Friday, February 27, 2015

The Leaky Cauldron Irregulars (Harry Potter and Merlin fanfiction): Chapter 5

Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5

"Good morning, class!" Emrys said cheerfully. "Today will be our last day of wandless verbal spells, and then we will move on to nonverbal spells. All right?" The students nodded, and Emrys proceeded to teach them more difficult spells to do without their wands. After a good deal of experience (and a number of accidents Emrys barely prevented), the class was over.

As everyone was leaving, a student walked up to Emrys.
"You said we can ask you anything, right?"
Emrys nodded. "Go ahead."
"I just need some help with my History of Magic homework."
Emrys smiled. "I should be able to help with that. What do you need to know?"
"We're learning about King Arthur," he said. Emrys smiled. "What was the name of Arthur's wife?"
"Gwen," Emrys said, a hint of sadness in his voice.
"Gwen?" The student looked confused.
"Oh, you'll be wanting the full name. It's Guinevere."
The student wrote the name down. "Thanks!"
"Anything else?"
"Yeah, actually. What was the name of Arthur's court sorcerer?"
Emrys stared at the student in disbelief. "Court... sorcerer? Magic was outlawed in Camelot!"
"That's not what the textbook says," the student replied.
"Tell Professor Binns I'd like to see that textbook he's using," Emrys said, disgruntled. "But if Arthur were to have had a court sorcerer, it would have been Merlin." Emrys sighed.
"Sorry if I'm wasting your time," the student said, standing up.
"No, no, I just doubt the accuracy of your curriculum. Go on."
"Where did King Arthur die?"
Emrys' face paled. His eyes sunk. He took a deep breath and with painful finality said, "Camlann." Emrys did all he could not to cry. Sensing that it was his time to leave, the student walked out of the room. Once everyone was gone, Merlin started sobbing uncontrollably.

His tears were interrupted by a knock at the door. Forcing himself to stop crying, Merlin used a spell to let the door swing open.
Professor Longbottom tentatively stepped in. "I heard you crying, and... I just wanted to make sure you were alright."
Merlin smiled weakly. "Yeah, fine." Longbottom looked skeptical. Merlin sighed. "It's Arthur. I was just reminded that... he died."
Longbottom nodded. "I'll leave you alone to your thoughts."

When the weekend came, Merlin left the grounds and traveled to Avalon. He could have apparated, but he wanted to walk, just to remember. Camelot was gone. The people were dead, the land developed... all that remained was Lake Avalon. Merlin stood at the bank, peering into the water. He cried and screamed and released his grief. He caused the wind to howl and the trees to shake, but he left the lake untouched, for that was where his friends rested, and he did not wish to disturb them.

Merlin stayed at Avalon so long he almost forgot he taught at Hogwarts. When the time came, Merlin said goodbye again to his friends and traveled back to the school. This time he went at a run, as if he could chase all his sorrow away. When he arrived to the classroom ten minutes late and out of breath, hints of tears in his eyes, he gave no explanation. Merlin sincerely hoped that Arthur was the real Arthur, or he didn't know how he'd be able to carry on.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow White Retelling

Once upon a time, a prince found a woman who was the most beautiful woman he had seen. He met her, and discovered that she was beautiful in her personality as well. He took her as his wife, and when he became a king, they tried hard to have a child, but the queen could not. One day, she became pregnant, but she could not give birth properly; both the child and the queen were lost. The king mourned the loss of such a beautiful, kind woman.

A year later the king took himself another wife. She was a beautiful woman (though still not as beautiful as his first bride), but she was proud and arrogant, and she could not stand it if anyone might surpass her in beauty. She had a magic mirror. Every morning she stood before it, looked at herself, and said:
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?"
To this the mirror answered:
"You, my queen, are fairest of all."
Then she was satisfied, for she knew that the mirror spoke the truth.

This went on for many years, but it all changed with the appearance of a woman named Suana, who was called Snow White. One might think that she was called so because of her face, but she was in fact dark-skinned. It was her hair that was white as snow. She had a sort of wisdom and beauty that befitted a woman of her years. She lived happily until the day the white men came. They took her people and sold them into slavery. Fearing a fate worse than death, Snow White escaped to a new land.

One day when the queen asked her mirror:
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?"
It answered:
"You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But Snow White is a thousand times fairer than you."

The queen ordered her servants to find this Snow White who was supposedly the most beautiful in the land. When the queen saw that Snow White was not white, the queen could not understand. The whites were the master race. How could a person of color be more beautiful than her? So the queen made Snow White her slave, thinking that with hard work, Snow White's beauty would fade. But no matter how hard Snow White worked, no matter how much she despaired, she kept that inner beauty that the queen could not fathom, and that inner beauty continued to show on Snow White's face.

Furious, the queen ordered her huntsman to get rid of this awful thing. "Take Snow White out into the woods," she said. "I never want to see her again. Kill her, and as proof that she is dead bring her lungs and her liver back to me." The huntsman nodded, having no choice but to obey his queen. He took Snow White deep into the woods, and they were alone together.

"You may take my life," she said gracefully. "I have lived many years, and my time is done. I have only one request. My people have been enslaved, tortured, and killed. I need to know that there is still someone who views me as a person. Someone who doesn't discriminate."
The huntsman looked at Snow White. "I don't think you deserve to be hurt. You are human, even though you look different from me. If I could do something, I would, but I fear for my life." He thought for a moment. "I will spare your life because you deserve to live it, no matter how few years you may have left. If I should ever have another chance to help your people, believe me that I will take it. Now, go far away from here, that the queen might not hurt you again." Snow White nodded, and ventured further into the forest. Meanwhile, the huntsman killed a wild boar, cut out its lungs and liver, and took them back to the queen as proof of Snow-White's death.

After Snow White had been walking for hours and begun to despair of ever reaching shelter, she found herself surrounded by a group of seven people, all pointing spears at her. They were dark-skinned as well, but their skin was much lighter than Snow White's. As soon as they saw Snow White's skin, they lowered their spears.
"Forgive us," the leader said. "We thought you might be one of the white people."
Snow White shook her head. "No, they have done me too much harm."
"They have hurt us as well. They drove us from our land, so that we are forced to live in these woods. But we have learned the ways of the land, and we are satisfied here," the leader said.
"What do you come to us for?" another one of the natives asked.
"I came not looking for you," said Snow White, "though I hope you might help me all the same. I seek shelter from the white people."
"That we may give you," the leader answered. "Come, we will teach you the ways of nature." And so Snow White became part of the tribe. She learned how to love mother nature, communicating with all manner of birds and beasts, using the plants and the land without taming them. In return, Snow White told the natives of her people and taught the natives her people's ways. It was a pleasant arrangement, and Snow White enjoyed being wild and free. Each day she grew more beautiful from knowledge and experience and sharing a kindred spirit with others who were fair and kind.

Now the queen, believing that Snow White was dead, could only think that she was again the first and the most beautiful woman of all. She stepped before her mirror and said:
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?"
It answered:
"You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But Snow White, beyond the mountains
With the seven natives,
Is still a thousand times fairer than you."
This startled the queen, for she knew that the mirror did not lie, and she realized that the huntsman had deceived her, and that Snow White was still alive. Then she thought, and thought again, how she could kill Snow White, for as long as long as she was not the most beautiful woman in the entire land her envy would give her no rest.

At last she thought of something. Coloring her face, she disguised herself as an old peddler woman, so that no one would recognize her. In this disguise she went to the dwelling of the tribe. She called out, "Beautiful wares for sale, for sale!"
Snow White peered out the window and said, "Good day, dear woman, what do you have for sale?"
"Good wares, beautiful wares," she answered. "Bodice laces in all colors." And she took out one that was braided from colorful silk. "Would you like this one?"
"I can have no need of such clothing," said Snow White. "That is white women's clothing, and I am no white woman. Take your wares to one who would desire them." Frustrated, the queen returned home.

Not long afterward, in the evening time, the natives came home, for they had been gathering food while Snow White was guarding their dwelling. Snow White told them of the peddler woman. When they heard what had happened they said, "The old peddler woman was no one else but the godless queen. Take care and let no one in when we are not with you."

When the wicked woman returned home, she thought of the woman who would not wear such beautiful clothing. Surely, the queen thought, such a woman could not be beautiful. So she went to her mirror and asked:
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?"
The mirror answered once again:
"You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But Snow-White, beyond the mountains
With the seven natives,
Is still a thousand times fairer than you."
When she heard that, all her blood ran to her heart because she knew that Snow White had a different kind of beauty that surpassed the queen's, and the queen was afraid because she did not understand this beauty. "This time," she said, "I shall think of something that will destroy you."
Then with the art of witchcraft, which she understood, she made a poisoned comb. Then she disguised herself, taking the form of a different old woman. Thus she went across the seven mountains to the home of the seven natives, knocked on the door, and called out, "Good wares for sale, for sale!"
Snow White looked out and said, "Go on your way. I am not allowed to let anyone in."
"You surely may take a look," said the old woman, pulling out the poisoned comb and holding it up. The child looked at the comb. "Such a comb would not manage my thick hair. The natives I live with take care of me and make sure I have all I need, and I do the same for them. Now, go and sell your wares to somebody who can make use of them." The queen became enraged, but knowing there was naught she could do, she returned home.

Surely with such unruly hair, she cannot be beautiful, the queen thought. She stepped before her mirror and said:
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?"
The mirror answered:
"You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But Snow-White, beyond the mountains
With the seven dwarfs,
Is still a thousand times fairer than you."
When the queen heard the mirror saying this, she shook and trembled with anger, "Snow White shall die," she shouted, "if it costs me my life!"
Then she went into her most secret room -- no one else was allowed inside -- and she made a poisoned, poisoned apple. From the outside it was beautiful, white with red cheeks, and anyone who saw it would want it. But anyone who might eat a little piece of it would die. Then, coloring her face, she disguised herself as a peasant woman, and thus went across the seven mountains to the seven natives. She called out to Snow White.
Snow White stuck her head out the window and said, "I am not allowed to let anyone in. The natives have forbidden me to do so."
"That is all right with me," answered the peasant woman. "I'll easily get rid of my apples. Here, I'll give you one of them."
"No," said Snow-White, "I cannot accept anything."
"Are you afraid of poison?" asked the old woman. "Look, I'll cut the apple in two. You eat the red half, and I shall eat the white half."
Now the apple had been so artfully made that only the red half was poisoned. Wheras the other wares had been things Snow White did not need, this time the queen had brought something Snow White could enjoy. She longed for the beautiful apple, and when she saw that the peasant woman was eating part of it she could no longer resist, and she stuck her hand out and took the poisoned half. She barely had a bite in her mouth when she fell to the ground dead.
The queen looked at her with a gruesome stare, laughed loudly, and said, "Ugly black woman! This time you will no longer be the most beautiful in the land."

Back at home she asked her mirror:
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?"
It finally answered:
"You, my queen, are fairest of all."
Then her envious heart was at rest, as well as an envious heart can be at rest.

When the natives came home that evening they found Snow-White lying on the ground. She was not breathing at all. She was dead. They lifted her up and looked for something poisonous. They washed her clean. They tried to shake any evil spirits out of her. They attempted the healing rituals as per their religion. But nothing helped. The dear woman was dead, and she remained dead. They laid her on a bier, and all seven sat next to her and mourned for her and cried for three days. They were going to bury her, but she still looked as fresh as a living person.
They said, "We cannot bury her in the earth, for her spirit is not yet ready to pass to the underworld," and they made a simple wooden coffin to symbolize that she was simple, but beautiful and strong. They laid her inside, and with golden letters wrote on it her name, and that she was a woman of wisdom and beauty. Then they put the coffin outside on a mountain, and one of them always stayed with it and watched over her. The animals too came and mourned for Snow White, first an owl, then a raven, and finally a dove.

Snow White lay there in the coffin a long, long time, and she did not decay, but looked like she was asleep, for she was still as beautiful as the day she died.
Now it came to pass that a prince entered these woods and happened onto the natives' home, where he sought shelter for the night. He saw the coffin on the mountain with beautiful Snow White in it, and he read what was written on it with golden letters.
Then he said to the natives, "Let me have the coffin. I will give you anything you want for it."
But the natives answered, "We will not sell it for all the gold in the world. She was too dear to us."
Then he said, "Then give it to me, for I cannot live without being able to see Snow White. I will honor her and respect her as my most cherished one."
As he thus spoke, the good natives felt pity for him and gave him the coffin. The prince had his servants carry it away on their shoulders. But then it happened that one of them stumbled on some brush, and this dislodged from Snow White's throat the piece of poisoned apple that she had bitten off. Not long afterward she opened her eyes, lifted the lid from her coffin, sat up, and was alive again.
"Good heavens, where am I?" she cried out.
The prince said joyfully, "You are with me." He told her what had happened, and then said, "I love you more than anything else in the world. Come with me to my father's castle. You shall become my wife." Snow White looked up at him. He was a dark-skinned man just like her, and he was a prince. Knowing that in his land people like her must be respected, she went with him. Their wedding was planned with great splendor and majesty.

Many neighboring royals were invited to the feast, including the queen. After putting on her beautiful clothes she stepped before her mirror and said:
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?"
The mirror answered:
"You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But the young queen is a thousand times fairer than you."
The wicked woman uttered a curse, and she became frightened, so frightened that she did not know what to do. At first she did not want to go to the wedding, but she found no peace. She had to go and see the young queen. When she arrived she recognized Snow White, and terrorized, she could only stand there without moving.

When Snow White saw the queen, she recognized her as the evil woman who had tried to kill her, and the evil queen was banished from the land. Snow White lived her new life with a man who loved and respected her, and in time she learned that she loved him too.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fandom School (6th period): Cosplay

So just what is cosplay? Cosplay is, simply put, dressing up as a fictional character. It is most commonly seen at comic-con. As I haven't had the wonderful experience of cosplay yet, I'd like to share with you some examples.

Deadpool cosplay is always really funny, so here are some examples:

Also, as many Whovians know, David Tennant had a wrap-up party for the end of his time as the Tenth Doctor in which the entire cast and crew danced (and lip-synched) to "500 Miles". Fans responded by creating their own video in which they dressed up like Doctor Who characters and danced to "500 Miles". If you haven't already, go watch both videos now. That is all.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Leaky Cauldron Irregulars (Harry Potter and Merlin fanfiction): Chapter 4

Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5

"Well, I think I've found him," Merlin announced to the group.
Will put down his book ("The Theory of Everything"), and looked up, surprised. "You sure?"
"He looks like Arthur, and he most definitely acts like Arthur. I'm sure it's him."
"Well then what do you need us for?" Gwen asked.
Merlin thought for a moment. "What about the others? I mean, they might not have memories of their past lives, but they could be here. After all, I found you lot."
Gwaine smiled. "I remember my time with Arthur as a hazy drunk dream."
Gwen shook her head in amusement. "Not surprising, considering you were drunk more than half the time. I for one remember Arthur very clearly. I can't wait to get back together with him," Gwen said, smiling.
"He's only eleven," Freya reminded her.
"I can wait."
"So who's on the hit list again?" Gwaine asked, taking a swig of firewhiskey.
"It's not a hit list," Merlin said, exasperated. "We're trying to find these people, not kill them." He sighed. "Balinor, Hunith, Gaius, Elyan, Lancelot, Leon, Percival, Mithian, and Elena."
"That's a long list," Will commented.
"I'm not going to make it any shorter because every one of those people matters. Now then, let's get to work," he said, standing up. Hannah Abbot watched him out of the corner of her eye, convinced something was going on.
"Good morning, Professor Emrys."
"Good to see you, Professor Longbottom."
"Might I speak with you a minute?"
Emrys nodded. "Of course!"

They walked into Longbottom's classroom.
"Herbology? Nice. I apprenticed with a physician once."
"Oh? Great, then you'll know what this is." Longbottom held up a vial.
Emrys didn't recognize it from his studies with Gaius, but he recognized it nonetheless. "Veritaserum? But surely you wouldn't..."
"No, I just wanted to make it clear that I want you to be truthful. I have a few questions for you."
Emrys blanched as if he was back in the time of Camelot and had been accused of sorcery. He swallowed his fear and put on a smile. "Ask away."
"Your teaching methods are... rather advanced."
"Thank you."
"Where did you study?"
Emrys was silent for a moment, considering whether to tell the truth. "I learned by experience."
"So you fought Voldemort?"
Emrys shook his head. "No, but I fought people like him."
Longbottom looked confused by that. "My wife, Hannah, tells me you frequent the Leaky Cauldron."
"Yes, I find it a wonderful place to think."
"About what, if I might ask?"
"You might. I..." Emrys sighed. "You said you wanted the truth, right? I'm just not sure you'll believe me."
Longbottom smiled. "Trust me, I've heard some very strange things."

Emrys laughed. "Ever heard of Merlin?"
"The most powerful wizard in all of history? Of course I know of him."
Emrys nodded. "What would you think if I said..." Emrys took a deep breath. "...that he's still alive?"
Longbottom looked at Emrys in shock. "But... he can't be!"
"I assure you, he is. And he's sitting in this room."
Longbottom stared at Emrys. "But Merlin's supposed to be older?"
Emrys laughed. "I am old. I just don't look it. I can show you how old I really am," he said. "Mind if I use some of your supplies to make a potion?"
Longbottom shrugged his shoulders. "I suppose it can't hurt."

A few minutes later, Emrys drank the completed potion. He was transformed into his old self, and Longbottom stared. "It is you!"
Emrys nodded, drinking the antidote. "And I'm looking for Arthur Pendragon. I miss him. I think he's at this school. You know Arthur Pratt?"
Longbottom nodded, still in shock. "Yeah, bright kid, really cocky, but a decent guy at heart."
"That's my Arthur," Emrys said. "Oh, and don't tell anyone about this conversation. I don't want word to get out of my identity, or I'd never have peace and quiet." Longbottom started to open his mouth. "I suppose you can tell your wife," Emrys conceded. "But no-one else. Understood?"
Longbottom nodded and walked off, marveling at what had just happened.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Leaky Cauldron Irregulars (Harry Potter and Merlin fanfiction): Chapter 3

Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5

The doors swung open and the professor walked in. "Hello, class. I am Professor Emrys, and I will be your Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher." The class stared at him. "Well go on, say hello!" The professor surveyed the class. "Ah, too early in the morning, I see." Emrys muttered something, pointing his wand at the students. His eyes flashed gold, and they sat upright, awake and eager. "Much better. Now then, why don't you introduce yourselves? I've got to start memorizing your names right away."
"Professor?" a young girl's hand shot up.
"Yes, miss..."
"Rose Weasley."
"What was your question, Rose?" Emrys asked, deciding to be on a first-name basis with his students.
"Couldn't you just use a spell to memorize our names?"
"Now why didn't I think of that?" Emrys said, smiling. "You're Hermione Granger's daughter, aren't you?" Rose nodded. "Brilliant. Now, I know Rose's name, but I don't know the rest of you."
"I'm Arthur Pratt," a student with blond hair and blue eyes said. Emrys tried his best not to laugh. The student was the spitting image of Arthur Pendragon, whom Emrys had often called a prat. Emrys shook himself away from that thought and focused on the other students who were speaking.

After all the students had introduced themselves, the lesson began. "Now, I'll need a volunteer. Don't worry, you won't get hurt." Albus Severus raised his hand. "Excellent. Step up here in front of the class." Albus did so. "Now, we're going to act like we're going to duel. Do any of you know how to duel?" About half the class (mostly the male half) raised their hands. "Good. Shall we begin?"

They did so. Anticipation rose as the two wizards counted their paces. Albus opened his mouth to cast a spell, but Emrys beat him to it. "Expelliarmus!" Albus' wand went flying. "Now what will you do?" Emrys asked.
"Beg for mercy?" Albus suggested.
"You don't really have another option," Emrys agreed. "And I think that is unacceptable. Should any of you be attacked, I don't want you to be helpless without your wands. And that is what we shall be working on," he explained. "Allow me to demonstrate." Emrys and Albus got set up for the duel again. This time, Emrys allowed Albus to disarm him. "Stupefy!" Emrys shouted, throwing Albus backwards with considerable force. Just before Albus slammed into the wall, Emrys slowed time and let Albus reach the floor without injury. The students stared at Emrys in awe.

"Now Albus has had his turn," Emrys said, breaking the silence, "who'd like to be the first to learn how to do a spell without a wand?" Arthur stepped forward. "Great! Set your wand down, and I'll show you how it's done. What spell should we start with?"
"Expelliarmus!" Arthur said enthusiastically.
"Good choice. Being able to disarm your enemy without a wand is a significant advantage." Arthur nodded, looking incredibly smug. "Now, think about what expelliarmus does." Rose raised her hand. "Rose, while I'm sure it would be exceptional, your explanation is not required." Rose sighed, lowering her hand. Emrys turned to Arthur. "Have you been thinking about the spell? Picture what will happen when you cast it. Think about the wand leaving my hand. Think about me flying backwards. Think about how you will cast the spell. Think about how to pronounce it. Focus." Arthur nodded. "Now, when you're ready, cast the spell."
A few moments later, Arthur yelled "Expelliarmus!" Emrys' wand dropped to the floor, and he was knocked back a negligible amount. Arthur's face fell.
"Don't worry, Arthur, wandless magic is difficult. It's not surprising that the spell wasn't that powerful. Wands help channel your magic, but so do minds. The spell is only as strong as your concentration. Now focus, really focus, and try again," Emrys said, picking up his wand.
"EXPELLIARMUS!" Arthur bellowed, full of confidence and authority. This time, the wand flew out of Emrys' hand and Emrys was knocked back a few feet.
"Much better. I should note, yelling your spell is not necessary. It was just Arthur's way of focusing. Whispered spells can be equally potent," Emrys informed the class. To prove his point, he whispered "Incendio," and the candles in the room lit up. "Thank you, Arthur. Who's next? I want you to all be able to cast this spell without a wand by the end of the class."

"By the way," Emrys said as the class was drawing to the close, "I'm told nobody has managed to hold this position for more than a year and thus some consider it to be 'cursed'. I would like to inform you that should I leave this school at the end of the year, it will because of my own choice and not because I was forced to do so by unfortunate circumstances." The students seemed somewhat skeptical, but none of them said anything. "And if you need any help for your other classes, or even for something not school-related, feel free to ask me. I'm a wealth of information." The students nodded. "And that concludes this class. Oh, I almost forgot: your homework is to practice wandless magic with your friends, enemies, or anyone else you want to use magic on. Stick to expelliarmus for now. I look forward to seeing you all again next class."

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Leaky Cauldron Irregulars (Harry Potter and Merlin fanfiction): Chapter 2

Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5

Merlin sat at a table, eagerly awaiting the boy's approach. After what felt like forever, he saw Albus Severus walking over.
"Find anything?" Merlin asked.
"Maybe," Albus said. "There's this kid. I think his name's Arthur, but I'm not sure. He's really arrogant, but he seems like a nice guy at heart. He also enjoys ordering people around. He says he wants to become a prefect."
"Hm. That might be him. Can you find out more about this kid?"
"Yeah, but I think there's a better way."
"Oh?" Merlin asked, taking a sip of his tea.
"You see, Hogwarts is a little short staffed at the moment. Snape's gone, and the school's had difficulty finding a Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher."
"Who do they have now?"
"Nobody," Albus said simply.
"You mean to tell me students aren't being taught Defense Against The Dark Arts?" Merlin asked incredulously.
"Well, there's not as much need for it now, seeing as Voldemort's dead," Albus pointed out.
"Still, this is something I will not permit." Merlin frowned. "I'll apply for the position. In fact, I'm going to Hogwarts at once. Would you like to come with me?"
Albus shrugged his shoulders. "Sure, I was planning on going there soon anyway."

As they walked onto the grounds, countless students greeted Albus.
"You're very popular here, I see," Merlin commented.
"That's what happens when your dad is the one who defeated Voldemort."
Merlin chuckled. "True. So, where do I go to apply?"
"Well, maybe you should try speaking to the headmaster," Albus suggested.

Albus left Merlin at the door. "Good luck," he said.
"I know you'll be a great teacher."
Merlin smiled. "Oh, and if I do end up teaching here, don't tell anyone about our secret, okay? I'll go by another name." Albus nodded solemnly.
"Come in," a woman's voice said.

Merlin did, and shook hands with the headmaster.
"Greetings," the headmaster said, "I'm Professor McGonagall. I mean, headmaster McGonagall. I'm still not used to the new title."
"Of course," Merlin said, nodding politely.
"And who might you be?" she asked.
Merlin thought for a moment. "You may call me Emrys."
"Emrys! Quite a name," McGonagall commented.
"It is my name," Merlin said simply. "Take it or leave it."
"And what brings you here, Mr. Emrys?"
"I'm told you're looking for a Defense Against The Dark Arts professor?"
"We are," McGonagall replied. "The darkest times may be over, but we still need our students to know how to defend themselves."
"I couldn't agree more," Merlin said. "Which is why I'd like to apply for the position."
McGonagall looked hopeful for a moment, then her face regained its stern mask. "Have you any teaching experience, Mr. Emrys?"
"No," Merlin admitted, "but I do have a good deal of experience with the dark arts, and as for the teaching, I'm sure I can manage that well enough. I'm incredibly patient and kind, and I'm good at working with others."
McGonagall nodded, as if taking it all in. "You are aware, of course, of the danger of this position?"
"I'm not sure what you mean," Merlin said.
"Nobody has managed to hold the position for more than a year, Mr. Emrys."
"Well then, I'll have to make it a great year, won't I?" Merlin said, smiling.
"So you still want the position?" McGonagall asked, somewhat surprised.
"If you'll have me," Merlin replied.
"Well, I'll need to administer a diagnostic test to make sure you are fit for the position, but if that goes well, I see no reason why you can't teach at Hogwarts."

The test was so simple, Merlin was concerned about the caliber of the wizards and witches who had held the position before him. The only part that he found difficult was the dementor, but somehow Merlin instinctively knew how to produce a patronus, and so a german shepherd came out of his wand.

"I notice you use a lot of nonverbal spells," McGonagall commented.
"It's what I'm used to," Merlin replied simply. "I'm familiar with the spells you teach at Hogwarts."
"Very well then. Your performance was satisfactory. Welcome to the staff."
"I've got a job at Hogwarts now," Merlin informed the group. "I'll be sure to keep you updated."
Will looked up from his book ("The Universe In A Nutshell"). "Sounds good. Want us to keep looking, or do you think you've got the guy?"
"Keep looking, just to be safe." Everyone nodded. "Right, see you all next week. And wish me luck!" They did, and then left (at different times, just to avoid arousing suspicion).

Hannah Abbot, the landlady turned to one of the employees. "Those people seem suspicious to you?" she asked, gesturing at the dispersing group.
"No," the employee said. "Why?"
"Well, it's just that there's always a group of people visiting that customer," she pointed to Merlin, "and they look different, but it's the same number of people each time. Same time, same table. If I didn't know better, I'd say it were some sort of meeting."
"But it's different people every time!"
Hannah nodded. "They could be disguising themselves, though."
"Why would they need to disguise themselves?"
"Why indeed. I think they're up to something." The employee looked skeptical. "Just... keep an eye on them, okay?"
"Whatever you say, boss."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fandom School (5th period): Cancellation

Everybody dreads hiatus. It's hard enough to wait a week; waiting months (or even years!) is almost impossible. But that's not the worst that can happen to a fandom.

You know how it goes. You get really into a show, watching every episode, until suddenly there are no more. And there will be no more. The show has been cancelled. It's devastating.

So why does it happen? Here are a few possible causes:

  • The storyline is finished
  • The show's ratings aren't high enough
  • Something happened to one of the actors/creators of the show
  • It's not making enough money (i.e., it costs more to produce the show than is being earned by people viewing the show)
  • It's being removed to make room for another show
There are lots more, of course, but those are the main ones.

What do you do when your favorite show gets cancelled?
  • Get together with other fans and petition for it to be renewed
  • Write lots of fanfiction (and create other fanworks) to tie up the loose ends
  • Try to find a new fandom to join
  • Speculate with other fans about what happens (would have happened?) post-canon
  • Rewatch every single episode, looking for all the things you missed the first time
  • Hope that a spin-off will be created

This, by the way, is why I write so many Merlin fanfics. The show was cancelled after 5 seasons (well, cancelled isn't really the right word because they were always planning to have it last for only 5 seasons), and I'm still upset about it. The most important thing to remember about cancellation is that even though the show may be done, the fandom still lives. And who knows, maybe the cancelled show will come back in one way or another. You never know.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Leaky Cauldron Irregulars (Harry Potter and Merlin fanfiction): Chapter 1

A certain friend of mine (you know who you are) has been bugging me to write this for ages, so here it is at last.

Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5

The man looked up from his book ("A Brief History of Time") to see the boy. He sighed and resumed wandlessly stirring his tea. That was the signal. Another man walked over to the table.
"So, the famous young wizard?"
The first man nodded. "Think he's the one?"
The second man shook his head. "He looks too different. And he acts nothing like him, either. He's not nearly prattish enough."
"The way you talk, I'm not even sure you want to find your friend," the first man joked.
"Don't talk nonsense." The second man looked around. "The others have noticed. I think your tea is adequately stirred by now, Will." Will shrugged his shoulders and took a sip of tea.

"Now that we're all here, let's discuss theories," the second man, who seemed to be in charge, said.
"Harry Potter," Will suggested.
"No, we've been over this already."
"What about Ron?" another man suggested.
The leader laughed. "Definitely not!"
"Do you think it's anyone at Hogwarts?" a woman asked, exasperated.
"I'm not sure," the leader admitted. "I mean, he's bound to end up at Hogwarts eventually."
"Maybe he hasn't been born yet," another woman offered.
"I've been waiting for a long time," the leader said. "I suppose I can wait a while longer. Same time next week?" The group nodded, then dispersed.

Merlin thought back to that day. The boy, Harry Potter, had turned out to be quite promising- but he certainly wasn't the boy they were looking for. Merlin was beginning to think it was all in vain. He'd been searching for ages, how could these people help? Maybe it was time to move on.

Merlin had formed the group in the hopes of locating the Once and Future King, know to Merlin as Arthur. Arthur had been his dearest friend, and the loss had devastated Merlin. Kilgharrah had insisted that Arthur would rise in the time of Camelot's greatest need. But wasn't Voldemort's reign enough? Now Voldemort was dead, and there was still no sign of Arthur. But maybe this group would find him after all. They were exceptional at blending in- Will was a master of disguise, Gwaine made himself so drunk everyone looked away in disgust, Freya was an animagus, and Gwen was a metamorphmagus. To the typical patron of the Leaky Cauldron, they were just random strangers going to meet the man with the neckerchief (nobody outside of the group knew Merlin's real name, for Merlin considered anonymity better suited to his needs). As such, they were called the Leaky Cauldron Irregulars (or the Irregulars, for short).

The Irregulars were Merlin's eyes and ears, but so far they had been unsuccessful. They had brought a number of interesting individuals to his attention, but Merlin cared for none but Arthur. Not to say that Merlin was callous (though the years had hardened his heart somewhat), just that he would be satisfied with nothing less than his friend.

And so it was that when Merlin saw eleven year old Albus Severus in the Leaky Cauldron, he decided to take a chance.
"Albus!" The boy didn't turn around. "Albus Severus! That is your name, isn't it?" The boy turned slowly around, fixing a wary eye on Merlin.
"My father told me not to talk to strangers."
"Your father was a notorious rulebreaker, as was your grandfather. Indulge an old gentleman and talk a little while, won't you?"
"You barely look thirty, mister."
"So I do," Merlin said amusedly. "I forget sometimes. But the question still stands: will you talk with me? Technically, I suppose you already have, but I mean a proper conversation."
The boy sighed. Merlin laid his wand on the table, a gesture of peace. "I suppose I could talk," Albus grudgingly admitted.
"Good! I knew you'd come round!" Merlin said cheerily, pouring a cup of tea for Albus.

"You're getting all set to go to Hogwarts, right?"
Albus nodded. "I'm really excited!"
"As you should be. I was wondering if you'd be able to do a little job for me."
"A job? I thought this was just a conversation." Albus looked unimpressed.
"Think of it as a quest. Something exciting to do. Like what your dad did. Well, probably not as dangerous, but just as fun."
Albus considered this. "So what do you want?"
"I want you to people-watch. Pay attention to the students in Hogwarts. I'm looking for someone, and I'd like you to tell me if you think you've found him."
"Who are you looking for?" Albus asked, his curiosity piqued.
"His name is Arthur, but that might not be his name now."
"Is he your long-lost son?"
Merlin laughed. "Not really, but he's very close to me, and it would mean a lot to me if you could find him."
"So tell me about this 'Arthur'."

"Oh, he's wonderful. He's a bit of a prat, though. He thinks he's king of everything, and sometimes he can be a bit mean, but he's a good man at heart. He always tries to be fair, but sometimes he has trouble not having the same prejudices as his father taught him. He's pretty smart, but he can be so stupid sometimes. And he doesn't have one ounce of self-preservation." Merlin's face darkened. "Not one."
Hoping to lighten the mood, Albus asked Merlin "What does he look like?"
"Golden brown hair that's absolutely perfect, beautiful green eyes, broad shoulders..."
"Are you in love with him?"
Merlin was surprised at that question, and he had to take a moment to consider it. "No... but I do care about him very much. Can you help me find him?"
"Alright, mister... hey, you never told me your name!"
"Merlin." The boy's eyes widened. Merlin nodded, then put a shushing finger on his lips. "It'll be our little secret," he whispered.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fandom Love (Happy Valentine's Day)

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! I'd like to start off by saying that I love all of you (platonically, of course- except for my boyfriend, who I love non-platonically). I know that some of you are in relationships and some of you are single, so I tried to make a post that will celebrate the day while not making anyone feel left out.

Let's talk about love. And because this is a fandom blog, let's use examples from fandoms.

There are several different types of love. I decided to use this website to decide how to categorize the different types. So, without further ado, here is the list.

Agape - selfless love. Agape is unconditional love that makes you donate to charity, be friendly with people you don't know, and do anything to help someone or make them happy.
Example: Merlin and Arthur in Merlin (more Merlin than Arthur), Harry in Harry Potter

Storge - family love. This is the love siblings have for each other (you may not like each other, but you do love each other), the love between a parent and child. It can also be a strong friendship.
Example: Elsa and Anna in Frozen, Sam and Dean in Supernatural (I think? I haven't seen much of that show)

Pragma - enduring love. This is the love between an old married couple, still faithful after decades of commitment. This is the love between old friends. This is the love that endures all odds.
Example: Amy and Rory in Doctor Who, Carl and Ellie in Up

Philautia - self-love. This isn't narcissism, but rather self-respect. This is accepting yourself just as you are. This is the belief in yourself that leads you to do great things.
Example: Peggy Carter from Captain America and Agent Carter, Martha from Doctor Who

Philia - shared experience. This is the love you have for your co-workers, the people in your sports team (or marching band), the people in your class.
Example: Harry, Ron, and Hermione in Harry Potter; the fellowship (Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn, and Boromir) in The Lord of the Rings

Ludus - flirtatious love. This is the feeling you get when you first fall in love with someone or when you notice a hot girl/guy. It's the kind of love that's all about having fun. It lasts for a short time until ending or developing into another type of love.
Example: Hazel and Augustus in The Fault In Our Stars, Eleven and River in Doctor Who (actually, their relationship is wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey and falls into several of these categories)

Eros - romantic and sexual love. This is the love in which you are really attracted to someone. Like Ludus, it only lasts so long; after a while it either dies out or develops into another type of love, such as pragma.
Example: Romeo and Juliet (I really hate that story, by the way), Jack and Rose in Titanic

So regardless of whether if there is a "special someone" in your life, remember to love the people around you. In fact, love everyone. Even those who don't deserve it - especially because those are the people who need it the most. Spread the love, everyone!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fandom School (Lunch): How To Describe a Fandom

Greetings and welcome again to Fandom School! Sorry class is late, I got kinda busy. Anyway, onto today's topic.

If you're like me, you are in a lot of fandoms, and while some of your friends are in some of your fandoms, there are plenty of times people ask you "what's [insert fandom here] all about?". So for the synopsis-challenged, here are some descriptions of fandoms that you can use for explaining to your friends.

Avengers: a bunch of awesome superheroes (Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Thor) team up against Loki.

Big Bang Theory: a sitcom about a really smart but really annoying scientist (Sheldon Cooper), his roommate, his friends, and his girlfriend

Broadchurch: a murder mystery set in a small town where everybody has something to hide. There's a good deal of rivalry between the two detectives on the case.

Doctor Who: a man (well, technically an alien) travels through time and space in a blue box. His goal is to save the universe, but he also does all sorts of fun, weird stuff while he's at it

Galavant: a musical comedy about a hero who had his "true love" stolen from him by the king and is convinced to go back to being a hero and rescue a kingdom because it gives him a chance to get back at the king and possibly reclaim his true love.

Harry Potter: a boy named Harry learns that he is a wizard and that he is destined to defeat the dark lord Voldemort. With his new friends Ron and Hermione, he sets out to do just that.

How to Train Your Dragon: like any good Viking, Hiccup wants to kill dragons, but when he meets toothless, his whole world changes and he discovers that maybe dragons and Vikings don't have to fight each other.

Hunger Games: a dystopian novel/movie in which there are 12 districts that send two tributes each year to fight to the death in a televised horror known as The Hunger Games. When Katniss volunteers to go instead of her sister Prim, she has to survive the Games and maybe even try to change the oppressive government.

Les Misérables: a book/musical/movie set in 19th-century France that follows the story of several people in unfortunate circumstances- Valjean, who was imprisoned for 20 years for a minor offense and breaks parole to start a new life; Javert, the officer who is determined to find Valjean because he believes that criminals cannot ever be good; Fantine, a woman whose life is destroyed when a man impregnates her and then leaves her, forcing to resort to terrible things; and many other characters who go through difficult times. (Sorry the summary is so long- if you want a shorter one, just use the first part of the sentence.)

Lord of the Rings: In the Hobbit (written before the Lord of the Rings, not as a prequel), a young hobbit named Bilbo gets dragged into an adventure with a wizard named Gandalf and a band of dwarves to reclaim the lonely mountain and its gold from the evil dragon Smaug. On the way, Bilbo finds a ring. In the Lord of the Rings, we learn that this ring is evil, and Frodo (Bilbo's son) sets out with three other hobbits, a dwarf, an elf, two men, and Gandalf to throw the ring into Mordor and destroy the evil wizard Sauron.

Merlin: a young warlock named Merlin travels to Camelot, where magic is banned, and becomes a manservant to Prince Arthur. Merlin learns that it is his destiny to protect Arthur, even though Arthur is (at first) a total jerk. So, Merlin saves Arthur over and over again, all the time keeping his magic a secret. (For those who know Arthurian legend, it's like an AU of that- Merlin and Arthur are roughly the same age, and magic is banned in Camelot.)

Pitch Perfect: an all-female collegiate a cappella group called the Bellas struggles to do well and make it into the finals of the collegiate a cappella competition, and there are also tensions within the group as the leader Aubrey is resistant to any new ideas.

Sherlock: an eccentric genius becomes the world's only consulting detective, solving cases for Scotland Yard with the help of his trusty sidekick, John Watson. (There have been many adaptations of the original Arthur Conan Doyle books, including Elementary (a CBS show), Sherlock (a BBC show), and several movies.)

Star Trek: the crew of a spaceship called the Enterprise aims to "boldly go where no man has gone before". They encounter all sorts of adventures.

Star Wars: the Galactic Empire is terrible, and the Rebel Alliance has been formed against it. Just when it seems like the Rebels are going to be crushed, a young man called Luke Skywalker is trained to be a jedi master and defeat the Empire once and for all.

The Fault In Our Stars: this beautifully sad book/movie follows the story of two teenagers, Hazel and Augustus, who fall in love. They know it won't last long, though, as Hazel has cancer and Augustus is a cancer survivor. They decide to make the most of the time they have.

The Princess Bride: this classic book/movie is a tale of true love and high adventure. Buttercup loses Westley, the love of her life, and is about to be wed to Prince Humperdinck, but everything changes when she is kidnapped and then is stolen from her original captors by a mysterious man in black.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fandom School (4th period): Crossover Fanfiction

Hello and welcome again to Fandom School! We're back to fanfiction again, and now I'd like to talk about crossover fanfics.

First of all, what is a crossover? A crossover is a mash-up of two or more fandoms. You can combine just a few fandoms (Wholock, Superwholock, etc.), or you can go all out (for example, this fanfic). A crossover is not the same thing as an AU. For example, my fic The Once And Future Time Lord is a multi-fandom AU because while there are elements of Doctor Who, they are assumed to have always been there. A crossover takes the characters of one world and inserts them into another, while still retaining the memory of their original story (unless there's a memory loss trope or something). A multi-fandom AU takes one fandom and changes it so that it's part of another fandom. Fanfics where characters from one fandom are students at Hogwarts (like this fanfic) are a good example of this type of AU.

So now that you know what a crossover is, let's get to crossover fanfics. What should you keep in mind when writing them? Well besides the usual fanfiction tips, it's important to think about how your fandoms mesh. Wholock is a common crossover because the two fandoms are similar: eccentric genius outsmarts bad guys with the help of his friends. (They're also both set in the modern world.) However, if you wanted to combine the Avengers and My Little Pony, that would be a bit harder. (A quick google search reveals that fanfiction for this crossover does exist, and here's an example.)

There are a few other things to consider when writing crossover fanfics:

  • How many fandoms are you including? Try to keep it to just a few fandoms, else you'll risk complicating your fanfic and seriously limiting your number of readers.
  • How many characters are you including? Like fandoms, if you include too many your story will get cluttered.
  • How do your characters meet? Are they old friends? Do they randomly happen to run into each other? Is there some sort of crisis that brings them together?
  • How do the worlds connect? Have both universes co-exist, do the characters live in the same universe, or does something cause the universes to come together/the characters to be transported to each other?
  • Are your characters interacting reasonably? Is any character monopolizing the story, or is any character just sort of... there (invisibility level: Mickey Smith)?
  • How is canon affected? Is it canon divergence, or is canon altered to explain how the fandoms are connected?
  • Make sure your characters stay in character. OOC characters are a common problem with crossovers. It is justifiable to change a character somewhat to make them fit in with the other fandom(s), but you need to make sure that the essence of his/her personality remains the same. You could intentionally make characters be OOC, but I wouldn't recommend it.
And now that I've given you advice, I'll share my own crossover fanfics:

Wholock (Doctor Who and Sherlock crossover)

  • An Interesting Case
  • This is my first Wholock story (and my first fanfiction). In this one, Sherlock is asked to interrogate a mysterious witness who proves to be just as interesting as the case itself, and they go on an adventure together.
  • The Search For Father
  • This is a story for all of you who were frustrated when we saw that Jenny (from "The Doctor's Daughter") was alive, only to never see her again. I mean seriously. She never even gets a spin-off show! So, I wrote a story in which she goes off looking for her dad and enlists the help of Sherlock Holmes.
  • Call In The Expert
  • "When the police are out of their depth, they consult me," Sherlock had said. But what about when Sherlock was out of his depth? What then? That's when it's time to ask an even greater genius for help. Sherlock must call in the expert.
  • When Justice Is Treason
  • The Master and Moriarty. A deadly duo. With the help of the Archangel network, they control all of England. So when the few people who know the truth try to stop them, it is treason. Will they succeed? Or will Prime Minister Harold Saxon and King Moriarty continue their reign of terror?
  • You Matter
  • Sometimes characters have things going pretty rough for them. And sometimes their friends and family can't console them. But what about if somebody totally different were to come in? This is how characters would take care of each other in a Wholock universe.
  • On this blog: chapters 1 2 3

Other Crossovers

  • Use The Force (or the Mind Palace)
  • Remember the first time Luke used the Force? What did he actually see? What if he visited Sherlock's mind palace? Strange concept, I know, but the idea came into my head and wouldn't go away. (It's more of a series than a cohesive story.) Feel free to tell me what character you'd like to see next.
  • On this blog: chapters 2 3
  • You Are Not Alone: The Search For The Other Time Lords
  • The Twelfth Doctor feels as though he is all alone, until his daughter Jenny comes to him, telling him that she has found a way to locate other Time Lords. She tells him that he is not the only one. Together, they go out to find the rest.
  • Rating: G
  • On this blog: chapters 1 2 3

And a few great crossover fanvids:

Monday, February 2, 2015

Favorite Moments From The SuperBowl

I'm really more of a fangirl than a sports fan, but I did watch the SuperBowl. I mainly just watched it because SuperBowl parties have good food, but I did pay some attention to the game. I also checked my twitter feed to see what other people were saying. These are a few of my favorite moments from twitter, commercials, and the game itself.

Referring to this Nissan ad and this Toyota ad


The Game Itself
Actually, there's only one part of the game I found spectacular, and it's Jermaine Kearse's insane catch in the fourth quarter.