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More Thoughts in Chapter 16 June 19, 2008

Posted by Me in Hermione's Choice.
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A couple of reviewers for this chapter were puzzled by the purpose of including a tour of the Salem Institute in the story.

I will admit that it was a bit of a side-trip and that it wasn’t really a planned chapter. I mainly went where my typing led me in this one.

But after reading it over again, this chapter does indeed have purpose, though perhaps not obvious from first reading. The point wasn’t primarily to tell us about the Salem Institute, per se, but rather to serve as backdrop to further advance earlier story ideas and goals.

First and foremost, it serves to help further the rehabilitation of Lucius Malfoy in the post-Voldemort world. Despite vowing to adjust to life after Voldemort and to repudiate the beliefs he had as a Death Eater, Lucius cannot overcome overnight the assumptions and beliefs that have been ingrained into him over his lifetime. In addition to determination, he needs repeated exposure to other ideas for it to stick and imprint upon his mind. It’s a process, not a single event.

For much of his life, Lucius, and others like him, lived in their own self-contained bubble of pureblood superiority contained within the bubble of the wizarding world. He’d previously had little reason or inclination to consider other points of view and different ways of doing things. “That’s the way we’ve always done it” could have been the mantra of wizarding pureblood society. Thus, it was invaluable for him to be shown proof that there are other effective ways of ordering a magical society than the one he grew up in

This chapter also continued the spirit of the earlier conversations Hermione had with Lucius about looking to muggle sources for ideas that would provide fresh ways for accomplishing magical ends and solving old problems in the wizarding world. Seeing the proof of it for himself also served to validate Hermione in his eyes and increase his respect for her, in a way that simply taking her words at face value without proof never could have.

Thirdly, I like including little tidbits that add to the complexity of the wizarding world that flesh out the story and/or the characters. To this end, there will be a couple of chapters in the future that will serve primarily as a way to give us more background on Lucius and how he came to be the man he is at the time of the story.

“Bridge” chapters like these also help with the timing of introducing various events along the course of a story that help it to flow better.

Fourth, I am indeed considering the idea of Hermione becoming a professor at Hogwarts some time later in the story, though this isn’t yet certain. In any instance, she will be a proponent of mixing muggle and magical ideas to more effectively deal with various issues in the wizarding world, an approach that will be given a decidedly mixed reception among witches and wizards.

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