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About the Consort Relationship Idea June 3, 2008

Posted by Me in Hermione's Choice.
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Once I decided I wanted to write a Hermione/Lucius story based on the wizarding repopulation and squib issues, I had to decide how I would get this unlikely couple together. I immediately ruled out the idea of Ministry-imposed forced/compulsory marriage with no free will in choosing one’s partner, as this angle has been well-explored already. I also ruled out Lucius being divorced or widowed, as this, too, has already been well-represented. Likewise, I didn’t want Lucius to rape Hermione, nor did I want their relationship to be a clandestine affair.

Many years ago, I watched the second-season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, “Up the Long Ladder“, where polyandrous non-monogamous relationships were presented as a workable solution to a colony planet that needed to both increase its population and also to improve the gene pool that had been damaged by generations of cloning the same five people over and over again. The Enterprise’s Dr. Pulaski recommended to the planet’s leaders that each woman have three husbands and have at least one child by each. I was impressed with the practical solution devised for this problem and to this day, it remains in my favorite top ten episodes for this show.

While considering my approach for writing Hermione’s Choice, I was reminded of this episode and decided to adapt it to my story. Instead of polyandry, I decided to introduce gender-neutral consort relationships alongside traditional marriage that would focus on encouraging pureblood/muggleborn matches in order to improve the gene pool. At the same time, I didn’t want those in ongoing successful marriages to have to discard their spouses in order to do so. Nor did I want the solution to be a compulsory one that everyone would have to follow.

And because the wizarding world needed to increase their population as quickly as possible, as well as improve the existing gene pool, the Ministry saw that it didn’t have the luxury of waiting several generations for the gene pool improvement to work itself out. If the Ministry had simply encouraged new monogamous marriages between those of differing blood statuses, their dual goals would have taken an impossibly long time to show any real effect.

Desperate times called for desperate measures. A bold, innovative idea was called for, as it was obvious that continuing to do things as they’d always been done wouldn’t solve the problem in a timely fashion. The Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, was willing to think outside the box, so he consulted leading muggle biologists and geneticists, who gave him a similar recommendation that Dr Pulaski suggested to the planet’s colonists. Shacklebolt recognized that the wizarding world had to reconsider the usual sensibilities about love and marriage for the greater good.”

I believed that a scientific, out-of-the-box, approach would work well for both Hermione and Lucius. Both are practical people who are capable of approaching the issue in a rational manner. Neither would allow emotion to dictate how they reacted to this new relationship form and would be able to handle this type of relationship in a common-sense manner.

I also considered Narcissa Malfoy to be suited to accepting Lucius entering into a consort relationship. As a well-bred pureblood wife, she was raised to exhibit noblesse oblige, to react with poise and dignity to seek the greater good in any situation. Consequently, I implied in my story that the idea of marital fidelity among wealthy purebloods differed in some key aspects than how it is viewed by less affluent and influential people.

Like most purebloods of her station and generation who had entered into arranged marriages, Narcissa knew that expecting Lucius to be strictly sexually faithful to her was unreasonable. Likewise, once Narcissa had borne him an heir, he was also prepared to turn a blind eye if she’d chosen to take a lover.

As long as Lucius continued to support her, was an involved father with Draco, and kept up his end with their social obligations as a couple, she was prepared to ignore his dalliances. And as long as either of them conducted any extramarital activities in a discreet fashion, the other would ignore them.

Of course, the new consort relationship form is neither hidden nor discreet. But neither is it dishonest or deceitful. But because of the pureblood approach to marital fidelity and the sense of noblesse oblige instilled in purebloods of both sexes, both Malfoys are psychologically prepared to make this work, without endangering their marriage.

And, though she is a muggleborn, Hermione is also well-suited to handling this type of relationship in a mature fashion because of her intellectual and practical nature.

Relatively few in the wizarding world will enter into consort relationships, but there will be enough for it to make a real difference in reaching the stated goals.