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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.


Notes on Chapter 16 June 18, 2008

Posted by Me in Hermione's Choice.

Following are explanations and further information about certain elements of this chapter.

First of all, let’s talk about the names of new characters at the Salem Institute. Whenever possible, I prefer using unusual real names for my wizarding characters, rather than making up something fanciful. I’ve run across people with the surnames “Clinkscales” and “Clamp” in the area where I live. They’re real names, but I thought they were sufficiently quirky to be excellent wizarding surnames.

Next, I make reference to a wizard in Chicago named Harry Dresden. For those who aren’t already familiar with this Harry, he is the main character of a wonderful series of books by Jim Butcher known as The Dresden Files. Harry Dresden is a wizard detective who helps the police solve unexplainable cases, usually involving dark magical creatures. The wizarding society Harry Dresden belongs to is set up a bit differently than that of Harry Potter, but I thought it sympathetic enough with Harry Potter’s world to warrant a small cameo crossover mention in this chapter. For those interested in reading about Harry Dresden’s adventures, click here.

The seventh book of the Dresden Files series

Next, I mention the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as the sorting method used by the Salem Institute. This personality typing system, along with an offshoot system, the Keirsey Temperament system, which is based on the four temperament clusters that serve as the hubs to the 16 personality types of the MBTI, are legitimate personality typing systems used by psychologists and career placement counselors, among others.

The four Hogwarts Houses fit neatly into the Keirsey system with Slytherin corresponding to Keirsey’s Artisan (SP) type, Gryffindors are Idealists (NF), REvenclaws are Rationals (NT), and Hufflepuffs are Guardians (NF). The Myers-Briggs system takes the four temperament hubs into even more detail by breaking each temperament down into four subgroups, which helps to explain people who seem to be mis-sorted into their Houses

To take a couple of quizzes that relate personality theory to the sorting system, click here, here, and here. (Please feel free to COMMENT and leave your results from taking any of these tests.)

In one test my results were (Unfortunately, there wasn’t a Lucius result!):

Harry Potter Personality Quiz by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz

In the second test, I was:

You are a SLYTHERIN! As a Slytherin and as an NTP, you are ambitious, independent, and driven to achieve excellence. You excel at strategizing and planning to accomplish your goals, and set very high standards for yourself and others. You are confident, intellectual, and can be fiercely competitive. You may not be concerned about harmony or the importance of feelings, and you often challenge authority and can be deeply skeptical. You are sometimes seen as elitist, and can be impatient with others who you consider less competent than yourself. However, you are also flexible, open-minded, and ingenious, and you can be charming company.”

Finally, here is a picture of an actual building from Salem, Massachusetts that I’d thought would make an excellent building for the Salem Institute: