To say that I’m a fan of the Harry Potter series would be a gross understatement. I love the books, have read them all multiple times, and can give long-winded speeches on the stories from any angle. I even enjoy the movies, an easy thing to do when you consider them as their own artistic medium instead of worrying about how faithfully they follow the books.
I’ve written other posts on Harry Potter, including this one which seems to attract a lot of span comments. In addition, however, I’ve done some other Potter writing that I talked about way back in the beginning of this blog–a couple of fan fiction pieces that I thoroughly enjoyed working on, even if I knew they were, for the purposes of someone looking to be published, a futile effort. One of these pieces was “Bare Bottomed Longbottom”–a short story that takes place during Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts and centers on poor, mistreated Neville Longbottom. In the story, Neville is invited by the Weasley brothers to participate in an “age-old Hogwarts tradition” in the form of a nude race through the castle in the middle of the night. It was a fun little story and, to my surprise, it won the 2009 QuickSilver Quill Award for Best Humor Story from Mugglenet. Behold:
Now, in addition to my short story, I also wanted to write a longer work. In keeping with J.K. Rowling’s formula of each book taking up a year of Harry’s life, I asked myself what would happen in the year following the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. How would the characters cope with the aftermath of the war with Voldemort? How would they pick up the pieces of their lives and move on with celebrating their victory while grieving for the enormous cost. (Note: If you have neither read the last book or seen the final movie, there may be spoilery information to follow. Not that I care, because if you haven’t read the books, you’re dead to me anyway.)
And so, Harry Potter and the Golden Sepulcher was born. It would be posted a chapter at a time, per Mugglenet’s policy, and would describe the year following the Battle of Hogwarts. I would try to keep as close to Rowling’s style as possible while still making it my own story. Finally, I would do all the work knowing there was not even the remotest possibility that I would ever make any money off of it–it would be a tribute to Rowling’s masterwork, nothing more and nothing less.
Now, as we come to the end of an era, the culmination of more than a decade where there was always something to look forward to on the Harry Potter horizon, I’m going to serialize my incomplete manuscript of HPGS on here. It is incomplete because, despite how much fun it was to write, I felt I needed to focus on other work in my limited amount of free time, work that stood a chance of getting published. Still, I have twelve chapters done and, if the mood strikes me, I may add more at some later date.
(Disclaimer: This story is fan fiction. I do not claim any rights to the characters or other elements of J.K. Rowling’s works. This story is a humble tribute to what she created and I am forever in her debt for creating such a rich, fertile world of the imagination.)
Harry Potter and the Golden Sepulcher
Chapter One–The Malfoys
Draco Malfoy sat in the drawing room of his family’s manor and stared at the roaring fire. The orange flames provided the only light in the room, the heavy curtains blocking the late-afternoon light, and shadows danced about the room. The elegant furniture had replaced the long table and numerous chairs that had occupied the room up until a week ago. Up until the Dark Lord had been defeated.
The face gazing at the fire was not that of a young man just graduated from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. No youthful innocence or eager ambition showed in the fair skin and tightly pressed lips. Instead, worry and sorrow marked the pointed features, aging it far beyond others of his age. The furrowed brow and haunted eyes, motionless before the flames, spoke of profound lessons learned at a terrible price. His white hands, folding in his lap, clutched each other as though afraid, the skin beneath the long, thin fingers paler even than that around it. To a casual observer, Draco Malfoy might have been a statue, a waxwork tableau erected in tribute to the lost cause for which he and his family had fought so many years.
A single chime sounded in the house, clear and resonant. It reached every corner of the massive structure and, at its signal, Draco moved for the first time in hours. Standing, he strode across the drawing room and entered the long entrance hall. Lamps lit themselves as he entered the room. His father and mother, both dressed in sumptuous robes of dark green, reached the front door at the same time as their son and they all looked at each other as though questioning who would answer the tolling bell. After a moment, Draco stepped forward to a large mirror hanging near the door.
“Show me,” Draco said, his voice low and weary. Behind him, he could feel the tension in both his parents as they watched over his shoulder.
In the week since the fall of Voldemort at the Battle of Hogwarts, as it was now being called in the papers, the Malfoys had lived in absolute fear. Any moment, they reasoned, the Ministry of Magic might send a group of Aurors to take them into custody, possibly whisking them all to die ignominious deaths in the wizarding prison, Azkaban. They had, everyone knew, been supporters of Voldemort and had even harbored the Dark Lord in their home as he spread his reign of terror over Britain.
Still, the Ministry of Magic was not who the Malfoys most feared. They, particularly Narcissa Malfoy, had played a role in the defeat of the Dark Lord at Hogwarts. Draco’s mother, now quivering in fear behind her son, had lied to Voldemort, saying that Harry Potter, once again subjected to the killing curse that had failed to slay the”Chosen One” the last time Voldemort had cast it upon the boy, was finally vanquished. Concerned only for the safety of her son, she made it possible for Harry to defeat the Dark Lord, thus betraying the Death Eaters that considered the Malfoys some of his most ardent supporters. The remaining Death Eaters, those few still at large, would likely seek revenge on the Malfoys as soon as the Aurors grew weary of hunting them. The sacrifice Narcissa had made to save her son would be his death sentence should Voldemort’s supporters return to Malfoy Manor.
Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy looked, if anything, worse than their son. They shared the same haunted look as Draco, their eyes looking out from deep hollows in their sharp faces, but the lines around their eyes, barely visible only a few weeks ago, seemed to have eroded until they looked like great gorges in their nearly transparent skin. Both had lost weight from their constant state of anxiety and Draco’s mother, already thin, looked as though she might blow away in the winds of change now sweeping through the wizarding world.
The image of the three Malfoys in the mirror lasted for a second, then dissolved into gray mist. The mist swirled, gathered, and reformed into another image. Now, the mirror showed not the entrance hall of the manor, but the country lane that led by the high hedge separating it from the grounds of the estate. A line of wild brambles could be seen on the opposite side of the lane. Lit by brilliant daylight, the image in the mirror cast a warm glow on the blanched faces of the three people observing, faces that grew whiter still when several figures appeared in the lane.
Draco Malfoy heard his mother give a small moan of despair behind him, but said nothing, keeping his eyes fixed on the figures now standing before their front gates.
A dozen wizards stood outside the Malfoy estate, but the most prominent was the one in the center of the group. Tall and black, he issued a few silent orders to those around him and the Malfoys saw several heads nod as the figures moved to either side of the front gate. The leader, sunlight reflecting off the dark skin of his bald pate, raised his wand and tapped the metal front gate.
Another chime rang through the house, this one higher pitched and louder.
Draco turned and looked at his father. His mother, shivering with fright, was pressed against her husband, her wide eyes glazed with tears. Lucius looked back at Draco and nodded.
Raising his trembling white hand, Draco touched the mirror and spoke.
“Who is it?”
They watched in the mirror as the tall, black figured answered. “Mr. Malfoy, it’s Kingsley Shacklebolt, Minister of Magic, here to see you and your parents.”
Draco turned again to his father, who nodded again. When he turned back, he raised his hand again, this time using his finger to wipe vertically down the glass surface of the mirror. When his hand returned once again to his side, they saw the figures on the lane move back as the iron gates swung inward, allowing them entrance. He waved his hand in front of the glass and the mirror grew misty again, swirling and reassuming the image of the three frightened Malfoys in the entrance hall.
Before any of them could say anything, a knock came at the front door. The sound boomed through the large house as the warning chime had, but carrying a much more ominous tone. It spoke of finality, as though it would be the last time they would hear such a sound in their own house.