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      January Bulletin   12/31/2017

      January's bulletin is up! It includes information about recent staff/prefect bumps, the upcoming FROGS, some special awards, and more! You can check it out +here.


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About Margaret

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  1. Well, my original fiction characters are Irish so most of this is going to be the norm for them. I don't really write about relationships and honestly, I don't write about people in their 30s - my characters are generally teenagers or in their early twenties - but sometimes I guess it does influence things in the background. My character in a collab a friend and I wrote was born when her mother was quite young - somewhere between 20 and 22 - and while the character in question is only 14 and hasn't really considered how her mother feels about things, there are hints that it did cause some conflict in the family that she got pregnant at an age when her parents thought she should have been concentrating on her education. And there is a sense that she is overcompensating to the point of spoiling her daughter. In fanfiction, I'm not sure. In some ways, the wizarding world does seem to have some similarities - few if any pureblood characters in the books appear to be divorced. On the other hand, young marriages do seem to be more common in that world, with Lily and James marry at 19 or 20 and most of the other characters appearing to be somewhere in their early to mid-20s when they marry and have kids. I have made George's kids significantly younger than the other next gen. kids because I cannot imagine George settling down and having kids in his early 20s. Actually, now that I think about it (and I could be wrong about this because after all, it is difficult to compare your own culture with others, as you generally only hear about others at second hand), it seems like a lot of other countries have more of a stigma to being single than Ireland does (or maybe did). Growing up, I knew plenty of people who had never married and the explanations tended to be stuff like, "oh she was a very smart woman and wouldn't have wanted to give up her career to marry" (I am talking now about people who would have been say in their 60s when I was growing up in the '80s and '90s so the women would have been young in an era when married women were less likely to work) or "he was a very good son/she was a very good daughter, who stayed at home to look after his/her parents." And of course, being a Catholic country, we had plenty of priests and nuns.
  2. Well, I am Western and European, but I do think Ireland has a few things that might differ slightly from other western countries. For one thing, I am getting the impression that people in other countries might marry a bit younger. Here apparently, the average age of marriage in 2014 was apparently 33 for a woman and 35 for a man. There is a specific reason why traditionally Irish people married later than other cultures. It was due to the Famine. People decided not to marry until they were sure they could support a family for fear of another famine (unsurprisingly, 1/8th of the country starving to death in a period of about 5 years does have long term impacts.) Engagements are usually one to two years long. By law, you have to give three months notice of intent to marry. That is probably the main thing that is specific to Ireland. Divorce was only introduced into Ireland in 1995 - well, actually later but it was 1995 when the referendum took place and it passed by the narrowest of margins, something like 50.2% to 49.8%. Rates of divorce in Ireland are still quite low. Rates range from about 8% to about 12%, depending on the area of the country. Interestingly, same sex marriage got a far higher margin in support and was much less controversial. Statistics about marriage in Ireland: Marriage in Ireland (All Audiences)
  3. Was Tom Riddle destined to be evil?

    The wizarding world does seem to have almost 19th century level understanding of mental health. People like Gilderoy Lockhart and Neville's parents being placed in the Locked Ward for example. They seem to be getting little or no treatment. And of course, in the era Tom Riddle was growing up in, even the Muggle world would have written him off as a "delinquent". I don't think there were many supports for orphans showing signs of psychopathy or ODD in the '40s. I totally agree with you that Tom was failed by all the adults in his life, both Muggle and wizarding. I'm not sure it's entirely their fault because I'm not sure how much information people had about the impact of early deprivation at the time when Tom was growing up, but he was definitely "written off" to a certain extent. I can't entirely blame the staff of the orphanage either because they were clearly overworked, probably didn't have much training, certainly not in child psychology or anything like it and under the circumstances, I think it is probably natural and understanding that their sympathy would be with the children being bullied rather than the bully. But certainly, it was not a good environment for a child to be raised in, especially one who may already have had a genetic disposition to mental illness. I also completely agree with you that being a psychopath does not mean one is evil. It could even be argued that that would be an argument against him being evil as it is beyond his control. Not of course, that being a psychopath means you behave like Voldemort did but it would raise questions as to how much of his behaviour is a conscious choice and how much is a result of his condition. You raise an interesting question, and one I have previously wondered about, about orphans in the wizarding world. Did they have orphanages like the Muggle world did in Tom's era? Do they still? Given how old-fashioned the wizarding world is in some ways and the fact that it is so small and therefore, it might be hard to find people willing to foster, I wouldn't be surprised if it still had orphanages rather than foster families. Or are wizarding orphans placed in the Muggle system like Tom was? Or are orphans usually cared for by the extended family, as in the Muggle world, and children simply left in abusive and neglectful situations. There is some evidence to support the latter, given that nobody even checked up on Harry and that a lot of things that we would consider abusive are mentioned casually as if no big deal - Neville's extended family's treatment of him, for example.
  4. If anybody is trying to name Irish characters and wants an idea of how common any name was in a given year, our central statistics office has this website:Baby Names of Ireland (All audiences)

  5. The Fairy Tale Challenge | Deadline: 1 March 2018

    Chapter 1 is up: The House of Sweet Revenge (M)
  6. Ask a Validator

    Thanks. I'll add some clarification in the summary in case anybody is uncomfortable with reading it.
  7. Ask a Validator

    Are there any specific rules about violence against/torture of children? The violence is committed by a Dark Wizard and involves curses, imprisonment and withholding food. I will obviously warn for violence and give an M rating, but is there anything else it needs?
  8. I am working on my entry for the Fairy Tale challenge. 1,780+ words written so far.

  9. Tag Requests

    Wondering if under advisories, there could be something to warn about non-familial child abuse.
  10. The Fairy Tale Challenge | Deadline: 1 March 2018

    I'm in and my immediate thought is Hansel and Gretel and some of the next generation characters - possibly Lily and Hugo, though I'm not sure about that yet.
  11. No, I wouldn't change the books to a modern timeline, but it wasn't much more likely for somebody in 1980 to married to a company director, have a child, have lost both parents and to have their younger sister also married with a child, by the time they turned 22 than it was today. The '80s aren't that long ago. My uncle was married at the age of 21 in the 1980s and that was very much an unusual thing. My parents married in the 70s and were around 30 in my mother's case and early to mid-40s in my father's. There would be nothing at all surprising about people being 28 when they married in the 70s or 80s and it would make it a little more possible that all four grandparents would be dead (still unlikely as James' parents were wizards and unlikely to die until they were well over 100 and it doesn't make sense for them to have had him in their 70s or 80s) and that Petunia would be married to a company director and far more likely that Lily and James would have defied Voldemort three times.
  12. Happy Christmas all.

    1. StarFeather


      Happy Yuletide!

  13. FROGS Category Suggestions

    A few more possibilities: Best challenge winner. Best setting. Best professor. Best portrayal of the classes/exams/academic side of Hogwarts. Best underrated story - say of those with no reviews for stories under five chapters and less than one review for every three chapters for longer stories or something like that. Best fanfiction for a fandom other than Harry Potter.
  14. FROGS Category Suggestions

    Most realistic portrayal of mental illness/physical illness/disability. Best portrayal of a non-English speaking country/character from a non-English speaking country (since the site is in English, any portrayal of non-English speaking countries indicate either that the writer is not writing about their own culture or that they are not writing in their first language, with a few exceptions as in when the writer is bilingual or has lived abroad for a long time, and either accurately portraying another country or writing in a language other than your own is impressive). Most success in making readers cry/Best Tearjerker. Most unexpected twist/ending. Best use of language. Best imagery. Best portrayal of family relationships - parent/child, siblings. Death with most impact. Best historical story. Best original fiction. Best crossover. Best worldbuilding. Best development of an aspect of canon - ugh, that's badly explained. I mean things like stories that build on something that is only mentioned in passing, like showing people training to be Healers or exactly what caused the Founders to fall out or how a potion was created. Best inclusion of magic/superpowers. Best series. Best OC. Best portrayal of a child character. Best portrayal of an elderly person. Best villain redemption. Best alternative character portrayal. Most frightening villain. Creepiest/most frightening horror. Best creation of tension/suspense. Best unreliable narrator. Best creation of a 1st person narrator's voice. Best non-linear.
  15. Thanks to everybody who reviewed my stories in the past few weeks. Have started responding and hope to continue over the next week or two as the Christmas holidays begin.