P.S. to this ask

For a long time I was torn on including Pansy Parkinson in my "in defense of" series. She is undeniably a bully and a cruel one, and the idea of “defending” a bully sets my teeth on edge.

But hopefully the story that resulted isn’t arguing that bullies are inherently redeemable, or that they deserve forgiveness, or even that I think Pansy deserves anyone’s forgiveness. What finally convinced me to give her story a try was realizing that Pansy is a bully, but she is a bully in the Harry Potter universe, which practically fuels itself on forgiving them—and she, alone in that story, is not forgiven, or even complicated.

More specifically, it was this quote:

"And who did [Draco] marry? It wasn’t Pansy right, or was it?"

JKR: “No! God, it wasn’t Pansy Parkinson. I loathe Pansy Parkinson. I don’t love Draco but I really dislike her. She’s every girl who ever teased me at school. She’s the Anti-Hermione. I loathe her.” (link)

James Potter is a hero and a martyr, transformed by off-screen character development and Lily’s love. Draco is at the very least pitiable. Snape is cruel and slimy, an adult man in a position of trusted authority who verbally abuses the children in his care—but in the end he is brave and that is enough to earn him an honored place in a young boy’s name.

It is not an inherent right of bullies to be forgiven or even sympathized with, even if they grow out of bullying—and especially if they don’t. But the narrative of Harry Potter holds up forgiveness as one of its tenets. JKR has stated that the only irredeemable major character of the franchise is Tom Riddle—but Pansy, ugly, pug-faced Pansy with her shrill schoolgirl taunts, is not just vilified but dismissed.

I didn’t want to excuse Pansy’s bullying in my story and I hope I didn’t. I would cheer, frankly, if Neville shunned Ms. Parkinson for the rest of his life. But I will stand and defend a young girl from the claim that her cruelties were somehow worse than Draco’s bullying, which happened right beside her own, or somehow less redeemable than all of Professor Snape’s irresponsible, petty cruelties. 

She does not deserve her victims’ forgiveness, though they may choose to give it. She does, however, deserve the same consideration that her universe, her author, and her audience gives to every other young, petty child who spat out cruel words in the Hogwarts corridors and classrooms. James Potter got the chance to grow up, but Pansy never did. Draco, “unlovable” though he may be, was given an ending and an epilogue. Pansy drifts off the page, wreathed in smug contempt.

So I wrote her a story. 

Anonymous said: You wrote about Andromeda and Cissa could you please write about Bella?

I feel about Bellatrix Lestrange about the same way my Andromeda does. Bella is a tragedy, and arguably even a victim, but she is also (by her own hands, choice, and hatreds) a murderer and a torturer of children. I have very little interest in living in her head, so I’m afraid there’s probably not going to be a Bella story coming your way.
I don’t want to write about Bellatrix for the same reason my Andromeda story was Andromeda’s, and not Narcissa’s, even though the idea of writing the loss of Andromeda’s husband and child terrified me. Narcissa’s life has both more canonical groundwork and less utter heartbreak than Andromeda’s—but Narcissa, no matter how redeemable or not her love for Draco might be, is a Death Eater’s wife and a bigot. To ignore her blood purism and xenophobia (and her complicity in Draco’s abuse) would be irresponsible. And at the end of the day, I’d much rather live in a head filled with debilitating grief than in a bigot’s. Especially when this series has a thematic titling scheme of “in defense of.”
The way I would need to write Cissa, who stood by her husband while he lynched and murdered, while he emotionally abused their son, would be exhausting. My main theme for most of my fic is “how do people sleep at night, after everything? how do they go on?” I am actively, passionately uninterested in trying to build a story about how abusers and bigots live with themselves.
"You are in an in-between,
in a world with no memories,
so forget your hands and what
they’ve done before.
Forget your fingers.
Float in this kingdom.

Be the kind of brave you’ve only ever read about
in books, then be braver than that.

Be boneless, but keep your spine.
Bend and bend and bend yourself
into a bridge that you haven’t burned yet,
then cross it.

You are more than you thought you were.
Unbroken and perfect,
healing like the bruise on your knee,
singing like a hymn where the only
words are
“I saved myself.”

Swallow the old world.
Swallow the darkest it’s ever been
and then keep it down until it
You are here now.

You are here and you are
the forgiveness in every mouth.
You are here, and you are glowing
like early morning.

Welcome back. Welcome home."

Caitlyn Siehl, You Are Here (via alonesomes)

(via alonesomes)


Night Fury Attack
The unholy offspring of lightning and death itself ….


Night Fury Attack

The unholy offspring of lightning and death itself ….

(via foxish49)

"Remember this: you do not exist as a favour to anybody else. Nor do you exist to spite anyone. You simply exist, and that must be enough."

#45 - 28th September

(Source: blood-and-magic, via jebiwonkenobi)

wallflower: in defense of susan bones

The summer before Susan Bones’s sixth year at Hogwarts, Tom Riddle, called Voldemort, fought and killed Susan’s Aunt Amelia in her Ministry office.

For the entire school year, Susie would hear whispers cut off as she entered a room. People would tell her, reassuringly, like it made something better, that they’d heard her aunt had given a hell of a fight.

They’d heard. Susie knew. She knew her aunt’s best dueling tricks and favorite curses, her stiff lip and stubborn rage. She knew that her aunt had not died easy. Susie woke, clenching her sheets and clenching her jaw around gasps, from dreams of her aunt, a high pitched voice, a green light— her aunt’s neat, blocky office, her carefully blunt robes askew, the whites of her eyes— that hell of a fight.

She had not died peaceful, and Amelia had built her life building the foundations for peace to stand on. Susie wrapped herself in blankets, tighter, tighter, until she could fight her own way back to sleep. 

When Susan Bones was twenty-three she would look across her steaming mug and the Ministry breakroom table, and see Hermione aching to burn the flawed old system down to ashes. Susan wanted to scour it to its roots, instead, wear it down to its rebar and concrete, and then rebuild from the old, worn foundations on up.

“Your parents died for you,” Susie told Harry Potter once, glaring at a bit of legal jargon and not at him. “My aunt died for this. Now either shut up and get me a fresh cup of coffee or try to drag me out of here before I finish this.”

But that was a war away. That was a childhood away from now. 

Read More


MAN i love anything and everything gothic americana like think about southwestern gothic with flickering motel lights and thieves and snakes hiding in sunset deserts, but also new england gothic with deep dark woods and bodies sunk into the bottom of freezing lakes, and appalachian gothic with dirty-feet tangle-haired children and small crumbling houses and the wind whistling eerily, and even midwest gothic with lonely tractors rusting away in the sunlight and endless plains and plains of vast nothingness as far as the eye can see, florida gothic (old bones sunk into the swamp), wisconsin gothic (the town’s been snowed in for weeks now, who knows what’s happening up there), california gothic (they don’t call ‘em ghost towns for nothing), colorado gothic (something’s living up in those mountains and it only comes out at night) and of course southern gothic to rule them all, a landscape of witchery, poverty, hellfire and damnation

(via sparrowwingsandfragilethings)


I think gauze wound
around ankle, plaster poured

into a chest-shaped mold.
I think wet cement.

I say stone, and you think pebble
in stream or marble fountain or kimberlite.

I say gravel or grave
or ask me later. There are days

I mourn being built from this. Made
of so much aggregate

and gravestone, so little
diamond and fountain water.

When I was a construction crane
my balled fists

toppled buildings of boys.
I rifled through the pockets

of their ruins.
Ask what I’ve been. Detroit

is a stretch of highway littered
with windshield,

a boy picking the remains
of a window from his hair.

I say Detroit;
you think glass.

I say glass; you think atrium;
I say atrium beams

warped by heat;
think cathedral. My shoe soles

say stain. Glass between treads,
treads imprinted on gum.

Everything finds its bottom,
say the sewers.

Don’t come any closer,
begs a map of collapsed veins,

while the burnt-out colonial,
this empty lot,

and this alley-dark cavity
all say the shelter is sparse, yes,

but there is space here for bones—
a ribcage, brimming like yours.


— jamaal may, ask what i’ve been. (via overwhelmington)

(Source: black-poetry, via alonesomes)


Early in my freshman year, my dad asked me if there were lots of Latinos at school. I wanted to say, “Pa, I’m one of the only Latinos in most of my classes. The other brown faces I see mostly are the landscapers’. I think of you when I see them sweating in the morning sun. I remember you were a landscaper when you first came to Illinois in the 1950s. And look, Pa! Now I’m in college!”

But I didn’t.

I just said, “No, Pa. There’s a few Latinos, mostly Puerto Rican, few Mexicans. But all the landscapers are Mexican.”

My dad responded, “¡Salúdelos, m’ijo!”

So when I walked by the Mexican men landscaping each morning, I said, “Buenos días.”

Recently, I realized what my dad really meant. I remembered learning the Mexican, or Latin American, tradition of greeting people when one enters a room. In my Mexican family, my parents taught me to be “bien educado” by greeting people who were in a room already when I entered. The tradition puts the responsibility of the person who arrives to greet those already there. If I didn’t follow the rule as a kid, my parents admonished me with a back handed slap on my back and the not-so-subtle hint: “¡Saluda!”

I caught myself tapping my 8-year-old son’s back the other day when he didn’t greet one of our friends: “Adrian! ¡Saluda!”

However, many of my white colleagues over the years followed a different tradition of ignorance. “Maleducados,” ol’ school Mexican grandmothers would call them.

But this Mexican tradition is not about the greeting—it’s about the acknowledgment. Greeting people when you enter a room is about acknowledging other people’s presence and showing them that you don’t consider yourself superior to them.

When I thought back to the conversation between my dad and me in 1990, I realized that my dad was not ordering me to greet the Mexican landscapers with a “Good morning.”

Instead, my father wanted me to acknowledge them, to always acknowledge people who work with their hands like he had done as a farm worker, a landscaper, a mechanic. My father with a 3rd grade education wanted me to work with my mind but never wanted me to think myself superior because I earned a college degree and others didn’t.


Ray Salazar, Mexican etiquette some white people need to learn on dad’s 77th birthday.

Saluden Muchachxs, saluden.

(via frijoliz) Thank you frijoliz for blogging my essay and evelynthedesigner for letting me know. And unending gracias for 17k notes! Muchos saludos a todos. (via whiterhinoray)

(via minuiko)


"τέτλαθι δή, κραδίη: καὶ κύντερον ἄλλο ποτ᾽ ἔτλης."
                                                           —The Odyssey, 20:18

(via andthentheresanne)