stuffed into a miniature tutu with small wings glued to its back. Serves the varmint right for biting the lovely Fred on the ankle! They’re subjected to listening to a Christmas broadcast of Mrs. Weasley’s favorite singer, Celestina Warbeck. Fleur finds her very dull. Gee, with a song called, “A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love,” can you go wrong? Can the Tweasley’s bring some to me at the paper shop?

Harry chats with Mr. Weasley about what’s going on at the Ministry. Stan Shunpike is still locked up, the poor schmuck. Harry then tells him about what he overheard Malfoy and Snape say. Mr. Weasley brings up the pretending to offer help bit. Lupin agrees because if Dumbledore trusts Snape, then the OotP does.

Thankfully, Celestina sings her last song of the night and Mr. Weasley fetches eggnog. Uncle Remus tells Harry about his work among the werewolves, nearly all of whom are on VoldeTom’s side. They think they’ll have a better life with VoldeTom in charge, and Fenrir Greyback who considers it his life mission to bite and contaminate as many people as possible, has been promised prey in return for his services. Jerk! He wants to create enough werewolves to overcome the wizards. Uncle Remus was bitten by Greyback after Papa Lupin offended the jerk. Harry asks Uncle Remus if he knows the Half-Blood Prince. Nope. And it’s not any of the Marauders, although Harry had hoped it was one of his favorites.

After Fleur’s bad imitation of “A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love” it’s time for bed.

Harry wakes up the next morning by Ron, who’s holding a thick gold chain… a present from Lav-Lav. Ron is revolted. Harry laughs and encourages him to wear it in front of Fred and George. Ron pretty much says that his relationship with Lav is mostly snogging. He asks if Hermione is really going out with McLaggen and is a bit more cheerful when Harry isn’t sure. Harry gets a home-made Mrs. Weasley sweater, a large box of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes from the generous twins, and a package of maggots from Kreacher… which Harry says he’d rather have than a Sweetheart necklace. Haha!

Downstairs, everyone but Fleur sports a sweater, while Mrs. Weasley sports a beautiful ahem witches hat and a golden necklace, again from the generous twins. Aren’t they thoughtful? Apparently they appreciate her more and more now that they have to wash their own SOCKS! Ron almost spills gravy on Fleur, to which she says he’s almost as clumsy as Tonks. Speaking of, Mrs. Weasley asks Uncle Remus if he’s spoken to her lately and then gives him an annoyed look. Harry asks about Tonks’s new Patronus. Uncle Reums says that a Patronus can change after a great shock or emotional upheaval. And then…

Percy shows up! But he’s not alone. Minister of Magic Scrimgeour is there too. Mrs. Weasley throws her arms around Poncey, and he gives her a stiff, “Merry Christmas, Mother.” He looks like he’d rather be anywhere else. Mr. Weasley and the smart twins observe him, stony-faced. Scrimgeour leaves Percy to the Wolves, I mean Weasleys, and asks Harry to step out for a stroll in the yard with him. Most curious. Ginny, Fleur, and George also have clean plates… Why the hell didn’t the Minister pick George? Oh, well. His loss.

Outside, Scrimgeour tells Harry that he’s been wanting to meet Harry for a long time, but Dumbledore was protective of him. He wants to know if he’s really the “Chosen One” and what he and Dumbledore have discussed. Harry won’t tell him, because he’s Dumbledore’s man through and through. But does it really matter if he’s the Chosen One or not? Either way, Harry is a symbol of hope and Scrimgeour wants him to stand alongside the Ministry to give everyone a boost. Harry asks that if he’s seen popping in and out of the Ministry, won’t it look like he approves of what the Ministry is doing? Like keeping poor schmuck’s like Stan Shunpike in jail. Harry doesn’t want to be used. And Harry doesn’t think that it matters to the Ministry whether he’s the Chosen One or not… whether he lives or dies, just as long as it looks like they‘re winning the war against VoldeTom. Harry holds up his hand to show off the “I must not tell lies” scar. The Ministry wasn’t so keen to be pals last year. Scrimgeour wants to know what Dumby is doing when he’s not at Hogwarts. Harry honestly doesn’t know.

The end.

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Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Chapter Twelve: Silver And Opals
summary:
just where is Dumbledore, and what is he up to? the Trio really want to know. if only they could SPY and find out, since that's what they're so good at. HufflepuffHarry had felt comforted by the lessons with the barmy old codger, now he just feels all emo and abandoned. come back, Dumbledore! I'm not big fan, but at least if you come back we won't have ANGSTy CAPSLOCK!HARRY! again!

it's October, and a Hogsmeade weekend! yay! but the weather sucks! boo! RavenclawHarry has been spending a lot of his very sparse free time reading through all the scribbles in the Half-Blood Prince's potions book. in addition to the potions notes, there are all sortsa spells, hexes, jinxes, and curses scribbled in the margins. RavenclawHarry has even taken to "studying" in bed, which SlytherinRon says is indecent for anyone except RavenclawHermione. (bet SlytherinRon probably knows all the decent and indecent things SlytherinHermione does in bed. but I digress...) SlytherinHarry decides to try out one of the nonverbal spells in the margins, even though he has NO IDEA what it will do. good plan, HufflepuffHarry!

LEVICORPUS!

SlytherinHarry thinks the spell, pointing his wand at nothing in particular. there's a sudden flash of light, SlytherinHarry drops the book, and HufflepuffRon goes flying into the air, being held aloft by his ankle. fun times. HufflepuffHarry has to scramble for the book and finally finds the counter-spell. by the time they go for breakfast, GryffindorRon finds the whole thing hilarious, but SlytherinHermione disapproves, of course, since she disapproves of everything relating to the Half-Blood Prince's book. she wants to know who on earth would think such a spell is funny. uh, GryffindorRon and GryffindorHarry? don't you see them laughing? they're sitting right beside you!

TWeasleys! the TWeasleys would think it's funny, GryffindorRon points out! HufflepuffHarry realizes that his dad used this very spell against Snape, and gets all angsty, even though he lies to the others as to how he knows his dad used it. unbelievably the others buy this lie, 'cause yeah, Lupin would mention in casual conversation that James used Levicorpus to float Snape around back in the day. makes perfect sense. not. but HufflepuffHarry has the sudden thought that maybe, *gasp* could the HBP be his dad? nevermind that his dad was pure-blood, HufflepuffHarry is grasping at straws here as he enjoys a possible link to his BullyDad. the enjoyment is very short-lived as SlytherinHermione points out that Death Eaters used the jinx at the Quidditch World Cup, which makes HufflepuffHarry feel *so* much better about his BullyDad (thanks, SlytherinHermione!), and she uses this fact as supposed proof that the HBP is a Death Eater.

this leads to a discussion about whether a Death Eater would boast about being a "half-blood". SlytherinHermione points out that the Death Eaters hate muggle-borns, and both GryffindorRon and GryffindorHarry could join up if they wanted. both of them counter loudly as to why they wouldn't be wanted, while GryffindorRon hits Ernie upside the head with a sausage (I'm not making this up, folks), and there's some rather odd laughter at all this blood business. but it's interrupted by, ah, Ginny! she has a note from Dumbledore (who sends a note to be delivered even though he's not even at school? how the hell? nevermind. on with the story!). GryffindorHarry's next lesson with Dumbledore will be Monday night. HufflepuffHarry asks if Ginny will join them in Hogsmeade, but she's going with Dean. HufflepuffHarry sad now. *tear* *wants taco*

off to Hogsmeade! where to be honest, the Trio has a wholly miserable time. the weather sucks, and everyone is bundled up against the freezing cold, wind, and sleet. Zonko's joke shop has been boarded up (but that's just a good excuse for the TWeasleys to open a Hogsmeade branch!). the Trio take refuge from the weather in Honeydukes, only to be cornered by Slughorn who proceeds to *completely* ignore HufflepuffRon's presence yet again. he invites GryffindorHarry and GryffindorHermione to supper again, but SlytherinHarry ducks out of it. turns out, SlytherinHarry has been ducking all of Slughorn's parties by claiming Quidditch practice. the good thing about this plan is that it gets him and Ginny out of the parties, and HufflepuffRon doesn't feel left out. as Slughorn leaves, SlytherinHermione makes the heartless mistake of mentioning how good the parties are. but she at least has the good grace to realize her mistake, and tries to change the subject. too late though! HufflepuffRon is all ANGSTy and miserable now.

the miserableness continues as they leave Honeydukes. huddled outside the Three Broomsticks, the Trio spots Mundungus talking to the barman from the Hog's Head. as the barman leaves, Mundungus drops his suitcase and GryffindorHarry sees the contents (which includes a GOBLET!). it's stuff from Grimmauld Place! Mundungus is stealing from Sirius! scratch that, as RavenclawHermione later reminds GryffindorHarry, Mundungus is stealing from him since GryffindorHarry owns Grimmauld Place now. GryffindorHarry is pissed! and he proceeds to choke Mundungus with his wand drawn, until it's all broken up by Tonks. Mundungus escapes, and Tonks is so down, depressed, and emo, she doesn't seem to care about the thievery at all. the Trio head into the Three Broomsticks while CAPSLOCK!HARRY! fumes on.

once inside, they try to calm SlytherinHarry down, and HufflepuffRon stares at the bar. SlytherinHermione tells him that Madam Rosmarta isn't up there. maybe that's not why he's staring, hmm? jealous much, SlytherinHemrione? the conversation dies as SlytherinHermione glares from HufflepuffRon to the bar, and since the absolute miserableness is only continuing, GryffindorHarry suggests going back to school. the rest of the Trio agree, and they head back out into the nasty weather, following Katie Bell and her friend, Leanne.

HufflepuffHarry is all depressed that he didn't get to see Ginny while in Hogsmeade, and imagines her off with Dean and Madam Puddifoot's. his ANGSTing is interrupted by the scene ahead of them. Katie and Leanne appear to be arguing about something, and Leanne tries to pull a brown paper wrapped package from Katie. Katie pulls it back, drops the package, and rises into the air. then she starts shrieking and screaming, and as Leanne and the Trio try to pull her down, she falls, and GryffindorHarry and GryffindorRon catch her. she continues screaming, thrashing, and twitching. GryffindorHarry runs off for help, and finds Hagrid who had just been visiting Grawp. Hagrid goes back with GryffindorHarry, and carries Katie swiftly up to the school.

GryffindorHarry wraps his scarf around the package Katie dropped, and picks it up. RavenclawHermione interrogates Leanne as they hurry back to the school. it's the cursed opal necklace inside the package that GryffindorHarry saw in Borgin and Burkes years ago, so of course SlytherinHarry goes into 'Draco's evil' mode, and blames Draco. RavenclawHermione says that the necklace was in B&B when she went in there after Draco, so Draco couldn't have bought it then. Leanne says that Katie came out of the Three Broomsticks bathroom with it saying that it was a gift for someone at the school but wouldn't say who had given it to her. she had told Katie not to take it to the school, and that's when the scuffle happened. Leanne realizes that Katie must have been under the Imperius.

McGonagall meets them at the door of the school, sends the necklace with Filch to Snape, and takes the Trio and Leanne to her office for another interrogation. they all repeat their stories. after Leanne is sent off to the hospital wing for shock (though no one accompanies her! here, you're in shock! wander off on your own to the hospital wing. I'm sure you’ll be fine!), GryffindorHarry goes back into conspiracy theory mode. he finds out that Dumbledore isn't at the school, so he has to admit all his Draco theories to McGonagall. she listens, but tells GryffindorHarry quite logically that they can't do anything to Draco with no proof at all. plus, there's the little fact that Draco wasn't in Hogsmeade 'cause he was in detention with McGonagall for not doing his homework! drat it!

the Trio head out, and SlytherinHarry participates in the 'who was supposed to get the necklace' conversation, even though he's ticked at the others. they think it could have been meant for Dumbledore or Slughorn, and RavenclawHarry rules out himself. GryffindorHarry is still determined it's Draco behind it all, claiming that Draco had an accomplice. the rest of the Trio aren't convinced. RavenclawRon goes into his expert strategist mode, and starts commenting on the not-so-well planned aspects of the attack. RavenclawHarry comments on Draco's lack of great planning skills. but yet again, the rest of the Trio aren't convinced.

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Sectumsempra

After Harry tells the other two about the Horcruxes and Dumbledore letting him go with him on the next adventure to look for them, Ron tells Harry that he and Lavender break up. Big deal. Whatever. Herms then tells the boys that Ginny and Dean broke up. Harry likes this, but isn't going to admit it, the pansy! Oh, and Katie comes back, which means they have their old team again.

All alone and on his way to wherever, Harry checks the map and sees that Malfoy is in the boys restroom on the floor below. So, of course, he goes down there. He finds Malfoy crying it up with Myrtle, who is trying to comfort him as Malfoy goes on about how "he's going to kill me" or whatever. No one cares Malfoy! You're a loser and nobody likes you! Anyway, Malfoy sees Harry seeing him and starts in with the curses, and right before he can use Crucio on Harry, Harry uses the Half-blood Prince's Sectumsempra spell on Malfoy, which seems to deeply cut whoever you use it on. Myrtle yells and, who else but Snape comes in to heal Malfoy and act like he wants to be his sugar daddy or something.

After taking Malfoy up to the Hospital wing, Snape digs into Harry's mind and sees the Prince's potion book. He then orders Harry to get all of his school books. Harry borrows Ron's copy of Advanced Potion Making and hides his in a room from the Room of Requirement. This room is filled with tons of crap that people have hidden. He puts the book in a cupboard and puts a bust with a wig and tiara on top so that he knows where it's at later, then dashes down to Snape and hands over his books.

But Snape knows that's not his copy, of course, because Ron used the now malfunctioning auto-spell quill and has his name misspelled inside the front cover. Snape gives Harry detention for the rest of term, Saturday mornings. This means that Harry will miss the last match and the Gryfs with surely lose.

Spoiler alert: They don't lose. While Harry is copying his father and godfather's lame crimes from their years at Hogwarts, Ron, Ginny and the others on the team kick ass and win. When Harry gets back to the common room, they cheer and he kisses Ginny. How's Ron feel about this? He doesn't really care. Whoopdy doopdy.
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The Felix Felicis wears off as Harry gets to the Fat Lady’s portrait. She’s none too pleased about the time and tells him that the password has changed and if he doesn’t like it, go take it up with the Headmaster. Too bad he isn’t here.

Or is he?

Nearly Headless Nick arrives to tell him that Dumby has returned. Harry runs for Dumby’s office and tells him that he has secured the memory from Slughorn. Yay! Well done! Dumby grabs the Pensieve, puts the memory in and they both dive in. They see the same scene as before, with all of the Slug Club of the day, sitting on the floor, and admiring the Slug. When the clock strikes 11 o’clock, Sluggy sends them on their way. But Tom lags behind. And asks. About. ::Gasp:: Horcruxes!

Now here’s what Sluggy really says. “Project for Defense Against the Dark Arts, is it?”

Uh. Yeah. Anyway, Sluggy tells him that it’s hard to find a book at Hogwarts that will give him details about Horcruxes, as it is Dark stuff indeed. But if anyone can tell ol’ Tommy, it’s Sluggy! Slughorn explains that a Horcrux is the word used for an object in which a person has concealed part of their soul. If you split your soul and hide it in a Horcrux, then if your body is attacked or destroyed, the hidden part of the soul remains undamaged. But according to Sluggy, death would be preferable.

Then Tom asks how you split your soul. Sluggy gets uncomfortable, but is too stupid to just end the conversation. Anyhoo, you can split your soul by committing an act of muuuuurrrrrrrder! Murder most foul! Killing rips the soul apart. But Sluggy doesn’t know how to actually encase one’s soul into a Horcrux. Thank you for at least making Tommy Boy figure something out on his own!

Is one Horcrux really of use? ponders Tom. Surely, you need a backup. Like say, seven!

Slughorn yelps and is deeply troubled, FINALLY regretting getting into this conversation. He tells Voldetom to keep quiet. Tom agrees, but is quite happy about all of the information.

Dumby and Harry leave the Pensieve. Dumby’s been waiting for this piece of evidence for a long time, and it supports his theory that Voldemort tore his soul into seven pieces, although no wizard had ever done more than tear his soul in two before. Crikey! Dumbledore also says that he received proof that Tommy split his soul and encased it in his diary. You know. The diary. From the Chamber of Secrets! Ooh, it’s all coming full circle! Well, not quite, since there’s another book after this one (that include the Tweasleys, just so you know), but at least we’re getting some answers. Sort of. Anyway, the diary was not only a safeguard, but a weapon to unleash Slytherin’s basilisk so that he could finally take credit for being Slytherin’s heir. But he was rather blasé about passing on a piece of his soul to someone at Hogwarts, so there must be more torn pieces of soul out there. And Voldy said on the night he returned that he had gone further than anybody along the path that leads to immortality. The reason old VoldyTom looks like a freaky snake dude is because he’s torn his soul into seven pieces.

The diary is destroyed, and Dumby destroyed another Horcrux… the one in Marvolo/Slytherin’s ring, which he found back at the old Gaunt homestead. That’s how Dumby got the gross, char-grilled hand. But there are still four Horcruxes out there and Dumby suspects that they are in trophy sorts of things. Like Slytherin’s locket and Hufflepuff’s cup. The reason Tommy tried to get the DADA job was so he could get Gryffindor’s sword, but he didn’t, so nyeah! That leaves two Horcruxes, and Dumbledore suspects that one of them is Nagini, the snake. Dumbledore believes he has found one of the other Horcruxes, and he’s letting Harry come to help get rid of it.

Dumbledore also keeps going on about Harry’s ability to love, a power that Voldy doesn’t have. Big deal! Then he goes on about Voldy singling Harry out as the most dangerous of he and Neville, MAKING Harry the most dangerous to him. If Voldy had never heard the prophecy, it wouldn’t have been fulfilled. Voldy created his own worst enemy. And despite all of Harry’s suffering, he still is pure of heart and has the ability to love. Isn’t that special?

The prophecy doesn’t mean Harry has to do anything. But the prophecy caused Voldy to mark Harry as an equal… Voldy will continue to set store by the prophecy and hunt Harry down, which makes it certain that one will kill the other. So now Harry finally has it in his thick head that there is a difference between being dragged into battle to the death, or walking in and holding your head high.

Oh, and Tweasleys!

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Harry still has no idea how to get the memory from Slughorn. He is totally screwed. He finds a Sectum-sempra incantation in the Prince’s book and is intrigued, as it is for enemies. Maybe he’ll try it out sometime.

He’s in the common room with Ron, Hermione, and some other six years who are excited that the Apparition Test is coming up. Harry’s still too young to take the test. Ron is old enough, but hasn’t managed to Apparate and Hermione is old enough and has Apparated twice now. Of course she has! She’s Hermione!

Anyway, Ron is trying to write a Snape essay that the other two have already finished while Hermione nags Harry, telling him that the Prince won’t be able to help Harry figure out a way to get the memory. Ron’s essay is all messed up because he has one of Fred and George’s Spell-Check quills… but the charm must be wearing off and his name is not Roonil Wazlib. That’s what it is… worn out. Because Fred and George wouldn’t sell a defective product. No sirree. They are as honest as the day is long… Anyway, Hermione is a peach and fixes Ron’s spelling by wand. Ron proclaims his love for her and she blushes. He still hasn’t had the balls to break it off with Lavender. Chump!

CRACK!

Hermione shrieks. Ron spills ink on his newly fixed essay. And there is Kreacher.

CRACK!

Followed by Dobby. Both are there to give Harry their reports. Kreacher has nothing useful to say, only telling Harry about Malfoy’s nobility and his fine bones (heh, heh) and that he eats, sleeps, attends class, and he probably takes a leak every once in a while. Dobby’s report is slightly more informative, although he still finds it hard not to punish himself when talking poorly of his old master. Apparently, Malfoy is breaking no rules and making regular visits to the Room of Requirement. So, that’s why he’s disappearing off the map! Harry thinks he’ll be able to get into the room, but Hermione thinks this impossible and thinks Harry should worry about Slughorn’s memory instead. They deduce that the girls Malfoy has been hanging out with are actually Crabbe and Goyle, only polyjuiced… the potion nicked from Slughorn’s first day of class when he had a whole pot of it. It is their secret look-out disguise. Harry spends part of his morning trying to get into the room to see what Malfoy is doing, to no avail.

Later, Harry and Ron are in the bathroom, when who should come along but Moaning Myrtle, disappointed to see them because she was hoping another boy who she’s been talking to would be there. Apparently this boy is sensitive, bullied, lonely, with no one to talk to, and he’s not afraid to cry. Wuss!

Apparation practice time in Hogsmeade. While Ron and Hermione are gone, Harry has another go at getting into the Room of Requirement. Still no luck! Although he puts a fright into a girly Goyle. Tonks shows up to see Dumbledore, but he’s gone away again. Tonks is still sad. Poor, Tonks. Harry misses him too, but Tonks doesn’t seem to know what he means and leaves.

Ron and Hermione return. Ron has improved and Hermione is perfect at Apparating. Harry tells them about seeing Tonks and wonders if she was in love with Sirius. Dude, that’s gross! They’re cousins! Anyway, Ron thinks Tonks has gone a bit funny and that women are easily upset. Yet he sulked for a half-hour because Madame Rosmerta didn’t get his joke. Poor, Won-Won!

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Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Chapter Seven: The Slug Club
summary:
what's the old saying about a dog and a bone? yeah, that's GryffindorHarry in this book. he just won't.let.this.Draco.thing.go. and we're just seeing the start of it here. 'cause he spends the entire last week of vacation obsessing over Draco, and sadly, this is just the start of a whole year of this. (and even more sadly, he's right.)

GryffindorHarry is convinced that Draco is up to something really nasty. oh, and that he's replaced his dad as a Death Eater. that's why he yanked his arm away from Madam Malkin, and what he showed to Borgin to intimidate him. SlytherinHermione just doesn't believe him. SlytherinRon doesn't quite believe him either, but at least he gives reasons, pointing out that he doesn't think TVG would let Draco join at just 16. but GryffindorHarry is convinced, and won't hear any differently. he storms off to the downstairs of the Burrow with his laundry, only to encounter Ginny on the stairs (smiles from GryffindorHarry!). off to Hogwarts tomorrow!

this trip to King's Cross is probably their easiest so far, and other than an Auror thinking he can't walk, GryffindorHarry makes it to the station on time. at the last minute he pulls Mr. Weasley to the side. he admits the Trio's SPYing in Diagon Alley, 'cause dude, this is the man who raised the TWeasleys and he ain't fallin' for no shit. he tells Mr. Weasley his suspicions about Draco, and wants him to check out the Malfoy house. but Mr. Weasley says they raided Malfoy's house when they arrested him and they took away anything dangerous. GryffindorHarry insists they missed something, and that yes, TVG would let Draco join even though he's only 16 (everyone has an age issue in this!).

GryffindorHarry hops on the train and it speeds away with Mrs. Weasley yelling instructions after them. with the rest of the Trio on prefect duties, he looks around for someone to sit with. Ginny tells him she can't 'cause she has to go meet her boyfriend, Dean. GryffindorHarry is suddenly sad as he remembers that Ginny doesn't hang out with them at school. aw! so he's standing there in the corridor and everyone is STAREing at him, like always of course. and he's surrounded by girls! ack! it's like a bad Smithees movie (is there a good Smithees movie?), When Fangirls Attack!! but GryffindorHarry is saved once again by Neville and Luna! yay! the other part of the Sextet find a compartment together, while everyone STAREs at them.

in the compartment, GryffindorHarry, Neville, and Luna catch up on things.
-The Quibbler is going very strong, and Luna detaches her Spectrespecs from inside so she can read the latest issue properly
-Neville notes how everyone is STAREing at them 'cause they're with GryffindorHarry. but he corrects Neville to say that they're STAREing at them 'cause they were at the Department Of Mysteries with him
-Neville says his grandmother was unexpectedly more than pleased by his involvement in the incident at the Department Of Mysteries, and she thinks he's finally living up to his father
-Neville has a new wand, probably the last one Ollivander ever sold
-much to the dismay of Neville and Luna, GryffindorHarry says there's no need for D.A. meetings that year, since they'd gotten rid of Umbridge

ack! it's When Fangirls Attack! 2! 'cause as they say at the Smithees, "You just never know!". 'cause while they're sitting there, some girl barges in to their compartment and introduces herself James Bond-style. Romilda Vane wants GryffindorHarry to come sit with in her compartment, 'cause ya know, he doesn't have to sit with THEM. and she whispers THEM like she thinks Neville and Luna can't hear. nice one, jerk. GryffindorHarry just snaps back coldly that they're his FRIENDS. Romilda leaves and Luna says that people expect GryffindorHarry to have cooler friends than them. oh, much love for Luna! so brutally honest! GryffindorHarry says they are cool, and that's that.

while Neville talks about his O.W.L. grades, HufflepuffHarry angsts about how Neville and his lives were fucked up by TVG. it could have been Neville the prophecy was about, but TVG chose him instead. ANGST, ANGST, ANGST. about what if TVG had chosen differently, about role reversal, and about a world without a "Chosen One". ANGST, ANGST, ANGST. he ANGSTs about it so much that Neville finally asks him if he's okay 'cause he's looking so emo. Luna asks if a Wrackspurt got him. I think it did. that would explain a lot!

the rest of the Trio appears, and GryffindorRon announces with multiple rude hand gestures that Draco isn't doing his prefect duties, and is instead lounging with in a compartment with some other Slytherins. before GryffindorHarry's conspiracy theory imagination can run with this new info, a girl shows up (again! When Fangirls Attack! 3, "You just never know!") and gives scrolls to him and Neville. they've been invited to lunch in Slughorn's compartment. yay, maybe? as they leave, SlytherinHarry wants to use the opportunity to SPY on Draco again, and this time he's taking Neville with him! but the corridor is too crowded to get the invisibility cloak on. drat it! of note during their walk up the train is that Cho actively avoids GryffindorHarry, and that her friend, Snitch Marietta, still has the marks of SlytherinHermione's wrath.

they arrive at Slughorn's compartment to find Ginny, Zabini, and two others there (McLaggen and Belby). and hundreds of fanfic writers scream in frustration as they find out that Zabini is neither Italian or a girl. d'oh! Slughorn interrogates them all, sizing them up for entry into his exclusive Slug Club. turns out Ginny is there 'cause he saw her hexing Zacharias Smith. heehee. Slughorn goes on and on about GryffindorHarry, till Neville and Ginny speak up that they were at the Department Of Mysteries too, that no one heard the prophecy, and that the Prophet is making shit up again. *finally* they escape from Slughorn when it starts getting dark, and Zabini and SlytherinHarry glare at each other darkly.

ah, but a little way down the corridor, as SlytherinHarry, Neville, and Ginny go about verbally abusing Slytherins, SlytherinHarry gets a really quite silly idea. he whips out his invisibility cloak and ducks into the 6th year Slytherin compartment behind Zabini. to SPY of course. what else? but in the commotion SlytherinHarry causes when he pushes Zabini into Goyle, he thinks Draco sees his shoe. drat. but he jumps into the luggage rack and hopes for the best.

goings-on the Slytherin compartment:
-Pansy strokes Draco, uh, Draco's hair, and looks like she thinks many people would love to be in her place right then. I can think of a few
-Draco questions Zabini about who was at the lunch
-Draco is ticked that Slughorn didn't pick him for lunch
-Pansy accuses Zabini of thinking Ginny is beautiful, but he says he wouldn't touch a blood traitor like her
-Draco says he might not be at school next year 'cause he'll have gone on to "bigger and better things". all of the Slytherins immediately assume this means TVG, and ask what he can do without having finished school. Draco assures them there are several things he can do to help TVG, and leave it at that
-the Slytherins go to change into their school robes, and Goyle smacks HufflepuffHarry upside the head with his trunk. he gasps in pain, and now he thinks Draco heard him too. drat again!

they pull into the station, and all but Draco leave, including Pansy who was apparently thinking Draco was going to hold her hand. hee. Draco pulls the shades and starts digging in his trunk. SlytherinHarry leans forward thinking he's going to see something important. he sees something alright -- the wrong end of a Petrificus Totalus hex, that is! Draco hexes him, SlytherinHarry falls to the floor and can't move. Draco taunts him, stomps on his face breaking his NOSE, and covers him with the invisibility cloak saying no one will find him until the train is back in London.

Draco leaves then, and HufflepuffHarry is stuck. he can't move, he's invisible and bleeding, and the train is starting to move again.

if only the TWeasleys were there to help him...

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Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Chapter Six: Draco's Detour
summary:
so GryffindorHarry is staying at the Burrow for the rest of the summer. yay! he spends a lot of his time playing Quidditch with the rest of the Trio+1. there are some remarks *not* made about GryffindorRon's Quidditch abilities that still have me scratching my head. and GryffindorHarry has fast access internet! uh, I mean he has fast access to info before it reaches the papers! yeah, that's it. Mr. Weasley and CoolBill are always bringing home news, and GryffindorHarry's 16th birthday party turns into a 'guess who's dead or gone missing today' fest thanks to Lupin. for the record, Karkaroff is dead, but Fortescue and Ollivander have gone missing. but ya know, things are going to be looking up soon. why you ask? 'cause they're going to go to Diagon Alley soon. and ya know what that means?

TWEASLEYS!!

and the fangirls rejoice! I know Teresita is.

oh yeah, and GryffindorHarry has been made Quidditch Captain! RavenclawHermione notes that this makes him the same level as prefects, so he can use their "special bathroom". the mind boggles at the "special" things that happen there. hehe. the Quidditch Captain badge came with the booklists, and since they have their booklists, that means...

yes! it's a trip to see Fred and George!

okay, it's really a trip for school shopping in Diagon Alley. but dude, TWeasleys!

CoolBill got some of GryffindorHarry's gold out of Gringotts for him, since it's taking the public about *5 hours* to get to their money 'cause the goblins tightened security so much. dude! and apparently Arkie Philport had something called a Probity Probe stuck up his... well, CoolBill doesn't complete the thought, but I'm sure y'all can. dude again! Fleur is being sickeningly sweet, which makes Ginny puke, which HufflepuffHarry choke. chain reaction time!

Fleur gets such a horrible rap. she's in love, people, leave her alone!

I mean, just look at the way people act around the TWeasleys!

MoM cars take them to Diagon Alley, where they'll be meeting up with "additional security". SlytherinHarry isn't happy about this at 1st. it makes it harder to sneak away and SPY, ya know? but he's happy once they get there and see who it is.

it's the TWeasleys!

okay, it's not. but we'll see them soon. I swear.

the additional security is actually Hagrid. yay! Diagon Alley is all dark and less-festive now. there's MoM posters everywhere, with useless info on protecting yourself, and posters of the escaped Death Eaters. there's a lot of bordered up stores, and then there are the little stands selling the bogus protection crap that Mr. Weasley arrests people for. Mrs. Weasley wants to stay together, one nice big easy-to-find target. but Mr. Weasley is like, dude, let's split up and get done faster, so they do. the Trio goes with Hagrid to get new robes, and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley go with Ginny to get the school books.

but who's going to see the TWeasleys?!

off at Madam Malkin's, the Trio encounter Draco and his mom. a pissing contest ensues, with the Malfoys leaving, saying they don't want to shop where a mudblood does. RavenclawHarry thinks it suspicious that Draco twitched whenever Madam Malkin touched his arm. hmm... but they're finally done getting robes, and it's time to get back with the parentals and on with the other shopping.

OMFG, do we get to see the TWeasleys now?

no? drat! it's off to the apothecary and Eeylops. HufflepuffHarry and HufflepuffRon don't get any potion shit since they didn't get an O so Snape won't let them take Potions this year. bastard. but they do get large boxes of treats for Hedwig and Pig. yay Pig!

holy shit! I think... yes, yes, I think they are... they're going to see the TWeasleys!

off to #93! and it's Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes! oh, the joy! oh, the bright, blinding colors! oh, the U-NO-POO! love for them snubbing their NOSES in the face of pure evil! Mrs. Weasley's sure they're going to be murdered in their beds. but dude, they're the TWeasleys! no murdering the TWeasleys allowed! someone remind the Death Eaters of that! that's right, I'm looking at you, ya goons!

but, yes, there's so much to see there! like the TWeasleys! there they are now! and after 5 years of insulting them and saying they only know "flashy magic", SlytherinHermione actually compliments the TWeasleys by saying the Daydream Charms are really "extraordinary magic". Fred gives her one for free for that, and gives her something to get rid of her black eye.

Fred and George then take GryffindorHarry into the back to show him the infamous WORKTOP. heehee. sorry, that comes later. I mean, they really took him to the back to show him their line of defense magic. 'cause ya know, it's just terrible how many people can't do a decent shield charm! but then, they never had GryffindorHarry to teach them!

other things of note during their visit to the wonderful world of WWW are:
-Fred and George point out their INSTANT DARKNESS POWDER, imported from Peru, helpful for making quick escapes
-GryffindorHarry gets some Decoy Detonators (and several other things for free 'cause he's the TWeasleys' backer)
-Ginny gets a purple Pygmy Puff
-Fred and George have hired a witch named Verity to work at the shop, but it's okay 'cause they still only have eyes for Angelina and Luna. and well, Teresita of course
-there are LOVE POTIONS for sale there (OBVIOUS CLUE)
-Fred and George harass Ginny about her various boyfriends, which has only been 2, but they say she has 5 at once
-Fred and George continue being asses to their brother, HufflepuffRon (but we still love the TWeasleys so)
-Mrs. Weasley threatens to jinx GryffindorRon's fingers together

suddenly Draco walks by the window without his mom. the Trio are immediately suspicious, especially SlytherinHarry, who hasn't had a chance to SPY in months! he whips out his invisibility cloak, and the Trio run off after Draco, completely ignoring Dumbledore's request that GryffindorHarry respect all the Weasleys are going through to have him at their house by NOT WANDERING OFF. nice one, SlytherinHarry.

they follow Draco to Knockturn Alley, where they find him in Borgin And Burkes. they SPY on him in the store, and they can see him just around the side of the VANISHING CABINET that SlytherinHarry hid in back before 2nd year. they use the extendable ears that SlytherinRon 'accidentally' nicked from the TWeasleys' shop to listen in. Draco wants a) Borgin to teach him how to fix something that he can't bring in to the shop, and b) for him to hold something and not sell it. he also intimidates Borgin into helping him by a) showing him something, and b) by saying Fenrir Greyback will stop in to check on Borgin.

all the SPYing has gone to SlytherinHermione's head, and she thinks she can play secret agent. 'cause when Draco leaves the shop, she goes in and tries to get Borgin to admit what Draco was going to purchase. Borgin shuts her down flat. when she heads back out, GryffindorRon tries to commiserate, but doesn't do a really good job of it. but at least he tried. all SlytherinHermione does is snap at him. they go back to the TWeasleys' shop, bickering. they duck back into the store where Mrs. Weasley and Hagrid are searching for them. they take off the invisibility cloak, and LIE saying they were in the back room all along.

ya know, trying out that WORKTOP everyone is talking so much about...

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Harry tells Ron and Hermione about his super-secret task, separately, of course. Ron doesn’t seem to think Harry will have any problem since he’s the Great Potion Wonder, but Hermione doesn’t agree. And she’s never heard of Horcruxes, to Harry’s astonishment. She thinks they must be really advanced Dark magic if Voldemort wanted to know about them. When she finds out that Won-Won thinks Harry can just hang back after Potions, she gets all testy and storms away.

During Potions, Harry has trouble working out what Golpalott’s Third Law is. Nobody in class seems to understand it except for Hermione. Something to do with identifying potion ingredients by Scarpin’s Revelaspell, finding the antidotes, blah, blah, blah. So, now the class has to take a phial and create an antidote for the poison inside it. “It’s a shame that the Prince won’t be able to help you much with this, Harry,” Ms. Smartypants says a bit too brightly for my liking. Harry grabs his phial, puts it into his cauldron, and has no idea what to do. The Prince has no tips either. Harry’s reputation as Potions King is about to go down the toilet. When Slughorn comes by to inspect his progress, he doesn’t seem at all impressed. Ms. Smartypants is quite smug about it. Then in the Prince’s book, Harry sees a note about shoving a bezoar (a stone from the stomach of a goat that will protect from most poisons) down their throats. Harry goes to the cabinet and plucks out a bezoar. When time is up, no one has completed the assignment. When Slughorn gets to Harry, Harry shows him the bezoar. Instead of being reprimanded for not doing the assignement, Slughorn is amused that Harry has such cheek. Ho ho ho, Potter! Ms. Smartypants is livid.

When Potions is over, Harry asks Slughorn about Horcruxes. Slughorn flips out, asking if Dumbledore told him to ask about it. And if Harry had seen the memory, then he should know that Slughorn doesn’t know dick about Horcruxes. So that’s that. Neither Ron nor Hermione are sympathetic about Harry failing his mission because they’re sore about the bezoar debacle. Slughorn gets back to normal in class after while. The Hogwarts Library System has failed Hermione, because she can’t find anything about what a Horcrux is.

February arrives, along with Apparition Lessons in the Great Hall. Woo hoo! If they learn, they can pop in on Fred and George whenever they want! And why shouldn't they? Fred and George are ace! Anyway, Ministry Wizard Wilkie Twycross is their Apparition Instructor. The enchantment to prevent Apparating and Disapparating in Hogwarts is lifted from the Great Hall only, so anyone who tries to leave the room will be very sorry indeed. Harry goes near Malfoy to see what he’s up to and that not even Crabbe and Goyle know what’s going on with whatever his plan is, even though they’re serving as lookout for him.

Anyhoo, Destination, Determination, Deliberation… the key to Apparating. Easy, right? Right away, Twycross has the sixth years trying to Apparate inside a hoop next to them. No one can do it, although Susan Bones splinches herself, most of her body making the hoop, but leaving her left leg behind. It’s the most interesting thing that happens during the lesson. Guess we’ll try again next week.

Harry and Ron go back to their dorm so Harry can get out the Marauders Map and see where Malfoy has gotten to. Harry is going to use the map to keep an eye on his nemesis from here on out, but has no luck over the next couple of weeks. Sometimes Malfoy is nowhere to be found, but how could he be leaving school grounds? Impossible!

March comes. The Hogsmeade trip is cancelled, which infuriates Ron, because the trip would have been on his birthday. Boo hoo. Happy Birthday, sucker! Have a present! Harry gives him new Keeper gloves. While Ron opens the rest of his gifts, Harry takes another look at the Marauders Map. Ron gets a watch from his parents. Harry can’t find Malfoy on the map. Ron offers Harry a Chocolate Cauldron before eating three himself.

They get ready to go down for breakfast when Ron suddenly decides that he can’t. He’s not hungry suddenly, and not because of the Chocolate Cauldrons he ate. Harry just wouldn’t understand. But he can’t stand it. He has to say it! He can’t stop thinking about her and that she doesn’t know Ron exists. Harry is confused. Of course Lav-Lav knows Ron exists since they keep snogging. But Ron isn’t talking about Lav-Lav. He’s talking about Romilda Vane. And no, it’s not a joke! Harry deduces that Ron ate the spiked Cauldrons that Romilda had given Harry earlier. He takes Ron to Slughorn’s room so that the Prof can make an antidote for a love potion. Slughorn wonders why an expert like Harry can’t whip up an antidote and Harry explains that he’s never done it for a love potion and wants to make sure it’s done right, right away. Slughorn complies and when Ron drinks the antidote, he is horrified at what an ass he made of himself. Slughorn then breaks out a bottle of mead that he had meant to give Dumby for Christmas. He pours some for the three of them. Ron chugs it, crumples to the floor, and jerks uncontrollably. Harry find the bezoar that Slughorn took from him way back when and shoves it down Ron’s throat. Ron gasps and his body becomes limp and still. Poor Won-Won!

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