Hi Vicki! I’m back for chapter 8.
I was very interested to find out what would happen when Ginny came home. First of all, I really appreciate how you have matured her in this story. The younger Ginny would have been at Harry’s throat for keeping secrets, but this Ginny is older, has survived a war, and is about to become a mother. I love that she is able to meet Harry where he is and be patient with him. And I also love that she wants to go on this adventure with him to find out more about his past. She’s as supportive of him as he seems to be of her. I’m impressed with how positive both of them are that they will be able to meet this challenge.
I liked how you wrote Harry’s intense reaction to the idea of talking to the Dursleys about his childhood—it was very honest.
When you bring up the fact that Dumbledore didn’t tell Harry much about his past, it raised my hackles a bit. I’ve been known to be rather critical of Dumbledore and how he handled Harry Potter. I wish that he had been more honest with Harry. I also wish that he had done more than write the Dursleys a letter about why Harry was left on their doorstep—but I digress.
I’m glad that Harry and Ginny go to talk to McGonagall, but I am sorry to learn that Dumbledore did not tell her what Harry wants to know. I wish that Dumbledore had not been so fond of keeping the right hand from knowing what the left hand was doing.
The incident of Dudley ruining young Harry’s improvised games and then getting Harry in trouble and locked under the stairs is nicely done. It is moving to read and really highlights what his life with the Dursleys was like. It was horrible and it will affect Harry for the rest of his life. McGonagall is properly shocked when she learned the truth, and I really appreciate how she apologizes for not trusting her instincts to check on Harry before he came to Hogwarts. It must have been good for him to hear—not as good as if someone had helped him earlier—but good to hear nonetheless.
I got my hackles up again when McGonagall asked Harry if he could ‘simply put all these early experiences behind’ him. But I know that’s the sort of thing people will ask. I like how he explains that they’ll always be part of him in a clear, and kind way.
I am very curious to find out what will happen when Harry and Ginny go to visit Mrs. Figg.
I’ll be back for more soon!
First off, thank you for continuing to read my story and to write a review for each chapter. That is so kind of you.
I did want to write Ginny as a more mature person. She is twenty-three years old in this story, and at the end of Deathly Hallows (not counting the epilogue) she was still only sixteen. A reader could get tired of seeing her always depicted as a one-note teenager, self-centered and quick to indulge in bad temper; the reader would begin to wonder why Harry married her. I would rather think that she had developed enough respect for Harry to allow him to decide what he wanted to tell her and when, within the general rule of not keeping perpetual secrets.
Yes, Dumbledore was a skilled wizard, but I am left scratching my head about his methods sometimes. That business, at the end, when he calmly discussed with Severus Snape that of course Harry would have to die like a sacrificial lamb in order to eradicate the last Horcrux...Aaagh! And what in the world made him think that one letter would suffice, and then he didn't bother to check later... He can't have had a child-like fantasy that all families were automatically happy.
When I wrote this chapter, I knew that Professor McGonagall was going to ask why he couldn't just put it all behind him, forget it, let it go. But if you haven't been there, as I assumed she had not, you don't realize how it has permanently shaped you. The women at St. Stephen's Church understood that. As Patricia said, "It will always be a part of who you are." Perhaps the most you can hope for is to become aware of it, as Harry is doing, and learn to compensate for it, as we hope he will be able.
I hope you are enjoying Chapter 9. It was a chapter that I particularly enjoyed writing.
Hello Vicki! I’m back for Chapter 7.
The scene setting paragraph at the beginning of this chapter was very nice. I could picture the church and the sunlight slanting through the windows. I like the view of Patricia preparing the space for whoever might show up for her meetings and that she wanted to make it easy for them. I liked the repetition of how simply showing up to the self-help group is an act of courage in and of itself. Patricia seems like a very kind soul and I think it tells us something about her that she’s willing to continue this work never knowing who will show up—or even if anyone will show up.
I wonder what Patricia was thinking when she saw Harry appear. She recognizes him from the conference and realizes now that his interest in child abuse is personal. I imagine she’s heard all sorts of difficult stories by now.
The shift to Harry digesting all the information he had read about abuse was where I started getting weepy. His realization that it’s so easy to get damaged in life and that what happened to him on Privet Drive was human inflicted damage did it for me. But, it’s also so moving that he expects to get better. He is the resilient child. He’s been through so much in his life, but he’s still able to be hopeful.
I love this parallel between the D. A. and Patricia’s group. It is true—Harry and his friends have been helping each other solve their problems for their whole lives together. This line: “Maybe what he needed…..knew from personal experience what really worked.” I found especially poignant.
I giggled at Patricia passing the tea and biscuits “early and often.”
I pretty much cried through the whole rest of the chapter where Harry and the other women are discussing their childhoods and how they have worked to overcome them. I was especially struck by the idea of healing one’s childhood wounds by being their for one’s own children. The examples of the mother overcoming her anger at her son and of staying up all night to sew a costume were very touching.
I’m glad that the ladies all told Harry to tell Ginny the truth. I hope it goes okay when he finally does.
The final two lines about Lily’s love protecting him from the Dursleys as it did from Voldemort were beautiful.
I’ll be back for more soon (and I’ll bring my tissues next time).
Thank you so much for your review of this chapter. This whole subject, as seen through the eyes of someone who lived through it, is pretty intense. Maybe that's why other authors have not tackled it, and why it ended up on that list I mentioned to you.
It is said that the author should not switch suddenly from one character's point of view to another's, although there are plenty of exceptions, such as the scenes in the seven books whre JKR switched from Harry's POV to Snape's. I did that in this chapter, starting off with Patricia's POV in order to set the scene and explain the situation; I think that worked okay. Sometimes it is good to see the main character as he appears to other people. (I did it also in "Tiny Animals".)
There is a lot of truth in what Patricia says: "It will always be a part of who you are." Harry can make great strides in becoming a well-functioning person again, but there is no 100% cure. Hints of his childhood will always be apparent to people who know him well and know what to look for. Hopefully these traces will be so small that they will not pass down to the next generation.
I hope you will enjoy the remaining chapters just as much!
Hi Vicki! I’m back for chapter 6.
I chuckled when I read that Harry’s first thought in this chapter was that he needed to go to the library for more information. I love it because that is exactly what I do when I have a problem—I check out a stack of books from the library. I was also amused by Harry realizing that there was so much of London that he knew nothing about. He has an urge to see it all now, but realizes that the baby is going to be born so soon that it is impractical for him to suddenly see all of the rest of London.
I like how comfortable Harry is navigating the Muggle transportation system. It is a tricky problem that he has no Muggle form of ID though. You would think that the Ministry of Magic would eventually figure out something wizards could use, but I suppose they simply assume that wizards don’t need much of anything from Muggle society.
The description of the British Library was nicely done, especially the sculpture of the chained book. I like how you brought that image back when Harry realizes that he can’t access the books in the British Library. I’m glad that a kind stranger once again helped point him towards the right direction.
I was glad to see Harry so determined to find his answer. Off he goes to the bookstore and he spends such a long time pouring over all the choices there—but not yet finding what he wants. I am impressed that he is able to ask so many strangers for information about child abuse. I would think that many people would be nervous or embarrassed to ask about such a sensitive topic. But maybe Harry is finding it easier to ask strangers because they are strangers. And once again a kind stranger points him towards the right direction.
He hesitates here, as the Institute of Psychiatry is far from where he is, but he perseveres. I had a laugh over him transfiguring himself an ID in the men’s room. Especially when, at first, the picture is moving. Once again he has to ask for help, and I was interested that, when given a choice, he asked the female employee instead of the male because he thought she would be more sympathetic.
I love that he used a spell to find the book he needed. That sequence, from his despair at ever finding what he needed in that sea of books to his decision to try the wild shot of the spell was just great. I was so happy when a book presented itself and it was exactly what he needed.
The following section where he reads the book and it tells him all about himself was both moving and accurate. I loved the image of the author of the book as an artist and Harry as his model. I like the examples you gave of his behaviors throughout the book. (As a side note, I think Snape has many examples of the same behaviors.)
Thank you so much for writing this. I’m very interested to see where it goes next. I’ll be back soon!
Thank you again for commenting so quickly, as is your delightful custom. I vividly remember writing this chapter, with all the internet research research that went into it to get all the details just right of all the places that Harry went. What would we do without the internet? Within the past couple of years I saw a TV program in which the narrator, an archaeologist, was walking through the British Library, and he went past the big glassed-in display of Sir Hans's books, and it was so neat to recognize what that thing was! Everything's available now -- the floor plans of public buildings, a few photos that allow a brief description of the sites, the rules for accessing materials from the British Library or the library of the Institute of Psychiatry, even a list of titles of the books at the Institute of Psychiatry on the topic of child abuse, and a list of articles in the professional journals. And the cafe really is on the second floor, opposite the doors of the library.
The book that Harry's wand selected for him really does exist also. I encountered it in the library of the School of Medicine at the University of Washington, and it is as described. Reading it would have had a profound effect on him. If he ever wondered how his life in the Dursley household had affected him, he wonders no more. "He saw himself in every sentence." This is the major turning point for him.
Thinking about this chapter, I think of you and your stack of books about Romania, and your need to get all the details right. There is such satisfaction when we can achieve that.!
I hope you will enjoy the upcoming chapters. :)
Hey, Vicki, I'm here to add to the Emerald total in the EvS battle!
I gotta say, this is pretty powerful. I know you mentioned I should read it, so that's why I picked this one (it's got some chapters to it, so it'll give me something to r/r.)
I can understand Harry's being bothered by the nightmares. I can understand that his nerves (and subconscience) are making him have those particular nightmares. While I don't doubt that Harry will be a great Dad and that he'll (possibly) learn how to effectively change a diaper, he's got that PTSD from growing up in the Dursley household.
Locking his baby in the linen closet is the fear of how he could have been forgotten in the cupboard under the stairs. Even, rationally, he knows that he's not going to do any such thing to his baby (or any other child) he still fears it.
PTSD is an awful thing to live through, and I hope that there is some sort of magical therapy he can through. Even if it's just talking to someone he feels comfortable with. I do agree, at this time, Ginny is definitely not the one. She's got her own pregnancy stuff to deal with now. (I suggest Molly or Arthur, myself.)
I feel for poor Harry though, and can see just how crazy he's feeling.
Fab chapter, Vicks, will be back soon.
Hi Juls. I'm so glad that you picked this story to r/r. I wrote it over a period of about 9 months shortly after I discovered that such a thing as fanfiction existed, and noticed that there seemed to be a lack of stories that addressed this particular topic.
The particular dream that begins the story, the dream about leaving the newborn baby in the closet and forgetting about it for an entire week, was actually one that I had when I was pregnant with my daughter, and this was long before J. K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books, so I just included that dream as a 'scary dream' and then asked my friends for examples of scary dreams that they had had while pregnant, to complete the list of several scary dreams. If you can believe it, I didn't even see the parallel with my first dream and Harry's early experience at the Dursley house until after I was well into writing the story.
Thank you so much for saying that this was a fab chapter. I hope you like the rest of them also. :)
Hi Vicki! I’m back for chapter 5.
I was interested by your first paragraph about traveling concerns while pregnant. I have wondered myself about what sort of magical things are safe during pregnancy. I would assume most potions would be out. I love the idea that Apparation carries some risk.
I like the image of Harry feeling ‘like a dry pea rattling around in a pod.’ I bet he would be welcome at the Burrow too. Although it looks like he needs to do a few things alone during this time.
I was amused that Harry was the first one at the volunteer event. He’s so eager to find some answers. As the meeting starts, he seems disappointed that he’s not getting the answers he needs.
After I read the section about Patricia, her self-help group, and the idea of the resilient child, I started wondering if Harry is that child. He is certainly a surviver, but to my understanding adults who have been abused as children don’t always realize the extent of the damage until much later in their lives. Sometimes it takes them having children themselves to understand the full impact of what happened to them.
Thank you for writing this!
Harry's arrival first at the volunteer training was the result of his eagerness, as you surmised, and of his taking public transportation, which means you have to accept the schedule of the trains or buses. Doubtless there are people who, not finding what they wanted to hear during the first half of the training, would get up and leave. But Harry is sufficiently invested in this subject that he stays until the bitter end, intending to not give up hope until the lights are out and the doors are locked. And his persistence pays off. as the story goes on, he will learn more and more.
You are quite correct about abused children's not realizing the extent of the damage. I did a lot of exploration of this topic when I was at nursing school at the University of Washington. There was much in the way of information, organizations, etc., Seattle being a big city and the UW being a big school.
Thank you so much for continuing to read and review!
Hi Vicki! The kids are in bed (for now) so I’m on to chapter 4.
I feel a bit embarrassed for Harry at the beginning of this chapter as he tries to navigate his impulsive phone call. He’s trying to get help but I feel that he isn’t quite sure what he needs yet. When he is thinking that he is the abused child he is calling about, that made me so sad.
Mrs. Miller seems very nice, if she is a bit eager about recruiting volunteers :-).
This paragraph about lying really struck me. I found it telling of Harry’s character that he finds it harder to lie as he gets older. I really liked how you segued into him reminiscing about lies he’s told in the past: as a child, during the war, for romance. I agree with his thought that the lying was something a young person would do—but because children do not have much power. As an adult, he can tell the truth and deal with the consequences in a way he, and any child, would be unable to do. To me, it’s a sign of how secure he feels as an adult that he can have the luxury of telling the truth.
I love Mrs. Miller’s statement that things will never go back to ‘normal’ after the baby is born. Of course there will be a new normal.
This last section of the chapter between Ginny and Harry is so sweet. I was amused at her grilling Harry over the strange woman he talked with at lunch. Their walk together trying to find gardens was adorable. I was struck by them deciding to eventually move to the country (probably because that’s what my family did a couple of years ago—we lived in the big city until then). I loved the last sentence about them holding hands like teenagers on their first date.
I do wonder what will happen to Harry while Ginny is visiting her mother though.
Hi,, Noelle. I'm glad you're grabbing a moment for yourself.
Mrs. Miller is a good example of the principle that it doesn't hurt to ask, and you'll never get what you want if you don't ask for it. And the other staff members of this organization wonder how Gladys Miller manages to recruit more volunteers than they do!
Harry's ponderings about the value, or even the possibility, of telling the truth will inform his subsequent actions and insights in the rest of this story.
When I was writing this story, some years ago, one of my secondary goals was to characterize Ginny as a more mature, self-controlled person than she was often depicted in canon, where her child/teenaged self could be thoughtless and tempermental. Perhaps her feistiness was the result of having to stand up for herself as the youngest in a family of so many boys, but she doen't have to live with them any more, and it is better to live peacefully with one's husband.
Thanks for reading and reviewing!
Hi Vicki, I’m back for chapter three.
I found it interesting that this chapter begins with a discussion about using Muggle made fabrics to protect Aurors from werewolf bites. I like how it shows us that Harry is able to think outside the box and that he is more worried about something being effective than whether it is made by wizards or not. It also seems like the wizarding world has a ways to go since Susan recommends that Harry get Ron and George involved to play the politics that would be necessary for such a thing to even be considered.
I like the digression about how many young wizards wanted to be Aurors after the war. I wonder if after the anxiety of the war years it simply felt natural to want to continue in a profession that would have some danger in it. I think it’s very believable that Ron and Neville would have trained and worked as Aurors and I am glad that they eventually found work they found more fulfilling. And Hermione, of course, always seems to know what she wants to do. Her path always seems so clear.
This conversation that Harry has with the Muggle Pamela is very interesting. She seems like someone who is easy to talk to and truly would make friends wherever she goes. I was amused that she was in England shepherding a bunch of Girl Scouts (although we never went anywhere that interesting when I was in Girl Scouts—I’m jealous). I like that Harry manages to tell her about his problems and that she seems to understand what’s really bothering him. Her parting advice that it is safe to talk to other people too was something he needed to hear. I’m glad that at the end of the chapter he reaches out for help.
Looking forward to seeing where this goes!
You make some interesting observations. My impression of the Ministry of Magic, obtained from reading the seven books, was that it was pretty traditional, hidebound, obsessed with its own history, and focused on a centuries-old image of Muggles as way behind wizards in their technological ability. The wizards in the MoM (and maybe wizards in general) fail to see that, while traveling by broomstick may have been better in some ways that traveling by oxcart, the broomstick has been superceded by the automobile and the airplane, and the owl on one's shoulder has been superceded by the mobile phone (in areas with cell service and facilities for recharging). So the MoM would automatically dismiss any report of Muggle technology as being valuable because, of course, they're Muggles, and that one word says it all. But Harry sees it differently, as seen in his predition that Muggles would, in his lifetime, deveop an invisibility technology. Question: would Harry and Hermione, in later years, in their higher administrative positions, shake the MoM from its hidebound position and bring it more into the 21st century?
I like your point about wizards who have been accustomed to the adrenaline-raising conditions of the second wizarding war possibly having become adrenaline junkies and wanting to continue in a dangerous, exciting line of work. I had not thought of that (and so I didn't have Harry think of it), but there are people who come back from combat and have trouble re-integrating into a peaceful society.
I based Pamela's remarks about her trip to England on my own experiences (I really did travel to foreign countries with Girl Scouts in my slightly younger years and did those things she mentioned), but I am less outgoing than she. However, as one gets older, one does become more confident about sharing one's philosophical wisdom with younger people -- age does have its prerogatives. On a basic, even subconscious, level, Harry knows he needs help for himself, but he is still far from being able to ask directly for it, as you will see.
Thank you for continuing to read and review.
Hi Vicki! I’m back for chapter two.
I really like how sensitive a husband Harry is in your story. In the books he seems to have a natural sense for other students who need support and I love how supportive of pregnant Ginny he is. He realizes that she needs understanding rather than solutions to her problems. He’s patient with her enumeration of the discomforts of pregnancy. He’s just so understanding! I also enjoyed your detailing of Ginny’s pregnancy ailments—especially the heat. I’ve always hated being pregnant in summer myself. The detail about Ginny spending more time with her mother was sweet and I had a good laugh over the comment that short women have less room to hide the baby, and thus look larger than tall women. (I am short, and boy do I look huge when I’m pregnant). Of course, Fleur would have none of those problems.
Then we take a walk with Harry and join him in his thoughts. I like the idea of Harry reminding himself that most people are good. In his job he has to deal with lots of not so good people, and I like the idea of him consciously trying to keep in mind that his job is a small slice of the rest of the world. I also smiled at the idea of Mad-Eye thinking the same thing, even paranoid as he was.
Harry’s encounter with the child abuse awareness poster was unexpected and effective. I like how you dwelt on the colors of the poster: black, blue, and white—like a bruise. And the fact that Harry writes down the number on the poster; just in case.
It’s so true that children who grow up in neglected and/or abusive homes have no frame of reference and so it is not until later when they are older that they can realize just what is wrong.
I’m looking forward to seeing where this story goes.
Thank you, as always, for commenting on another chapter of my story.
I think that it is a real accomplishment for a man to realize that sometimes other people just want to vent and do not want a barrage of suggestions on how to solve their problems. I wondered, when I wrote this, if it was unrealistic for Harry to understand that, given that he is young and a male, but I wanted it to be true, so that's how it got written. :)
Yes, Mad-Eye did have a strong, almost paranoid, reaction to the evils and dangers around him, but he also had a logical brain (which made him able to do his job), so that he could probably recognize that the majority of people were neither evil nor purposely dangerous -- he trusted the members of the Order of the Phoenix -- and perhaps allowed himself some moments of stopping to smell the roses (fake Moody seemed to be having a good time at the Yule Ball).
The child abuse and neglect poster is a copy of a public service announcement that I saw on television back when I was in Nursing School at the University of Washington in the late 1970s, but of course Harry didn't watch TV, so I converted it into a poster. It (the TV spot) was striking and memorable, so it was easy to call up from memory and insert into the story in 2012.
I'm looking forward to seeing where your story goes also, and I check every day to see if another chapter is up yet.
Hello! I was very intrigued by the title of this story and also by the title of the first chapter. I had to pause a moment before clicking on it.
The dream that starts chapter one instantly makes me feel so much sympathy for Harry. So many expectant fathers worry about being able to care for their babies, but he bears the burden of childhood abuse. It’s hard to believe that you can be a good parent if you’re struggling to overcome that obstacle.
I also feel sympathy for Harry that he feels he can’t talk to Ginny about his fears. He’s judging himself so harshly and he seems to expect that she will judge him too. But I think he’d be better off if he found someone to talk to about his fears.
I really like the description of the stones being a heat sink and making the house comfortable. It’s such a nice image after the frightening dream. I also liked the description of the baby being safe in Ginny’s womb. It was nicely put.
I smiled at the thought of Ginny loving the dainty cups that Hermione had given her. And I appreciated the detail that Harry wanted something more substantial to ground himself and the memory of how he got the mug he chose.
I’m impressed that Harry is so aware of all the father figures in his life. Even though he never knew his own father, he can pick out several men who have been a good example to him. And even a few who have been negative examples. He’s so thoughtful—he’ll make a good father if only he can stay out of his own way!
The examples of the bad dreams were good choices. They seem like the normal sort of things any new dad would worry about, but Harry doesn’t have anyone to tell him it’s okay yet. I also enjoyed him reminiscing about Divination and half thinking he should read his tea leaves.
The interaction with the aging Kreacher is very touching. It’s so nice to see this relationship, especially considering the way it started.
I suspect that Harry is going to regret not telling Ginny about his dreams earlier as the story goes along. No more secrets, indeed.
I’ll be back for more soon!
Thank you for embarking on this, the longest of my stories. The dreams that are described at the beginning of this chapter are ones that I and my female colleagues at work remembered from our own pregnancies, so they are all genuine. I don't know whether men have dreams like this -- I never asked. :) It's funny, given his utter scorn for his Divination classes at Hogwarts, that Harry even considers looking at his tea leaves. A sign of his discomfort, that he should grasp at such weak straws?
What Harry is doing here, judging himself harshly and assuming that others will judge him also, is a common belief of abused children, and they carry this belief over into their adulthood.
As I recall, writers of fanfiction generally depict the relationship between Harry and Kreacher during the post-was years as a good one. Harry gave the old locket that wasn't a real horcrux to Kreacher, who wore it during the Battle of Hogwarts as a remembrance of Regulus, so I think that Kreacher was grateful for the locket, and his attitude toward Harry may have begun to improve at that point.